Self Expression

1632 Words7 Pages
Self Expression
The American social environment has revolutionized the ways in which people express their sexual identity. Years ago it was taboo for a young lady to talk about sex or even arouse her interest about the topic. Sheltered under her parents wings a girl was not given the opportunity to explore her sexuality. Parents molded their children in their image and did not allow them much choice or opportunity for diversity. It was not as socially acceptable for a young person to be allowed to express themselves through clothes, music or lifestyle as it is today. Stuart Ewen presents an excellent point in his article “First Impressions'; about young people and how they have come to shape their own identity . Although this article is about the influence of urban styles on materialistic impressions, he makes a remarkably strong point about the historical transformation of individual identity. Ewen states “The old world of the parents was rooted in a continuity…the new world on the other hand, demanded a sense of self that was malleable, sensitive to the power of increasingly volatile surfaces. Addressing the historical transformation of individual identity, historian Warren Susman describes it as a shift from the importance of “character'; to the importance of “personality'; (Ewen, 411). Audrey Lorde incorporated this theory throughout her book “ZAMI a New Spelling of My Name'; Lorde takes us on a journey through her life starting with her early childhood years. As a young black girl being raised by a strong, independent homosexual mother living a hetrosexual lifestyle, Lorde shows us how she secretly takes on many of her mother’s characteristics. Audrey Lorde uses her mother’s sexual identity as a foundation in developing her own sense of sexuality while struggling to express herself as a young, homosexual black woman in an extensively critical society.
Audrey Lorde paints a picture throughout this book of how her mother’s sexuality played a major role in allowing her to come to terms with her own sexual identity. Lorde allows us to see that her mother lead a hetrosexual lifestyle only because back in the twenties and thirties homosexuality was not socially accepted. Although her mother was different from all of the other women, she never openly expressed herself i...

... middle of paper ...

...y grew to come about. If Lorde was alive today, I am sure she would be happy to see how much the American social environment has influenced today’s youth. Homosexuality is far more accepted today than ever before. Children are being brought up in a free society that allows them to express their identity and sexuality in many different ways. This allows for them to grow as individuals and explore for themselves their intimate desires and personal preferences that will shape them in to becoming who they are later on in life. Ewen made an excellent point in his article by stating “…the new world on the other hand, demanded a sense of self that was malleable, sensitive to the power of increasingly volatile surfaces'; (Ewen, 410). This statement is true with today’s society. Parents of today’s generation are becoming less controlling and saving their children the resentment they felt towards their parents. Children are very vulnerable to everything that goes on around them. I feel parents today are trying their best not to stand in the way of their children’s dreams and desires. Children are able now more than ever to explore.
Open Document