THE TRUE YOU MAY BE SOMEONE YOU HAVEN'T YET MET.
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
In English grammar and in particular in casual English, generic, impersonal, or indefinite you is the use of the pronoun you to refer to an unspecified person, as opposed to its standard use as the second-person pronoun. Generic you can often be used in the place of one, the third-person singular impersonal pronoun, in colloquial speech.
What does it mean to be you?
Will any you, just do?
"First, we need to think a bit more about what we mean by identity.
identity provides us with the means of answering the question ‘who am
I?’ it might appear to be about personality; the sort of person I am.
That is only part of the story. Identity is different from personality
in important respects. We may share personality traits with other
people, but sharing an identity suggests some active engagement on our part. We choose to identify
with a particular identity or group. Sometimes we have more choice than
others. This chunk will address the relative importance of structures, the forces beyond our control which shape our identities, and agency,
the degree of control which we ourselves can exert over who we are.
Identity requires some awareness on our part. Personality describes
qualities individuals may have, such as being outgoing or shy, internal
characteristics, but identity requires some element of choice. For
example, I may go to football matches on Saturdays because I enjoy
shouting loudly with a crowd of lively extroverts, but I go to watch
Sheffield Wednesday because I want to identify with that
particular team, to wear that scarf and make a statement about who I am,
and, of course, because I want to state that I support one Sheffield team and not
the other (Sheffield United). We may be characterized by having
personality traits, but we have to identify with – that is, actively
take up – an identity.
This example also illustrates the importance of marking oneself as having the same identity as one group of people and a different
one from others. Think about a situation where you meet someone for the
first time and, in trying to find out who they are, ask questions about
where they come from and what they do. In such situations we are trying
to find out what makes up this person and also what makes them the same as us – that is, what we have in common – and what makes them different.
If you see somebody wearing the badge of an organization to which you
also belong, it marks that person out as being the same as you, as
sharing an identity. Or consider a situation where, traveling abroad,
hearing the voices of those who speak your own language, you feel both a
sense of recognition and of belonging. In a strange place, finding
people who share our language provides us with something and someone
with whom we can identify. Or imagine that you are on a train, and a
stranger in the compartment is reading the local newspaper from the town
where you were born. You might strike up a conversation which includes
references to what you have in common. This presents a moment of
recognition and of having something in common with another person who
shares an identity with you. Identity is marked by similarity, that is
of the people like us, and by difference, of those who are not. There
are other examples which are less reassuring, where the appropriate
identity is not established, and where, for example, one may be
denied access to credit or hire purchase, pension or sickness benefits,
or entry to a club or restaurant, or, even more significantly, to a
How do we know which people are the same as us? What
information do we use to categorise others and ourselves? In the
examples above, what is often important is a symbol, like a
badge, a team scarf, a newspaper, the language we speak, or perhaps the
clothes we wear. Sometimes it is obvious. A badge can be a clear public
statement that we identify with a particular group. Sometimes it is more
subtle, but symbols and representations are important in marking the
ways in which we share identities with some people and distinguish
ourselves as different from others.
In this sense, although as
individuals we have to take up identities actively, those identities are
necessarily the product of the society in which we live and our
relationship with others. Identity provides a link between individuals
and the world in which they live. Identity combines how I see myself and
how others see me. Identity involves the internal and the subjective,
and the external. It is a socially recognized position, recognized by
others, not just by me.
However, how I see myself and how others
see me do not always fit. For example, individuals may view themselves
as high achievers, worthy of promotion, yet be viewed by their employer
as less than successful. The young people noisily returning home from a
club in the early hours of the morning may be seen by others as
troublemakers. Think about some of the ways in which how you see
yourself may be at variance with others' perception of you. This could
be at a more personal level, in the context of family and friendship
relationships, or at a more public or even global level, where
particular characteristics are attributed to specific national or ethnic
groups. A sense of conflicting identities may result from the tensions
between having to be a student, a parent, and an employee at the same
time: these are examples of the multiple identities which people have.
link between myself and others is not only indicated by the connection
between how I see myself and how other people see me, but also by the
connection between what I want to be and the influences, pressures and
opportunities which are available. Material, social and physical
constraints prevent us from successfully presenting ourselves in some
identity positions – constraints which include the perceptions of
others. Criminal identities are often produced through the exaggeration
of stereotyping, where newspaper reports reproduce the notion of a
criminal identity as young, male and black (Mooney et al., 2000).
Criminality can be produced by others who construct this category of
person. This process of stereotyping certain groups as criminal also
illustrates some of the imbalances and inequalities in the relationship
between the individual and the world outside.
The subject, ‘I’ or
‘we’ in the identity equation, involves some element of choice, however
limited. The concept of identity encompasses some notion of human
agency; an idea that we can have some control in constructing our own
identities. There are, of course, constraints which may lie in the
external world, where material and social factors may limit the degree
of agency which individuals may have. Lack of material resources
severely limits the opportunities we have; as in the case of poverty and
economic constraints. It is impossible to have an identity as a
successful career woman if one is without a job and if there are no
employment opportunities. Other limitations to our autonomy may reside
within us, for example in the bodies which we inhabit, as illustrated by
the ageing process, by physical impairments, illness and the actual
size and shape of our bodies." (source)
Do you own
your persona? Or, did you
sell your mystique?
That melts to a shriek.
How + when do you present your generic you?
When you drop the name brand bland,
and go as dew?
San serif, without the teeth,
without a whisper of queef.
The best behavior you,
stomach all sucked in,
not a butter pat of sin.
All bird and no beak.