6. How would narcissism in adolescents and adult identity be affected if we focused on maturity as beauty rather than youth in advertising and modeling?
Focusing on maturity would help level the playing field. Both narcissism and “shy narcissism” (Larrain, 147) would have a weaker hold on people. There wouldn’t be a distinction between those with the “youthful gene” or the money to attain youth and those who age in a society who doesn’t value their mature citizens There wouldn’t be the obsession with outward appearance like there is currently. Relishing the lines, wrinkles, and grey hairs would shift the beauty standard to include knowledge and experience that is associated with these physical characteristics. The goal of “eternal youthfulness” (Larrain, 152) leaves behind a wake of insecure, unsatisfied people who refuse to accept their increasing age as a positive thing. It creates an unhealthy emphasis on appearance. Advertising depicts unrealistic, photo shopped, air brushed images that feed into this cultural stigma towards aging and personal value. In the documentary, America the Beautiful, it showed in depth just how superficial and dangerous this youthful ideal is. Millions and billions of dollars are spent on plastic surgery a year. it would help solid identity development,minus narcissism, if we were allowed to socially accept the “imperfections” of age and focus on the inward beauty which is eternal, rather than changing outward appearance.
9. If nudity is slowly invading society, does the definition of modesty change?
Definitely, depending on which society we are speaking of. In America, where modesty is the legacy of the Puritans and nakedness is sexualized, having a culture with increasing nudism would have a culture upheaval. Larrain describes nudism as an “ugly and graceless tendency”, as well as that “modesty is part of normal development” (152). But through what cultural tendency is she looking through? In many other cultures around the world, nudism is not a “lack of interiority of the person”, but the social norm and perfectly acceptable. Their definition of modesty includes the freedom for nudity. In many African countries, for example, nudity is a part of traditional dress, and isn’t viewed as shameful. In Europe, their view on nudity is much more lax, nude bathing and beaches are common. I think the real question should be “if nudity is slowly invading American society…”, as it seems we are the only ones who behave like 13 year olds when we see a naked person.
13. Do uniforms delay the development of solid identity in adolescence?
Uniforms definitely delay the “experimentation with identity” which is a “defining feature of adolescence” (Campbell, 16), but doesn’t necessarily halt a youth’s arrival at a solid identity. Larrain defines a solid identity as “a sustained feeling of self sameness…temporal continuity in the self experience…genuineness and authenticity…a sense of inner solidity…clarity regarding one’s gender” (143). Also that the goal of maturing is to develop a healthy sense of “self definition and self esteem” that focuses on beauty that focuses on “the inner attitude and attitude towards others” (152). One could say that a uniform allows adolescents the freedom to develop their identity through building on their inner selves, rather than being overly concerned with fashion as a means to identify themselves. Instead of being defined by their clothes, uniformed adolescents would define themselves based on their personality and their relationships with others.