Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Masks We Wear...

You may recognize the title from Ben Stein's role in the old movie The Mask, but I thought it would perhaps be a fitting title given the recent discussion which lead to this post.

Socially, everyone wears a mask and assumes a role. Roles often pend on situation, people, and context but everyone has a major variety of them. Not unlike multiple personalities in a way, these roles define our position in different social situations or groups.

I tend to be quite a fan of assuming roles, or changing masks if you prefer, I can think of three of four major mindsets which are dramatically different. Here on the blog, people probably get close to experiencing my rawest natural personality, but there are still some embellishments and specific regulatory checks which I put myself under to keep from scaring away my readers.

Some of my thoughts may offend some of the strongest individuals, or cause unneeded backlash and/or flame wars. A good example of this was my Draw Muhammad Day post, which lead to individuals flagging my blog. It was worth it by the way. There are just some posts I will make regardless of who is reading, but overall I try to be careful.

Some of the most interesting cases of masking yourself in a social arena is when someone assumes an identity behind the computer screen. This is an obvious one seen on online forums, blogs, and anywhere else where text tends to be the only interaction between people. This is where much malice and hatred is born, due to text backlash not being so scary people tend to turn off their social Politically Correctness. It seems that individuals feel that the internet is not governed by the same social framework which makes up how they compose themselves in the day to day world.

This can possibly be a good thing, because there are those who feel more comfortable being themselves from behind the computer screen and others who assume roles. Usually roles tend to be as extreme as possible within the boundaries of what ever site they are using but even those seemed to be pushed (with the ideology in mind that social frame works do not apply).

Just some interesting observations, I may think about more and continue on with...


Kelly said...

It's true what you say about all of us assuming roles. I'm particularly good at playing pretty much any kind of role, really. I was told that I could act, quite convincingly, in high school plays. But then, I enjoy playing with people. Their minds, that is. Heh heh.

One bad thing I gotta add here about interacting online or in a letter is that things often get misinterpreted when people are using text. What may have been a joke or a bit of ironic wording will sometimes be taken very seriously by some folks either because they're idiots or they can't see your facial expression or some other reason. It works the same the other way around, too.

the mood someone is in at the time of reading the text also plays a part in how one reacts to it.

Just a couple more random thoughts to add to your interesting post.

The Wolf said...

I think you're totally right we each have a number of masks that we use for different situations and groups. Though at my core I'm always the same I do act different depending on the group, some more serious, some I'm the center of things, and some as the quiet guy you have to beat to get a word out of them are just a couple.

I think like you when I blog I do show a closer form of myself then I would let others normally see, I think that's becuase for me it's more comfortable and feels safer then trying to do so in person.

Great post by the way and sorry for not visiting and reading sooner.