The Place that is the Self
| A False Self?
||A True Self?|
The Place That Is the Self
with Kim Cassidy,
Bryn Mawr College Provost and Psychology professor
Kim began the morning with a "personality inventory,"
in which gave us a "diamond" diagram to
"think about ourselves in relation to others"--
students, administrators, romantic interests, and friends.
How did we feel about each of the attributes?
Which ones are opposites? Which ones are in conflict?
Which ones represent our "true selves," which ones our "false selves"?
Which attributes describe "who we really are,"
which ones the "way the context wants us to behave"?
She followed this by describing two curent theories,
by David Elkind and Susan Harter, about adolescent development of self.
Elkind argues that some of the baffling behaviors of adolescence are the result of the developing ability to think abstractly, and so imagine alternatives, an audience for one's behavior, and a "personal fable" regarding one's uniqueness.
Harter's work focuses on the implication of cognitive development on how adolescents understand themselves: they move from thinking about themselves as having enduring traits, to comparing those abstractions, to reconciling what seem to be contrasts.
Our discussion ranged widely, from gender differences in "context sensitivity,"
to the particular example of gay teenagers who find themselves in unhospitable environments.
Below find a list of resources for those who would like to learn more:
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading
national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for ALL
School Climate Survey "75.4% of students heard derogatory remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke"frequently or often at school, and nearly nine out of ten (89.2%) reported hearing "that's so gay" or "you're so gay" - meaning stupid or worthless-frequently or often." "75.4% of students heard derogatory remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" frequently or often at school, and nearly nine out of ten (89.2%) reported hearing "that's so gay" or "you're so gay" - meaning stupid or worthless-frequently or often."
School Bullying "One-third (33%) of teens report that students are frequently harassed because they are or are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual. The survey finds that LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say that they do not feel safe at school (22% vs. 7%) and 90% of LGBT students (vs. 62% of non-LGBT teens) have been harassed or assaulted during the past year."
Suicide "The study also found that about 10 percent of Massachusetts high school students attempted suicide, according to a survey of about 4,000 students in 1997. Broken down by sexual orientation, about 40 percent of gay and bisexual students attempted suicide, compared to about 10 percent of their heterosexual peers."