Identity Through Body Art

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Identity Through Body Art
Through the dramaturgical model we can look at and study how people present themselves. Nonverbal communication, such as body art or clothing choices, projects a certain desired image. With this image we make an identity for ourselves - one that is recognizable and shows who we are. By managing our choices of body art (be it with clothing, tattoos, piercings, etc.) we are choosing how others see and perceive us. We are “performing” our identity for others. Then as a result of performing our identity we are stereotyped by the choices of body art we use.

Everyday we intentionally or unintentionally perform our identities through our actions, verbal communication, and nonverbal communication. We perform our gender though our clothing, the use or non-use of makeup, etc. Similarly we can perform our identity through body art. By choosing to wear a tattoo on your body everyday is communicating your identity. People craft images of themselves which they want others to see and then place that on their body in a permanent fashion. This is a form of impression management. You are constructing a certain image for others to view you as. This image can be as simple as trying to persuade people that you are outgoing and friendly. On the other hand, it might be to persuade people to be afraid of you, to show people you are different and unique. This persuasion can also be linked to the “front stage” which Goffman talked about. He says that life is a stage and we are the actors. We act on the stage of life and we perform on both the front stage and back stage. The front stage is the part that everyone else can see. Our bodies, our physical actions, and emotional responses can all be described as front stage aspects. The way we present ourselves to others is a front stage action. By using body art we are adding to the appearance of ourselves that other see on the “front stage”. So by this we can say that our impression management is being acted on...
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