Our individual identity is determined by what others think of us but only in part. Our identity is also comprised of inner qualities and outer representations of self. It consists of innumerable defining characteristics that make up the whole of who we are in any given moment. These fragments of ourselves include our sexuality, gender, and sense of belonging to a particular culture, nation, religion, family, or some other group. Our identity includes our looks, personality, beliefs and fears. Our identities are constantly growing, changing, and adapting to our everyday lives. This emphasizes the overriding link that one’s sense of belonging influences, or often dictates, individual identity. Each individual in society assigns themselves a particular role, whether it be as a mother, brother, retiree, performer, sportsman or as a part of their occupation, a doctor or lawyer. One’s entire sense of self is consumed by pursuit of fulfilling such a role in society. Often these roles influence how others view us. How heavily do they? What does it depend on? Can it change or alter? What might you do to affect it? Which identity is influenced: public or private? Does it come from within that makes us who we are, or is it the environment and the people in it that ultimately mould our identity? These are the questions that can arise when questioning the effect of others on our identity.
Stereotyping is one of the biggest conflicts that misrepresent who we really are. We are misunderstood sometimes as people who do not know who we really are, view us as something that we are not because of what they have heard because of attitudes toward certain roles in society, therefore affecting our identity. In the film Gattaca, the culture within the Gattaca Corporation shows clearly the human tendency to stereotype. Assessors discriminate against new applicants with undesirable genetics rather than testing each person