Cooley's The Looking Glass Self

1831 Words8 Pages
In today’s world our understanding of self has been brought to a different, higher level. We are no longer aware merely of how we act, talk or feel. Because of the pressure, coming from society and media, on being as close to “perfection” as it is possible, we are being more significantly aware of our overall appearance and attractiveness in other people’s eyes as well. So that, currently, some people need more channels through which they can express and show themselves to the public, as the online presence has become so dominant in promoting yourself and socializing. It is one of the reasons why we observe such a big growth in the number of social media and why are they taking away so much of the offline parts of people’s lives.
Online identities
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He called this concept ‘’The Looking Glass Self’’, which describes the mechanism standing behind the creation of our own ‘’self’’. Cooley states, that the definition of it, consists of ‘’definite imagination of how one’s self appears in a particular mind’’ (189) – this means, other people’s mind. The American sociologist describes three steps, explaining how the people around us happen to be the ‘’mirrors’’ that we reflect ourselves in. First step is ‘’the imagination of our appearance to other person’’ (152). This means, we try to imagine how we look or seem in other person’s mind, how they see us and what do they think about us. Secondly, according to Cooley, we try to justify the attitude towards us – is the judgement positive or rather negative? The last step is the product of the previous two steps – our emotions. In other words, how do we feel after imagining the external depiction of us? Cooley describes it as ‘’some sort of feeling such as pride or mortification’’ (152). The process of ‘’The Looking Glass Self’’ continues and develops through our life. For example, there are many different ways to raise a child, but if it grows up being surrounded by people who admire its intellect and consider him or her smart, the child will grow up believing that he is an intelligent person. The same happens when people tend to tell us we have a good humor and laugh at our jokes. We will surely feel as a person with a…show more content…
We tend to share only the most interesting and most idyllic parts of our lives to shape our image. To say it differently, we share online what we want to other people think and know about us, so that we are very selective in choosing what to post. This is because of the competition we feel and the achievement we want to accomplish. So the “ideal self” we eventually try to create online, is based on what we consider we should be, which is strongly influenced by the society and culture we live in. Whereby we select what will “fit” best with who we aspire to be. In other words, we create online identity as an idealistic alter ego. However, the problem is that by idealizing our online appearance to maximum, we later tend to have problems with accepting the imperfect parts of ourselves. It happened to be very popular for young women trying to change how they look by plastic surgeries, being on several diets at a time or wearing a lot of makeup. This is also because the pressure on being perfect is being more and more significant in the society, having its roots in all the mass media. Currently, most of advertisements we see on TV, billboards and in magazines, are edited using Photoshop, showing perfect teeth, body, hair, etc. We practice constant comparison to others which very often can cause depression, low self-esteem and
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