Identity key words

I’ve just started reading Womankind Mag online and have found a number of thought provoking articles. Short, sweet and simple writing to explain complex ideas… That’s my kind of writing!

The way we define ourselves has altered over time, and probably not for the better. Today we classify ourselves into groups – norms and averages – like sociologists. “Mother, part-time graphic designer, photographer.” We don’t think of ourselves as pursuing an ideal, or a standard of perfection or excellence. We are not what we wish to be, only what we already are.
— http://www.womankindmag.com/articles/the-identity-toolkit/#sthash.9acivw0f.dpuf

This idea of ‘identity key words’ - the words we use to describe ourselves via social media is one I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about in relation to the herstory website. It’s actually been a running conversation I’ve had with my tutors for the entirety of this project, albeit framed in a slightly different way.

This article has caused me to start thinking again about how I label people on the herstory website.

On the homepage each women is presented through a portrait with a caption that titles her first name and job title:

There are obvious reasons for doing this. Firstly, the website is about exploring different career paths. In order for people to quickly understand what they’re about to read, it’s easy to simply label each person by their job title. I include their first names in there too because they are ‘them’ first, and their job second. If it were to just say ‘Musician’, she would seem more wholly defined by her job than anything else. And we all know (and hope) that isn’t the case. 

After reading that article about our simplified use of identity key words, I feel unsatisfied by the way I’ve labelled each person. Although I have justifications in the way I’ve done it, I’m not sure it suffices.

This is mainly because the stories I’ve written aren’t just about the fact that she does this job, she does this hobby, and she is this ‘kind’ of person. 

The stories explore her past, her present, her future. She has this job, yes, but she also has big dreams for her future and for her family. 

Maybe I’m still figuring out exactly what this website is about and whatherstory's elevator pitch is. I'm willing to explore that and admit that this isn't entirely clear to me yet, which you might be able to tell from the way I'm writing about this!

We don’t think of ourselves as pursuing an ideal, or a standard of perfection or excellence. We are not what we wish to be, only what we already are.