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Moral Question of Identity

Personal identity, social life, and family settings have drastically changed in this decade more than in any other time. Factors such as the increased freedom of expression, access to different media platforms, and the new culture of publicizing of private lives have contributed to the loss of personal identities and the development of a public mode of living. As individuals keep up with the Kardashians or the Jones, they silently adapt to a specific way of life and in the process lose their identities as they conform to the public policy. The following is a discussion of the ethical and moral problems that have come up as people’s private lives intersect with public policy and as the family unit keeps changing in association with the question of identity.

Different media platforms such as social media, the web, radio, and television have become more accessible to individuals in modern society. These platforms have been used to propagate public policy to members of society, influencing their private lives, their families as well as their identities. Public policy is important to society as it sets the standards for all members to meet for them to co-exist socially. This public policy can be highly misleading if it is formed by the minority group in society that uses the media to advocate for it. Such a public policy fails to capture the diverse opinions and attitudes of the majority members of society. As a result, it leads to the majority adopting the minority’s way of life. These ‘influencers’ are the minority in society but due to their strong presence in the media, their ideas of how to live become the public policy. Individuals in society strive to conform to this public policy to avoid being labeled as outcasts in by their social groups. The ethical dilemma of whether to keep their identity or adapt to the public policy is influenced towards accepting the public policy due to the societal pressure. The celebrity influence does not help matters either since these celebrities seem to have lifestyles that conform to the public policy. Individuals in society end up losing their personal identities since the moral cost of being outcast is too much as compared to the benefits of social security.

The family unit has changed drastically in this decade more than in any other time. Traditional gender roles have changed as more women take up men’s roles and vice versa. More women have become family providers as compared to earlier generations where men were regarded as the breadwinners and women would only complement their efforts. Now, there are more stay at home fathers whose roles involve taking care of the children as their female partners fed for the family. New forms of family units have come up. First, single parent led families have increased. Secondly, similar sex individuals also get married and form family units of their own. These two forms of family units seem to be the new trend. These trends have come up due to the influence from public policy and the increased publicity. Publicity by the media has led to the adoption of different family units from the traditional form of two parents of the opposite gender. Gender identity has also changed drastically as a result of media publicity. There are now more gender groups than the traditional categories. Diversification of gender identities coupled with publicity has created new awareness. Alienated gender groups have turned to media for publicity. This has lead to public debate of gender identities with supporters and sympathizers of diversity winning the debate. This publicity as well as support from influential members of society has contributed to the growth of gender diversity and, to a great extent, a loss of individual perspectives of the same.

Social media has exposed private lives. Individuals capture their lives on such platforms as a way of seeking approval from the public. This is a way of gaining public approval and applying public policy in private life. This public approval mentality has been recognized by producers of various products or services, and they have in turn tapped into it for marketing purposes. More celebrity endorsements have come up with influential individuals announcing their preferred brands. These endorsements have led to the creation of celebrity brands that have in turn been accepted by general society for consumption. This has limited individual choice making as people buy and consume what everyone consumes. Anyone who has differing tastes is regarded as less fashionable or old. The lack of use of one’s decision-making abilities and letting others make choices is ethically incorrect and mentally lazy. However, this may be a little cost to bear as compared to social insecurity that occurs when one is not welcome in any of the social groups. The need for social security has led to the loss of identity as a result of having one way of doing things, which is guided by public policy and approval. Having few individuals controlling the media and driving their agenda has contributed to a very narrow public policy that has very little diversity. This public policy, which guides society, has led to adoption of very similar ideas, choices, tastes, attitudes, and ideas of members of society and, in turn, to the limiting of diversity as everyone conforms to trends and celebrity endorsed ideas. This has also led to the loss of individual values and virtues but since no one seems to remember them, everyone moves on ‘normally’.

The rates of divorce have reached their peak during this decade. More couples split up, remarry, and have multiple divorces than ever before. This has led to the birth of more children into step families whereby there are more step siblings than ever before. The ethical question here is whether this is a new trend or marriages are becoming more unbearable. The contributing factors here are also public policy and media. Notable public individuals who dominate in different media in modern society have become more absent fathers and baby mummies. Most of them have multiple children with different partners who they offer their financial support to, but who are almost not present in their upbringing. This trend, which is highly publicized in the media, has also formed a public policy of intolerance and similar habits for other individuals in society. It is now common to have very short marriages followed by divorce and children in between the conflict. Such partners then remarry and have more children in their second marriages and most probably also separate from their second partners. This trend catches up with the children who have been brought up in such a society as they also take up the trend. Media and the increased freedom of expression have also contributed to the change in the image of the wife. Debate on independence and the equality has reshaped the female image as more women take up roles that were traditionally believed to be male ones. Social media and public approval have also contributed to independence in women as they want to be more in control and not to be under the control of their male partners. This has led to power struggles between male and female figures in families as well as to conflicts between them. The increased domestic violence can be traced to such power struggles as both individuals forcefully assert their position in the family.

The loss of identity and adoption of a public policy are situations of ethical dilemma. On one hand, publicizing private lives and adapting an acceptable standard by individuals in society is a way of socializing in the bigger social group. Human beings are social beings and none wants to be left out due to the needs of belonging and acceptance. On the other hand, seeking public approval through the way one lives leads to the loss of identity and personal values and virtues as such individuals strive to please the majority. Both of these choices have heavy costs as well as big benefits. The creation of celebrity brands and their adoption by society is another way that has led to the loss of personal identity and preference. It has benefits such as living within the approved standards and working hard to reach those standards. However, the personal ability to make choices and the ability to select one’s preferences have been lost as everyone goes for the endorsed brands. The issue of divorce is also ethically challenging. On one hand, it is wrong to persevere abuse. However, the high rates of remarrying and re-divorcing can be seen as a negative trend set up through the media that society has adopted. Cases of individuals bearing children with multiple partners can be attributed to the recent public policy as everyone else has adopted the trend as a result of loss of personal virtues.

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