© Celesté Martinez 2015


The other or otherness is the ability to objectify a part of self, another person, and/or a group of people that results in an imbalance of power. The human ability to other allows for detachment to happen in social and personal relationship, which affects the self-perception and identity. Hegel argues in the Phenomenology of Spirit the very nature of an interdependent relationship, which expresses identity through the Lord and bondsman. I will argue how extreme detachment and disassociation between human beings has created a complex phenomenon and has redefined what it means to be human in relation to social superstructures. Social superstructures have defined and created norms and morality of societies and cultures, which then creates a division of those who fit these standards and those who do not. Traditionally philosophy and other forms of academic scholarship have focused upon the inequality of power and privilege and examined the relationship of the oppressed to their oppressor. Oppressed groups then have organized to articulate their collective experience, developed academic theory, and social movements to further identify the reality of otherness they experience. I will further explore this through the scholarship of Patricia HillCollins, Peg O’Connor, and Iris Young. This paradigm as power and oppression is also referenced to as political identity; however, I believe this method stratifies the multifaceted nature of the human self and needs to be restructured to uncover a richer sense of authenticity. In this paper I will argue how paradigms of otherness can be used to positively cultivate the multifaceted parts of the self. As an example of someone who lived out of her multifaceted nature of self, I will examine the life of Gloria Anzaldúa. The two primary aspects of social superstructure influences on the self are societal and relational. I will explore how societal influences are the social groups in which an individual identifies based upon social position and life experience. The multifaceted social parts of the self include: class, race, gender, sexuality, physically and psychologically ability, religion/spirituality, age. Relational influences are the intimate relationships, which influence and shape an individual’s identity and perception of self. These multifaceted relational parts include: family and friends. Living towards one’s authentic self is complete balance and interaction of all multifaceted parts of the self that make up identity in the pursuit of answering the life long question of, “who am I?” The authentic self is one who can identify the social impositions, which oppress or privilege oneself and recognize the balance of all social roles in relation to personal experience and formation. The authentic self is never completely autonomous but conscious of social barriers or privileges that make up one’s personal identity, and is an expression of genuine balance. I believe that Anzaldúa expresses this in her life experiences, as a Chicana Lesbian, and so I will reference her experiences to further examine these arguments.



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