In a world where you have no sense of identity, no sense of direction, and no uniformity, would you even be able to call that living? Looking in the mirror and not recognizing yourself seems like no big deal. We should know who we are, right? It should be a given that each of us knows what we are and what we want. For some, it may be easy. For others, not so much. In my opinion, having a sense of identity and security in that identity is essential to your well-being. 

One film that perfectly encaptures the importance of identity is Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon. In the film, we follow our main character Mima Kirigoe through her identity crisis and her loss of self. She starts as a Japanese pop idol, with an innocent and bubbly image. Inevitably, that career ends and she starts anew with an acting gig. Her image has taken a complete 180, going from innocent to risque. With the lines between her real life and her work life getting blurred, it is hard for the viewers (and Mima) to tell what is real and what is fake. Going from scene to scene to scene really makes you feel like your head is spinning, and it really helps you empathize with the identity confusion that Mima is having. 

The importance of identity is a popular topic in many different forms of media, as it is something that we all have, and something that we all try to find. For example, many of us spend our adolescent years trying to find boxes to fit ourselves into. Whether it be desperate attempts to fit into a certain social clique, or maybe even to find satisfaction in body image, everybody has their own reasons for it. When this sense of identity is lost, it often feels like you have nothing left. This concept is shown in the film Spirited Away, using the characters’ real names as a metaphor for their true identities. The people in the Spiritual World are only set free when they remember their real names. I believe this perfectly encapsulates the feeling of freedom and security you get when you accept who you are.

I think humans just naturally try and fit things into certain stereotypes, or tropes, in order to understand them. Everything has an identity, but interpretations of that identity tend to differ. Not all interpretations of the same movie are the same, and a great example of this is the short film Scavengers. In a film where so much happens, but nothing is explained, you are bound to have differing opinions on the plotline. Differing opinions on what it actually IS, essentially looking for its identity.

In my own experience, I have come to realize the importance of identity through schoolwork. I know it sounds weird, but, when working on presentations or projects, you can’t really start until you have a good grasp on what you want to do. Having to visualize what this slideshow is going to turn into, and what this essay is going to turn into, are all examples of identity. For example, while working on an infographic for one of my classes, I found it difficult to move forward with the assignment when I did not understand the topic and what it was supposed to be. But, identity is not just important because of schoolwork. As I have said before, everything and everyone has an identity. No matter how big or how small, there is one everywhere.

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