If you’ve even spent a millisecond on Facebook, you’ll know that it’s a veritable playground of folks documenting their latest personal drama, posting pictures of their favorite mammals, and, perhaps most entertaining as of late, revealing what the latest quiz reveals about who they “really” are. These quizzes cover a multitude of aspects of personal identity, from guessing one’s geographical origins based on regional dialect, revealing one’s ideal city, and perhaps most telling, indicating which Harry Potter or Star Wars character one is most like (all of mine are above, and from these you might be able to accurately assess that I have a teensy control problem).
While these may be fun little escapist moments, for those of us interested in the making of identity, there is something fascinating going on here in the manner in which we submit to the act of taking these quizzes. Presumably, almost everyone who participates recognizes that this is not the best mechanism for a moment of self-revelation, or at least, a poor substitute for a therapist. But curiosity about how we fit into a matrix that we might claim to find otherwise insignificant is an interesting phenomenon in itself, and at least to me, demonstrates how gladly—how readily – we submit to the social categories that creatively constrain our identities. As much as many of us like to think that we are unique individuals, who we are is always defined in terms of someone else or something else, in a multitude of acts of comparison and contrast.