Monday, October 23, 2006

Confidence, Part II

Aside from confidence as mastery of skill, there is also confidence in relating with other people. When we say a person is growing in confidence, we usually mean that person is better able to relate with others. Sometimes we say that person is coming out of his shell.

The opposite of this type of confidence is shyness not skillessness.

I think that increasing social confidence is a by-product of (unconsciously) coming in tune with the social sense of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate practices and a corporealized acceptance of that sense of appropriate and inappropriate practices (i.e. an acceptance that is manifested in deportment, practices and choice of strategies).

Again, Andy in the Devil Wears Prada is a perfect example of a person growing in confidence (in the fashion industry) after her decision to internalize (and externalize the internalization of) the practices and strategies of tha industry. In doing so, she became less confident of being able to relate with her old friends as she began to lose touch with their sense of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate practices, strategies and values.

The internalization of a collective's sense of appropriate and inappropriate practices, strategies and values can be tough especially for an outsider coming in (i.e. entering a new culture). An extreme form is the physical hazing of fraternity or sorority plebes to demonstrate their loyalty and the intellectual hazing of a law student.

But the demands can be much more than endurance of physical pain during moments of initiation. In some collectives (fashion, entertainment), correct strategies dictate appropriate body types and complexions forcing those who want to be in to go through all sorts of regimens to help keep in shape and to look young and beautiful. (Papaya soaps, whitening lotions,) Diet and exercise help but the cosmetic surgery industry is also booming because of the need to manifest an appropriate body type and external manifestation. Some clients of cosmetic surgeons say that cosmetic surgery makes them feel better about themselves and though they may deny it, feeling good is a by-product of an appropriate bodily manifestation.

It requires a buying in to particular beliefs of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate practices, strategies and values in order to gain confidence as a member of a particular collective.

Next post: Friday, October 27

1 comment:

rowie said...

Very interesting; thanks for sharing all of this. I wrote some musings about it here, and I apologize in advance if I completely missed Bourdieu's point, hahaha!