Welcome to the second week of July, time flies! My previous published post here looked at the recent outfits I added to my wardrobe. Today, I’ll be going off on a different topic partly inspired by a vacillating exchange with my mom on my outfit choices.
Flashback- a night before, I was reading an intriguing piece captioned “silk road” on a website named Wired, when I came across a phrase “moral identity”. The phrase made sense in the context of that article unbeknownst to me the phrase would fit into why I had an argument with my mom.
So I asked myself, what is Moral identity, how do people come to the consciousness of it, and why is it so important? Lucky enough an academic paper (with enough literature review to answer my questions) popped up after my first keyword search on google.
The basis of ‘morality’ as an area of study emanated from Socrates & Pluto with the phrase “to know good is to do good”. Since then, researchers like (Hardy & Carlo 2011) have referred to ‘moral identity’ as the degree to which being a moral person is important to an individual(s) identity.
Also, the ability to maintain a moral stance is the degree to which your morality, and identity are in unison. As we know, our identities are formed through social, political and religious backgrounds, meaning morality does not have a static measurement. A Sage journal article, explains that individuals decide on ‘morality’ from a consensus of a belief that something is “right” or “wrong”
However, there are underlying effective bases of moral identities, such as empathy, guilt, and shame. But how does this relate to the situation with my mom? My mom is a conservative Christian who polices everything I wear, with a moral identity built formed strongly by religion.
She is currently visiting the states, and when I voiced my thoughts on altering my pants, worn in today’s post, she wasn’t having it. I on the other hand despite being an offspring of hers with a closely related moral identity, wanted my pants altered. Morality is complex, especially when it is embedded in a “variety of feelings, questions, doubts, judgments, and decisions” Blasi, (1980 p.1). Hence my decision to alter my shorts does not make me less moral than my mom, but my action needed backing.
(Davidson & Youniss, 1991) argues, that morality and identity development are two facets of the same developmental system. Although my mom’s identity is greatly rooted in religion, I on the other side have developed a nuanced approach to forming mine (religion, fashion, academic and cultural)- A phenomenon that I associate with migrating.
However, I found solace- (Haidt, 2001) argues that moral identities are specified in relations to culturally defined virtues. Therefore, this determines the varied ideas of right or wrong, depending on the cultural, religious or political context. Answering my questions at the beginning of this post, Haidt argument, explains why there are boundaries and not everyone agrees on a singular moral identity- Neither I or my mom.
Are you aware of what a moral identity is? leave your comment below