Labels, Logos, and Self-Identification

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by imac/cheese, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I have been fascinated by self-identification lately and by the ways that people choose to present their identity to the world. The way people broadcast who they are and why they want to broadcast themselves in that manner is extremely interesting to me. I find myself thinking about it a lot -- everytime I hear someone's music, see the clothes they are wearing, see their bumper stickers, see their religious symbols, hear the way they talk, see the products they buy, and hear their ring tones.

    I would be interested in the way people on this forum choose to identify themselves and why they choose to identify with those areas.

    Here is an interesting study from Duke University on Brand Loyalty an Expression of Self-Worth, Just Like Religion
     
  2. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Seems about right. My only item of notice in day to day use is my Citizen watch. I think its really telling that the less religious you are the more the need to make people notice you. As if, what you buy means jack squat. (can you tell what side of the fence i am on?)
     
  3. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #3
    At MR I actually purposefully choose NOT to identify myself.

    No user profile info... no signature... no avatar. I want the ideas I post to speak for themselves.

    It's how I work in forums... and kind of how I work out in the real world... simple, straightforward, unadorned.

    (Yes. I walk around naked.)
     
  4. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #4
    Interesting

    I have always been interested in this stuff as well. I only have about 7 t- shirts and each one is a different solid color. I try not to identify myself by my clothes or stuff, but more through actions and ideas.

    As far as brand loyalty goes, I think that is a totally different ballgame (Exclude clothing brands.) For example, I am loyal to Canon for my photo stuff. Why? For a few reasons- First SLR cam was a canon, friends shoot canon so its easy to share gear, school had Canons, etc. I don't think it has anything to do with me being "loyal" to a brand or an image, it is simply convenient. It would be difficult for me to use a different brand.

    Now if you want to talk about clothing brands, it gets weird. Why somebody would pay $800 for a purse with "C"s all over it in a god-awful pattern is beyond me.

    LOL I was about to say "So its safe to assume you practice naturism?" but I guess you beat me to it!
     
  5. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #5
    That's interesting. I haven't thought about it so specifically. You mention music, clothes, bumper stickers and religious symbols.

    In terms of clothes, I don't know if it is identifying myself per se, but that's one area I don't want to be identified, I guess. I wear standard clothing for guys my age (mid/late 30s) in this area - boring khaki pants, solid knit shirts (or simple print button downs) and brown leather loafers. Outside of work, just swap the khaki pants with khaki shorts and the loafers with flip-flops, and there you have it. I either don't have the nuts or the desire to be identified (stand out in some way) in my clothing. No brand loyalty that arena.

    Religion - I take my kids to church but that's it. I don't talk about it or advertise it. Definitely don't wear a WWJD bracelet.

    No bumper stickers.

    Music - That's I guess where I like to have fun. I enjoy getting to know people a little, let them see just how boring/wallflower/sheep-like I truly am, and waiting as long as possible to mention how much of a Nine Inch Nails fan I am, and how highly I regard Trent Reznor. I get a kick out of, "But you don't look like a Nine Inch Nails fan."

    Books - I'm not a reader, but I enjoy having my early edition copies of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and some other rare books of his that I cherish. Like Nine Inch Nails, it seems to confuse people that I like Oscar Wilde so much, and I enjoy that confusion. The only other books I may have out for appearance, so to speak, are Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. (No, I'm not kidding.)

    I guess I'm not hitting on the brand-loyalty side of your OP very much. I admit to being shameless in buying stuff that has the Apple logo. (Alas, I lost my Apple Hi-Fi in the divorce.)
     
  6. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #6
    The day I start identifying with a label is the day I start having excuses for my opinions. If I can't back up what I believe with a reasoned argument, I need to re-think my beliefs.
     
  7. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I know how it works around here. ;)
     
  8. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #8
    I admit to being somewhat contradictory.

    On the one hand, I like Apple products because they're good. The aura of "cool" is, to me, just a nice side benefit, albeit one I'm willing to bask in.

    On the other hand, I've always thought Chryslers were cool cars specifically because of the weird dynamic where people dislike them even though they're some of the best-looking cars around. (I'm well aware they don't rank high in the reliability category.) It's almost a Mac-PC thing -- if people tell me I should hate something, that makes me feel there must be something good there.

    I do wear t-shirts with retro logos like the 4077th M*A*S*H. OTOH, I detest clothing brand logos. To me clothes are functional. I want to dress nicely but without being some company's walking billboard.

    I've been known to wear political stuff, or sport a political bumper sticker.

    I'm not into religion. (And who says they're not brands?)
     
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #9

    Sorry, who are you again? ;)

    I just buy stuff I like or need. Tend to buy towards higher price brackets for items that last as I don't believe in false economy. Simple. I don't have a TV, don't own a car, don't read magazines, don't feel the need to list my gadgets in my sig, reveal my location or put anything on my profile. I use a Mac because I'm a designer and that's what we usually do. Progressively less interested in how others move through world, trailing a cloud of semiotics, than finding out what people say, believe or do. As soon as you open your mouth or do something for someone else, people know what kind of person you are.

    Saying that, I'm a believer in avatars on forums and keeping them the same. It's an easy way of identifying people. Forum names, words, are just shapes, after all; we just interpret them in different ways.


    With me, it's 'but you don't look like a drum and bass fan'. Happened just a few months ago at work.
     
  10. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #10
    If I showed up at work in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt every day I would lose my job. As a professional, I have to look the part. It's not who I am, but my uniform. That being said, I have the ability to make the uniform more who I am, as opposed to a black and white photo of the civil war.

    A nice watch, nice shoes, a good suit, etc..., yes, they can be an expression or even just good fashion sense, but they can also be a necessity for a particular line of work.

    (edit) Apparently, I'm the only one who wants to like what I'm wearing.

    (edit2) BTW, you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. To the people in shorts and monochrome t-shirts on a daily basis, what do your managers, supervisors, owners... wear? (I know, in some fields, the "babes" run the world, but keep in mind, that we're all getting older, even them.)
     
  11. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #11
    I've always been interested in people's self-identification . I never really got into it. I just go about my days, doing my thing. Never really cared what other people thought about the music I listen to (most of my friends can't stand my music), the clothes I wear (I usually just pull whatever is on top in the dresser...much to the chagrin of my wife), the food I eat, or the things I do.

    But, let's be honest, there are a whole lot of people out there who go out of their way to make sure they are noticed. I went to a concert recently where one guy dressed as a penguin, and another dude was dressed as a banana (they were not there together). No reason, as the band had nothing to do with penguins or bananas...just to be noticed. I guess I've just never felt that need to have people look at me, and don't quite understand the thought process behind it.

    I've also felt this a lot with friends who get lots of tattoos. I have quite a few friends who get a new tattoo, and obviously get all their friends looking at it. Then when that becomes the norm, they suddenly feel the need to get another tattoo. One of my friends is a serial tattooer, and of just weird stuff like a pirate hello kitty and stuff like that.

    I once got into an argument back in the early 90's with someone who asked why I didn't really like R.E.M. His argument was that almost everyone likes R.E.M., so I should like them as well. The more I listened to him, the more he was basically saying "You should like what other people tell you to like." That doesn't make sense to me.

    Yeah, I don't worry about my appearance to the world. I just don't care.

    Really?? :rolleyes:
     
  12. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Yes, for some they have nothing else but their toys. I still cringe when I see people who think their cars infer status, or their clothes do. It blows my mind how much people will spend beyond their means to present an image that isn't real. Insecurity, can come from a lack of faith in self or a higher power.
     
  13. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Creflo Dollar might not agree with you. So, I guess faith doesn't have as much influence as you might believe.
     
  14. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #14
    Usually I say I don't have an identity in that sense, but if I want to dumb it down for people when the question comes up, I just say "geek" and walk away. :p
     
  15. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #15
    Why does their price class matter? I agree that certain brands convey the necessary appearance in business situations, but the only people that notice brands on jeans are the ones that care about brands. I own many $8 pairs of wranglers and lees that are more comfortable than any hilfiger jeans I've worn.

    Do they use magic cotton? I've never found a difference in any brand of underwear other than the style. I can't imagine anyone else would either.

    Many of the EU brands test below their American and Japanese counterparts in reliability. Is this not of concern to you?

    It sounds like you're rationalizing a lot of your brand choices as not being brand choices.
     
  16. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #16
    Story


    Haha thats the vibe I got as well...

    Little anecdote on the quality of clothes / $:

    I had a friend who worked at express and hooked me up with some AWESOME coupons, like 40% off or something like that. I needed new clothes so I got 4 or 5 t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a jacket, etc.

    I bought a few plain solid color t shirts and have been wearing the figurative crap out of them. I also wear the crap out of my other t shirts from target (my normal clothier of choice). I have worn all my t0shirts to the point that the "labeless label" has been worn off of all of them. Guess what? I couldnt pick out the express shirts from the target shirts if my life depended on it. Even when the labels were intact, I would not have been able to.

    Granted, I do love express jeans now. I am on my 3rd pair of the exact same jean (I am dirty and will wear one pair of jeans until they die, no joke) from express because I genuinely have been more comfortable in them. Softer denim and a good fit with the dark wash I like.

    Moral of the story: Target makes awesome, cheap, comfortable, high quality clothes. All my polo shirts for work are from target.
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #17
    That's the second time today I have heard that expression voiced.

    Just because you dress well for the job you have, is no reason for others to consider you a toady. Screw them anyway, it's your life, right??
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    My iPhone is the only thing I wear or carry with an identifiable logo. I detest T-shirts with slogans, clothes with labels (well, all clothes, actually), don't wear a watch, don't wear shoes, don't eat fast food, don't even shop except for groceries and building materials. But then, I have never worked in a competitive milieu and have always been my own boss, so I guess I'm not under any pressure to be identified. Oh, and I only ever go into a church to admire the architecture. And my car is 14 years old.
     
  19. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #19
    Sorry, I just usually question whether this type of brand preference is real or perceived.



    That part makes sense.



    That has changed in recent years. Many American brand/made cars are performing better in reliability tests and boast a lower cost to own. I can understand aesthetic preference to an extent, but most major manufacturers make good looking cars these days.

    *feigned surprise*

    Bastards won't let you in the door, eh?
     
  20. imac/cheese thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Wearing flipflops is definitely something that identifies a person. ;)

    I think we all feel a need to identify who we are in some manner or another. What interests me about this topic is the way people choose to do so. Some link themselves to brands or images. Others distance themselves from any commercialization. Some link themselves to a religion or spirituality and others identify themselves as being rational and logical.

    Cars are a great example of how we express our identity. Skunk drives a 14 year old car (if I remember it might have been a range rover) and AhmedFaisal drives a newer Volvo. There is a lot of expression of identity in those choices.
     
  21. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #21
    Just as a point of discussion, is that expression always intended?

    More specifically: if a person buys a certain car because they like the car, rather than to make a statement, does it still make the same statement? Or are people being prejudicial in reading too much into it?
     
  22. imac/cheese thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Excellent question. I am not insinuating that each expression is intentional, but if someone buys a car they like, it does express some sort of identity to the world. I didn't buy my economy car to make a statement; I bought it because I liked the features, gas mileage, and price tag; however, that purchase still expresses to others what is important to me.

    On the other hand, it is very easy to be prejudiced in interpreting the expressions of others. If I hear someone blasting NIN from there car, I would probably not expect them to step out in a polo shirt and khakis.
     
  23. TheOnlyJon macrumors 6502a

    TheOnlyJon

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    #23
    This is the worst part about owning a Mac. I get blasted because people assume I just own one to fit in with popular trends and because it's the "cool" thing to have. The operating system is fantastic - that's why I own a Mac. Hop off. :confused: :)
     
  24. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #24
    The reason I was asking is your use of skunk as an example, driving an older car. I freely admit some people might do that to make a statement, or as part of their identity; but some people might just not want a car payment.

    I've been told that my vehicle looks like a mafia truck (whatever that means) because it's black. In all sincerity (and this will sound sarcastic, but it isn't meant to), I chose black simply because I like what it looks like. I get that some people might buy a black vehicle because there's an image they're trying to convey, but that's not the case with me.
     
  25. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #25
    Really tough area of discussion. You can't define a set of rules here, I watched a similar topic come up recently in a high end watch forum and it all went to pot.

    You have low income people dressing up, high income people dressing down, people buying premium products for the quality, others buying the same thing for the status (Louis Vuitton is known amongst the working class as a fashion statement, known amongst upper/middle class as a reliable high quality 'go to' for luggage for example).

    Some people dress discreetly because they can't afford the things they would really want, so shun the fashion industry and become anti-snobs, a terrible kind of elitist. Others dress discreetly because they simply don't want attention.

    I read an article recently where the author described people with expensive cars as 'insecure' for example - made me wonder, was he really talking about how he felt around people who had expensive cars. Is that true of a lot of the times someone tries to make a generalisation, are they trying to put the world in little boxes to make themselves feel safer?

    I'd love anyone to come up with a single rule within the area of discussion that you can apply across the board :D
     

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