Yoshino Essay

Franco Abbatessa


True identity and False identity


In life people try to fit in whether it is into a group of friends, to be liked or they change how they dress in order to be cool. In your life have you ever changed something about yourself in order to be liked or to fit in? Why was it necessary to hide parts of yourself or identity? In the writing by Kenji Yoshino he states that the False self is shown when the True self is in danger. The way that Yoshino states this is in paragraph 14 when he says “The False Self has one positive and very important function: to hide the True Self, which it does by compliance with environmental demands.” When kenji says this he means that when in a environment that is unstable or uncomfortable for the True Self the False Self will protect it in order to keep it safe. This can happen to everyone when you are uncomfortable and try to fit in you become someone you aren’t which is the False Self.

Identity comes in many forms it can change based upon many different things. Kenji Yoshino he’s writing this because of the hardships he went through with being gay in a place where it is not that welcome there. One of the hardships that he faces is when he has made himself a False Self in order to hide the real him, Yoshino states when his False Self is show by saying “My gay self, The True Self was hidden behind an ostensibly straight false self. Yet it would be wrong to cast the closest self purely inimical to the gay one. In my adolescence, this False Self protected the True Self until its survival was assured.” This how he kept himself from being hurt or shamed. Did this false self hurt him in the long run? He answered this when he said, “Only at this point did the False Self switch from being a help to being a hindrance. And even after I came out, the False Self never disappeared. It was reduced to the minimum necessary to regulate relations between the True Self and the world.” (Paragraph 16) The False Self is almost a way of being able to fit in and be something your not until your True Self in ready to be seen.  The false self was harder on himself then the true self by itself. When he says it’s a hindrance he’s saying that it obstructed the real him from being able to fully come out.

The other part is the True Self which usually hides behind whatever your hiding behind it also is the real you. The True Self to Kenji is “The True Self is the self that gives an individual the feeling of being real, which is “more than existing; it is finding a way to exist as oneself, and to relate to objects as oneself, and to have self into which to retreat for relaxation.” The True Self is associated with human spontaneity and authenticity: “Only the True Self can be creative and only the True Self can feel real.” (paragraph 13) The meaning of this is that the true self can be shown once you feel whole with yourself or comfortable to be in your own and just be you. When the True self comes out it means that you are finally not afraid of who you are and also want to finally be heard and seen for you and not for the False Self.  Another way that this is stated is when he says “(Here I follow Winnicott, who observes the True Self is not susceptible to specific definition, as its nature differs for each of us.) In talking about classic civil rights groups. I have focused on the demand to conform to the mainstream because I think that for most groups (except women) these are the demands that most threaten our authenticity. But I am equally opposed to demands that individuals reverse cover, because such demands are also impingements on our autonomy, and therefore on our authenticity.” (paragraph 30)  This is the second way of looking at True Self from Yoshino’s eyes when he says the line “is not susceptible to specific definition, as its nature differs for each of us,” he is saying that all true selves aren’t the same because everyone’s different so the true self of someone is their own special person. When Yoshino ends the essay he makes a point to be accepting of your true self and not to hide because it will hurt yourself and cause damage to your well being.


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