There are many factors that go into shaping a person's identity; whether it was the environment they grew up in, their beliefs, the people they associated with, the activities they partook in or even something as minuscule as their dietary habits, these all assume a small role in defining someone's character. Through Leslie Bell's research as a psychoanalyst, themes of rebellion, religion, lack of confidence, and self-determination in women have provided new explanation and reasoning for why actions create one's identity. In "Selections from Hard to Get: Twenty-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom," Bell focuses on a few of her patients - namely, Jayanthi, Claudia, and Alicia - to further explore and analyze sexual desires, interests, feelings, and relationships. Subcategorized as splitting, Bell labels this as a way to explain a split in the mentality of women; daily actions, events, and encounters that eventually identify women. This includes their expectations culturally and societally amongst their thoughts, ideas, and rationals. A person's identity is often determined by outside factors whether it is environment, rebellion, belief, or freedom of choice. .
Rebellion acting on ones identity is a topic of focus in Bell's research because it provides reasoning as to why females respond to certain social situations. Rebellion is an act against respective norms as seen in the case of Jayanthi. Jayanthi, "the bad girl," spent years of her life "rebelling against her family." Growing up in a traditional yet moderately religious Hindu family played a significant role in Jayanthi's enjoyment of being "bad" in her parent's perspective (Bell, 31). In recent Delhi Sessions Court debates, a judge determined that premarital sex in Hinduism is "immoral and against the tenets of religion" (Venkat, 1). Behind the backs of her parents, Jayanthi spent years secretly hooking up with men, often enjoying it while other times feeling played and unimportant.