When most people think of performing, they think of an artistic show like a ballet or a concert. In reality, however, performance exceeds the "mainstream" definition that is that it is an act of staging or presenting a concert, play, etc. I agree with many philosophers who claim that performance is acting out your social role. However, I also believe that it is more complex than that. Performance not only shapes the relationship that we have with people, but it also shapes us as well. I also think our actions throughout the performances are a mixture of the social norms in our culture and our personal values. For example, I am a daughter, student, sibling, and friend, so that is my social role. The way that I act as a daughter is a reflection of my values and may be different from the values and, therefore, actions of other daughters. .
According to William James, a person has as many social selves as individuals who recognize them and carry an image of them. Although I agree with James, I must say that I also believe that we are a mixture of all of our roles. With the use of the next examples, I will show how performing shapes us and how we shape performance. When I get up in the morning, whether I am getting ready to go to school and play the student role or I am just going to be at home by myself, I take a shower, brush my teeth and hair, and get dressed. Nobody is making me do these things, and I do not need to do it to go to school and play the student role, but society has taught me that I must do it therefore I do not give it a second thought. However, I have been doing it for such a long time that I find it extremely dirty to not shower, brush my teeth, etc. even when I am by myself. Social roles have molded me into being a clean young woman but I am also a part in molding the social role because I have now taught my sister and I will teach my children to do the same as I do.