Representing and Manipulating Teen Stereotypes
by 9th Grade Literary Arts Students
9th grade Literary Arts students at Alma d'arte Charter High School embarked on a journey exploring the notion of identity. What is identity? Is it something we create and construct? Or are we born with it? Do others have a role in our identity? Does our identity change over time and place?
Investigating the idea of identity as a construct, students constructed portraits in the style of American photographer Cindy Sherman. Each student’s portrait is designed to critique a specific stereotype that is sometimes projected upon her/him. In the act of representing the stereotypes, students simultaneously exaggerated, embraced, rejected, and appropriated that stereotype.
This Identity Portrait book problematizes the idea that identity is a single, static construct created by others. While we emerged with more questions than answers, the compelling individual portraits demonstrate the sophisticated understanding these students have of the ways they may be perceived.