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The Props of Persona

Hermit of the Forest

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We’ve all heard the phrase “the clothes make the man”, but usually I thought that referred to how people see one based on appearances. However, lately as I have been researching autism and masking, I wonder how much clothing, accessories, hair styles, and even everyday items can be a part of masking or building a persona to make it easier for one to get by in the world and one’s own mind. And if so, whether or not this is something everyone does.

Please share your thoughts.
 

RadicalDoubt

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I think a lot of people mask in general and that clothing and physical objects are especially helpful for many to do so. In the most casual setting, you see a lot of people do it for jobs (ie. wearing fancy clothing to an interview, having special clothes that you use for work because they make you appear more professional). People in general are highly inclined to make judgements off of one's appearance and will assume aspects of your personality based upon what you wear, it seems reasonable that people would use it to mask or even fit in/stand apart from the people you wish to (this also goes with mimicking clothing style of others; A lot of time it also comes in line with actually generating a persona that you "play" as well and I do think it can be partially unconscious as well).
 

prplchknz

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I don't think i consciously mask, but i'm pretty sure i do subconsciously. maybe it's this way for everyone. but i don't really change my tone based on who i'm speaking to. I might leave more stuff out talking to an authoritative person than a friend, but is that masking? like a cop i'm not gonna say I smoke weed but to a friend i'm like yo i have some i can smoke you out.
 

тень

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Its my inability to mask that makes me stand out lol. Best I can do is somewhat dress nice, but my unrefined personality steamrolls over any presentation I have.
 

Earl Grey

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I think a lot of people mask in general and that clothing and physical objects are especially helpful for many to do so. In the most casual setting, you see a lot of people do it for jobs (ie. wearing fancy clothing to an interview, having special clothes that you use for work because they make you appear more professional). People in general are highly inclined to make judgements off of one's appearance and will assume aspects of your personality based upon what you wear, it seems reasonable that people would use it to mask or even fit in/stand apart from the people you wish to (this also goes with mimicking clothing style of others; A lot of time it also comes in line with actually generating a persona that you "play" as well and I do think it can be partially unconscious as well).

I agree with this, I was going to write nearly exactly the same thing, though I do think I have less of a sense of what and how to appeal to people, though I can pick up what is appropriate over time.

I think clothing is definitely a part of it. I do also generally think people assume things of you based off what you wear and it changes how they interact with you. It's a part of nonverbal communication of what you consider important and who you are, and people who watch for that with respond accordingly.

That being said, I think people rarely use it to mask. I think most people wear what they want or what is acceptable and don't put active thought into how to alter themselves in order to project any specific message from what they wear. I think that's part of why it works- not everyone does it, so it means something when someone does.


[...] and even everyday items can be a part of masking or building a persona to make it easier for one to get by in the world and one’s own mind.

Some people deliberately, consciously do this for themselves, I think. I know some folks 'dress up' to feel more confident, not simply because they have to wear clothes or necessarily simply because the venue expects it.

But I think what I've written so far isn't quite masking. More a deliberate signalling and asserting or broadcasting one's presence in the world than trying to blend in (which is what I understand masking to be, though it is a simplistic reduction). Even so, I do think clothing can be consciously used to do so as well. How common that is, I don't know.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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it's all part of an elaborate mech suit for me. Masking is an exhausting but necessary process required for my survival.
 

Shingaki

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I think it's a bad necessary. Some people are just not interested in knowing the you that you are, only the you that they can get along with.
 

Hermit of the Forest

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I suppose I don’t think of this as so much about doing things or looking a certain way to be accepted, but rather choosing your daily props to help you know how to act or function in a challenging world. This is something I do. If I don’t know what to do I pretend to be someone else... someone who does.
 
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Luminous

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I suppose I don’t think of this as so much about doing things or looking a certain way to accepted, but rather choosing your daily props to help you know how to act or function in a challenging world. This something I do. If I don’t know what to do I pretend to be someone else... someone who does.
That's what I thought of when I read your initial post.

I think in my INFP 9ness, it simply hasn't occurred to me very often to do this since, for the most part, what I value/like/feel/think just is, and it's much easier to go with the flow of that than not (and, depending on exactly what we're talking about, at times I would have said it was wrong to pretend otherwise). There's one huge example that comes to mind when I reflect on it, though, which is once when I was feeling very insecure about my physical appearance and attractiveness, and it was suggested to me to imagine someone who is attractive the way I want to be, and imagine myself as them. I didn't actually have any props for that, though.

I suppose I might say that part of the way I've used makeup in my life has been for this. I do find makeup fun, but I have typically have such a soft hand putting it on, that some people can't tell I'm wearing any as compared to my normal appearance. At that point, I guess it ceases to be for me to actually physically look better, but more for me to feel I look better? Clothing that is out of that norm tends to feel this way, too, like if I have to dress up for an event. The clothes don't typically feel natural the way my normal clothing does. Or clothing for a very specific purpose, like a belly dancing scarf with coins that make noise (which honestly I've only really worn at home while practicing,) and part of the point of the noise is it makes it more fun and can clue you in to whether you're performing moves properly, but it also clearly is a persona prop.
 

SD45T-2

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"Everyone at work thinks I'm crazy because I come to work every day wearing a spacesuit. But you dress for the job you want and not the job you have." - Dan Mintz
 
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We’ve all heard the phrase “the clothes make the man”, but usually I thought that referred to how people see one based on appearances. However, lately as I have been researching autism and masking, I wonder how much clothing, accessories, hair styles, and even everyday items can be a part of masking or building a persona to make it easier for one to get by in the world and one’s own mind. And if so, whether or not this is something everyone does.

Please share your thoughts.
I've been meaning to comment on this post as I find it interesting, but I am not exactly sure what to say. I do naturally judge people based on how they put themselves together and present themselves to the rest of the world, and of course I am aware that to some extent everyone masks in a way whether they believe they would like to or not.

I don't ever particularly pretend to be someone else, but I certainly purposely choose items of clothing that provide me with comfort and more confidence to be in the outside world. I dress nicely but inexpensive and try to keep an edge in my style. I also wear the necklace my partner gave me on a daily basis because it's like I'm carrying a part of him with me. I try to walk in a way that is intimidating, as best as I can. I frown, but naturally. Doing these things give me the illusion of being stronger.
 
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