Art 302 Reading Assignment # 5

What is identity?
According to dictionary.com, identity is defined as an “essential self: the set of characteristics that somebody recognizes as belonging uniquely to himself or herself and constituting his or her individual personality for life.”
So if we were to wear a mask and cover our face, for those we know us very well; family, close friends, and relatives, even if our half face is cover. They will still be able to recognize who we are, by our characteristics, personality, and personal appearance.
In the seventh century the upper class people wore masks to attend the masquerade ball, to conceal their identity. Men are allowed to approach women to chat, and dance. A mask can hide ones identity hoping other people do not recognize who is behind the mask, so people feel more willing to do things that they normally would not do. For example, if today I had a mask on and was at a party. I will definitely be more likely to approach someone, because I am normally pretty shy. I guess covering half of my face gives me some encouragement and confidence because other people don’t know who is behind the mask, so if I do something wrong or embarrassed myself I would not care as much.

Google Image

Although mask were used for upper class for social gatherings there is also another purpose for the mask known as a scold’s bridle or brank, use to punish women. According to socialphy.com, “brank were used to punish , nagging, slander, cursing, witchcraft and criticism of Christianity.” So the purpose of the device is a punishment for gossiping and bad mouthing, it is made to cover their mouth studded with spikes, so if the tongue moves, it will inflict pain and made it impossible to speak. After wearing she will be taken to the street to parade where everyone can scold, and beat her. This is a humiliation, although the woman has a mask on but still people know who she is because her face is not fully covered.

sources:
Pictures: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/scolds-bridle
http://www.socialphy.com/posts/off-topic/4973/Branks-or-Scold_s-bridle-or-Gossip_s-Bridle.html

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