When do teenagers ask who I am

Who am I? The difficult question of one's own identity

The search for one's own identity is about developing an individual self-image and locating oneself in the social environment. For young people, when dealing with a changing body, with sexuality as well as with masculinity and femininity, the development of a gender identity (= gender) is in the foreground. A person's feeling of being a man, woman or in between (intersexual, transsexual) is an expression of personal rights - an individual claim to self-realization. However, this self-realization can only succeed through trying things out. Young people experiment, sound out their own preferences and limits and slip into different roles in order to find themselves. In adolescence, essential personality traits and gender identity are developed: a process that has to do with how one sees oneself in relation to a social environment.

The most important influences in this process are family, friends, school - and also the media. During this development, adolescents look for appropriate role models to orientate themselves on. Popular media are the central arenas where young people encounter these role models: this is where gender norms are negotiated and value judgments are formulated. If these media attributions are diverse and tolerant or, on the contrary, restrictive and stereotypical, this has an influence on the free, individual formation of identity of the young people.

Let us assume that we are allowed to decide before we are born what the gender balance in society will look like after we are born. But we do not know whether we are born as a woman, a man or as a non-gendered person: How would we determine the freedom of the genders and their relationship to one another? It can be assumed that the majority would opt for a fair settlement - if only out of self-interest. "Fairness" means here: equal rights of freedom for every gender in partnership, family and work. Because such a scenario would most likely minimize the risk of having to accept restrictions due to one's own gender. Getting adolescents into such a thought experiment can motivate them to come up with good reasons for gender equality.