The aim of this research was to determine how women form their identities in today's modern atmosphere, to understand how these identities shift and change over time and with age and finally to discover the positive or negative effects of changes on a woman's perception of herself as a result of the world's perception of her.
Sociological imagination is the way in which we stratify ourselves within our society and plays a large role in how we create our own identity. By linking our own personal experience with the collective understanding of what that represents, we classify not only ourselves but others within specific social groups. Three aspects of the sociological imagination include class, race and gender. Class is based upon a variety of factors including profession, income levels and educational attainment. People with a high level of education are typically seen as holding higher level professional positions which typically pay at higher rates than more commonly educated individuals. This is, of course, not always the case, but remains one of the ways in which we determine our rank in association with those around us. While class is, to some extent, quite flexible, race and gender remain relatively constant and difficult to change. Race is determined based primarily upon physical characteristics, but can also be influenced by ethnic concerns. Generally, ethnicity is considered to refer to your national origin, language, religion, dietary practices or common historical heritage. While race is inherited through a person's genes, ethnicity is inherited through the process of socialization from one generation to the next. Similarly, gender is a learned identification with a particular biological sex - male or female - while sexuality refers to the way in which people organize their world based on sexual identity.
Using the sociological imagination, it can be seen that before identity can be fully determined, one must have an understanding of where they stand in the world, which typically depends upon an understanding of some element of society as the lowest or inferior. Throughout recent history, white males have held most of the power in society, first because the more technologically advanced countries were predominantly peopled by white people and controlled by white men and later, because of their subjugation of other nations thanks to their advanced tools and weapons. By withholding education and opportunity from people with color and from women, white men were able to retain their power and establish a system in which women and people of color were seen to be socially inferior. By setting those with color socially below white people, even the lower class was able to feel superior to someone. Through the same channels, men managed to dominate over women. Women were socially constrained within homes, legally oppressed and deprived of an education throughout a great deal of history, thus keeping them at low levels of the social scale. These social stratifications help the individual to place themselves within the greater world just as the various behaviours the individual participates in help to define