What does identity mean to you?
How do you identify yourself?
What does it mean to you to be a woman in today's society?
How do you believe women are perceived in today's society? How are you specifically perceived?
What childhood experiences can you recall that have contributed to your identity today?
Do you have any siblings? How would you identify them? How have they contributed to your identity?
How has your family contributed to your identity?
The problem I am finding with these questions is that they seem to be trying to be gathering data rather than getting to the heart of subject. A photographer friend/mentor has been giving me advice on how to make the questions more personal. He stated in an email:
If you then asked me to filter out the obvious ways that I am both different and the same: I'm older today than yesterday and I have the same name as before- I would then have to probe myself to consider how to explain the fact that I don't really know who I am in the first place so it's hard to state clearly how I'm both the same and different.
See what I mean? The more you play into people's expectations regarding questions like this, the more you allow them to stay in a comfort zone and your answers will remain information rather than insights.
I totally agree with him and want to probe further at my subjects to get underneath the skin and get a more emotional response. I'm rethinking questions such as these:
When you woke up today, did you feel different from when you woke up yesterday?
How are you different today than you were from a month ago? a year ago? 5 years ago?
What types of things/situations/experiences cause you to innately smile?
Other than rethinking my questions, my project is continuing to move along. I will be interviewing a psychologist this weekend to get a more formal idea of identity. I'm excited to see what this interview could add to this project.
I'm continuing to find women who seem to be interested in being involved in the project, which I was not expecting and am very excited to see these subjects' innate identities come out to speak to me.