Significant others and generalized others are mixed in this statement where the narrator states “this is how you smile to someone you do not like very much; this is how you smile to someone you like completely” (Kincaid 320). Here the girl is instructed on how to address people she does not like. These are people who are generalized others as their influence is relatively lesser (Feliciano, Cynthia, and Rumbaut). “But what if the baker won’t let me feel the bread? you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won’t let near the bread” (Kincaid 321). Here, the baker is a generalized other, and the narrator is a significant other. According to the narrator, the girl has to grow up thus that she is accepted everywhere as a lady not a slut. There are significant others and generalized others in my life, too. For instance, according to Devor’s ideas, it is the society and its influence on us that creates an identity of gender in us. My father for instance, is an example of a significant other according to Devor.
My father is both a stern and a gentle man. I remember an experience when I was young, I was a big size girl and I liked to have meat with dinner such as duck. When I went the supermarket, I asked my father to buy the Peking duck as I wanted to eat it. My father replied that I was too fat to eat duck. However, later at home I saw the Peking duck on the table in my dinner. With respect to the society and culture I live in, girl children are usually thinner and not plump, so my father as a significant other could have got caught in a moment of indecision with the influence of his generalized others. My mother is a gentle person who has many friends and who taught me patience in life. Now I believe her patience taught me more about how to be quiet and how to be stubborn or dedicated for things I believed in. I do not believe it a women’s trait or a gendered trait, but it is what I learned from my mother. My school bus driver was a generalized other in my life.