To disguise means to change or modify the appearance of (object) so as to conceal or mislead by a deceptive garb, or to conceal the truth or actual character of (object) by a counterfeit form. As a noun, it would refer to that which is intended for concealment of identity, character or quality; the costume or makeup of an entertainer; the actual act of disguising; and the state of being disguised. It is synonymous to cloak, mask, camouflage, masquerade, and also dissimulate. This essay intends to provide a better understanding of what justifies a disguise; taking disguise to mean concealing one’s true nature, some of the possible advantages and disadvantages involved and whether a disguise reveals more than it hides.
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Jan Morris would like young women to assume the status of a young man so as to understand the ‘closed and idiosyncratic society’ which he or she felt was, at the time. He wants them to adopt the role of the overt insider, deliberately adopting a particular occupational role to gain research access to a seemingly closed research setting. In research, it is common to disguise in order to get accurate results where humans are concerned. This is due to the fact that people are sensitive to how they appear in the eyes of their peers, and this self-consciousness can distort research content. In such a case, researchers (mainly those in the psychological and social fields) use deception to distract participants and ensure relevance of research material. However, it is mandatory that participants are debriefed on the true nature of the study as it is concluded, as well as provision of a summary of the results. This has raised many concerns related to research ethics albeit it is allowed by the ethical guidelines of the American Psychologists Association.
Disguise has been used as a distraction mostly for security purposes in the public eye. A person’s attention is concealed from the truth by offering a more tempting alternative to the object at hand. In such a case, disguise is necessary and legitimate. Mimicry is necessary in the biological world. Animals disguise their appearance visually or by auditory means in order to deceive their predators for survival purposes. In the entertainment industry, disguise is boundless and almost mandatory. Success in drama and the movie industry is equally proportional to the degree of disguise and aptness in its use.
In line with the media, journalists apply disguise to deny attacks they have initiated to discredit people by justifying it with the claim that they are upholding society’s values or doing the job and uphold the image of people who appear in the news. In discredited attacks, the attacker presents his attack as a way of supporting society values by exposing a violator who deserves to be exposed, essentially enhancing his own image as he assaults another’s. The disguise of motive is hidden by a deeper deception, one that masks the fact that an attacker is actually making it. This often leaves the victim with no self-defense provided by an effective image. They are justified because if the victim is a politician or a model for instance the public has to know-if a matter of public concern or a crime has been committed. For this, most contrast image and reality, others will portray wrongdoing and highlight embarrassing moments and facts, put in the spot or hit punching holes, masquerade as job interviewers with the sole motive of noting the reaction of the victim.
Merit wise, disguise in the end brings accurate results. In the media it presents transparency from the public figures, success in the drama and movie industry. It enhances security where valuable materials and sensitive information and people are concerned. With research, accurate results are attained however contentious the matter is, as exemplified in Christensen’s work which reveals that research participants do not perceive that they are harmed and do not seem to mind being misled. Disguise has its lows. As much as it enhances security, it is key to crime. Robberies at whatever time are masked; literally and practically as no one is willing to fall in the arms of the law. Cyber crimes are the hardest to trace and execute because of high levels of abstraction involved. Some still deem disguise in research as unethical and object its use.
Lastly, a disguise often reveals more than it hides. It will reveal more but in a different window so as to camouflage the true identity of the object in question, which is the role of a disguise anyway; the motive of the disguise is what is essential in the long run.