Jennifer Lynn Lopez

by Suria Ceja

Jennifer_Lopez.jpg

Biography

Jennifer Lopez was born on July 24th of 1969 in the Bronx of New York. Her parents are from Puerto Rico but gave birth to her in the United States. She is the middle child of three sisters: An older sister who is an opera singer and the youngest who is a DJ for a radio station in New York. Acknowledgements are given to her parents who had a big influence in her life because of their work ethic. Since she was five years old, she was singing and dancing. She attended an all girls’ high school and was athletic. She continued dancing and left her home at age 18 to pursue her career. She was casted on “In Living Color,” and the movie “Selena,” a film that was very successful. She had many relationships that failed especially one with rap star Sean Combs whose relationship ended shortly after his entourage and another group exchanged gunfire. Lopez had a great career but experienced many failed marriages. Finally in 2008 Jennifer Lopez had twins with her current husband musician Marc Anthony.

Perspective 1: Neo Analytic/Ego Approach
The neo-analytic approach to personality is the more social and optimistic than earlier theories. Neo-analysts recognized the role of the ego as an important factor in personality. This differs from the earlier Freudian beliefs that people are dominated by their id, the instinctual part of a human being. This approach still dives into the motivations and social interactions at play.
One of the theorists of this field is Carl G. Jung and his ideas of personality. He believes that there are four functions in the mind: sensing, thinking, feeling, and intuiting. One of these usually dominates according to Jung. Lopez, would be best classified as an extrovert. Jennifer Lopez appears to be a person in tuned with the outward feeling component. This is because she readily makes friends and tends to be loud. Millions of people were drawn to Lopez, which is why she made so many good sales on her music albums, movies, and clothing line. She was loud in the sense that she was always guaranteed to be somewhere in the media. Her life was very public, and everyone was aware of what her next project was and whom she was dating.
Another theorist in this field was Alfred Adler and his ideas of birth order. Lopez was the middle child of three sisters. The middle or second child is described as, “born into a situation of rivalry and competition“ (Friedman et al. 121). When explaining the influence of the older sibling it states, “although this may be useful in that it pushes the second child toward greater achievements, repeated failures have the potential to be quite damaging to the self-esteem.” Lopez’s prevailing successful career may have stemmed from her order of birth and the social forces involved. She may have felt in rivalry and competition because the first child is known to be favored and then becoming very independent, while the last child is usually the most pampered. Her role may have been to compete between the two for some kind of attention, which may have steered her to leaving her home at the age of 18. Her competitiveness of being the best may have been the driving factor of her flourishing career.
In Erikson’s Life Span Identity and Identity Crises there is are two stages that best coincides with Lopez’s life. The first is intimacy versus isolation. In this stage an individual makes an attempt to get to know people on a deeper level. Being unable to do this may cause a rise of many superficial relationships. Lopez can be classified as someone during this stage in life trying to find an intimate partner but failing to have any long-term commitment thus, going through many superficial weddings trying to find her significant other. Another stage Lopez is currently in is generativity versus stagnation. This stage is where the individual finds value in giving to others, usually through child bearing. Lopez did exactly that when she bore children with singer and actor Marc Anthony. Without this aspect life would seem meaningless even to celebrity and artists, so this may have been a way for Lopez to find meaning in her accomplishments and life in general.
In the area of self-monitoring, Mark Snyder’s concepts of a high self-monitor best define Lopez who is very in tuned with how’s she’s observed along with having strong self-control. Her self-control is evident when asked about her insecurities and she responds, “’When I'm not prepared, which is almost never-” (imdb.com). This goes to show that she believes she is always prepared or in control. She can be seen as engaging in self-presentation: doing what is socially acceptable.

Perspective 2: Cognitive and Social Cognitive Approach
One idea of social cognitive approach is the social intelligence theory. This idea states that individuals differ in their level of knowledge and skills related to interpersonal relations. There level of skill and knowledge determine their ability to understand and influence other people. Although it may be difficult for many people Lopez appears to have an easy time doing this. Her emotional intelligence may be strong because people identify with her a lot thus making her someone people idolize and familiarize themselves with.
She appears to exert the five components of being emotionally intelligent: she is self-aware of herself which is why she claims to be rarely ever being unprepared. She also controls her anger and anxieties well because unlike other celebrities in the media who get admitted into rehabilitation centers or have public meltdowns, Jennifer Lopez was rarely ever in such spotlight. There is also a known persistence and optimism in the face of setback in Lopez’s personality that people are aware of because of how she insisted on pursuing her career when her mother did not believe in her. Lopez is also perceived as an empathic individual especially after taking the role of the deceased musician Selena. She can be said to interact smoothly with others because she has a very humble exterior: also noted as “I'm not J.Lo, she's not a real person. She was just a bit of fun that got really crazy. I've never been anyone but Jennifer” (imdb.com). Her humble exterior would mean that she should be able to connect and bond with people easily.
Her knowledge and skills in the social cognitive area can also be classified as her having multiple intelligences. They are the ways people familiarize themselves with the world. These various intelligences include knowing the world through language: something that she has mastered as a musician. All successful musicians build rapport upon their ability to connect with people through their music and Lopez has done this. Another aspect of intelligence that she has is musical thinking and that is because she has excelled in the music industry. Another trait is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence because she was a dancer for many years, which means she has a good sense of control over her body. She also understands herself as well as others because she was able to communicate her personality through her works as well as share a bond with several people who really connect with her (fans, friends, and family.)

Discussion
Overall, Jennifer Lopez fits well with many of the personality theories classified under the Neo-Analytic and Ego Approach as well as the Cognitive and Social Cognitive Approach. Her upbringing, her accomplishments, and her current state of being all had influence on who she was and who she is today. Some of the characteristics she embodies are all positive and can be explained socially. She reflects really well the way to follow a positive path to success just by having the right mind-set which set the tone for your personality.

References
"Amazon.com: J.Lo (Explicit): Jennifer Lopez: Music." Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & More. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.amazon.com/J-Lo-Explicit-Jennifer-Lopez/dp/B00005N83M>.
Friedman, Howard S., and Miriam W. Schustack. Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research. Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon, 2009. Print.
"Jennifer Lopez (I) - Biography." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000182/bio>.
"Jennifer Lopez." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Lopez>.