Many examples are shown in the play how different characters perceive Viola. Of course the see her as a man, but a very weak or feminine one. Viola knows this and she sees herself as a cunning independent woman trying to survive. Viola came up with the brilliant to act like Cesario just so she could survive and this foreign land and it worked exactly how she planned it to work. To show how Viola was clever she says, "Who governs here" (I.ii.19). This shows how she is quick to access her situation so she finds someone she can trust and she starts learning information about this foreign place and that's how she survives.
Viola's Identity (She's the Man)
Viola's Gender (She's the Man)
Viola's Perception (She's the Man)
Many characters in the movie She's the Man perceive Viola/Sebastian a lot differently than she sees herself. For instance Duke was very shocked when he thought he saw Sebastian/Viola kissing Olivia and he confronts her not knowing it was not her (She's the Man). This shows that he viewed her as weak and not good enough with girls to get a beautiful female like Olivia. Viola sees herself as independent and brave because she did not have to act like a guy and join a boys soccer, that is why she is brave.