I feel it is time to discuss something that has been very present in my life lately. Our Society has become extremely superficial. A little superficiality can be good for the economy. It can drive people to buy luxury items and take more pride in their appearance. But what happens when a little becomes a LOT? As I said before, a society that has some superficial ideals is ok in small(very small) doses. But what I’ve noticed lately is that a society dominated by superficial ideals begins to take away from its people instead of giving.
What do I mean by this? Take some time to really think about what you’ve seen in the media lately. Open a magazine and you see adds for creams, hair dyes, lotions, perfumes, waxes, nail paints. Often these products repeat themselves, just being made by different companies. Turn on the t.v and what do you get? Lights, music, loud invasive announcements about the next best thing to ever happen…EVER! You get whole shows dedicated to celebrities and who did what and wore what. On the radio( at least in America) you have songs about how young people always party, make reckless decisions, and don’t worry about them, and how money rules everything. But what if you are a young person, or older person, and you cannot relate to any of that? Are you strange? No.
I realize now that most of the things we see in the media have little to nothing to do with out actual lives. “Well Yea! I knew that”, you say. But many children, pre-teens, teens, and young adults don’t seem to know the difference anymore. It can be very easy to blur the lines of commercialism with reality when there are so many influences everyday. And often what I see are young people who are struggling to find out who they should be, in a world that is constantly telling them WHAT they should be. People are defined by what “type” of person they are, rather than by their specific personalities and the characteristics that make them unique. The overall feeling is that the things you buy, whether it be clothes, to music, to makeup, define who we are. The need to feel different, but not so different that you are shunned seems to be growing…So we have groups. Are you a prep, a goth, hippie, hipster(whatever that is), steam punk, athlete/jock, gangster, glamour girl, scene(whatever that is), emo, skater? All these people “types” have been given to us, because they can be packaged and sold easily. And perhaps because we as a society have become so shallow that it’s simply easier to define someone on first glance by style, that it is to talk and…dare I say it..DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE. (Oh no! Not that) But people are not so easily defined. Some don’t fit into any category and that can leave them as outcasts. Many feel the need to fit themselves into a social category to avoid this uncomfortable displacement in our society.
I realize that this may seem like another rant about what is wrong with the world today. But there is a point I’m trying to make. When I stated earlier that all this superficiality takes away from our society, I was referring mostly to the children and young adults. When everyone is focused on becoming what they see in the media, what we are faced with, is generations of young people who will never know who they really are. Could you imagine being shaped into something at a young age, and then never being able to develop or change because of the strict rules that we as a culture have forced on ourselves. Because if you dress and act a certain way one week, and then decide to change next week, you are then accused of not being “real” enough. It makes our society a very unhealthy place to grow up in. If a young person decides they want to do something different with their lives they are suddenly a poser and a fake. It is character assassination of the worst kind to claim that someone is not who they are just because they choose new activities, clothes, or people who they’d like to associate with. Young people need a chance to experiment and change because sometimes, they don’t know who they are yet.
SO what can we do about it? Be encouraging. Be supportive. Be loving. Try harder to accept people for who they are. Quirks, flaws, and all. When you see a peer, or person younger than you, make sure they understand that you will be there for then regardless of how they choose to dress, change their hair, or listen to new music. Because it’s THEM you care about, and not the stuff. When your friend decides to dye their hair green, tell them you like it, but also how nice their natural hair color was. People need room to change, try new things, and feel free. Progress and innovation can only come when people are allowed to be themselves.
-Until next time. Thank you for reading.