Thursday, October 27, 2011

Social Conventions

I'm taking Women and Gender Studies right now. I call it angry women class and I talk about how excessively liberal it is, but I actually like it for some of the points it brings up. One thing we talk about a lot in there is how we believe there are some things that are normal and natural when really, they aren't natural at all. They are simply ideas constructed by society that are so ingrained in our minds that we think anything that deviates is unnatural or wrong.

Just because something is different, does that make it wrong? It's funny how programmed people are to see things one way and no other. For example, people need labels to justify actions. In order for it to be acceptable to act a certain way, you need to identify yourself accordingly. You are a girl; therefore, it is okay that you cry and like to look at pictures of puppies. You are religious, so it's okay that you've never kissed anyone. You're just outgoing, so it's okay if you say anything that comes to your mind.

People also need you to define your relationships. If you don't, they'll define them for you. If you're too close to a same-sex friend, they'll label you as gay. If you're too close to an opposite-sex friend, they think you're secretly involved. People will label you if you don't label yourself and beat them to it.

This leads to another thing we talk about in class, how life is performance art. Every day, we decide how we want to be seen by others. We put on a show. The way we act and dress is a performance meant to express something about ourselves to other people. People often reconcile their inner and outer selves, but it's also easy to put on an act that hides who you really are. They live with a poker face, and people believe that's who they are because no one realizes that life is an act. They think people really fit into these black and white categories and that their actions and feelings can be generalized.

I think people's lives, experiences, and their nature make them all different from each other because no one will ever really understand what it's like to be them, but at the same time I think that no one is really an individual because they mold and shape themselves to fit an existing category in order to make sense of their complicated minds.

Not that I'm saying social conventions are bad. You perform what you want people to think of you, so if you don't want to be rejected, you have to put on a good performance. Not shaving or matching clothes for example tells people you just don't care about anything, which isn't the kind of message you want to be sending about yourself.

Just something I've been thinking about.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Oh dear God.

So now parents are supposed to fully explain sex to their kids by the time they are 8 years old at the very latest. They suggest you explain it the first time the kid ever asks where babies come from. Now they're saying you're supposed to teach 9-year-olds how to use condoms.

Seriously? Are we for real here? As always, I'm taking issue with advice from supposed psychology experts. Maybe I'm naive, but I also know that adults really don't understand kids very well, and most adults really suck at parenting.

First of all, their argument is that kids are hitting puberty earlier than ever. Sure, this is true, but does that automatically mean kids are going to be having sex at that age? People think once hormones kick in, kids will give in to them, so we better give condoms to 3rd graders. Perfect solution. No. We talk about this in my gender studies class. People ignore their biology and do whatever is considered socially normal. Teens have sex as high school freshmen because they hear so much about it and are even encouraged to have sex with someone they've been dating for a certain period of time. This is socially normal. When you are 9, it is not normal at all. Unless the kids are really messed up (usually as the result of horrible parenting), they aren't going to do this because sex is not yet a part of their life.

If we start making it a part of their life, society is going to change along with biology and we're going to have a bigger mess to clean up. Take that any way you like.

I think the bottom line here is that so few people deserve to be parents. I think only 25% of parents in this country are actually capable of being responsible for another life. Out of the remaining, I'm sure half of them are barely capable of handing their own lives.


Friday, October 14, 2011


  • Sometimes I really like being away from home. It means I'm far away from my past. When I talk about my friends from home, my friends at school comment on how much drama my high school group had/has. We really do have a lot of drama for a group of people that say they hate drama. I miss by best friends, but sometimes it's great to know that if I don't want to talk to someone, I don't have to.
  • Everyone talks about everyone, it's just a fact. When people leave the room, everyone else talks about them. I know people talk about me, not because I think I'm so special but because I'm not special enough to be the exception. I'd rather not know what they say, more because I can already guess.
  • I hate that some people really just don't understand social cues. I'm socially anxious, but I do understand when I need to stop talking or go away. It scares me when people don't know. It's like this disconnect that makes you feel like communication with them is impossible.
  • I'm not even 19 yet and I'm starting to worry that I'll never find a guy I want to marry. I worry that I'll never even want to get married. I only care because I really, really want a baby and a family.
  • I hadn't until recently seen college as a blank slate. Senior year of high school was just terrible, and this year is so amazingly wonderful. I can't believe how much I used to cry. I can't believe I used to actually hurt myself. I was looking the other day for the scars and I couldn't even find them. They're only slightly visible in good lighting at a certain angle. My friend brought up suicide here one night, and we all pulled out painful memories from our depression days. Everyone was quiet for a minute and then moved on to something happier. This is everything I could ever want, and I'm so grateful to have gotten over that stupid phase, and I really hope I've grown enough as a person to stop it from returning.
  • I really want to believe in God again so I can thank Him for all this and ask him to please take care of my friends in all the ways I can't. A few years ago, I would have said that in a prayer every night. I really wish I could get that back. Sometimes talking to my roommate makes me more skeptical of religion, but going to her house and celebrating one of her holidays, listening to their prayers of thanks, really made me wish I had that kind of faith. I'm going to teach my kids religion just so they have something to believe in.