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.


1 comment:

  1. I love your blog ! I'm Lucía, i live in Argentina if you have time you can pass :)
    If you want to add I leave my facebook is Luule Magnana! And my blog is but is in Spanish.
    Greetings from Argentina!!