What do people in the world today define as "socially acceptable", and who dictates what is and what isn't?
These are questions I have been wanting to ask for quite a while now, and naturally, I haven't really been able to find a plausible answer; just.. observations really. Everywhere you go, in cities, towns and even villages, images of beauty and fashion, subliminal messages about the way we should dress, think, walk and talk are bombarded around billboards, in magazines and dominating over traditional cultures and ways of life. Whatever people perceive to be in fashion or even politically correct at the time is most likely dictated by opinion of the media and the people we interact with around us. All this, of course, is up to the individual's interpretation, but somehow we all seem to be manipulated by the human nature of the environment and community around us at some point in our lives. I am not saying that I have never succumbed to this mild form of brain-washing, because of course I have. The thing I am essentially asking is why more people don't realise what's being happening through the television programmes we watch, the newspapers we read and even our daily journeys to work and centres of education. Fine, this isn't some kind of George Orwell world, with the "Thought Police" overlooking and protecting you from what to think and what not, and the whole "Big Brother is watching you" attitude; but you can see what he was getting at can't you?
The most unfortunate thing I have seen from the world of media manipulation is what it is doing to people my age. Teenagers who read their teen versions of Cosmopolitan and Vogue; seeing the cover girls have their hair a certain colour, dress a certain way and are airbrushed profusely to give the highest degree of what is thought to be "beauty" at the time. I have had friends who's lives have been dictated by what colour's "in" at the moment and what "look" is the best for them. Is it Rock Chick or Summer Princess today? Is it floral patterns or stripes? Do these accesories fit with my outfit?
I remember a couple of years ago being in this kind of obsessive fashion world; just so that I could look cool, be essentially what the media says is right for me.. and gain popularity from peers in school. I never really was the most popular person in school, and now I am not looking like what other people want me to be, I am even less so. It may sound drastic, but this kind of mental conditioning really is taking away some poor people's individuality, as well as being severely out of pocket from the changing fashion in brand names and looks. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder to me, not what Elle Girl! dictates to me, and I can look perfectly gorgeous without any make up on even though Sugar magazine says that no make up is a "no go area" when around members of the male gender.
In some of the areas around where I live, it has gotten to the point where the "trendies" and certain peer groups of people will hurl abuse at other people who aren't "the way they should be". People labelled as "goths" etc. are considered to be Social Rejects, and even a lot of the time, the labels and boxes people are put into are completely wrong. I have myself been at the other end of this abuse, I myself have been critisised for the way I dress, the music I listen to, the piercings I have and many a time I wonder why. It could be people's own insecurities to be "fashionable", jealousy, but it could be because some little subliminal message somewhere has told their minds "look, this is what is fashionable, acceptable, anything else.. you must hate". Again, seems drastic. But this is the whole purpose of the media today; not necessarily to report the truth and inform and induce discussion, thought and debate.. but to manipulate.
Unfortunately enough has even spread so far as to tell you what political idealisms are correct; biased newspapers against the gonvernment and no real coverage of any debates so that you can decide for yourself, these things are told to us. Propaganda has been running rings around countries in the world for probably thousands of years, persuading people to even support people such as Hitler. I suppose in a lot of respects, my political standing is left-wing, not radical but maybe, and where I live, the generation I am growing up with is quite conservative in the way they think. So naturally, I voice my opinion and get called "Commy". How pathetic is that? Not even a debate about the issues lying around what we think, just a split second and a one syllable hurled across a classroom. I have been asked why I support socialism and some of the more "radical" things that I do, because Communism is evil. A political theory, evil? I do not even support Communism; okay, so maybe in theory it is quite a good idea, but it hasn't been known to work has it? And why? Not because of the theory itself, but because of the people in charge. If people ever say things like that to me I say, ever heard of Stalin? Do you really think I would support him?? Nazism and the Aryan race theories were evil yes, but that was because they were just theories of racism and discrimination.. not an actual political theory. Desperate times called for desperate measures and so on... extremism thrives in those conditions.
Despite my rather long and boring tangents I have gone off on; my standing on this kind of issue is still there. I respect those that break the mould, those that think outside of the box, and refuse to be sucked into the kind of vortex the media holds us down in. Individuality is a virtue, who you are you should love and be grateful for, you have been put on this Earth to be you, and only you. False guises set out for you, pass by them. What Bliss magazine says to you, you don't have to follow; it isn't a life or death situation whether you wear green or pink or flourescent orange really. I hope what I have written makes sense to those who are reading it, and I wish you all the luck in today's society. Being acceptable really isn't everything.