Don’t Let The Man Get You Down

Clare becomes a life guru, yet again. Artwork by Clare.

Were you ever locked inside your locker in school? Gotten a wedgie or had your head flushed down the toilet? Been threatened or called names online? I know I haven’t, so why do I still feel vulnerable? Indeed, there has never been a bigger, tougher kid waiting around the corner to put me in my place. Not in the literal sense at least. This is why I am writing today, because the only way to fight against bullies is to confront them. Obviously I’m not talking about a person here, but instead something I deal with on a day to day basis- society.

In an age where globalization has supplanted modernization as the basis for social organization (did I just become a rapper), it is often that we as individuals find ourselves perpetually bullied by the phantom menace commonly referred to as The Man. Before you write me off as a punk-hippie-youth with too many opinions and too little knowledge (pls don’t), let me put this to you: Have you ever done something unnecessary that you don’t want to do but you do it anyways because a) Everyone else is doing it or b) Society places value on it or c) Your parents tell you to do it because of reasons a or b? If you answered no you’re a filthy liar and part of the problem and you’re welcome to navigate away from this page.

For people my age who are struggling to choose courses and career paths that will potentially make up a rather large hunk of our lives, I feel that we are particularly victimised by the pressures of society, with mid-life crisis’s a common example of a person’s whiplash against their past decisions. We have been taught to treat the continually changing and dominating viewpoint of western civilization as the only possible avenue to happiness and anyone who chooses differently is branded as hippie, punk or just plain antisocial. How are we supposed to embrace and celebrate our individuality when the sociosphere in which we live deems it to be taboo? Be different, but not too different. This contradiction is something that I have struggled to comprehend for many years growing up and I expect I will continue to do so for the remainder of my life.

So yeah, being a part of the machine sucks sometimes, especially when you are faced with important decisions. The internal conflict of wanting to both excel and feel included is hard enough to resolve without the pressure of a dominant and aggressive society punching opinions into every exposed rib. So if you’re currently in the process of making a large life choice, should you follow the norm or is it time to “stick it to the man”?

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