May 08, 2013

Society sizzle

The other day I received a survey invite from the travel agency of my trust. I don't usually give away my data for free but the prospect of winning a $ 600 travel voucher lured me into participating. I can't really remember much about the survey, but one of the 40 or so questions stuck with me.
"Do you feel let down by society?"
I ticked a "Very much" without hesitation and didn't really think about it in much more detail, but it haunted me that same night,  when I put down my computer, phone and books.
I feel very much let down by society, but why?
Isn't the way I perceive society just a reflection of how I perceive myself and my surroundings, or do I actually have an objective opinion on it?
It took me a couple of days of reflection to answer some of these questions, while also realising that a lot of these feelings of disappointment originate in the way I react towards situations that happen in our society, rather than from society itself. Aaaaaand breath....
There are three major points I feel we all need to collectively work on:
Gender equality
I am a feminist and believe in gender equality and I am let down by the fact that I am not valued as highly as male humans, in neither monetary currency or the to me most important currency that is genuine respect. I am sick of women bashing each other and hiping one particular stereotype of a female (thin, caucasian, successful and wealthy, in a heterosexual relationship). This nonsense has to stop and we really need to keep on preaching that we are all worth the same, independently from gender or appearance.
Major let down right there.
The body issues
Another disappointing fact is that my worth is determined by my appearance. Admittedly this doesn't really affect me personally anymore. At least not on a good day. What deeply shocks my system is the amount of feedback on women's body shape or looks we're exposed to on social, online and print media. Only two minutes ago I read a comment below some girl's instagram photo, in which someone compliments her on her thigh gap. What a great thigh gap. It doesn't matter if this person is good or bad, helps the homeless or kills puppies at night, as long as her existence is accompanied by a great thigh gap. Is this really what women should work towards? Is that all we should aspire to? I refuse to believe this and yet I am disappointed. I am let down by women my age.
Carelessness and sense of entitlement
Consumerism has turned people into wasteful creatures. We always want more, better, newer. When was the last time you purchased something, even though you already had an identical product at home? A new phone, camera, jacket or a pair of shoes? And who really waits until their old stuff breaks, to buy a replacement? I am let down by society because it dictates that the only way to live happily is by surrounding yourself with crap, while simultaneously exploiting our environment.
And finally, I am disapointed by my own and following generations, because there is a sense of entitlement in all of us, something we developped because we were told we can be anyone and anything we want to be, if we only believe in it. Unfortunately life doesn't pan out like that. You have to work in order to have a career and more often than not you will work for far less than you're worth. Your chances of getting your fingers on copious amounts of cash are ridiculously small. Remember that dream you had where you just spontaneously booked a 5 * hotel room for the rest of the month? You know, the one with a fucking shark tank built into the living room? Yeah, that ain't going to happen anytime soon.
It's a let down that we are lied to by media from a very young age. It wouldn't have been as glamorous, but the realisation that we will most likely end up in a manual labour job for the rest of our lives, would be less cruel if peeps would have been for real with us from the start.
That said I am not a pessimistic arsehole, trying to point out that the human race is doomed. Even though we kind of are.
To support this statement, I will shamelessly quote Lena Dunham's dad, because I think what he said is truer than true..probably the most honest and at the same time scary thing I have read in a while:
"This is the first time (....) that you can see that my kids are not going to do as well as I did"
Maybe it's time we shifted our aspirations and had a more realistic approach to life. Maybe I need to start being more realistic. I mean, after all you can only get disappointed if your own expectations are not met.
What about you there? Yeah, you! What annoys you about society and are you guilty of participating in the madness, just like me?