Although many might believe that they are striving for individuality, I believe that the term “individuality” just comes down to semantics and that there is not a realistic way out of becoming one of society’s members, or “eaters”. The fact that people want to be alike and to be able to relate to others makes it easier for their personal views to be manipulated by the group norm, sometimes, a look of disapproval can be enough for someone to keep their viewpoints quiet and decide to agree with the majority.
Those that believe there is a realistic way out of becoming one of society’s “eaters” would find this an extremely worrying thought because if we were to lose our individuality we would never grow as much as we could as if we let our own thoughts be heard. However, that is the thought processes that people of society are compiled of and people of society will always aspire to be liked by their peers. Ralph Waldo Emerson precedes himself in wisdom in his work, “Self-Reliance”.
He states that “Society is a joint-stock company…the virtue in most request is conformity…it loves not realities and creators, but names and customs”, I heartily agree with his standpoint on conformity. Society today encourages many different aspects of compliance, but perhaps the most prominent one is conformity of appearance. There are societal standards for males, females, young and old that make them either ideal or outlying, and most of these standards are dependent upon cosmetic appearance.
Ours is a superficial society, a manufactured American view of perfect people and perfect beauty thrives almost universally unbounded by resistance, whether passive or powerful. The manners in which people conform to the society’s image of beauty are many, including cosmetics, fashions of clothing and shoes, hair styles, modish colors; everything down to the size of purse a woman carries is first spotted in a magazine and then purchased and used once deemed to be worthy of public sight.
Outlandish fashions become the mode primarily because they are advertised as being “the things you simply cannot live without! ” It is a universal truth that fashion is a form of ugliness so hideous that it must be changed every four months; but the public is content to stay within the confines of the current trend in order to conform, and not necessarily because the fashion is attractive. The people, as sheep, allow themselves to be herded.
The more people already agree upon or share a particular idea, the more easily a newcomer will in turn be converted to that idea, and the more difficult it will be for one already converted to reject that idea. Many individuals within the high school jungle are blindly conformed to those around them without taking notice at all. Of course there are many who rest on the other side of this opinion and they do make a valid point. A real life example; take Cody Pham, our Mr. Bronco and the one and only Mr.
Murrtown; this individual could be placed as one who is definitely not conforming to the norm of everyday society in the way he dresses, his artistic talents, or his business like shoe customizing. If the date were ten or twelve years ago that assertion would be correct, back then there was not a huge strive for students to become individuals and actually want to stand out; however, today’s school systems in suburban demographics are consistently pushing students to do the most and do a lot of different things.
With this, so many students have widely varying personalities and actions that ultimately create similarities in some way or another. Being in high school for three years, I have witnessed these situations arise again and again. As the term is defined, I see that the word individuality means to be so considerably different then everyone else on multiple levels. In high schools of this generation there is little such thing as that, there are only groups of people who share the same mindsets and aspirations.
Take Vista Murrieta, our school offers such an array of activities, sports, and clubs that it would be easier to join something than finding an excuse to not be involved, as all these things continue to be available they will always be molding students into certain mindsets, and as the saying goes, “birds of a feather, flock together”. Students will be sucked towards those who are similar to them and they will act accordingly to what deems correct and appropriate by the group members. This is not some phenomenon that esides only in our school, the aspect of conformity is instilled heavily within each high school because fitting in is what society teaches us from an early age. Everyone wants to be the “cool kid” and in one way or another you are going to blindly conform to the members of society that you attract to most. A Japanese proverb says, “The nail that sticks out will be hammered down. ” Society tries to place many rules on us as an individual as to what is acceptable and what is not. We must decide for ourselves whether to conform to such a social decorum.
We are taught as soon as we are old enough to grasp the idea that it is bad to be unique and to avoid being different. Our strength as a person is proven through what we decide. E. E. Cummings once said, “To be nobody but yourself-in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everyone else-means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting. ” Although I believe that having a great sense of individuality is a special possession indeed, in my personal experiences and path on contemporary society I find that there is no realistic way out of becoming one of society’s eaters.