Conformity Vs. The Individual

question mark

Conform-Comply with rules, standards, laws

Individual- Single, separate

Those two words are small, yet so powerful. Why? Because as women, we are pretty much forced to conform to what society has had laid out for us since time began. I’m not going to get into the whole history of women’s place in society, and it’s one hell of a ride especially if you’ve been paying attention to the MeToo Movement. It’s roots are undeniably in religion and the smear campaign against Mary Magdalene. It doesn’t get any better from there on out.

Women were property from day one. Ever wonder why ‘traditional wedding’ includes ‘honor and obey’ and taking the husband’s last name as your own? Because women were OWNED by their fathers, then husbands. In some countries, they still are.

Remember ‘Leave it to Beaver?’ The 1950s sitcom about the ‘ideal suburban family’ with two kids, stay and home mom and breadwinner father? This was after WW2 when America was rebuilding. This reinforced gender roles and told women ‘THIS is how you’re supposed to be. Forget about what YOU want, SUBMIT TO YOUR HUSBAND.’ Since women has nothing and no one else to rely on or turn to…..they complied. I don’t think they had much of a choice. Hell, even vintage ads from that era are INCREDIBLY sexist.

Then the 1960s came along. Hippie love and breaking free. No wonder society condemned them. They were a threat to the norms of society. Not long after, the bra burning of the 1970s and civil rights movement. I read somewhere that in the 1970s or thereabouts, divorce was high. No wonder. If you’re forced to marry due to a child out of wedlock(which I’m certain is why my own grandparents married)or you were a war bride, and once the walls of society began to crumble into what it is now, you got the hell out of there.

Then the 1990s. Things began to change. More women entered the workforce. Mental illness began to show it’s ugly face. Back in the 1950s, mental illness and anything outside of ‘normal’ was taboo. Mentally handicapped children and adults were placed in state-sponsored hospitals or ‘lunatic asylums’. Nobody knew how to take care of them in a proper manner. Electroshock therapy. Ice baths. Designed to ‘shock’ the body into normalcy, I suppose. There are two great sources of media that should be entertained with this. The first one is the documentary ‘CROPSY’; is about a man who was charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and murdering handicapped children. It begins in a dilapidated mental hospital in Staten Island. It’s 1970’s footage shows how HORRIBLE the mentally handicapped were treated, and the government’s feelings toward the individuals. The other is ‘Glore Psychiatric Museum’ in St. Joseph, Missouri that goes into the history of mental illness and how it was treated. It’s disturbing, yet educational. We’ve come a long way….to some degree.

Then the attack on the single mother began. Remember ‘Murphy Brown’ with Candice Bergen? Remember when she had her son Avery and he didn’t have a father? Remember how Dan Quayle shamed A TV CHARACTER for having a child out of wedlock? Then there was ‘Frasier’ where Roz had her daughter out of wedlock. To me, this was along the same lines as ‘Will and Grace’. Slowly inserting other ideas for society in subtle ways. Nothing TOO dramatic, just enough for progressives to realize ‘hey, lets do this’.

To me, this is where conformity vs the individual starts to heat up.

CONFORMITY tells women ‘you MUST be married to have a child. THAT’S the rule.’

THE INDIVIDUAL tells women ‘if you want a child out of wedlock, go for it. But things WILL be more difficult.’

Well, history isn’t anything to scoff at. Being married doesn’t always make child rearing easier, especially if the woman gets ZERO help from her husband. The only difference is a guaranteed roof over their heads. Because remember, at this point, divorce was unheard of. Not even domestic battery was enough to warrant divorce. No WONDER these marriages dissolved in the later generations.

So it’s 2018. Divorce is more common than before, and marriage has been put on hold for most people under the age of 30. Given the last few generations, I can’t say I’m surprised. However, with change, comes the all-knowing question: conform or the individual? While conformity is still very much breathing, the individual is STILL on the rise, just not in broad daylight. You may wonder ‘where is it?’

Television. Up until the 2000s, TV and radio were the only means of media. The PC was still in it’s infancy. Then YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc popped up. I remember as a kid, before cable, you had four channels. If you didn’t like what was on, you watched it anyway or turned the TV off. I turned it off. Then we got cable. Several thousand more channels….nothing to watch. Again, two choices. I believe this is where conformity begins, to some degree. As a child in the 1950s, you watched Howdy Doody or the Lone Ranger. You watched because it was ON. Programming the brain. As you grew, you wanted to fit in. Continuing to watch because EVERYONE ELSE did. You did it because you felt you HAD to. Conformity. Then other sources of information began to rise. This is where conformity is challenged. You want to watch mainstream TV because it’s on, but there’s nothing to watch. Or you could watch Hulu, YouTube, Netflix because you can see that missed episode of a show you used to watch as a teen. On a side note, when YouTube came out, how many of you searched through it, trying to find the episode you missed of that one show?

Conformity-You’ll watch what we tell you because you must comply with the rules.

The Individual-I see YouTube, Netflix, Hulu. I’ll watch old reruns of ‘St. Elsewhere.’

Sexuality has always been taboo. Mainly because the powers that be fear it. Fear that education leads to better choices. Well duh. We’d rather teach NOT to do it, rather than SAFELY. With the rise of transgender, a lot of women are becoming men and men are becoming women. When I worked at a restaurant not long ago, I saw two people who were getting ready to leave. One, if I remember correctly, was a gay man. The other…turned out to be a man becoming a woman. This isn’t my first encounter. At Walmart, I had the same encounters. I worked the fitting room, and in this situation, it’s difficult to decide which fitting room to place them. Society says they’re whatever gender they were born, and they see themselves as they gender they was SUPPOSED to be. Still, that doesn’t help.

Conformity-You will act the gender you were born as.

The Individual-I’m a man/woman born in the wrong body. I’ll dress according to how I feel. However, if the individual sees themselves as gender non-specific….well, I really don’t know.

Society has ALWAYS told women what they can and cannot do. It’s been horribly unfair and unhealthy. Whether it be religion, family or marriage, women have ALWAYS been given the short-end of the stick. Why? Again, it roots to religion.

Oh hell, I may as well do it.

Mary Magdalene was supposedly the wife of Jesus. The early Church saw her as a threat, thus the smear campaign of painting her as a whore. In the early days, women were held in high regard in religion. But it was literally the men’s fear of Magdalene that started the campaign of women-hating. Blaming Eve and the apple. It snowballed into what it is now. I’ve read how some church doctrine is used to keep women in abusive marriages and give the husbands REASON to hurt them. There was a pastor who had to resign due to this matter.

Conformity-Women. You go to school, maybe college, meet your husband, marry, have children and be a stay-at-home wife until your children move out. Then you cater to your husband until death.

The Individual-Go to college, get a career, if I marry then cool. Maybe have kids. Dunno. Just see what comes.

Change is hard to accept, even if it’s for the better. Especially if it means cutting your strings to what’s been keeping you down. Women, for the most part, have ALWAYS been shadowed by men. I think it’s because men are afraid of what women are capable of when they’re given the opportunity. And rightfully so. The MeToo movement is the best source of evidence. No longer willing to put up with sexual harassment, they’re speaking up. I read a facebook post not long ago that said ‘if you’re now scared to talk to women, good. It means you have to rethink what you’re going to say and any unwanted actions will be reported’. Not verbatim, but along the lines. Good. This means women are slowly able to speak up and be heard. Whether action takes place or not is a different story.

In the wake of global change, it’s safe to say that our old way of life is just another wave. It’s like the civil rights movement, part 2. People are being called out and punished for their misbehavior. Women are finding our voices to speak up against the wrongdoing we’ve continually suffered. The men are getting punished for what they did. Change is here and we’ll be in a new society when it’s all over.

Conformity-Just shut up and know your place.

The Individual-Fuck you.

-Have a great weekend! Love, Ellie V.