from the moment of birth, we are all subjected to various forms of social conditioning. a name is chosen and this is seared into our consciousness in the hope that at the very least we can be distinguished from the constant stream of humanity flowing out from vaginal passages all over the world (i feel sorry for all the people who carry the same name). as we begin to grasp at the faculty of speech, we are conditioned to speak our parents’ tongue. we are dressed in a certain way and we listen to music that our elders play around the house.
in school we are told that certain things are important in life and that we should learn it well. we are also told that certain actions and words are good and some bad. we are told that some people are good and we should emulate them and some whom we must drive a stake through eg. hitler. in our teenage years we are informed by friends that we should look and dress a certain way and never to look like our parents. there are things that older people might frown on but will make you feel good.
the media will tell you that slim and young is socially acceptable while fat and old will not cut it. they will decide for you what is hot and what is not, what is beauty and what is butt-ugly. all this is the name of preservation of the human race, for the greater good. in order to survive as a species we have to follow certain pre-ordained standards. these standards have been in place since human history however they are highly malleable and change with time. remember when flares were in? nowadays it is retro and even slightly ridiculous. our perception also changes with the right amount of social conditioning.
i often imagine a man sitting on top of a snow capped mountain somewhere whose job it is to decide what the social norms should be during any given period of time. ‘this year the rape-victim look will be the bee’s knees!’ he proclaims in a loud booming voice. minutes later young girls are seen parading the streets of some anonymous metropolitan city looking as if they have just escaped the grubby hands of some would be sexual deviant. concerned you run to them and inquire of their well being only to be thought of as a sexual deviant yourself. ‘i saw this is in [-insert name of some trendy fashion magazine-]. its in,’ she explains all the time staring at you with hands wrapped protectively around her ample bosoms. ‘don’t you read?’ she asks with a pitying stare. with burning ears you hang your head and walk away.