How Dare You
As 2016 begins and we look back on the year past, many things come to mind. If you were to ask me to describe 2015 in a short sentence, I would tell you that it was the year of bizarre social causes. Earlier in the year we saw the birth of an entire movement designed to prevent shaming. We saw movements against “fat shaming,” “body shaming,” and even “slut shaming.” Most of these movements have drawn the support of hundreds of thousands of people across the world, but what do these movements really accomplish?
When I was growing up the early 1990s, if you were made fun of at school, you simply dealt with it. And anyone who even begins to think that bullying back then doesn’t compare to bullying now obviously hasn’t had an army of fellow first graders chant obscenities to the tune of “Ring-around-the-Rosie” while circling you. But the fact is that, back then, we were taught to ignore these insults and see our inherent value. We were taught not to value the opinions of the people around us, but instead to develop our own healthy self-image. In addition to this, we were taught to constantly improve ourselves “because no one is perfect.” For example, if you were a portly child, you worked to lose weight.
This is not how things are done today. Today’s kids are the product of the “anti-shaming” movements. On the surface, these movements seem like a great idea because they encourage kids to love themselves no matter what others think or say. But is that really a good idea? What if my behavior is self-destructive, but society is telling me it’s okay to remain that way? Is it still a good idea? Let’s think about this a little more in depth. We have all seen the headlines about “fat-shaming” and how we ought to accept everyone as they are. In the mind of a child this means, “Being obese is just as good as not being obese. I should love myself just how I am.” Obviously, no one should be bullied or made fun of because of their weight, but no one should be encouraged to accept obesity! How about another example? The biggest buzzword on my college campus this year was “slut shaming.” To put it mildly, this is the notion that we should not judge people because of their sexually active lifestyles, but rather accept them for who they are. Again, is this really a good idea? Of course not.
The result of these movements is that we begin to equate moral lifestyles with morally-bankrupt lifestyles. Rather than creating a movement to help these people change their ways, become healthier, or break free from sexual addiction, society has simply told them it’s okay to be that way, and that others should just accept this behavior. This is a very dangerous trend we have set, and it’s only going to get worse.
So how does this factor into the topic of life? The problem begins when we tell people that something good is equal to something that is not good. These anti-shaming movements have threatened to warp young people’s moral compasses, telling them it’s okay to make bad decisions. The single biggest example of this was earlier this year when we saw Planned Parenthood encouraging women to “shout their abortions” in an attempt to remove the stigma from having an abortion. Essentially PP asked women who had undergone an abortion to tell their story as a means of encouraging other women not to be afraid of the social pressure they would receive after having one. Just like the other anti-shaming movements, all this does is confuse people who are struggling with serious problems by encouraging them to accept something harmful.
I cannot stress enough that no one should ever settle. Always strive to be better and to improve yourself. Never believe that you know everything, and never accept anything at face value. If the world tells you something is good, use your moral compass to determine if it truly is or not. If you don’t know, do your own research. Talk to an adult you trust. Your actions may save a life.