The Right to Conform

Convictions of Opinions

Photographed by: Asya Stepnova

In our current society, everything has labels. There are those who go with the major happenings, and others who go against them. One of the largest problems with our time is our intolerance for disagreement. With the political season rampantly aflame, rhetoric is flying all over. It’s permeating entertainment, and all other aspects of our civilized society. There’s a propagated norm that puts the public under the impression: if it’s popular, then it’s right. After something is coined as a standard, if you disagree with it, then you’re viewed as a rogue, and must be ostracized into submission. There are terms or descriptions created to be worn as a scarlet letter, and they are impressed upon those that stand their ground of anti-conformity. Opinions are made to be free and subjective, but in reality, opinions are only valuable if they align with those of the masses.

Celebrities are the driving force behind entertainment. More exposure for celebrities equals a wider reach to the public. Fame of that magnitude, by default, indicates that they’re loved by the whole world. When someone is in such a large spotlight, their opinions are dispersed to many people. Therefore, when someone comes along and dislikes or disagrees with a powerful celebrity, that opinionated individual is attacked and automatically labelled as a “hater”, however, there are times when you genuinely dislike a famous person and disagree with their views. With this being said, such disagreement with him or her does not necessarily come from a hateful place. You don’t even have to possess ill will against them, but if you merely disagree with them, you’ll be turned into the bad guy. It’s unfair that we have to follow the crowd to avoid conflict. However, opinionated conflicts can be far bigger than celebrities.

A huge, divisive issue is homosexuality. Right now, in politics and entertainment, homosexuality is taking center stage. That alone, creates an environment conducive to conflict. When it comes to homosexuality, if you do not agree, then you’re styled as being “homophobic”. But, let’s break this label down. “Homo” refers to “same’, same sex, in this case. The second half, “phobic” actually means “fear”. People are so accustomed to hurling insults that they have no idea what they’re even saying; no matter how ridiculous it is. So when you’re not in concurrence with homosexuality, people essentially say that you fear homosexuals. The conforming public fails to realize that someone isn’t a bad person just because they don’t agree with that lifestyle. Some individuals were genuinely raised to respect and admire the union of a man with woman. Nothing is wrong with that at the least. Just as people are free to embrace homosexuality, and reject heterosexuality, equally, people should have the freedom to embrace heterosexuality and reject homosexuality. Naturally, it doesn’t work out that way. The polarization of opinions leads someone to be wrong. But who’s the supreme judge to make that decision? The answer to that leads into a different, yet, intertwined can of worms. The final point is possibly the most serious topic of all that have been discussed here.

Religion is something people are willing to cry, fight, and die for. On behalf of many, there isn’t a conviction stronger than religious interpretation. It is meant to be a beautiful thing, but for the public, it’s just a reservoir of conflict. People simply can’t cope with two facts: religious views differ, and also there are some that have no views at all. When there are variances in deities, followers swear up and down that their dogmatic views are supreme, and all others are lost. That is extremely condescending and arrogant. So then, we get the labels such as: sinners, idolaters, and blasphemers. On the heels of such insults, they will then condemn others to some kind of eternal purgatory. What happened to spiritual freedom? It’s sad that all roads of a higher being, or lack thereof, can’t lead to an unbiased happiness. But again, society and its participants are so accustomed to judging those with alternative understandings.

Collectively, we forget that our individual experiences shape our views. In order to respect someone as a person, you must acknowledge their right to be a person. When you grant someone that regard, then you understand that opinions come along with the bundle. In times of advanced narcissism and groupthink, we tend to forget that people are just as human as we are. And we should always remember that the next person values their opinion as much as we value our own. Therefore, the labels should be spewed slower, and tolerance should always take precedence over the compulsion to denounce someone’s views.

Written By: Alicia Richmond
Follow me on Twitter: @richywriter

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