Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Naked Truth About Peer Pressure...

It's been a couple of weeks since I shared the first of several life lessons that I have learned through the many experiences that I've lived through - as well as some of the many pieces of pop culture that I have experienced over the years.

Today, I thought that I'd share another one for all of you.  It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to take it in.

Here's today's PCA life lesson...

Okay, okay.  The lesson here is the same title of his 1986 single "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off". 

And, on that note, it's not a bad song at that.

That lesson is, you don't have to take your clothes off to impress anybody.  You don't have to do drugs in order to impress anybody.  You don't have to get a tattoo, or get a piercing, or get a tattoo of a piercing in order to get people to think you are the cat's pajamas.  And you know on that note, you can say extremely outdated expressions like "the cat's pajamas" whenever you want to.

You see, we're talking about peer pressure, and how utterly stupid it is.  Well, at least, based on my experience, peer pressure is stupid.

And yet, it's a situation that almost every single one of us has been involved in.  We're brainwashed into thinking that we have to do what the status quo does in order to get respect and popularity, and that if we refuse, we're considered not worthy for society.  You see, when I phrase it like that, it sounds insane, right?  Yet this is what teenagers and young adults have lived their lives by.

I don't think there's a single sitcom that hasn't explored this topic in depth.  We all watched Stephanie on "Full House" struggle with whether smoking a cigarette with Gia and Mickey would automatically make her the coolest girl in school.  We all watched as Lisa Simpson gave herself a makeover so she could hide her geek status from a group of friends she met while on summer vacation.  And people from my generation MUST remember the one-off television special where a bunch of cartoon characters came together to tell a young boy that there were a million wild and wonderful ways to say no to drugs!  Though, part of me wonders if the writing staff of that special were actually ON drugs when they penned the script.  So trippy.

Anyway, back to peer pressure.  It absolutely sucks no matter what your age is.  I've never been a fan of the whole "Keeping Up With The Joneses" mentality that people have where they have to have something because everyone else has it.  It's silly, and in many cases, impossible to achieve.  Why go into levels of stress and financial debt just to "keep up" with someone else when you can do your own thing and probably be happier? 

Then again, I suppose part of the reason why I never had the desire to keep up with Joneses, Kardashians, or any other family for that matter was because I never really cared that much about material possessions.  I still don't, to be completely honest.  Believe me, I'm probably the cheapest date you could find.  The jury's out on whether or not that is a good thing.

But I can tell you that there have been instances in my own life where I have felt the pressure to do something in order to win friendship.  It was just that the child me actually believed the tripe that friendship was something to be "won". 

I can think of all of the people who promised to be my friend if I helped them with their homework, or told them how to spell words, and when recess came, they froze me out to play with other people they deemed "cooler".  I still don't know what made them think that, but it's all in the past now.  If anything, those experiences were necessary for me to realize that I didn't need people like that in my life in the first place.

But yes...I've definitely felt pressured to fit in with people.  I can recall many times in which I was in high school, and many of the kids in the school were having wild house parties which usually involved lots of drugs and alcohol - and possibly sex.  From the way people would describe them, it was like an episode of "Degrassi".  Whether or not that was true, I wouldn't know.  It's not like I ever went to any of the parties.

To be honest though, we lived in a small enough town that I could have found where they were located and easily have snuck in.  And part of me wanted to do exactly that.  I had a hard time finding a group of people to hang around with as it was and thought that if I had the chance to crash one of their parties and drink and smoke and stuff like that, I would finally find a way to belong.

Of course, the logical side of me thought that if I had to get drunk out of my skull for them to accept me, why would I even bother to risk screwing up my own life just for "acceptance".  The way I see it, if they wanted to get to know me for me, they wouldn't have felt the need to pressure me to do things that I wasn't comfortable with.

The same deal with pressuring people to commit to a sexual relationship before they are ready for one.  It's hard enough for young people to worry about the pressures of sex without having it thrown in their faces all the time via racy song lyrics, provocative sex scenes, and Kardashians posing naked in their 500,000th bathroom selfie.  To have a relationship be put on the line based on one person's comfort level about sex...well, honestly, I don't see that relationship surviving that long. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that peer pressure is a frustrating experience that we all go through.  But we also have to look at the big picture and ask sleeping with this person really worth it in the long run?  Is getting stoned with a group of friends worth it just to gain acceptance?  Is risking your own future worth sabotaging your present?

Just think about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment