28 votes

What social norm(s) you would like to see changed?

Anything goes for this one: they can be general or specific, regional or global, IRL or digital, big or small, significant or insignificant. Pretty much any shared norm anywhere is fair game.

State what the current social norm is (and if it's specific to certain regions, cultures, or environments), why you want it to be different, and how you would improve it if you had the power to do so.

55 comments

  1. [2]
    Omnicrola
    Link
    The Protestant work ethic. That people need to have a job to have value as a person. Stop teaching boys to be stoic and not talk about emotions. I'm approaching 40 and only now slowly learning how...
    1. The Protestant work ethic. That people need to have a job to have value as a person.

    2. Stop teaching boys to be stoic and not talk about emotions. I'm approaching 40 and only now slowly learning how my own emotions actually work, and how to articulate them (both to myself and to my spouse).

    29 votes
    1. JXM
      Link Parent
      I think this is genuinely changing with the current generation. Having access to such a wide swath of different people via the internet has really allowed them to experience the world completely...

      Stop teaching boys to be stoic and not talk about emotions.

      I think this is genuinely changing with the current generation. Having access to such a wide swath of different people via the internet has really allowed them to experience the world completely differently than any generation before them did.

      10 votes
  2. [6]
    JXM
    (edited )
    Link
    Shorts. It’s silly and selfish not the least bit deep or important but I want to wear shorts to work, damnit. I live in Florida and it’s hot as hell here during the summer. Yet we all have to wear...

    Shorts. It’s silly and selfish not the least bit deep or important but I want to wear shorts to work, damnit.

    I live in Florida and it’s hot as hell here during the summer. Yet we all have to wear long pants to look “professional”.

    I just never understood why wearing long pants makes you more professional. We should all just culturally agree that we live somewhere that routinely hits 105 F in the summer and shorts aren’t necessary.

    Let me show off these legs!

    23 votes
    1. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Check your company's dress policy and see if they specify you can't wear a dress. If you start coming to work in a dress, they might change their policy. 😂 You could also attempt to pitch it as a...

      Check your company's dress policy and see if they specify you can't wear a dress. If you start coming to work in a dress, they might change their policy. 😂

      You could also attempt to pitch it as a way to reduce costs by reducing how much they have to cool the office.

      5 votes
    2. [2]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Had the same complaint until I started working at specific places that allowed it. Last few jobs I've worn shorts and flip flops to work sometimes, and I wasn't the only one. Times are changing,...

      Had the same complaint until I started working at specific places that allowed it. Last few jobs I've worn shorts and flip flops to work sometimes, and I wasn't the only one. Times are changing, though slowly.

      4 votes
      1. JXM
        Link Parent
        I work in government, so it won’t be acceptable for quite a while.

        I work in government, so it won’t be acceptable for quite a while.

        6 votes
    3. [2]
      Tuna
      Link Parent
      We had this "scandal" in germany 2018, where customs in Bielefeld forbid their employees from wearing Birkenstocks (and flip-flops) at work. Mind you, this was during a heatwave and they work the...

      We had this "scandal" in germany 2018, where customs in Bielefeld forbid their employees from wearing Birkenstocks (and flip-flops) at work. Mind you, this was during a heatwave and they work the whole day at a desk, which usually hides their feet.
      Every morning the teamleader would go around checking everyones footware and after the story got leaked to the press, they started an internal hunt for the culprit.

      4 votes
      1. ohyran
        Link Parent
        Oh we had a similar thing here but gendered - basically Male tram drivers had to wear long trousers, and female drivers could wear skirts. It was a massive heat wave and basically a group of the...

        Oh we had a similar thing here but gendered - basically Male tram drivers had to wear long trousers, and female drivers could wear skirts. It was a massive heat wave and basically a group of the male drivers started wearing the skirts instead (since by law you can't make gendered rules in companies) until the city changed to allow shorts..

        (also the obligatory "Bielefeld isn't real" comment inserted here[])

        11 votes
  3. [33]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    First, the push against “stoicism” in boys is damaging. There’s nothing wrong about it and forced self expression can be both damaging and authoritarian. I also wish: it was okay to remain in...

    First, the push against “stoicism” in boys is damaging. There’s nothing wrong about it and forced self expression can be both damaging and authoritarian.

    I also wish:

    • it was okay to remain in silence with other people.
    • people took 30 minutes before judging others.
    13 votes
    1. [2]
      balooga
      Link Parent
      I don't think you (or @soks_n_sandals) are really talking about stoicism here, just suppression of emotions. Right? As I understand it, stoicism as a philosophy is about personal responsibility,...

      I don't think you (or @soks_n_sandals) are really talking about stoicism here, just suppression of emotions. Right?

      As I understand it, stoicism as a philosophy is about personal responsibility, and detachment from circumstances outside of one's sphere of control. It's about taking ownership of the things you can influence, in order to improve your life; but also holding loosely to the things you can't, in order to find contentment in the unexpected. I'm not an expert on the subject (I haven't read all of Marcus Aurelius' oeuvre or subscribed to the Jocko podcast, I say, tongue in cheek) but I've found a lot of value in those basic ideas over the years. Stoicism's not well-suited for all personality types. I wouldn't try to foist it on the unwilling. But speaking for myself, I like the fit.

      I think that personality type point is the key for what you're talking about, too. Some people legitimately feel deeply and intuitively express that. Others are naturally more reserved. We shouldn't pass moral judgments on either, that's just how different brains are wired. I guess what I'm saying is, emotional expression should be neither "pushed against" nor "forced." We just need to allow people the space to be (and discover) themselves without fearing the disapproval of others.

      Not that I know how to create that space. I'm mainly just posting in this thread to defend stoicism, haha.

      14 votes
      1. soks_n_sandals
        Link Parent
        Thanks for raising this difference - I didn't realize that stoicism is a philosophy, as opposed to an emotion or presence. Stifling emotions is certainly what I was talking about.

        Thanks for raising this difference - I didn't realize that stoicism is a philosophy, as opposed to an emotion or presence. Stifling emotions is certainly what I was talking about.

        7 votes
    2. [27]
      soks_n_sandals
      Link Parent
      I firmly disagree that pushing against stoicism is damaging. I have seen it in my peers and adults in my life that we as men lack the tools to constructively discuss our emotions and communicate...

      I firmly disagree that pushing against stoicism is damaging. I have seen it in my peers and adults in my life that we as men lack the tools to constructively discuss our emotions and communicate with those close to us. It is slowly changing for my peers, and changing much more quickly for the current generation. It's not about forcing anyone, male or female, to talk about how they feel. Rather, instead of stunting the emotional intelligence of young men, we need to allow them an avenue to express how they feel on many different levels so that when it's appropriate, these men can do so.

      12 votes
      1. [26]
        mrbig
        Link Parent

        It’s okay to talk about emotions. It’s also okay not to. Some emotions are better contained.

        2 votes
        1. [25]
          TildeMan
          Link Parent
          Can you give an example? I can't think of any

          Can you give an example? I can't think of any

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            Kuromantis
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Envy and lust seem like good examples. Expressing your envy for someone else doesn't seem very productive unless someone decides to figure out the reason you're envious of someone and then help...

            Envy and lust seem like good examples.

            Expressing your envy for someone else doesn't seem very productive unless someone decides to figure out the reason you're envious of someone and then help you. (If they can)

            (Intentionally) expressing lust to people you don't have overt intimacy or planned something with usually makes those people very uncomfortable, and it seems fair if done unapologetically or with no context for the receiver. (Or anyone that sees it, which basically rules out 95+% of public space.)

            4 votes
            1. post_below
              Link Parent
              This is a great point to introduce some nuance... Expressing lust by, for example, imposing your unsolicited erection on people is an impulse best left unexpressed. But taking that impulse,...

              This is a great point to introduce some nuance... Expressing lust by, for example, imposing your unsolicited erection on people is an impulse best left unexpressed.

              But taking that impulse, labeling it and all related emotions shameful, pushing them into the dark corners of your psyche and leaving them there, slamming the door on them every time they try to get out... That has all sorts of long term negative effects, not only on yourself, but on society at large. Taboo and suppression are at the root of all sorts of sexual pathology.

              Whereas alternatively you could, hopefully with the encouragement of a more enlightened set of social norms and customs, explore those emotions, learn about them, develop tools to manage them. In the process you'd ideally find a way around the constant forebrain versus hindbrain battle which, history and statistics tell us, you'll likely eventually lose.

              A similar narrative applies to all areas of emotional suppression. Emotional intelligence is gained by experience and keeping feelings in the dark turns them into demons.

              7 votes
          2. [22]
            mrbig
            Link Parent
            Sure. Telling your mom that it’s hard not having friends is probably okay. Telling her that you masturbate to Telletubies is not.

            Sure.

            Telling your mom that it’s hard not having friends is probably okay.

            Telling her that you masturbate to Telletubies is not.

            1 vote
            1. [10]
              hhh
              Link Parent
              so you agree that rejection of absolute stoicism is good, but straw man it anyways for...reasons? nobody is arguing for the second thing just the first.

              Telling your mom that it’s hard not having friends is probably okay.

              Telling her that you masturbate to Telletubies is not.

              so you agree that rejection of absolute stoicism is good, but straw man it anyways for...reasons? nobody is arguing for the second thing just the first.

              7 votes
              1. [4]
                Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                To be fair, people asked him to give an example that he feels is an emotion better contained. I know in my own case when I had a poorer vocabulary of my own emotions I often would do a shit job at...

                To be fair, people asked him to give an example that he feels is an emotion better contained. I know in my own case when I had a poorer vocabulary of my own emotions I often would do a shit job at explaining to others why I felt how I did, which just added to the frustration and subsequent resilience.

                7 votes
                1. [3]
                  mrbig
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Any example that you and others say do not constitute emotion can easily be converted into one. Employ the principle of interpretative charity. Otherwise we’ll just be running in circles.

                  Any example that you and others say do not constitute emotion can easily be converted into one. Employ the principle of interpretative charity. Otherwise we’ll just be running in circles.

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    mono
                    Link Parent
                    Masturbation isn't implicitly synonymous with love. Maybe try doing a better job making your point.

                    Masturbation isn't implicitly synonymous with love. Maybe try doing a better job making your point.

                    4 votes
                    1. mrbig
                      Link Parent
                      That was not the point at all.

                      That was not the point at all.

              2. [5]
                mrbig
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Please avoid dropping fallacies in conversation. Naming fallacies is unpersuasive and does not constitute an argument. Create a complete counter-argument instead.

                Please avoid dropping fallacies in conversation. Naming fallacies is unpersuasive and does not constitute an argument. Create a complete counter-argument instead.

                3 votes
                1. [4]
                  hhh
                  Link Parent
                  Probably better if I didn't reply but: I dropped it because it describes accurately what you were doing. Despite actually agreeing with everybody that speaking about emotions is good, you still...

                  Probably better if I didn't reply but:
                  I dropped it because it describes accurately what you were doing. Despite actually agreeing with everybody that speaking about emotions is good, you still bring up ridiculous examples to support a position you've shown you don't even believe in.

                  5 votes
                  1. [3]
                    mrbig
                    Link Parent
                    I see. So not only my opinion is merely an attempt to be contrarian, but I’m also insincere? That’s quite the accusation. It’s also needlessly emotional and confrontational. You should know that...

                    I see. So not only my opinion is merely an attempt to be contrarian, but I’m also insincere? That’s quite the accusation. It’s also needlessly emotional and confrontational.

                    You should know that it is possible for someone to disagree with your most essential beliefs. I can only apologize for doing so, I guess.

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      hhh
                      Link Parent
                      The having different beliefs isn't what bothered me I do not care that much one way or the other. What bothered me was how you used a dumb example, and then your response (at least the way I read...

                      The having different beliefs isn't what bothered me I do not care that much one way or the other. What bothered me was how you used a dumb example, and then your response (at least the way I read it) was patronizing and confrontational.

                      "Please avoid dropping fallacies in conversation. Naming fallacies is unpersuasive and does not constitute an argument. Create a complete counter-argument instead."

                      Reads pretty rude in my opinion.

                      So does

                      "So not only my opinion is merely an attempt to be contrarian, but I’m also insincere? That’s quite the accusation. It’s also needlessly emotional and confrontational."

                      So not only my opinion is merely an attempt to be contrarian, but I’m also insincere?

                      No, I was arguing that you were being a little needlessly argumentative for no reason since you agreed with everyone's opinion in principle but wouldn't acknowledge it. I did not attack your character as you are doing to me right now.

                      That’s quite the accusation.

                      it would be if that's what I was arguing, but I wasn't.

                      Honestly it's interactions like these that put a sour taste in my mouth about this website. When someone defends their position as if they are defending their honor. Even just reading this sort of pedantic squabbling makes me head hurt and I hate it. With that in mind I'm not going to respond to any more comments in this thread because I am tired.

                      4 votes
                      1. mrbig
                        Link Parent
                        Please don’t let me make you think bad about Tildes. I’m an idiot. Just ask around.

                        Please don’t let me make you think bad about Tildes. I’m an idiot. Just ask around.

            2. [3]
              mono
              Link Parent
              I'm not sure boys' masturbation habits are what most people would normally refer to as an emotion. At the very least, no one is saying they should be forced to talk about them.

              I'm not sure boys' masturbation habits are what most people would normally refer to as an emotion. At the very least, no one is saying they should be forced to talk about them.

              6 votes
              1. krg
                Link Parent
                speak for yourself. I cry every-time. but, yea. there might just be certain things that make more sense to hold close-to-the-chest, unless you’re talking to a qualified professional, lest you...

                I'm not sure boys' masturbation habits are what most people would normally refer to as an emotion.

                speak for yourself. I cry every-time.

                but, yea. there might just be certain things that make more sense to hold close-to-the-chest, unless you’re talking to a qualified professional, lest you alienate whoever you’re unloading on.

                2 votes
              2. mrbig
                Link Parent
                “Mom. I must confess that I’m in love with teetubbies”

                “Mom. I must confess that I’m in love with teetubbies”

            3. [8]
              Good_Apollo
              Link Parent
              What a bizarre argument for stoicism, or more accurately emotional suppression. I don’t think anyone here would argue that any and every emotional thought you have should be displayed but the...

              What a bizarre argument for stoicism, or more accurately emotional suppression.

              I don’t think anyone here would argue that any and every emotional thought you have should be displayed but the “boys don’t cry” cultural norm is certainly negative. I’m 100% positive that is what the OP is talking about.

              6 votes
              1. [7]
                mrbig
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I, on the other hand, have seen an actual push for excessive self expression I do consider counterproductive. I also personally went through that. It’s a positive thing that you never experienced...

                I, on the other hand, have seen an actual push for excessive self expression I do consider counterproductive. I also personally went through that. It’s a positive thing that you never experienced that.

                The word “bizarre” seem unnecessary either way.

                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  Good_Apollo
                  Link Parent
                  No I don’t really know what you mean when you say you experienced forced expression nor do I believe that it is a common experience. I think you’ve grossly misunderstood what we’re actually...

                  No I don’t really know what you mean when you say you experienced forced expression nor do I believe that it is a common experience.

                  I think you’ve grossly misunderstood what we’re actually talking about here. We’re talking about the damaging long-standing cultural norm that men aren’t supposed to display emotions people would describe as “weak” or worse, as “feminine”. Not that you should tell your mom what shit you masturbate to.

                  4 votes
                  1. [5]
                    mrbig
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    That is actually quite simple, and can be summarized with expressions such as “why aren’t you happy with your gift?” “Why are you okay with the fact that you’re grandma is dead?”, “Why didn’t you...

                    No I don’t really know what you mean when you say you experienced forced expression nor do I believe that it is a common experience

                    That is actually quite simple, and can be summarized with expressions such as “why aren’t you happy with your gift?” “Why are you okay with the fact that you’re grandma is dead?”, “Why didn’t you cry in your grandmothers funeral?”, “Why aren’t you as open and full of life as your sister?”.

                    I assure this actually happens, I’ve been the target of such reproach multiple times since childhood. I also have friends with similar predicaments.

                    I believe I understand you very well. It just so happens that, in order to correct a wrong, we rarely aim at the center: we aim quite a bit over the goal, in order for the establishment to eventually recede to the midpoint we actually want to achieve.

                    In order to achieve equilibrium, one must bend quite a bit after it.

                    Stoicism is quite alright in many situations. That’s not always true. The same can be said about its opposition.

                    4 votes
                    1. [4]
                      mono
                      Link Parent
                      Out of context, those are inherently accusatory questions, and once again, they're not the sort of thing people are advocating for. You may experience it, and that's sad, but if you believe that...

                      Out of context, those are inherently accusatory questions, and once again, they're not the sort of thing people are advocating for. You may experience it, and that's sad, but if you believe that there is a push to encourage that, you are mistaken.

                      That said, there is nothing wrong with giving boys the opportunity to express their feelings and taking an interest in them. A parent asking their son, "Would you like to talk about your grandmother dying?" or "You don't seem as happy now as you were as a child. Are you okay? Would you like to talk about it?" would make a world of difference in people's relationships with their parents.

                      Also, why didn't you lead with those examples instead of "masturbating to teletubbies?"

                      2 votes
                      1. [3]
                        mrbig
                        Link Parent
                        The example was quite adequate to show that somethings must not be said. I might have used better rhetoric but there’s also a responsibility from the reader to use charitable interpretation...

                        The example was quite adequate to show that somethings must not be said. I might have used better rhetoric but there’s also a responsibility from the reader to use charitable interpretation instead of the worst possible one.

                        1. [2]
                          Deimos
                          Link Parent
                          Alright, you're all just bickering in circles across multiple sub-threads here now. End it here, please. @mono

                          Alright, you're all just bickering in circles across multiple sub-threads here now. End it here, please.

                          @mono

                          2 votes
    3. [3]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Since in my sibling comment I appear to be saying the opposite, can you explain this further?

      First, the push against “stoicism”, in boys is damaging

      Since in my sibling comment I appear to be saying the opposite, can you explain this further?

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        It’s okay to talk about emotions. It’s also okay not to. Some emotions are better contained. Allowing kids to express themselves is good. Forcing them to do so is not. Same is true about adults.

        It’s okay to talk about emotions. It’s also okay not to. Some emotions are better contained.

        Allowing kids to express themselves is good. Forcing them to do so is not.

        Same is true about adults.

        12 votes
        1. Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          I agree both with you, and with what @soks_n_sandals says below. People should be respectful of other's boundaries, and not force them to share things they don't want to share. Especially in a...

          I agree both with you, and with what @soks_n_sandals says below.

          People should be respectful of other's boundaries, and not force them to share things they don't want to share. Especially in a place or with a group of people they're not comfortable with.

          Because you use the word "contained", I think about the times I've done the same thing. I've contained and internalized my emotions for fear that I will upset other people. As I've been learning about myself, I've noticed how much of my anxiety-spiral and anger comes from holding things in and not talking about them. I am repeatedly amazed at how much of it goes away just from telling someone (usually my wife) about how I'm feeling and why.

          Which is why your comment surprised me. As I'm getting better at talking about how I'm feeling, the better I get at observing and recognizing what's going on in my own head, and the better I get at dealing with it. So naturally I think everyone else should also enjoy the benefits of that ability. It's also hard, and really, really scary sometimes. It has absolutely pushed me waaay outside my comfort zones on multiple occasions. However each time, I look back, and I'm glad that I went through it.

          9 votes
  4. [2]
    bilbodwyer
    Link
    The "I've got mine so sod the rest of you" mentality. I know way too many people that don't give a damn what happens to others, as evidenced by their opinions, their politics, their life-choices,...

    The "I've got mine so sod the rest of you" mentality. I know way too many people that don't give a damn what happens to others, as evidenced by their opinions, their politics, their life-choices, etc. The world would be a far better place if we all had a bit more empathy for others and their struggles, and if we all strove to help out a little more, rather than turning away or letting government try (and fail) to help.

    12 votes
    1. nsz
      Link Parent
      I've been thinking about this idea, while I agree in principle, I still think it's a bit of red herring. I'm starting by assuming everyone would--give the chance--be empathetic to those outside...

      I've been thinking about this idea, while I agree in principle, I still think it's a bit of red herring.

      I'm starting by assuming everyone would--give the chance--be empathetic to those outside their "tribe", but the system makes it harder then it should be -- decrying a lack of empathy puts the onus on people rather then the system. The system is probably not he best phrase, maybe society, or a power structures that exists in politics or whatever the issue is related to.

      So many of the instances where basic empathy is felt out of the equation come from the top down; war, climate change controversy, smoking killing, contraception, etc. As far as I can see, these are all pushed from the top down, the agenda of a narrow few. Now, they're probably acting out of what they feel is necessity, and that's really the thing that needs changing.

      I say that, but I also see the counter argument, the BLM movement for instance is the response to a broken system and it's, at least partially fueled by people's empathy. But by god is it slow to affect change, and only really because they've started speaking the system's language -- which isn't empathy, but rather property destruction and economic impact.

      4 votes
  5. Gaywallet
    (edited )
    Link
    Nothing should be gendered. The fact that we, often subconsciously, judge others based on their gender. This has already been brought up in the theme of 'stoicism' and the male role, but it is not...

    Nothing should be gendered. The fact that we, often subconsciously, judge others based on their gender. This has already been brought up in the theme of 'stoicism' and the male role, but it is not limited to just this. Women who are assertive are treated worse than women who are not just like men who are assertive are rewarded and men who care about emotions are chastised. Clothes are a form of expression and expression is not limited to gender role.

    We should put more emphasis on education, and our education should be tailored less towards the college mill system that we currently have and more towards skills that can benefit everyone regardless of what job they have. No school class ever taught me how to communicate effectively, how to have a healthy relationship, how to interact collaboratively with peers and school did a terrible job preparing me to critically self evaluate, provided no psychological tools such as CBT, did a bad job on teaching me to think critically, and did nothing to help me understand and respect diversity.

    Other things I don't feel like explaining in too much depth: Wealth disparity, the idea that people need to work 40 hours in a week, the idea that individuals with wealth will use rather than horde it, the idea that anyone deserves significantly more than others (participation should be rewarded and people who put a lot in should get a lot out, but no one deserves the kind of wealth Gates or Bezos have), the idea that book smarts are the only way to judge someone's importance or contributions to society, a general lack of human compassion, the tolerance for hate speech and general intolerance, a society too heavily focused on itself (think: history classes), fuck you I got mine mentality being okay, and the idea that its okay to sacrifice liberty for security.

    9 votes
  6. [4]
    krg
    Link
    Hmm... maybe the norm about raising a Nuclear family? People may think you're an irresponsible hedonist if you don't wanna settle down with a family. I mean, like.. yea.. I am. But isn't...

    Hmm... maybe the norm about raising a Nuclear family?

    People may think you're an irresponsible hedonist if you don't wanna settle down with a family. I mean, like.. yea.. I am. But isn't recognizing this and not settling down the actual responsible thing? More than that, I enjoy my freedom. I can go for long walks/runs/exercise, read for hours, practice guitar/make music, watch dumb-ass Youtube videos (on occasion), etc. without having to worry about scheduling time for others. Very self-centered, I suppose. And it's not like I never make time for others... But settling down with someone sounds a bit draining, for someone like me. I very much thrive in my alone-time.

    Maybe that'll change this year... 2020: the year of shake-ups!

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      UniquelyGeneric
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      As someone who is single and living on their own I can attest to having plenty of time to live life on my time. Much like traveling abroad, having to account for someone else’s schedule can take...
      • Exemplary

      As someone who is single and living on their own I can attest to having plenty of time to live life on my time. Much like traveling abroad, having to account for someone else’s schedule can take the fun out of things, both from lack of spontaneity and differences in tastes.

      That being said, I do hope to one day settle down with someone else, but only if that person can complement my life rather than become it. I’ve already established myself and defined what my interests/hobbies are. I’m not saying that a SO has to share the same interests, but I have to be free to explore these things without feeling like I must sacrifice my personality for the sake of the relationship. This was one of the main reasons I ended things with my ex: spending time together felt like a constant chore that removed me from all the things that make me interesting. I feel like it was due to the norm of “settling down” that seemed to strip me of any agency. Relationships are a compromise, for sure, but life’s goal shouldn’t be the relationship itself. Rather, the goal should be to explore and appreciate life’s possibilities, with the relationship empowering more experiences instead of hindering them.

      A more recent realization, however, that I can’t seem to shake is that I may have decided I don’t want to have any children. During some of the darker moments this pandemic I went through the stages of grief with giving up hope for a better world for my (nonexistent) children. I can’t come to bear the thought that 30 years from now a child I have today would see tragedies on a massive scale due to climate change, wealth disparity, (civil) war, or worse. I’m tormented by the idea that my child would someday ask me “so you knew that all these terrible things would happen, and you decided to have me anyways?...you knew?!”. I’ve struggled with my own angst this quarantine about issues that have yet to fully manifest themselves. I can’t imagine the existential dread to see them occurring in real-time.

      One of my friends recently announced they were having a child. This was in the middle of the California fires (one of which started by a gender reveal), where the expectant mother couldn’t even walk outside due to the health hazard. I could barely muster the enthusiasm to give a meek congratulations, when all I could think of is “now?! You see all the uncertainty in the world, and you decided to have a kid now?!”.

      I can’t even espouse my newfound perspective to my friends, many of which are in new relationships (I can’t tell you how many have recently adopted dogs as the first step to getting kids), without coming across as a downer / doomer. It’s been said the best thing you can do to combat climate change is to not have kids, and yet it seems like doing so would put the world on a spiral towards Idiocracy. I’d much rather live my life with a potential SO where we could focus on each other’s happiness, and not have to spend our most productive years hoarding away wealth for a college degree that might be worthless in the long run.

      I don’t know, perhaps having been a child of divorce and seen many failed marriages in my family has made me cynical of the American Dream. Perhaps the fact that I’m still single while all my friends have followed the traditional nuclear family route makes me feel late to the party. Either way, I think it’s a worthwhile discussion that society needs to address without stigmatizing the decision to go childless. If anything, it may start a conversation about the value of keeping a relatively recent tradition (nuclear families) alive in the post-modern age.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        papasquat
        Link Parent
        The world has always been uncertain. It seems horrible right now because well, we're living it. People had kids during the holocaust, in chattel slavery, during the crusades, the black plague,...

        “now?! You see all the uncertainty in the world, and you decided to have a kid now?!”.

        The world has always been uncertain. It seems horrible right now because well, we're living it. People had kids during the holocaust, in chattel slavery, during the crusades, the black plague, countless wars. Most of those kids end up happy at some points in their lives for having existed. I know that despite all the fucked up stuff in the world, I'm happy that I exist and I'm glad my parents had me.
        Even if society completely collapses into barbarism in 50 years, there will still be glimmers of happiness that people have. I don't mean to say you're wrong for not wanting to have kids or anything.
        I'm just saying that the idea that you shouldn't have kids because of how bad the world is isn't a new idea. Most of the time it turns out OK though.

        10 votes
        1. UniquelyGeneric
          Link Parent
          Fair point. I think the point I was trying to make about having a kid “now” is that it just seems like something that could wait a few more months. Long term, if climate change is going to become...

          Fair point. I think the point I was trying to make about having a kid “now” is that it just seems like something that could wait a few more months. Long term, if climate change is going to become an increasingly impactful issue, there could be an argument that there’s never going to be a better time to have a kid except now while it’s still only a looming threat.

          Given that we don’t know when a vaccine will be available, we don’t know when we will get out of quarantine / exit the recession, and we don’t even know if there will be a peaceful transition of the presidency, I would personally wait a bit before committing my life to something as significant as a child. I would at least want an idea of what to expect out of the next 4 years while I’m raising my kid.

          Perhaps I’m just overthinking things, though. I don’t even know if my friend’s child was “planned”. It is a social norm after all because, despite struggles undertaken for millennia, life, uhh...finds a way.

          2 votes
  7. sron
    Link
    Following on from a couple of other comments... uniform and dress codes here in the UK and especially in schools. Other countries are much less restrictive with this, and the only benefit I've...

    Following on from a couple of other comments...

    • uniform and dress codes here in the UK and especially in schools. Other countries are much less restrictive with this, and the only benefit I've heard for it is for people with low incomes who can't afford nice clothes might be bullied for it. Maybe it would help if people didn't have to pay for expensive uniforms?
    • work/life balance, and the general acceptance that worse is better. 4-day weeks would be a significant improvement for a lot of people if it became at least an option everywhere.
    5 votes
  8. papasquat
    Link
    Complaining about things. I can't stand people who constantly complain and aren't even embarrassed about it. It's a little cold in the room. That guy disrespected me. I'm bored. I don't feel...

    Complaining about things. I can't stand people who constantly complain and aren't even embarrassed about it.

    It's a little cold in the room. That guy disrespected me. I'm bored. I don't feel fulfilled at my job. I don't like the movie I'm currently watching. My life didn't turn out how I wanted it to. The lights are too bright. My car is making a noise.

    I'm tired of hearing about most of it, especially when most of the people that complain about stuff haven't even tried doing a single thing to fix the things that bother them enough to tell another person about it. I don't know how people aren't ashamed of themselves by just immediately dumping their problems on other random people without even so much as attempting to fix it themselves. Either fix the problem, ask someone for help fixing the problem, or if you're really dead set on not actually doing anything about the thing that supposedly bothers you so much, tell either your significant other or someone who you pay to listen to you complain about it.

    Yes, I realize that this post is also a complaint, but you asked.

    5 votes
  9. post_below
    Link
    I appreciate some of the comments here about our traditional ideas of the male relationship to feeling. That definitely needs to change, is changing. I think it would be just as valid to apply...

    I appreciate some of the comments here about our traditional ideas of the male relationship to feeling. That definitely needs to change, is changing.

    I think it would be just as valid to apply that to society at large. Women (stereotypically) have a better relationship with their own emotions and those of others, but that's compared to stereotypical men, it's an absurdly low bar.

    I'd love to see both emotional intelligence and the exploration of metacognition in general get a higher spot on our list of cultural priorities. Everything a society does is an indirect result of the self awareness (and resulting empathy) of it's members. That's sort of a big statement which I should support but I have to run and it does follow from first principles so I'll leave it for now.

    5 votes
  10. joplin
    Link
    Positivity. This probably isn't a problem in other places, but here in the US there is this relentless desire in many people to make everything a positive experience. I believe that the world...

    Positivity. This probably isn't a problem in other places, but here in the US there is this relentless desire in many people to make everything a positive experience. I believe that the world mainly moves forward by people noticing something negative and doing something about it, whether it's something social, or something mechanical, or something else. That isn't to say people should be rude or shouldn't feel happiness, but this forced, fake happiness that is blasted at us through the media does nothing to make the world a better place and actively makes it worse. It encourages people not to look at the things that are wrong. And if you don't notice a problem, you're very unlikely to fix it.

    5 votes
  11. [3]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    A lot of the stuff here (I know you asked that so it's probably boring to you) seems to fit. As for something new, we should probably just try to humanize and try to understand a lot of...

    A lot of the stuff here (I know you asked that so it's probably boring to you) seems to fit.

    As for something new, we should probably just try to humanize and try to understand a lot of contribution-related careers a lot more, such as:

    "Scientist" (most academic careers like biologist, psychologist, economist, for example etc.)

    "Journalist" (anyone who works on "the fourth estate")

    "Historian" (anyone who does research into the past, especially if they try to infer something about the future with it)

    "Expert" or "Intellectual" (as in "Experts say...")

    Anyone who has ever written a sufficiently long non-fiction book, or article

    Anyone who does YouTube for a living, particularly if they make educational content

    And in some cases:

    Developer (most kinds will do in most places)

    The amorphous blob of Wikipedia (not a career but still super important to know how it works)

    Maybe managerial positions but I don't really know if they deserve sympathy.

    A lot of these careers aren't really understood by people and when someone involved in them talks about something, they're often either received in a "this guy is at the top and gives me stuff in some way" sense or rejected entirely on ground of trust which is bad, and (more importantly) if these fields are manipulated, people aren't able to tell.

    Oh yeah, and we also should probably stop valuing jeans so much. I'm not exactly sure what's the basis of it. I guess corporations like discomforted people?

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      papasquat
      Link Parent
      Isn't basically every job a contribution-related career? I mean, that's what people give money to other people for, generally.

      Isn't basically every job a contribution-related career? I mean, that's what people give money to other people for, generally.

      2 votes
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        That's true, so I need to elaborate. For the jobs I listed above, their contribution is very often knowledge or information, rather than anything material for example. Information and knowledge...

        That's true, so I need to elaborate.

        For the jobs I listed above, their contribution is very often knowledge or information, rather than anything material for example. Information and knowledge are/should be obviously super important but noone really understands how those things are... (...uhh, Uncovered?) So we often can't really tell if a news or scientifc article or is wrong or biased or not or (more importantly), how the people that do this stuff can be (are being) stressed and produce worse quality stuff (which, since we're talking knowledge, has some horrible implications) or can be manipulated/corrupted by bad actors.

        3 votes