The media – any kind of media (newspaper, movies, internet, books, etc.) – can truly be the absolute worst when it comes to trying to figure out who the heck you are in the world and where you fit in. Actually, the whole concept of needing to “fit in” or “conform” is the problem. Society tells you what they want you to look like, dress like, how they want you to act, where they want you to live, who you’re supposed to love, and how you’re supposed to plan out and live your life. How does society do this? By way of the media. The media is extremely persuasive. They’re paid to be. Their job is to make sure big ideas (and little ideas) really stick in your head – so much so that you start thinking it was your idea to begin with. Now, this can be true when it comes to anything, whether we’re talking about people thinking they need to shave their legs, to people thinking they need to be scared of North Korea. Some things are more elaborate scare tactics and are used for political gain, but the stuff I’m talking about is so ingrained in our society that you probably don’t even realize that it’s something people could have a say over, or even that there are other options to consider.
Now, when it comes to shaving your legs that’s completely up to you. Society seems to think you have to shave them. Like your hair will just keep growing and growing until your legs are so covered and so hairy that you’ll fall over and get lost in it. But it really doesn’t matter either way. The media tells women that they aren’t beautiful unless they shave their legs, that when they find Prince Charming he won’t be interested because without shaved legs you’re hideous. Well that’s complete bullshit. It’s just hair. A lot of guys don’t give a shit about it. I don’t shave my legs because I don’t see the point of it. It’s just something super repetitive and you spend more money buying new razors and cream all the damn time. Why waste my money? I do, however, have my arm pits, because those actually irritate me when there is hair in there. It’s all scratchy and distracting. It’s inside a crease though, what kind of a genius biological trait is that?
Most likely none of you give a shit about what I have to say about shaving your legs. I don’t care. Shave, don’t shave. They’re your legs, not mine. But where this correlates into polyamory is the concept of needing to look beautiful for “Prince Charming”. We are told from a very young age that someday we’ll find the one and fall in love and get swept off our feet and somehow that makes everything in our lives fall into place. It isn’t the whether or not you should be changing yourself to be beautiful part that we need to deal with here – of course you don’t. You’re gorgeous the way you are. It’s the idea that what our lifelong goal is, is to find Prince Charming.
For some reason it doesn’t seem to matter as much what our career is, whether or not we have hobbies, what those hobbies are, if we’re happy by ourselves, or even whether there is a war or poverty or any other number of things going on in the world. We’re not taught to care about others, we’re taught to care about ourselves (well, specifically one part of ourselves – our love life). I’m going to tell you right now – your love life is not the only thing that matters. You don’t have to give up your career goals for love. You don’t have to give up traveling the world, or any other number of things, just because you’ve found someone you enjoy spending time with. This focus on not only finding the one but finding them right now is preposterous. Our selves as individuals matter as well. But we aren’t taught how to be happy with just ourselves, we aren’t taught how to be happy when we’re alone, are we?
Well…why aren’t we taught about how to love ourselves? I’m not 100% sure. I’m certain it probably has something to do with any number of religious movements. If sex before marriage is a sin, then you better get married quick before you have any sex (because man I bet you’re wanting to have sex, you pleasure-driven maniac, stop thinking about your needs or the things that’ll make you feel god). Our societal norms are based off of morals, many of which come from religious texts. So, ultimately, religion wants you to focus on your love life. It’s telling you “if you don’t conform to the plan we’ve laid out for you, then you’ll be sure to sin. And if you sin, then you’ll go straight to hell.” Everyone is afraid of going to hell, so they make sure what they are doing is morally correct and what everyone around them is doing is morally correct. And if they see someone deviating from what they assume is morally correct, they better correct them, or else.
The media makes sure you know how to go along the moral path. And in doing so they can sell you any number of products or ideas, telling you that it’s what you want. They pose questions on commercials like they’re facts. “You don’t want to be left out, so of course you need to purchase this.” They sell you ideas of beauty and coolness, as if being beautiful and cool were the only things that could possibly get you through childhood and adolescence. They hit adults with the same crap, but by that point the main scare is about being different. You’ve known your whole life that being different is a bad thing. So they monopolize that thought and they spin it out of control. They don’t want you to do something? They’ll tell you how outcast you’ll be if you do. So you make sure not to do it. Alright, so you’ve got avoidance of strange and unusual things down. But what about things you’re already doing that maybe you don’t really want to be? You think that’s just the course that life takes right? Grandma Betty fed you her line of “you have to keep on track,” and you’ve heard many, many times about how “when (she) was your age” … yadda yadda yadda. So much has been shoved down your throat since you were born (possibly even before that) that you never really have had time to stop and think about whether or not any of it makes sense. “That’s just the way it is,” you say.
I’m going to tell you right now, nothing is just “the way it is”. Things can always, and do always, change. Don’t get caught up in their crap. The reason you’re so worried about not fitting in is because you don’t fit in. And you know what? You don’t have to. You really shouldn’t, in fact. Conforming to society’s norms only helps society repress any other options. Society doesn’t want anything outside of itself to form – then it would no longer have control over you. So, what’s wrong with the classic “til death do us part” line that accompanies many movies about marriage? Well…besides the fact that it’s a lie (so many people get divorced these days anyway), it’s also propaganda designed to focus you on finding the love of your life. Which, you must do, remember? Because that’s just the way life is.
Do you really even want to get married? What does marriage even mean for you? What does it even really do for you? Do you want the big house and the nice car and the children? Do you even like children? If you get married are you then obligated to have children? Of course, the media says, everyone wants to get married. It’s what you’ve always dreamed of. This is exactly what you want, just like everyone else does. You are like everyone else. Your friends are all doing it… Honey, I hope you realize that it’s just peer pressure (in a different, much larger, form, of course). Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to listen to peer pressure? But pressure coming from her was okay. And if it was pressure coming from a teacher it was okay. And if it was pressure coming from your boss, then that was okay too. It’s only bad if it’s pressure from your friends (those people who know you really well, they can’t possibly want what is best for you). It’s only bad if it’s pressure to do something against what your mom wants, against what your teacher wants, against what your boss wants. Then it’s peer pressure, and that is when it shouldn’t be listened to. Don’t listen to your own internal wants and needs and do things based on what you hear from your own head and heart. After all, mother knows best. …And where do you think mother got her ideas from I wonder… That’s right. The media. Because our society never fails to catch it’s prey – like millions of poor unsuspecting flies caught in a spider’s gigantic web.
Think for yourself. You’re polyamorous now – you’re cool and hip (at least I think so, not trying to brain wash you or anything). You don’t have to go with the flow anymore. You can do your own thing. Don’t let monogamous culture get to you. Maybe marriage, house, car, babies, dogs, etc. isn’t your thing. Maybe you don’t want to ride the relationship escalator. Maybe dating is enough for you. Maybe it doesn’t need to be in that order. Maybe none of it needs to exist at all. You can have just the house and the dogs. Or just the babies. Or just the car. Screw it, live nomadically, no need to be tied down anywhere. Live your life like an adventure. Shit, the possibilities are endless. And it’s 100% up to you. Most importantly, though, be true to yourself. There is a lot of crap out there telling you how you could live better, love better, be better. Don’t buy into it. Do what works for you. Try new things out. Scrap it if it doesn’t work. Try again. Be who you are. And allow the possibilities of the world to broaden your point of view and expand your mindset. You don’t have to be who they want you to be. Just. Be. Happy.