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“ Regular, usual, typical; ordinary, conventional”. This is the definition of normal. But is that really what society wants? Everybody fitting a certain standard, or doing the same thing because it’s “normal”? Nobody able to truely be themselves because it’s not typical or ordinary? Society’s definition of normal doesn’t define who we are. We don’t need to fit societies “normal”. Society is constantly promoting equality, but people who have disabilities are often changed or manipulated in social settings to make them appear “normal” and make other people more comfortable.
Why should we change ourselves to fit society’s “norm”?
Being “normal” has now become a bigger issue, it’s turned into a way for people such as therapists and psychologists to make more money. Now, this sounds awful, and it is, people gaining money in an attempt to make people with disabilities like everyone else, so they don’t stick out in society. They look at anyone who doesn’t fit into society’s “norm” as just another opportunity for them to get money.
Anyone who doesn’t fit into society’s “norm” is just another opportunity for them to get money. “Sadness, guilt, rage, disappointment, confusion, doubt, anxiety and other similar experiences and states are all expected and normal, given the nature and demands of life; except, that is, to mental health professionals, where those states and experiences become markers of abnormality and cash cows”.
In Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, almost the exact scenario occurs.
Professor Nemur uses Charlie Gordon’s condition, and tries to correct it, attempting to change who Charlie is, to make him not seem so different from everybody else. Trying to blend him into society’s standards. In the process of this experiment, Professor Nemur would be making money off of Charlie. Charlie is thought of as an experiment rather than a person. “Whole industries grossing billions of dollars are built on the words “normal” and “abnormal” and on the ideas of “well” and “disordered”. If we were to abandon the idea of disorders and mental illnesses all together “ What would they have and where would they be”. Medical professionals rely on these terms to stay in business, and continue to make money.
But would we be better off without these professionals all together? Would people be less critical of others if there wasn’t anyway people could change disabilities or mental illnesses? If professionals such as psychologists, and therapists didn’t get paid for these jobs they would be more likely to make an impact on the people they are helping because they aren’t in it for the money, they’re genuinely trying to help people. “We’ve narrowed healthy behavior so dramatically that our quirks and eccentricities– the normal emotional range of adolescence and adulthood–have become problems we fear and expect drugs to fix”. We have grown up in a world where we are judged for things we can’t control.
This could range anywhere from a disability, to a physical feature that people think is funny. We can’t do anything ourselves to fix these things, but society makes us feel as though we need to change due to the fact that others don’t accept the way we are. Do we really want to change for people we won’t see in 10 years? Society shames people for being different, but promotes equality. They expect people to get surgeries, act differently, seek medical attention because they don’t feel comfortable. It’s silly to think we need to alter ourselves for people, just because it draws attention to them. “Often it is relatively healthy people who feel defective.”We shouldn’t have to change because something about us makes other people uncomfortable, they should learn how to adapt to living with people who aren’t the same as them.
This has become an issue because people think that if they suggest something to someone that they’ll just do it, change because they told them too. But this shouldn’t be done. We shouldn’t even acknowledge comments like these, they don’t matter. People’s opinions don’t define us, we get to define us. Most of the problems society has along the lines of people with disabilities making them uncomfortable revolve around them not knowing how to act around them. People believe they need to pity anyone with a disability, or feel sorry for them. But they don’t really want that, they want to be treated along the same lines you would treat anybody else. Not wanting to be treated differently just because there’s something about them that you’re not used to. Albert Rizzi is a 45 year old who discovered he was blind after he had been in a coma for a month.
He had to relearn how to do everything without sight, and discover a whole new way of living. During this time he came to the conclusion that “Disability is imposed on me. Largely. By society’s fear of blindness”. People only see those with disabilities for their disabilities, the first assumption made is based on their disability. This shouldn’t be happening, and it needs to be changed. You wouldn’t see someone wearing a yellow shirt and treat them differently because they’re wearing a yellow shirt. So why should people with disabilities be treated differently. With physical and mental health “ It is often a bit difficult to separate the average and typical side of being normal and the normative, meeting standards side”.
Others may disagree with the statement society doesn’t define who we are, and may believe society does define who we are. Nobody wants to be on the outside, everyone wants to be included and will do anything to fit in, wanting to be “normal”. Media has showed us several examples of this. Some examples include: Can’t Buy Me Love, Geek Charming, and Clueless. In these movies, the main character doesn’t fit in, and wants to be part of the “normal” or “popular crowd” willing to do anything to get noticed, eventually changing themselves entirely to fit into what is considered society’s “norm”. A lot of people think that we become what society labels us. Labels are the first thing that people think of when they see you, they stick and become what you’re known for, something that distinguishes you from everyone else.
Everybody wants to be accepted, and liked, and to do that, we conform to society’s “norm”, which is what everyone says not to do. But can you really help it? Nobody wants to stick out in a social setting, they want to fit in and be like everybody else, so in some ways, society does define who we are. But it more so defines who we want to be. Society doesn’t define who we are, we shouldn’t have to fit society’s definition of “normal”. People are so quick to judge anyone who is different from them, they don’t give them a chance to prove that they are wrong. If everyone would do their own thing and not change for other people, most people wouldn’t judge anyone because people would realize that everybody is different and they aren’t going to change just because of one person’s opinion.
In high school, everybody worries about fitting in, and wants to be like everybody else. I think we shouldn’t worry about what everyone else is doing, and do what we want to do. Don’t wear the same things as everyone else, don’t act the same as somebody else, be yourself. High school shouldn’t define who we are. We shouldn’t let our peers or people around us tell us who we are or who we need to be. If we didn’t have to worry about fitting in, or what other people think about us, everyone would be much happier. People should be more accepting of everyone and not be so quick to judge people for being different from them.
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