What makes us care about what others think?


In my last article (why are obsessed with popularity), I briefly touched upon and asked why as a society (and more specifically, as a generation) truly care about what strangers think about us. The central theme of that article was the social construct of insecurity, and I wanted to sink my teeth into this question within that article, but I was already at 1500 + words, so I had to kind of leave it. Then last night when talking to Ash, I noticed on my Facebook a girl disapproving a photo she was tagged in when in a club because she felt fat. I tweeted about it, saying “Why do we even care about what people think about us when we know that deep down they couldn’t give a fuck?” Ash noticed this and asked me what it was about, and I explained the Facebook photo/comment that I saw and she suggested that I write an article about it.

So here I am, explaining and attempting to justify why I’m writing this. I have to stop myself and ask why. Why is it that I feel so concerned about what you guys think? I mean, yeah, I get it, you’re my audience. You come here for boobs and sport, primarily (well according to Google analytics, anyway). But at the end of the day, this is my blog. I should be able to write about whatever I feel like without worrying about what will be said behind my back. This is no different to the girl on my Facebook that should be able to feel confident about her body shape without being concerned about what others will see and think. A heavy emphasis should be placed on the word “should”. The reality is we do care. We are so worried about being “perfect” that it is actually very concerning. I should be able to write anything that I want without, in the back of my head, worrying about being misunderstood. I should be proud of this website. My friend should be able to go out and look however she wants without worrying about being “fat and ugly”. She should be proud of herself.

Instead, we are insecure.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here: we follow and we judge prematurely. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we aren’t wired like that biologically. This is all a social construct (yes, I do like that term). But seriously, primitively, we were not that different from animals. What we need in life is food, water, and shelter. That’s it. So how are our lives so complicated? Why is it that when a girl (or a guy) see’s themselves in a photo (when they’re having a good time, no less), they feel inadequate and embarrassed? I think it’s because we copy. We’ve copied the media and their hypocritical and fucked up mentality of judging and criticising everything in their path. We’ve also swallowed their idea of the perfect body, and more dangerously, the perfect mind. Girls think they’re fat when they can’t count every rib on their ribcage. They feel like they’re not beautiful unless they have DD or bigger size breasts. They feel like they can’t smile unless every tooth is 100% straight. (And guys, don’t worry. It’s starting to happen to us too. How are your abs going? Do you even lift? Do you even trim your body hair? How about moisturizing your skin? No, the pressure isn’t as bad for men yet, but it’s getting there) If you ever wondered why there is an epidemic of youth suicide, then maybe it’s the young people in the world who have given up on trying to live up to unrealistic body expectations placed on us by the media.

I should probably explain further: The media will sit down and dissect everything about a celebrity’s body image. “How old are they?” “Have they had plastic surgery?” “How dare they step foot in public when they haven’t done their makeup!” “When was the last time they went to the gym? I can see some fat!” The thing that repulses me the most is the people who criticise the most, are usually everything they are pointing out. Look at some of these dickhead “social commentators”: They’re usually completely filled up with plastic surgery themselves in an attempt to look younger, but that’s O.K., that’s them. If nothing else, the hypocrisy can be somewhat entertaining.

But it can also be dangerous. I said before that we follow. And after listening and watching the constant judging and ridicule on TV and the newspapers, I see the SAME kind of behaviour being emulated on social media and in real life. This isn’t done by journalists. It’s done by regular people. We have become a society of knocking people to their knees, staring at them with disgust, and then walking away, because it’s much easier than to extend ourselves and support them when they’re down. It’s funny (in a tragic sense) how ironic it is; people in society cares so much about what strangers may think of them, but are so ignorant (or arrogant) as to when family members and close friends are battling either physical sickness or mental illness. I hate to say this, but our priorities are so messed up, and it’s usually not until we go through genuine hardship (like a family member passing away) do we really realise the value of life. Life isn’t about getting likes on Instagram. Nor is it about getting the latest shoes/ phone/ car in an attempt to feel better about ourselves. It’s not about getting an athlete or musician or actor to follow us back on Twitter.

And if that’s what you’re chasing in life, I feel pretty sorry for you. Life is about the moments we spend with people that are our equals (we are all equals in the sense that we all the same right to live on this earth. I’m talking about equal in the sense that it is a reciprocal relationship. If you’re unsure, just ask yourself if the other person would do the same for you and be honest with it. Would Kobe Bryant buy your shoe? Would your favourite musician run up to you at the airport to get your photo? Would your favourite actor line up for hours to get your autograph? Would your childhood hero get giddy if you RT’d them on Twitter? If the answer is no, then why the fuck are you wasting your time seeking acceptance and acknowledgement from them? Maybe I’m just being an arsehole, I don’t know…), but yes, life is about our legacy and living the moment. It’s about laughing idiotically with our best friends over the most mundane of moments. It’s about telling the people that we love that we actually love them. It’s about showing the people that we actually love them. It’s about growing old with those people. It’s about bonding with our family as the years go on. It’s not about what we can gain or take from one another. Look, the world is huge. If you wanted to take anything (money, dreams, fame, etc.), you absolutely can. But does that make you happy? Of course not. I mean, it might some form of temporary solution. But in the long run, if we look for superficial happiness (like twitter followers, for example) do you think that makes a difference in the impact you leave on your life? Who is more productive in society in your opinion: someone who whores themselves out on social media or the person who volunteers themselves to hospitals and tries to improve the quality of life for those that are less fortunate?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to tell anyone how to think or act here. All I’m saying is next time you feel insecure about yourself because of what strangers might think, just stop and ask yourself this; why does it matter? Why does it matter what somebody who you will probably never engage with again thinks of you? Instead, focus your energy on enjoying yourself and creating memories with the people you love and care about. Life is not a competition. It’s not a chase. We’ve all been given this remarkable gift of life, so let’s not waste it on the mundane elements and seeking out adulation from people that couldn’t give two shits about us. Let’s make it special. Let’s make it better. Let’s enjoy it.