Something that often affects our mental health before we realize the harm that it causes…

 

I recently read an article titled “Why I am Leaving Guyland”, which discusses the changing image of masculinity today, reflecting the bigger and more disturbing themes of how narcissistic, materialistic and morally disgraceful our society has become. The article speaks about how men today are often out to please themselves and improve their public image, based on popular societal norms, rather than focusing on meaningful self-fulfillment or raising a family. They commonly use harmful and vulgar ways to “feel like men.” These include drinking, smoking, and carousing. . The “Guyland” article also hints that materialism hurts society. It points to “guysploitation” media like Maxim, FHM, and Spike TV, which sends men messages about how important it is to materially conform to the current culture among men in their twenties. Today, we spend more and have more material possessions, but communicate less. Young people are defining themselves more and more by the products that they buy and the name brands of the clothing that they wear. Companies are playing on this trend by advertising these things to their young customers, hinting to them that they will be “cool” if they buy this or that item. As if the only thing that represents who you are is the items that you own. I wonder where all of the self-esteem issues of today come from. (“I’m not as good as everyone else because I don’t own Prada or Ralph Lauren!” Go cry me a river.) For that matter, how would you define “everyone else”? There is a subset of people that actually try to live meaningful lives that are not fully based on materialism. Not every single person tries to be a part of this culture, even though a large number of people do. Sometimes it just seems like completely 100% of all people are part of this money-hugging society. Perhaps the marketers are the ones trying (and succeeding in) making us feel this way. Well they are doing a good job. Anyway, there are truly successful individuals – a lot of society would think I am crazy for calling them truly successful – who focus on being fulfilled and productive members of society, helping others and perhaps having their own families, rather than trying to elevate themselves to a state at which society would view them as successful. But unfortunately, according to “Why I am Leaving Guyland”, men who marry are commonly considered “freakish, fuddy-duddy, and frequently religious.” As a result of the focus on elevating oneself at the expense of trying to respect and help others, our society’s moral fabric has changed. Acts that were once considered out-of-the-question are now acceptable in some circles. For example, this article states that according to a 2005 UCLA study, 20 percent of college guys would rape someone if they knew they wouldn’t be caught. This indicates how much our moral order has decreased. As important as freedom is, people must keep in mind their responsibilities for the common welfare. Even though the First Amendment allows for one to technically say almost anything, society still shouldn’t continue to approve of the fact that children and teenagers today have a nearly unlimited amount of access to violent movies and music with obscene words and ideas and often act upon these messages that they receive. Our society should focus on morality and true fulfillment, rather than self-aggrandizement. Then people will be happier. And hopefully our suicide rates will decrease.