Nick - Fairfield, Connecticut
Entered on March 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Individuality Pd.6 Mr. Novack

My name is Nick Squier, and I believe in individuality and going against conformity. defines the word “conformity” as, “1.action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices, etc.” It also describes the word as obedience. Put those two definitions together and you get the obedience of social standards. Even though our rights as Americans are getting pulled out from under our nose without us noticing, an amazingly strong that we have is the right to be an individual.

In my school and town, if you look around chances are you will see someone dressed in “preppy” clothing in a large group of friends laughing and talking. But, if you look a little deeper, all of those kids look the same. Look even deeper and open your mind and you will see that they all act the same way and even almost go about their lives the same way. The way I see it, aside from the outside features, those kids are carbon copies of each other. Every one of them having this society drilled in their heads by their peers that this is the way to act and there is no better way of going about things. This is not individuality, but just a lot of people conforming.

Myself, I don’t wear those clothes, but clothes that are usually frowned down upon for, “being different” and or “weird”. Walking into study hall one day a student screamed across the classroom, “Look at that kids pants! They are so tight! What a freak!” By then I was used to people making me the center of their jokes, but in the back of my mind I knew that, that kid was the one who was the “freak”. I saw him as a freak because I knew that he had fallen to conformity and was just another fake person who copied everyone else and didn’t really follow his own heart or use his own brain. These might seem like irrational conclusions because I didn’t know him, but I knew how he acted. He follows the crowd and if one person jumps off the bridge, he will too.

Conformity is not just restricted to small parties; it is also in the biggest organization in our country, the government. Most, politicians aren’t stupid. They realize that conformity plays a major role in our society and say what the largest amount of people want and that’s how they get elected.

A few weeks ago my friends did something that is never seen in our country anymore. What they did is seen as unusual and irrational to most even though less than 40 years ago it was a common occurrence. In 2001, President Bush passed a pill that allowed the government to have more access to tap phone calls that they thought had relevance to “terrorist activity”. The bill the President passed is known as “The Patriot Act.” My two friends made duct-tape masks that were to be worn around their mouths. These masks had the words “Patriot Act” written on them with black marker. The thought is that President was not being truthful to the public and was not using this for terrorism prevention, but basically taking away the publics civil liberties and freedom of speech. By placing these duct-tape masks on themselves they are symbolically taping their mouths shut and sticking it to the man.

Another one of the many forms of conformity is religion. Before you are even born the family you are in has a specific religion. Whether you agree with it or not you are forced to be in that religion for the time being. This takes away from the individuality of a person right from the beginning of their life. With that being said, every one on earth has associated with conformity knowingly or unknowingly.

Acts of going against conformity, being yourself, and standing up for what you believe in and not having others tell you what to believe in are growing scarce in our country and without them people are going to start to be figuratively walked on. Without thinking for yourself and following the majority party can hurt you in the future. It doesn’t matter if you are choosing someone to run your country, applying for a college, or even picking out clothes to wear at the mall. All of these instances, big or small, are going to end up effecting you in some way, and you will probably end up regretting not following your gut instinct. By following your gut there is also no way of confusing yourself, for you know that what you want is the right thing for you.