WHAT IS 'BEING NORMAL?'
Today's article is a rant triggered by a very familiar person in my life. I asked him, ''what is being normal?", and according to him, being normal is not doing something abnormal. I was confused by this answer, mostly because I found it to be quite vague.Further inquiries made him to elaborate more by giving examples. For instance, he told me that men plaiting their hair is abnormal, men wearing earrings is also abnormal. I got the gist of what he was trying to imply.
The whole concept of ' being normal' is doing what is generally 'acceptable' by society. What most people forget is that this varies from one society to another. In other words, what one society states to be normal, would be considered abnormal by another. For instance, in some Central and South Asian cultures, marrying a cousin is normal. However, the rest of the world considers this as incest which is a great taboo, and terms the practice as abnormal.
In my own opinion, I believe that the term normal is just another word used to discriminate against people who are different. It is a way to ostracize them, and make them feel that they are outcasts, hence abnormal. The whole idea of not living up to societal standards limits one's potential, since one is not allowed to venture out of of the box for fear of being cast aside.
This misguided notion by society of distinguishing what is normal, and what isn't has led to people being denied their rights as well as oppressed. For instance, here in Africa, men inherit property and women do not. That is what is considered normal by many societies. However, is it right? What denies women the right to inherit property? That is food for thought.
I also think that the whole concept of ‘normality’ is brought about by fear of the unknown. We fear what we do not understand, therefore we stick to a defined pattern of doing this. However, where is the fun in that? I believe that walking in someone else's shoes can give you a better insight of why they do certain things. Sitting on the periphery and judging others will solve nothing, try understanding people before placing labels on them.
This is my two cents on the matter. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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