Conformity: the state of having changed yourself to match the appearances and/or personalities of those around you. In many cases, people feel the need to conform because they wish to feel a part of something bigger than them. This is unfortunate however, because it robs people of their individuality and their free will. Without individual creativity and self-expression, a lack of ideas results, leaving a dull and uncultured society, and possibly a group of people making bad decisions because a few people who appear to be “hip” are making them. In the following essay, I will discuss the negative impact that conformity has on society. I will use examples from my own experience, as well as the experiences and ideas documented by others in essays and film.
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To ride the bandwagon or live without friends, those were the two choices I was given as a child growing up in elementary school. By the time I hit third grade, there were no cliques like there are in high school and college; you were either part of the “in” crowd or you weren’t. If you weren’t wearing the same designer clothing and an all-star in sports, then you weren’t cool enough to associate with. Because I did not bend soon enough to the whims of the “in” crowd, I was teased mercilessly and left friendless. I did want to be cool and have friends, but since I was labeled “uncool” early, I was never given that second chance. I felt so pressured to be liked that I would do anything that I was told to do, just to have someone to play with, only to be left alone and laughed at anyway. This ceaseless taunting left me dejected and with low self-esteem, and stunted the maturity of my social skills. I was afraid to express myself in school for fear of being laughed at, so I would keep to myself. Because of the pressure of others to conform, my individuality was suppressed.
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