What is society telling us and why should we listen?

There is a phrase that seems to say a lot but in reality is practically meaningless. The phrase is “society tells us.” Stop me if you have challenged this phrase. Whose society is this? Am I part of the society? In reality there are many different societies. They are almost as common as neighborhoods. And one could live in a particular neighborhood while being part of a larger society. You could be a part of the society of Jewish lesbians while living in Queens, New York. While there, you meet a fine looking woman from Staten Island and after a fun loving courtship decide that you would like to marry her. In today’s New York, that would be fine. The governor, the mayor and several other politicians probably walk in the gay pride parades. Does that mean that marriage equality is universally accepted? No, both of these women may come from families that were hoping she would find the right man one day.

Or while their parents may have accepted their daughter’s choices, maybe there are uncles and aunts who won’t. Perhaps even business owners will object. There have been stories of bakeries refusing to serve gay couples. One store closed it’s shop because news spread about the owners’ bigotry and people began a boycott. The owners vowed to fight on making cakes on the sly from their home free from the prying eyes of society.

In this example we see that society has many different sides. There are people who are accepting of more points of view , that gays, lesbians and transsexuals are equal under the law and those belong back in the days when the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a disease. Our attitudes are in flux. And remember there is no one universal society to which we all belong. And lastly, we are not passively accepting information from our societies, but change agents. Each time that we receive new information we process it and decide whether to accept or reject it. Thus we are able to help shape society’s views.



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