No Expiration Date on Fun!
Ciao lovelies! Today I have an opinion piece for you about societal expectations, breaking the norm, and having fun!
This post was inspired by many anonymous comments criticizing my hobbies. Their main argument is that I am too old to enjoy things like dolls and Monster High. So I’m here to explain my opinion on this matter! And, acknowledging that I am putting my opinion on the internet, I know that somehow, some anonymous person will find fault with it. So forewarning, I’m not answering any “trolling” comments, meaning if your only commentary is “lol ur lame for liking dolls” you’ll be respectfully ignored. Let’s get into it!
Part 1- Acknowledging Societal Influences
I’d like to begin by acknowledging the depth of influence that society has on the individual. To understand this, we must understand the different levels of society. Every country is a society, states inside that country are also societies within the main society, then counties and cities, etc, etc.. Where someone comes from will influence what societal norms they were affected by.
A common societal expectation in American society (and the one we’re focusing on in this piece) is the idea of what it means to be an adult, and that adults can’t enjoy “childish” things.
In the earlier days of American society, there were very rigid expectations and ideas on what it meant to be a bonafide adult. But around the 1960’s-1970’s, this rigid construct became a lot more flexible, and as time moved forward, different lifestyles became legitimized for the “American Adult.” Fun became not only allowed, but encouraged, and not just the boring kinds of fun either. The ideas for what was a legitimate recreational pursuit for the American Adult were wildly diverse and interesting.
But even though we have come so far in terms of these ideas, society has still maintained a talon grip on certain biases and ideals for “true adults.” The main ideal that is still foolishly upheld by society that I want to open dialogue about today is this old-world notion that things marketed towards children can’t be enjoyed by adults.
Part 2- On a Personal Level
To bring things back to the point of the piece, let’s make it personal. I enjoy many “childish” hobbies. I unironically like Monster High, the show, movies, and merchandise. The message behind it is really great; celebrating diversity and being yourself, and being proud of your heritage.
They even have an episode teaching viewers not to be patronizing towards people with disabilities.
Something like Monster High, with such a good message and great lessons, shouldn’t be limited to children! I think some adults need these lessons too.
Part 3- A Return to Generalization
To continue, let’s return to a general sense. There are many “Children-oriented” things that can be enjoyed by adults. One of these is the hobby of collecting dolls!
Despite how common it is for adults to collect dolls, there is still a social stigma attached to it. Many different media portray adult doll collectors as creepy, mentally unstable, possibly violent or predatory people. Just look at Criminal Minds, where they had an episode where a woman accidentally kills other women trying to make herself new dolls. (Not that I’m saying I dislike Criminal Minds, but they do perpetuate some mental illness and societal stereotypes.)
In reality, adult doll collectors are usually quite normal. Some may collect dolls for photography purposes, some are parents who collect dolls with their children, some repaint the doll’s faces to create beautiful works of art, some may just enjoy dolls.
Similarly, video game use by adults used to be heavily stigmatized, adults who played video games were seen as nerds, shut-ins, or losers: Now, there are many jobs in the video game industry, and a legitimate possibility of success via playing video games on platforms like YouTube or Twitch.
Thinking of changing standards brings me to…
Part 4- Breaking The Norms
To think about breaking a societal norm/expectation scares most people, and for good reasons. Society is very protective of its norms, and has developed methods to protect them, much like a mama bear with her cubs.
But we shouldn’t fear backlash from expressing ourselves! Society is crafted, controlled, and run by those within the society, meaning that WE, you reading this, your friends, your family, me: We have the power to change society, and we should.
What do you all think? Do you agree that adults shouldn’t be stigmatized for liking “childish” things? Do you think hobbies shouldn’t be labelled based on age? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing your opinions, or even if you have other ideas, links, articles, etc!
Thank you for reading!
I have found that I really enjoy writing opinion pieces. Do you all enjoy reading them? Let me know!