What has today’s hook-up culture done to our view of commitment?
Many articles have been written about America’s hook-up culture, or the youth’s tendency to skip past traditional forms of courtship. Traditionalists argue that the prevalence of social media and online dating sites like OK Cupid creates a generation of young adults who are ill-equipped to have long-lasting, mature adult relationships. Instead of a dinner and a movie, the new form of courtship takes form in the shape of an IM, a snap chat (messages that automatically delete themselves after a set time… so that anyone can now send nudie pics safely… que romantica!) or a direct message on Twitter. The lack of face-to-face interpersonal courtship, or the lack of need for, creates a culture where not showing up to a date is completely acceptable, because plans were arranged on Twitter, and plans made in 140 characters or less can just as easily be cancelled. On the other side of the argument though, some point out that the end of “courtship” is simply a result of a generation no longer hindered by old rules and expectations that are no longer relevant. The lack of rules and to-dos in how to create a relationship opens avenues for people to make connections in unexpected ways and places. Technology is here to enable connections, utilizing our resources to improve efficiency in our relationships is a good thing. Right?
Personally, I enjoy the lack of boundaries and guidelines in modern dating and in overall interpersonal relationships. I am by no means traditional, and while I don’t partake in online dating, I like the fact that if I wanted to, I wouldn’t be pegged a social stigma for creating an eHarmony profile. On the other hand, a part of me worries for our generation and our inability to commit to nearly anything. If we breed a culture where people come into our lives on a fast track, with little build-up or nurturing, then we are also breeding a culture where we let go of people just as easily. As a person who believes in partnership and loyalty, I often ponder on what my inner circle will look like 15, 20 years from now. And more importantly, I worry about the potential demise of my relationship and how maybe I live in a society that is structured to destroy it. Ultimately, each person is different and nothing is ever a one case fits all, but will our generation know how to hold on to something for good? Or is it a lost cause?
I recently watched the controversial film “Compliance”, a movie based on a true story about a a fast food restaurant who falls prey to a perverted prank called. Long story short, the prank called disguises himself as a cop over the phone and manages to convince the restaurant’s manager to enable and conduct multiple sexual offenses against an innocent 16 year-old employee. Sounds improbable, right? Except upon further research, the true story reveals that the real prank caller convinced 75 different locations to partake in his seemingly obvious perversion. The story plays out like a modern version of the Stanley Milgram electroshock studies in the sixties, and one has to wonder, have we not made any progress since then? Is social psychology simply so complex and powerful that no amount of lessons can affect change? For a nation that prides itself on freedom and liberty, how does any citizen manage to be tricked by a pretend cop? As an educated adult, I cringe and condescendingly gape at the stupidity of the managers who bought into the prank caller, reassuring myself that I am much smarter than that. But as days went by and the story of Compliance remained a fixture in my mind, I began to take note of my own habits of blinded obedience. For instance, my job requires occasional long hours which I don’t get overtime pay for. I’ve often justified to myself that everyone at my job works long hours, so no one is getting singled out and we should all work hard for the betterment of the company. But why? If one works more hours, one should get paid for those hours, no? Our predecessors worked hard to get laws pass to protect our right to get OT… why are we as a collective whole justifying ignoring those heroic efforts?
Have those that would benefit from our obedience done such a good job convincing us of our freedoms that we have become the most obedient group yet?
Seasonal depression is real!
For those who don’t know me, I moved to NY this past August. Up until these past few weeks, NY has been nothing but joy, inspiration and excitement. However, I’ve been catching myself staring at Instagram pictures of sunny palm trees and cascading Malibu waterfalls in LA a lot more often and with a lot more yearning. I’ve always heard about seasonal depression and frankly thought it was a boatload of bullsh-t, but I’m beginning to relate. While I’m no where near clinically depressed, I feel that the cold has made me more prone to having lower energy, doing less, eating more and as a result, weighing more, thus raising issues of insecurity. Enough about me though, the bigger issue is, how can organizations work to prevent or alleviate seasonal depression in areas where winters are brutal? As a brand, perhaps it’s as simple as sponsoring an indoor park? Or a nice little freebie here or there as a pick-me-up? This seems like it’s a pertinent issue to more than just myself, and I have yet to see a lot of brands address this. Just something to think about.