Individualist or Conformist?

John Stuart Mill

In my Communication Studies 101 class we were discussing how society pretty much decides what you can and cannot do. Well if you let it. We touched on the different ways advertising makes you believe that you are being different and you are being an individual, but in reality you aren’t. We discussed how this idea of being an individual is really a way of trying to get you to conform to a general target audience to get you to start buying their product and other products like it. While going through my notes from this lecture, I automatically thought of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty chapter 3.

I think his idea of what being an individual is really hit home with me because so many people in our society think they know what being an individual is and what it entails, but I honestly don’t think they do. In this chapter he really highlights on the fact that we have the right to do what we please and not have to answer to a group of people for permission, that human improvement requires “freedom and variety of situations”. I feel like if people understood that and excepted that, then our mass media world would be a lot different. I think a lot of the categories and groups that society tries to box us in would be less detrimental to us and less harmful to people if they followed this way of thinking. I know it probably won’t happen, but it’s just something I thought about when I was reading the information in the text.

I think society spends so much time on placing us into categories. I don’t think it spends enough time celebrating our differences and our individuality because when people think of differences they think of weird or outcast. I think that’s ridiculous, we should be able to celebrate ourselves and individuality without feeling like we won’t be socially excepted.


One thought on “Individualist or Conformist?

  1. I liked your post because I agree with everything you said for the most part. I think you should separate or define what you mean by individuality and what context. Whether you are talking about personalities, societal thinking, to the way that you dress. In terms of media conveying individuality, in some instances when people start announcing individuality, its looses its purpose. For example fashion trends sometimes start off as something an individual does but its catching others eyes because it different causing more people to wear it.


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