Society is, by definition, a group of people who live in the same area who tend to follow the same standards. Society influences people to follow their expectations, because it is thought of as the right way to live. Due to this influence, society has a negative impact on the individuals who are a part of it. Society forces conformity on others, has individuals acting selfish, and lowers self-esteem which ultimately has a negative effect on individuals. Society influences people into conformity. Conformity means to be or become similar in form, nature, or character. A huge type of conformity is peer pressure. Like a student being coerced into trying marijuana. In the school society, students often pressure others into doing drugs or alcohol. Since they do not want to feel left out, the student is forced into doing so in order to fit in. Along with peer pressure, people also struggle to fit in through fashion statements. For example, a student feels compelled by her peers to buy the latest, expensive hand bag.
Fashion is a subtle form of conformity because it is not the individual who decides what is fashionable, but society. Since the student sees others buying the bag, she is influenced that even though it is expensive, it is okay, because she is able to fit in that way. Another example of conformity would be segregation. Segregation means setting apart or separating things or people. In a school cafeteria, it is noticeable that certain groups have their own section; blacks, whites, Asians, etc. In high school, this type of segregation is taught that it is okay, because it allows you to be with your own kind. But it also fails to let you experience other cultures, and meet more people. New students are then influenced by the older students to continue with the cycle of segregation. Because society influences its members to conform to its ideals through peer pressure and segregation, it has a negative impact on the individuals. Society as a whole is also selfish. Selfish means to be limited to or caring only about one’s self and one’s own needs and opinions.
A way that you could be selfish is by only caring about obtaining money. In this society, many people only care about becoming rich, and do not care about who they have to step on in order to gain money. This is also recognized as okay because they are earning a lot of money. Since many people are willing to harm other in order to make it to the top, shows that they are selfish. The people who only care about becoming rich are similar to those who take advantage of other people so they do not have to do hard work. For example, in a group of three people who are working on a project, two of them have to suffer because one person refuses to come to work. The third person, who does not come to work, still receives the same amount of pay as the other two who are working hard on the task. Since the third person is willing to take partial credit and wages for not doing an assignment and not solely credit the other two, shows selfishness. Other than handing in work as your own, another selfish example in society would be protesting outside an abortion clinic and calling everyone inside “murderers.”
In our society, we call women who do not follow God’s plan to have babies “selfish,” when in reality; those against abortion are the ones who are selfish. Since women are expected to bare children, society is selfishly forcing them to do so, and trying to deny them the rights to their own bodies. If people are selfishly willing to hurt people in order to succeed, take credit for other peoples work, and reject abortionists because they think it is the right way to live, then they are negatively affecting individuals in the society, because they are convinced that, that way of life is acceptable. A final way that society has a negative effect on individuals is that they can lower self-esteem. Self-esteem is a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth, a.k.a., their confidence. One of the major self-esteem issues that individuals suffer with is body image. People today look at celebrities in magazines and usually wish that they could look like them. Or, they see their friend with the nice muscles, or the toned legs and feel that since they do not have them, they are not as good as them. Because of this, it causes their confidence to drop.
Along with body image, bullying is another way to lower an individual’s confidence. For example, a nerdy kid gets made fun of when walking into class because their back pack is very big. Since he feels that he is different from everyone else, his appraisal of himself decreases and he starts to feel like he is worthless. And finally, a way that society can reduce someone’s self-esteem is excessive criticism. Such as when a child is repeatedly told that they are no good. Because they are always being told that they are worthless, consequently, they soon start to feel this way. When society is constantly pushing a body image that makes individuals lose confidence, or when someone is being bullied or being excessively criticised, then an individual’s self-esteem will decrease, which is negative because they feel like they do not belong in this society. In summary, society’s effect on the individual is negative. Society influences its members to conform to its ideals through peer pressure and segregation, is selfish in thinking that only their corrupt actions are acceptable, and lowers individual’s self-esteem. Society needs to embrace everyone’s ideal, and the choices they make in their lives in order to not leave a negative impact on the individual.