The Normal Complex

By Olaide Akintola. Olaide lives in Ibadan, Nigeria. She is a writer, a blogger and a trained teacher. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

The term “Normal” according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary simply means typical, usual, ordinary, and what you would expect. Every society across the world prescribes to its citizenry what is considered normal within its context and boundaries and anyone who chooses to be different in any way or happens to be different due to some circumstances, whether natural or unnatural, is regarded by all as an abnormal person. Depending on the unusual character being exhibited by the so called abnormal person, they may be qualified either as a weirdo or a pervert, and more often than not, are hated and scorned, and may even be punished for their abnormality. The persecution of supposed abnormal people by the society often leads many people into living fake lives in their struggle to try and fit in.

The reason every society sees it as imperative to draw up a code of conduct for its citizens and enforces it is usually born out of the need to prevent anarchy and ensure peace and order against all odds. However, what many of these societies failed to or pretend not to realise is the fact that there are unavoidably sub-societies within every society, each with its own uniqueness, peculiarity and code of normalcy. For instance, to an average manic-depressive person, being normal is making it through the day without an episode, whether low or high. However, if in the bid to stay normal, the person has to avoid his or her friends in order not to get triggered, they will call him or her a snob or an anti-social person, without ever knowing the tremendous amount of effort such a person have had to put into staying stable.

Moreover, to a person who cherished the idea of marriage, getting married and having children is a normal thing, whereas that same idea is an unappealing one to a person who for one reason or the other best known to them had decided not to get married or have children. However, if as a result of pressure from family and friends such a person finally decides to get married, only to annul it a couple of years later, the normal people in the Married Club will blame him or her for not being persevering enough. They will see him or her as a loser and an incomplete and incapable person who does not have or could not give all it takes to keep a marriage going against all odds, never minding all the tribulations that the person have had to endure before they finally decided to call it quits and this is because to this set of people, normal means enduring a dysfunctional marriage even if it is going to cost you your sanity or your life. Some other sub-societies within a society that over the years have had to endure the stigma of being labelled as perverts are gays, lesbians and transsexuals while the weirdo badge had been permanently affixed on authors, artists, musicians, dancers, actors and actresses.

The Normal Complex usually takes an outrageous turn when a set of people expects that what is being considered normal in their society must also be the norm in every other society across the world, never giving thought to the fact that what is considered noble in Europe might be taboo in Africa, just as what is permissible in the Americas might be a heinous crime in Asia, all as a result of the differences in their beliefs and cultures. Sadly, the discrimination against people who have been termed abnormal by the society will continue until such people are able to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that they are not a danger to the society but this will be a very difficult task to accomplish as there are deviants in every sub-societies who do not live even by their own code of normalcy. For example, in a society where a large number of homosexuals living there are rapists and pedophiles, the few upright ones will have a hard time convincing the members of that society that they are not a danger to them and this can affect their acceptance in such a society.

However, the need to put an end to the discrimination brought about by the Normal Complex becomes imperative in view of the recent increase in hate crimes and for this to be possible, society has to stop painting every sub-society with a single brush and cut people, whose way of life do not pose a danger or have negative impact or undesirable effects or influence on others, some slack. It is very important to understand the fact that when the concept of what is “normal” is laced with self-righteousness, egoism and prejudice, it becomes an abnormality in itself. Finally, mutual tolerance, respect and consideration for individual and cultural differences, as well as the avoidance of hate speeches and inadequate and inciting media reporting, are some of the noble acts that will undoubtedly go a long way in alleviating the problems associated with the Normal Complex.

5 comments on “The Normal Complex

  1. Silva on

    This is a very great write up; a wake up call to everyone to keep an open mind and think outside the box. However, the call for the acceptance of homosexuals the way they are and not seeing them as a threat can never be heeded, especially here in Nigeria where gays do more harm than good.

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  2. Yemi on

    I agree with every other thing in the article except for the part where you’re insinuating that homosexuals should be given the freedom to live their queer lives. That set of people are a plague on the planet earth and if given a free hand, they will ruin the world. 90 percent of them are pedophiles who sexually abused young innocent boys. Everyday, we keep hearing news of headmasters, hostel masters and male teachers sexually abusing young school boys, so there’s no way that a set of people like that can be accepted in a sane society.

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  3. Walex on

    All of you who keep saying that homosexuals are pedophiles and sexual predators, how about the heterosexual pedophiles and sexual predators? Are their crimes less heinous or somewhat forgivable just because they are NORMAL people according to the societal standard? Like the article says, stop painting everyone with a single brush, there are bad eggs in every sub-society. Great article, well done, Olaide.

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  4. Yemi on

    Walex, are you telling me that because cigarette smoking is officially accepted, then hemp smoking should also be given an official nod, knowing that one is worse off than the other? See, two wrongs can never make a right; we already have our hands full dealing with heterosexual sexual predators and now you want us to add that of homosexuals to the whole problem, never. Homosexuality is against the law here in Nigeria, anyone who wants to partake in the offensive act of homosexuality should migrate to countries where the act is considered NORMAL, stop ramming the idea of accepting it down our throat here in Nigeria.

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  5. Kenny on

    The truth of the matter is that homosexuals can never be 100% accepted anywhere in the world, take for instance the shooting incidence at a gay night club in Florida last year; only a few people are genuinely saddened by that incidence, many were mere hypocrites who pretended to care, and as expected, the blunt ones used the incidence as an opportunity to express their disgust for the homosexuals. Olaide, your article pointed out some serious issues that need ammendment and if only your advice at the end of the article will be heeded, this world will be a saner place to live in.

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