The dictionary definition of “normal” is defined as “according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle.” The meaning of the word “normal” that our society is accustomed to does not vary as much from it either. “Normal” is a word our society created; it indicated a group of people who are able to blend into their surrounding and social norms. While for the majority of people being normal is considered ordinary, it is not always considered that way to handful of people, and these are the people who wear disguises nobody will notice.
Our world has created a society full of standards and guidelines; guidelines that determine whether or not an individual fits into the society or not. A world without guidelines is impossible. As different individuals interact as a group, certain standards or laws are formed in order to regulate the groups’ behaviors. Standards determine the right and the wrong actions of individuals and punish them if necessary. These guidelines naturally formed within societies are called norms. Some of the positive social norms we follow are negative views against cheating, bullying, and others.
However, these laws are not all positive. The guidelines set within the group in order to maintain its standard form, but when these limits extend too much, it becomes prejudice. By race, gender, appearance, and other parts of an individual, our society judges these individuals into unwanted stereotypes.
Stereotypes of many different groups exist within our society whether we are aware or not. While some can be harmless, some can be extremely harmful for a certain group of people. Some of these examples are stereotypical characters and common expectations built for groups such as certain age, illness, sex, gender identities, races, and others.
One of the most common stereotypes that exist in most countries are the gender roles and traits. Surprisingly, the conventional belief of our genders of masculinity and femininity still exist today. Those who live in a society which holds strong views on the roles are enforced to play their parts within the group. Judgement and discrimination always follows.
Also, an individual can be discriminated with a matter unrelated to his or her physical traits. In our society it is also very common to be judged by the preferences and hobbies one might have.
This is how “some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” The world is full of guidelines and standards that determine the ‘normal-ness’ of an individual. For those who do not follow the social norms are negatively viewed by the public, which most of the times comes with consequences and disadvantages. Its intensity, of course, varies through different countries and populations, but the harmful effects of prejudice cannot be ignored. In extreme cases, the bias of our society can lead to violence and crime-related consequences.
For these reasons, the people who do not fit into the social norm disguise themselves. Some people put extreme amounts of effort to fit into the expectations of others and not to be excluded by the negative prejudices of certain groups. These people devote themselves to hiding what they love, lie about themselves, or concur with things they do not. By pretending to not be themselves, these groups of people veil themselves to fit in.
However, the disguises will be hard to find, especially to those who are well adjusted. The tremendous effect some people place to be normal is not noticed, because it is not suppose to be noticed. Moreover, like mentioned before, many who are within the social norms will only consider their positions as typical and ordinary. It is hard to spot the problem if the existence of the problem is not acknowledged properly.
The idea of placing a lot of energy in disguising oneself to appear “normal” is as absurd as it sounds. It is an aftermath of a misguided society that must be fixed. Although it may be visible at first, you may find a surprising number of those who try to appear normal. For the sake of those who are hiding, please be a bit more observant and acknowledge the prejudices within the society.