Bob Dylan once said, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Rarely do individuals do what they truly want to do or be true to themselves, especially teenagers. As a High Schooler, whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, people around you will try to force you into things you usually wouldn’t do or just by watching them do something, you’ll feel tempted to do the same to fit in or seem “cool”. Peer pressure is a serious issue. Why? It’s a serious issue because it converts you into somebody else; turns you into something you’re not and over time, you become who people wanted you to be or who you deliberately tried to become for the simple reason that you didn’t want to be an outsider or different.
A few days ago, when I was in Art class, our teacher showed us a quote by Shepard Fairey, which basically stated that seeing as famous people drink Coca Cola and seeing as Coca Cola is advertised on TV and seeing as everyone else is, you should too because you have access to it. I don’t agree with this statement and our warm up question asked if this quote should be celebrated or scorned. I said it should be scorned because it makes no sense to be just like everyone around you and just like celebrities. It’s not going to make you popular or famous and it won’t really mean anything if you don’t want to do it yourself. When I do something, I do it because I want to not because I feel like I need to because it’ll make me popular. Another example is that my taste of music doesn’t conform with others born in the 2000s or in the mid-late 90s. I love Billy Joel, Elton John, U2, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, ABBA, George Michael, Air Supply, Alice Cooper, Bette Midler, and Bob Dylan amongst other so I’m a 60s-80s kid in terms of my taste.
Do I care that I deeply and irrevocably dislike several of the artists today that my peers like such as Justin Bieber? No. Am I worried that a fan of his might read this and get angry or be in a state of disbelief and get all defensive and bicker? No, I’m not and I’m not afraid to put it out there. It’s a matter of taste. Individuals shouldn’t feel tempted to like something they don’t or pretend they do to gain a couple of points in somebody’s book. Personally, I think Justin Bieber can’t sing. I’m not going to hold a grudge against somebody who likes him nor have I ever held a grudge, but I will hold a grudge against somebody who has forced me to listen to him or other singers I don’t particularly like.
I may be seen as unconventional or as somewhat of a maverick, but that’s okay. It’s my life. When I play the music I like, my friends usually say, “What is that? It’s awful. Turn it off!” Then, they’d play their music and tell me that this is the kind of music I should like instead. I’m not going to try to get them to like the music I do, but it seems as though some people can’t accept the fact that you don’t have to be the same as everyone else to fit in or be liked.
That’s one form of peer pressure; liking somebody or something you don’t because the people around you do. It’s your life. So what if you like Bon Jovi and Prince and Genesis and Peter Gabriel and everyone around you likes Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez and One Direction and Justin Bieber and Imagine Dragons? If you the people around you don’t like the type of music you listen to or how you act or how you draw, they don’t like it and that’s it. It’s that simple. Never go out of your way to please anybody or just to fit in. Nobody has the right to tell you how to live or who to be or what to like and not like but yourself.
By Maya Abou El Nasr