04 Jul '18 — pure freedom
More recently, I’ve discovered the phenomenon of celebrity and its requirements to be a good example. Society disproportionately awards certain people and in return, they are expected to set a good example. Not just be like any respectable human being, but disproportionately, go out of their way to show an ideal example. If they don’t, rewards are taken away.
People live in ways or produce works that inspire are providing ideas for us to ‘be better’. What is ‘better’ changes over time and is different for different groups of people.
‘Work life balance’ might be inspiring for a certain group while ‘work hard, play hard’ might inspire another group. Each group has its leaders whose roles are to be living examples. Inspiration could also be shallow, like ‘be skinny’, or it can swing the other way: ‘don’t care the slightest how fat you get’. Ideas can also come in and out of vogue.
The inspiration may not necessarily move us forward as a species, but it’s what society or social groups think is ‘better’. It’s an opinion of what is better. For example, most people believe a person with a tan indicates that they’re living a healthier lifestyle, but a tan has no indication on health. It’s an imagined idea of what good health looks like. Some people seem to fit as living emblems of an inspiring idea, far more than others.
Like tans, celebrities may not have anything to do with the ideas they represent. But as long as they play the role demanded by society, they get disproportionate benefits. I wouldn’t be surprised if charities are created with the sole intention to maintain these roles.
Outside of charity work, you cannot just be an average person, you’re there as a guide for career, and you definitely loose any freedom to be a creep. I remember when Leo hit on a Cara Delevingne, twenty years younger, he instantly became creepy. There are tons of guys who do the same each day, they have total freedom to live as creeps.
Speaking of creepy behavior…
“I wish I had reacted to their admiration of me by being a good example to them as a man and given them some guidance as a comedian” - Louis CK
Louis CK has played the role of an innocently awkward guy in his comedy sketches. He’s always careful to maintain the persona, but recently, it’s let out that he’s quite aware of his celebrity and not so shy about wielding his power. Much of his comedy no longer makes sense once he doesn’t fulfill his ‘reluctantly famous, low key’ persona.
It is demanding to be held to a particular expectation. Fulfilling such static roles, you’re not free to be your true self, which most times, might be not very cool and even creepy. As long as celebs expect disproportionate benefits to come their way, they have to disproportionately deliver.
When once young and skinny actresses complain they’re no longer getting opportunities as older, fatter adults, it’s because they no longer fulfill the ideal role–what they were once paid for. Their careers were made by being skinny and young, they collected benefits for fulfilling a role, but want to continue collecting benefits without providing the same value. They can provide other values, like great acting, but they’d have to be extraordinary, inspiring in that new attribute, in order to be offered the disproportionate benefits that were once bestowed upon them.
I’ve started to believe that disproportionate benefits come with disproportionate expectations. With doctors, they’re suppose to know what’s going on, diagnose correctly and cure–an expectation that is not humanly possible. They get paid above average with both money and respect.
But what about men? They are disproportionately paid in comparison to women. Are they disproportionately expected to live a certain way?
As controversial as it is, I believe men have way higher expectations than women. People talk much on how woman are held to impossible expectations but I’ve never felt that way. As a woman, I can wear whatever I want. I can appear as dumb as I want. I can cry, express volatile emotions. I can borrow any bag that my husband has, any sweater. He cannot borrow any of my purses, he has pressure not to appear scared or hyper emotional.
It may seem small, like an inconsequential point, but dressing the way you want, being comfortable with whatever you throw on before you leave the house, is a great freedom. I will never feel less of a woman, or less of a human for wearing whatever or showing my emotions. But men have extreme expectations on these aspects of life.
“Strong men don’t need to put down women to feel powerful.” - Michele Obama
As inspiring as this quote is upon first read, the premise is aimed to emasculate men. Average men aren’t strong men, because then there’d be no differentiation between strong and regular men. Regular men are like everyone else, which the quote seems to acknowledge. Most of us don’t feel strong most of the time. Women don’t have as deep of a necessity to appear strong.
This statement says that if you want to be a real man, which is a strong man, because expectations to be simply a non-strong man aren’t enough, then you don’t put down women to feel powerful. The truth is, most of us, men or women, are not strong. And we need to put down many people to feel powerful–which is strangely acknowledged in the quote.
The statement is just another example of how men are required to live up to higher expectations. The premise of the quote emasculates any man who isn’t willing to be strong.
We loose a lot of freedom when we’re living up to expectations placed on us. How about not paying anyone disproportionate wealth and opportunities and not holding people up to disproportionate expectations in the first place?
That’s too much to ask–society is precisely about setting standards and ideals.
Does it mean that disproportionate benefits won’t swing your way if you don’t play a role? Anyone can find themselves in the role with or without desiring to be. People decide their leaders, they’ll find an exemplary citizen who fulfills an idea they believe in.
There’s a chance you could be freely living as you are and find yourself handsomely rewarded. You may naturally be able to deliver on a disproportionate amount of expectations, living an ideal people look up to. But as humans we evolve, we always want to change how we live so it’s hard to be confined to performing a life that lives up to certain standards. Also, what inspires humans and groups changes over time. Doctors were once the group that made a lot more, now there are others careers that pay disproportionately more.
It doesn’t make sense to chase disproportionate benefits–you would loose freedom to do what you please with life. Rewards from society come and go and if it happens your way, enjoy, when it leaves, continue living the way as you please. It’s never something to seek or hold.