Monday, November 1, 2010

The Beat of Your Own Drum

When I went to the event on October 28 in the basement of Knott Hall, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew about it was that it had to do with Halloween costumes. Little did I know I would end up staying there for two and half hours completely enthralled in the discussion that took place.
The event began with a YouTube video. It was a video about how people, mainly girls, dress on Halloween. There were several short interviews with students and a couple of clips from the movie “Mean Girls.” From that introduction I immediately knew what I was getting into and that I wouldn’t be home until late because of how passionate I get when it comes to getting my point of view out in the open.
We began talking about the main topic. The general question was “Is it ok for people to dress the way they do on Halloween.” People began arguing that the obvious excuse, “it’s O.K. because everyone else is doing it,” was not one that justified how people dressed. I immediately shot my hand up in disagreement. I explained how this couldn’t be explained in such a black and white way, just how the phrase, “if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you,” is never really applicable. I said that the reason people felt comfortable with the way they dressed was indeed because other people were doing it, but not for the feeling of it being “O.K.” I analyzed the situation and thought to myself, why are people afraid of dressing this way all the time? Once that question arose, the answer was clear, judgment. People normally didn’t dress in this promiscuous manner because they were afraid of the judgments their peers would be making. Contradictory to most weekends, Halloween is a night where everyone dresses promiscuously, so no one judges anyone else. The first theme of the discussion can be related the short story, “A Father,” by Bharati Mukherjee. In this story, the father, Mr. Bhowmick, is afraid of the judgment that his family would undergo if people found out that his daughter was pregnant without a husband. His daughter became pregnant to make herself happy, and once her father found this out, he aborted the baby in a fit of rage. His fear of being judged by other is what caused his rage; and it is the same fear that drives people not to be true to who they are, whether its being promiscuous when going out, wearing comedic costumes that push the envelope, or being happy for your pregnant daughter.
After roughly and hour of discussing Halloween costumes, the discussion moved to a more general topic. We discussed topics such as guys buying drinks for girls at bars versus buying a coffee for a girl at a coffee shop. We also discussed sex. This immediately became a heated debate. On one hand there were people who thought casual sex was wrong and on the other there were people who thought it was allowed. I took a different standpoint on the “allowed” side. I said it should be the choice of whomever it involves. This relates to another reading for today, Directions for Resisting the SAT, by Richard Hague. My interpretation of this poem is that you should break away from the norm and march to the beat of your own drum. Hague talks about “[not observing] the rules of gravity” (line 3), and “[speaking] nothing like English,” (line 11). Both of these are examples that are teaching a lesson of “do what you want to do”. They say that it is O.K. to go outside of what is the usual and mundane and to do what makes you happy and what you believe in, which is a value that I try to live by every day.

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