Saturday, January 07, 2006

Peer pressure

The image that you see above, is supposed to be a cartoon. The resolution of the image on this page is not very good. So I suggest that you click on the image, which will open it up in a new window, where it will look better, in all likelihood.

I had this idea about a cartoon while cleaning some vessels in the kitchen sink. No idea why. Bored as I was with the research work I was doing, I decided to take a break and use my room mate's VAIO laptop to good use. A note of caution though: While MS Paint is good enough for making cartoons, especially for people like me, who haven't won prizes in drawing or sketching, and rely instead on a Ctrl-C here and a resizing there, trying to draw a cartoon on a laptop at 2 a.m. using the touchpad rather than a mouse can be quite a challenge, as I found out. Anyway, the above toon is a rather bland one, and not a very creative illustration, but it neatly captures something I very strongly believe in: peer pressure is one of the biggest ills of the modern times.

The youth especially are swayed unbelievably by the herd mentality, and the collective opinion of the 'hip and happening' people determines what clothes we wear or whether we listen to music from a music system or an iPod, rather than any conscious choice or preference. Ironically, even the hippies who rebelled against established conventions were also creating a new mini-culture, and the peer pressure to belong to the conventionalist group merely degraded into the peer pressure to belong to the rebels. So what the hell is peer pressure, anyway?

You know that you are feeling the peer pressure when your sense of individual identity bowes down to your need to belong to a popular group, whether or not you really identify with the group.


Blogger the Monk said...

yeah, I know, it strikes me most when I see what's happening to B'lore these days...the people themselves have changed so much...

Monday, January 09, 2006 2:44:00 AM  
Blogger apu said...

Started off interestingly - I expected a little more analysis though on why and how peer pressure happens...Was surprised when it ended a little abruptly. Maybe you will write a part two (and develop that toon into a story :)

One thing I wanted to say though, Peer pressure is often assumed to be only with young people, but thats not really true. The desire to belong, to blend in with others, "be like them" is universal I think....

Monday, January 09, 2006 8:31:00 AM  
Blogger Srihari said...

"The Monk", true, I think B'lore is a great example - at least in India - of peer pressure in everyday life. I mean,in the one year I spent in B'lore I personally never understood what it is about Brigade road, for instance, that people so much enjoyed walking down from one end to another and back again. And of course, the pub culture of B'lore too.

Apu, I do agree with you that it is not only youth, but especially, youth who are affected by the need to blend in. Many middle-aged managers think it hip to play golf, even if it is such a boring game. One is so much better off taking a small jog instead. And women too, have their own pressures. But certainly youth are way too much under sway of popular forces, because few of them have thought of what they really like. Take pseudo-rock music fans, drug addicts, young smokers...I've known a lot of these people personally who have just succumbed to peer pressure.

Any yes, I'm sorry to have ended it so abruptly, but I really thought, trying to frame one sentence about what peer pressure really is, would be more telling than going into the whys and the wherefores. But, I do believe strongly enough against peer pressure to write a part two, like you said, a story perhaps.

Monday, January 09, 2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Akhilesh said...

Really strange, coming from you, Polly. Our wing seldom boozed (except that good ol' frog), not too many smoked ..... I guess you aren't talking about peer pressure from IIT!!

But I think you are right: people do do things to feel cool - the hippies, as you point out. Even me - I bought an IPOD imitation (despite the fact that I might get run over by a truck or something soon while on the road!).

Interesting artwork, by the way ;).

You at Rutgers, right?

Sunday, February 19, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Srihari said...

Rap, I am definitely not talking about our dear rockin'intune friends. Like you pointed out, thankfully, we did not really fall to a lot of the peer pressure at IIT, but some of us who apped for the heck of it, may be?

Otherwise, its just a phenomenon I see everywhere among our generation. And yes, I'm currently at Rutgers.

Thursday, February 23, 2006 7:07:00 AM  

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