the unwash: social impact
The concept of being neutral over the years has been highly regarded. To be non-reactive about polarizing issues or to be able to look at things from a completely objective standpoint, is often put on a pedestal. Whether it be issues in the workplace, relationships, politics, or just your personal preferences, the idea of being neutral often supersedes upfront opinions, typically for the sake of not ruffling any feathers. Talking about neutrality came as an idea after seeing Australian media mogul Flex Mami post a kitschy TikTok about how neutrality is not the ‘height of emotional maturity’, which she previously believed. This sparked the thought of how this can be applied on a larger scale to a multitude of issues we’re facing as a society.
A large part of the support for conscious consumerism and thinking about the people behind the brands we support comes from a desire to move away from passivity and be more actionable to create a larger tangible difference. When it comes to consumerism being neutral on an issue such as fast fashion or mass production feels as if one is turning a blind eye to real-world issues that are causing large-scale destruction. Many studies including one done by Harvard Business Review discuss the disconnect between neutrality and trust across the board in a variety of categories including employee-supervisor relationships, friendships, and consumer behavior. When we can state our stances and give our opinions we open ourselves up to be understood on a deeper level. This also shows competency and empathy towards community and global affairs.
“So if someone asks for your opinion, be considerate, thoughtful, and respectful — but don’t be afraid to take a side.” – Ike Silver, Harvard Business Review
When we factor in social media, the rise of internet ‘activists’ has been a result of the media age we’re living in. People often use their platforms to be a bullhorn for the causes they are passionate about. This confronts us with the good and bad of social media. At our fingertips, we’re able to get the word out and share support on an array of issues. This can quickly turn into a trend where you feel like you have to post, or rather your biases will seemingly be shown whether you post or not. Therefore, making being neutral more difficult to achieve even when behind a screen. This can be applied to various scenarios in our lives and the intrusiveness that can happen as a result of social media. For example, wouldn’t it be difficult to fully connect to your favorite music artist or actor if you didn’t know where they stood on issues that are important to you? We could go on and on about the nuanced situations we find ourselves in regularly where you’re confronted with the option to shut up or sit up and speak your mind – no matter how big or small the scenario.
Whether it be with our friendships, workplace, or relationships, we have to be willing to show our bias for the sake of our own values. Flex is onto something, neutrality isn’t the height of emotional maturity. The desire to keep our thoughts and opinions close to the chest is understandable but staying neutral more often than not, backfires. Isn’t it the most mature thing to do when you can come to the table with your honesty, not passivity. Our thoughts, beliefs, and values are what shape the way we see and interact with the world – ultimately making you, you.
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