Social Standards

I can anticipate the name calling already: ‘wowser’, ‘w**ker’ and worse.

But I have had enough of bad manners, bad language and grubby advertising invading every part of our lives. It’s hard enough being a parent without so many examples of how not to conduct oneself in life.

My recent frustrations began when I was standing in a rather long queue, patiently awaiting my turn. A group of women who couldn’t be bothered waiting like everyone else decided to join their friends further ahead. There was none of the graciousness warranted by such action that could have been excused with a simple “excuse me, would you mind if we joined our friends?”

More fool me, rather than say anything to the women involved, I chose instead to explain (once again) to my children the need for courtesy in all aspects of life.

Unfortunately it didn’t end there.

This group of five women continued to chatter at an elevated pitch and describe some of their most intimate actions in the foulest language imaginable. This time I did speak up, politely asking them if they’d mind watching their language and chosen subject matter around myself and my family.

After a few initial epithets hurled in my direction, I am pleased to say their voices were lowered so that a lucky few were spared more insights into their personal lives.

But this is just one example of a wider decline in standards in our society.

As a public figure, among the many hundreds of emails I receive every week there is always a selection containing the most vile and abusive language directed towards me and others. I continue to ask: at what point did it become okay to put such things in writing, not just to a politician but to anyone?

But it is not only personal communication standards that have dropped.

It’s nigh impossible to turn on the radio without hearing suggestive advertising of an overtly sexual nature. There was one recently where a woman was discussing how her husband “couldn’t get it up even though she tried to give him a hand”. Having missed the first line of the advertisement, how was I to know she was talking about a garage roller door!

Then we have foul-mouthed rapper Kanye West. Fresh from humiliating pop singer Taylor Swift live on television, he released his latest ditty celebrating drug taking and demeaning women.

Now I know that many readers will think I am being a prude but I wonder if any of us truly benefit from having this material surround us all the time

Critics will say that no one is forcing you to listen or watch offensive material but, short of turning off all electronic communications it is pretty hard to escape. Unfortunately, the results are now filtering down into personal public behaviour.

If it’s okay to have grubby ads and jokes on our public airwaves, why wouldn’t people think its okay to use them in public? If television shows regularly feature bad language in earlier and earlier timeslots, of course we can expect it to be used more frequently in our community.

If our pop stars can belittle a young starlet and celebrate treating women poorly, are we naive enough to think it won’t influence the behaviour of some of our children?

Well, I have had enough. It’s time to lift the standards of what is acceptable in our society. Naturally one can’t legislate for common courtesy, but we can all try to act appropriately ourselves and set a better example for others.

Who knows, perhaps I won’t be called the names or receive the abusive emails I am expecting as a result of this comment. Now wouldn’t that be a good start!

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