Perhaps it is a phase that comes naturally in teenage culture, but it seems that almost every single person I know is, in someway, intensely advocating the attitude of non-conformity. Everybody is striving distinguish themselves from others. Is this really a way of seeking out one's identity, by being different? And what if you're not different - what then? By the unspoken insults of modern society, yes, you will be deemed a conformist if your true identity just happens to be like that of a large mass of other people, so sure, go ahead and fake your identity in your unending marathon away from conformity.
First of all, let's get our definitions straight. A definition of conformity by Wikipedia is that it is a process by which one's ideas and thoughts are influenced by others. This means that, yes, conformity is, and can only be, a voluntary decision. The word 'conformity', prior to our ignorant slaughter of the word, never really had a such a negative connotation. It was a word that once referred primarily to attitudes and beliefs, and other matters of pertaining to a much more moral nature. Even though the modern sense of the word is more relevant to more material things, nowadays, people have really lost sight of expressing themselves through their image and therefore I don't think it can truly refer to that either.
Conformity in evolutionary terms is really being lost on us self-righteous humans. It is shown everywhere in societies other than our own that conforming to common goals and ideas are much more efficient and productive than methods otherwise. Ants in a colony, for example, collectively become more intelligent in larger numbers. Conformity wins wars. According to just about everything else in the world apart from adolescent teens, conformity is, by and large, a positive practice.
So, I want to pose a question to all those faux-artistic girls out there: please, please tell me, what is so incredibly terrible about conformity, and, lets be honest, what is so great about individuality? Lets just ignore the facts here that much of today's conformity arises from people's feeble attempts at being an individual -anyhow-. It's gotten to an extent where we are unknowingly pressuring ourselves to be different and special, just like everybody else.
I'm going to end my rant, on somewhat of a tangent, with music. Videohits was playing away on my television set this morning, and I awoke slightly when I heard an awful song in which the female singer sounded almost as terrible as Beth Ditto. Her voice was shrill and couldn't hold a note properly to save her life. The song had no musical merit, nor did the video clip hold any artistic or aesthetic value, and I was just left puzzled by the needless use of little children in hippie dresses and those silly beads over their heads. I didn't know who they were prior, but the artists turned out to be Angus and Julia Stone. Now, I've only heard one of their songs, but I know that they are very popular amongst the faux-indie community (a community that, rather hypocritically, mind-bogglingly large). As an honest musician, I have to say it was a less than stellar act.
In lieu of this unfortunate finding, I present you with a list of songs that I like:
*Build Me Up, Butter Cup - The Foundations
*Silence Is Golden - The Tremoloes
*Streets of London - Ralph McTell
*The Carnival Is Over & Hey There, Georgy Girl - The Seekers
*Spicks and Specks & Islands in the Stream - The Bee Gees
*The Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
*Devoted to You - The Everly Brothers
*Vienna - Billy Joel
*All This Time - Sting [this song details society pretty well, I think]
*You'll Be In My Heart - Phil Collins
P.S.: "Indie" is an abbreviation for the term "independent label" - it has nothing to do with how not mainstream the band you like is. For example, Ricki-Lee Coulter is an indie artist. Enough said.