Hannah Chima considers the transparency of taboos in today’s society
Has anyone else noticed or is it just me? Recently, the world has become pretty deep. I’ve witnessed an openness in people: the sharing of experiences, wisdom and thoughts, in a variety of ways. I am finding this enlightening, uplifting and comforting, particularly in such a turbulent time which is so uncertain for many. This new period of openness can be seen by looking at previously controversial issues,such as sexual assault and mental health. More frequently than ever before, topics such as these are being discussed in the news, social media and through cultural mediums such as song lyrics.
Let’s take Instagram. One of the new(-er) kids on the social media scene. Initially, Instagram was all about the visuals and less about the captions. Back then, the content of these captions was rarely given much thought; I, like many, would use a simple emoji to accompany the image. So do pictures really speak a thousand words? Arguably not. Captions facilitate the sharing of emotions and shed light on important issues and are subsequently increasingly being relied upon.
The phenomenon of celebrity culture has pushed this further. For example, several weeks ago, Cara Delevingne posted and shared her own experiences in relation to the Harvey Weinstein saga. For many, this will have been inspirational and act as a platform for people to have the confidence to do the same.
Similarly, this newfound openness can be seen in song lyrics. There have been central themes in lyrics over the last decade; largely concerning love, partying and drugs. Most recently, I came across the song 1800-273-8255, by Logic. The titular phone number is that of the US National Suicide prevention phone line, featuring in the UK top 40, the song has brought such a pressing and delicate issue to the forefront of our media. Logic tweeted “over the years, so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times”, this is a clear example of the power of the music and its lyrics.
So why have these issues been aired all of a sudden? Where these subjects may previously have been taboo, this is now far from the reality. This can partly be attributed to, as previously mentioned, public figures using their standing to open up such issues for discussion. Also, for other areas, such as sexual assault, there has been pressure for transparency in workplaces. Likewise, there have increasingly been support schemes for those with mental health issues in institutions such as schools and universities; this comes in response to 1 in 4 people in the UK suffering from mental health issues. I find it extremely positive that people are willing to discuss issues that affect so many of us, in a public setting.
Maybe the public has felt forced to talk in times of difficulty, or maybe people are just more liberal these days, either way, this willingness to talk about difficult issues is nothing but beneficial. Like they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Even for those who do not want to share their thoughts but simply take onboard those of others, thanks to a shift in cultural behaviour and social media outlets, this is now possible.
Featured image credit: Time