Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Counter-Culture and BYU

The 60’s was the age of rebellion. New ideas were brought and tried and people pushed against society to change it. It was the beginning of the “counter-culture” and the start of the age of acceptance and tolerance. It was like the Wendy’s commercials we have now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, they show everyone doing something mindless just because everyone else is doing it. Such as kicking a tree, or running and jumping into an endless pit. Then it shows a guy with a red wig on who stops and says, “Hey! We don’t have to do this!” and he goes on to say something about some sandwich or something. Basically the point is that he realized he didn’t have to do this. Starting with the 60’s (ok I admit this did exist before, but I have to start somewhere) they broke out against the stereotypes and said “Hey! We don’t have to do this!” So they created a counter-culture.
Here at BYU there is a huge stereotype given by outsiders and insiders, visitors and alumni, and basically everyone. The stereotype is that everyone comes to BYU to get married. Do these people exist? Sure, somewhere. They usually aren’t quite so blatant about it though. And a lot of this comes from other people judging them to be that way. All that aside, there are also plenty of sources of pressure to get married. I can’t remember the last time I went to church or a fireside of some sort when I didn’t hear something about marriage. As a result there is a sort of counter-culture that creates itself. The memories of the 60’s come to mind and people say “Hey! This is a stereotype! Let’s push against it!” And so there’s this counter-culture that shoots for the opposite of the stereotype. Sometimes I wonder if some of these people have stimulus response reaction to the “norm” or stereotypes. Once they discover that a lot of people do something, they do exactly the opposite so that they are considered different and seen as someone who thinks for themselves, regardless of whether it’s a good idea or not. Going back to the BYU dating culture it seems that many people have over shot the mark and now there are guys who don’t date period and girls who think that getting into a relationship means the guy is thinking marriage. It makes an interesting situation. Girls want to “go on dates” with guys, but they don’t want to get involved with them at all because that “means” marriage.
Isn’t there a happy medium? We don’t have to decide that we’ve found “the one” after the first date, nor the second date, nor the third, nor after two people are exclusively dating each other. Going on lots of dates with different people is healthy because it allows one to get to know many people, but there also comes a point where dating someone exclusively helps too. We learn different things on a different level about relationships. And guess what! We don’t have to marry that person. Dating is really the preparation for marriage, but that doesn’t mean that if we do it we are going to have to get married right away.