Chances are at least some of these will be make your list:
- The pressure to get married
- The pressure to have children
- The pressure to be thin
- The pressure to pursue only those careers that pay tons of money
- The pressure to have a nice car, house, and other valuables
There are many more pressures we face, of course, but I think the five above are the biggies, thanks in large part to Hollywood, advertising, and the media.
Many people would say that the first three concern mostly women, while the latter two predominantly affect men. I'd argue, however, that people are pressured into doing all of these things irrespective of their gender.
It appears the tide is beginning to turn, though.
For one, a few of my acquaintances have kids, but they've assured me that they don't want to get married. Others have confided that they're childfree by choice and want to keep it that way.
Furthermore, as you may have noticed, being plus-sized is gradually gaining wider acceptance, with so-called fat-shaming being roundly criticized on social media.
As I've noted in earlier posts, society tells that unless we're in the highest-paying professions (e.g. law, accounting, etc.), we won't amount to much in life. I've never heard something so preposterous. As long as you don't fritter away your paycheck every two weeks, you can still make a decent living in a career you love, whether it's teaching or social work.
People are beginning to open their eyes to the fact that you don't have to make $100,000 a year to ensure a fulfilling life. Money makes you more comfortable, but it doesn't buy happiness. In the end, family, friends, and hobbies mean a whole lot more.
As for the pressure to have the best stuff, that probably won't go away anytime soon. The world has become so commercialized -- and advertising so pervasive -- that consumers will always feel compelled to trade up to a better car or bigger house. (Clearly, advertising has played a role in feeding all the societal pressures listed, not just those pertaining to consumerism.)
There's nothing wrong with this as long as you have the means to make such purchases. But if you're racking up massive credit card debt just to buy expensive things with which to impress your friends and coworkers, you are going down a perilous road. Rising debt continues to be a serious problem in the U.S. despite the economy being on the mend.
I continue to urge my readers not to cave into doing something society says will make them more liked or respected if it goes against their personal values. Always be true to yourself. Follow your heart. Live the life you want to live -- not the one society aims to prescribe for you.