Three stages of acceptance

Chalkboard

1. Dismay
The first stage is complete dismay at something. People are put off by it and don’t know what to think. They may even seem hostile toward it because it’s new and/or different and they feel threatened by it.

2. Mockery
The second stage is mockery. At this point the initial shock is gone and peope just begin making fun of it. Imitating it in jest. But this stage shows that they have at least warmed up to it enough that it’s no longer foreign or threatening to them. They just haven’t accepted it yet as anything more than funny.

3. Acceptance
At this point people have grown comfortable enough with it through mockery that it becomes part of the every day culture. It’s so common at this point that it has worked itself into the culutral lingo/style/bedrock that it is now a staple or the culture. As a result, some people now begin awknowledging their liking/satisfaction with it. Either having grown on them over time or finally feeling safe enough to admit they always enjoyed it. It is now something that is innocent and fun and perfecty acceptable.

This is my basic rundown of the three stages of cultural acceptance. We’ve seen this play out over and over again in our culture as new things are presented. A couple examples off the top of my head would be black people and gays.

Black people were at one point conisdered savages and souless. They were to be feared or used. Eventually you ended up with black face comedies where black people were mocked. Then eventually after a lot of hard work and time, accepted as the human beings they are and given equal rights and respect. For the most part.

In my own lifetime I’ve seen the same thing happen with gay people. By my early childhood gay people were in the mocking stage. Comedy movies had flamboyant gay characters were were meant to laugh at because they are gay and that is supposed to be somehow funny. Now we’ve seen massive progress toward marriage equality in the western world and gay people being treated like everyone else. They are no longer there as a a comedic tool.

The same I beleive will eventually be true of men in skirts and other such traditionally feminine clothing. Right now in the media a man in a skirt is a comedy tool, we are in the mocking stage. Think of movies like Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire where the male character must dress in drag to achieve some goal and much comedy ensues. It is the overexagerated transvestite character that is portrayed in much the same way the flamboyant gay character or the black face character was. In every day life however, we are still somewhere between the dismay and mocking stage depending on the crowd/location you’re in. All of society never shifts completely from one stage to another at the same time. There are still backwood areas that are incredibly racist and even larger areas that are still anti-gay as that is more recent.

Culture isn’t like technology, it moves at a slower pace. Although technology certainly helps it move faster, peoples minds are harder to change older generations often need to die off and offset by younger generations before real change happens. It may be 100 years before men are seen freely walkin around in skirts and other traditionally feminine waredrobe without a second glace or thought. In the same way that today we never take a second glace or thought about women in pants.

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