Why you should care
Society is always shifting … and with it, so are ideas about what’s forbidden or shameful.
Most of the time when we talk about taboos, we’re talking about something ancient. Mental health or menstruation — these are taboos that modern society is slowly shaking off. But what we talk about less are the things that are becoming forbidden.
But of course, a changing culture will also see its taboos change. That’s why OZY’s exploring those newly unacceptable behaviors with this original series. By taking a look at what society is placing off-limits, we can get a new look at what really matters to the people creating it.
A study published last year found that nearly four-fifths of Americans are lying about their voting record in order to make it seem like they vote more often than they do. That sense of civic duty — or at least the desire to appear to have a sense of civic duty — is now informing political campaigns and get-out-the-vote efforts to use social pressure and shame to get people into the voting booth.
The fashion industry is a behemoth — and deeply environmentally unfriendly. Now Western consumers overwhelmingly say they’re considering sustainability in their fashion purchase decisions. The majority also think that apparel companies should have to disclose whether their products are made using environmentally and socially sustainable practices. But they want it to go even further: Beyond social pressure, most consumers say governments should step in to regulate the companies themselves.
Since Cape Town’s much-publicized water shortage, the town has clawed back to some semblance of normalcy. But life in the South African city is forever changed: Carwashes are empty, artificial lawns are on the rise and taking a shower without saving the water is something you’d never admit to your neighbors. While having Mr. and Mrs. Next Door judging your water usage might seem invasive, it might also save Cape Town from worse disaster.
An increasing number of parents are keeping screens away from impressionable young eyes … but a survey last year found a shocking number of parents are ashamed of using their own cell phones around their kids as well. Their attitudes could forge those of the next generation and potentially lead to a changing conversation about our collective smartphone addiction.