I recently watched a commentary (see video below) on oversharing that got me thinking…
My grandparents’ generation (80s) kept everything within the family. Everyone “appeared” happy and perfect (think 1950s – Leave it to Beaver) but in reality – things that were hard (teen-age pregnancy), difficult (mental illness), or different (being gay) were something that were hush-hush. A nine month lie about going to stay with your aunt to escape the “shame” of being pregnant seemed like the better option to keep up the “perfect” front. Not talking about depression or other mental illnesses was surely a better option than getting support. Obviously if you did not talk about it – it was not a problem – and once again the “perfect” image was still intact. Asking your son or daughter to hide their sexuality or to change also was more of the norm. Let’s make sure we “look happy” then “are happy” was the name of the game (at least in my opinion looking back).
My parents’ generation (60s) was slightly better. I do not remember anyone in my high school getting sent to their aunt’s house when they got pregnant, and thinking back – a number of my friends ended up talking to a counselor at some point for something without too much or any shame. I cannot say my parents ever were open or spoke openly about gay people (even though they knew/associated with them) – but I also lived in low population/more conservative area. I will say I never got the idea that it was “ok” to be gay though growing up.
My generation (30s) and the generation after us (20s) I think changed the most. We were the generation who embraced mobile phones, texting, and social network sites. Sure – our parents followed – but we were the ones talking about MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and getting crazy over smart phones with full keyboards so we could update statuses, write blog posts, etc. We watched shows like “Teen Pregnancy” on MTV, saw tough guy Tony Soprano see a therapist on “Sopranos”, and had some of our favorite characters as gay dads on “Modern Family.” It goes beyond TV though – I think we finally realized that it was ok to be different and instead of hiding it – we should all embrace it.
While I believe there is definitely a lot of garbage out there (internet litter as I call it) with the numerous social networks, the thought of having to hide who you are/what you feel seems much worse. Next time you hear someone complaining over the amount of “oversharing” – please remind them that they do not have to actively participate (do not read/subscribe to Twitter, Facebook, etc) – and that at least now – we all can be ourselves and embrace our differences.