Before delving deeper into this subject, I’ll start the reason why I personally value non-conformity in my own life.
I’ve been blogging in the dark for over eight years, and I’ve been primarily doing it for one reason: I enjoy it.
I don’t personally see myself as a professional activist, and I’m more interested in speaking my mind than to single-handedly change conservative societies with a handful of online articles – I think that’s a wildly unrealistic expectation.
However, if it makes at least one person feel good, and another person see things from a different angle, then that would be more than enough for me to feel satisfied.
In regards to non-conformity, the research does happen to suggest that activists (and casual bloggers) shouldn’t compromise their values nor rhetoric, and that they should assertively hold their ground instead; that’s what ends up being more impactful, and it is due to phenomenon typically described as “pushing the Overton Window”.
On top of that, I generally wouldn’t advise them to cave in to pressure – for their own sake. This is what is most often referred to as “conformity” (or submission), and according to this meta-analysis, it is the single decision (dying) people universally regret most later in life.
Meanwhile, standing their ground (even up against unanimous peer pressure) is actually associated with better health and greater overall life satisfaction.
In conclusion: The more they stand their ground and the less filtered they are, the better.
With all that said, there is a common argument that is often directed towards those with alternative lifestyles (and identities) within the Gulf States – and it goes as following:
“They have to respect the people, their culture and the social norms of this country.”
Here is my response to this:
No. They don’t.
1. Khaleejis with alternative lifestyles and identities also happen to be members of “society” themselves, and whatever they do would inherently be a legitimate part of society for that reason alone – that’s what society is; it is their members and the overall choices they make.
When members of a society start controlling the behavior of other members of society, then they seize to genuinely represent “society”.
It is an artificial attempt at social engineering, and the tool they are deploying is domination.
2. The identities, liberties and self-expression of a socially repressed minority are a bigger priority than the feelings of a repressive majority.
If such a majority chose to respect the minority, nothing would happen to their own culture or identity; they are the majority, after all.
Not a single thing would happen to them even if the minority filled the streets with all their banners, and openly chanted their slogans for everyone to hear.
If the minority chose to “respect” the majority, then they would cease to exist as they are. They will have to compromise their own identities, lifestyles, voices and autonomy for someone else.
There happens to be individuals and masses with identities so fragile that they are threatened by the mere public appearance and humanisation of alternative minorities – within their own populations.
In response, they want them silenced, shunned, and barred from openly identifying with who they are or living their own lives to the fullest – and they want them to give their own lives away just so they themselves would feel slightly more comfortable.
This is what is being (unevenly) exchanged between both groups, and why “respect” in this context is just a code word for submission.
Those who demand submission are not entitled to respect to begin with, nor do they deserve it.