Most people don’t want to have other peoples’ opinions forced on them. They want the freedom to live life based on their own values and beliefs. Certainly, if someone’s perceptions are harming other people, then that should be stopped – as in the case of criminal behavior – but otherwise, perspectives should not be forced on people.
Consider gay marriage. I think George Clooney made a great point when he said, “At some point in our lifetime, gay marriage won’t be an issue, and everyone who stood against this civil right will look as outdated as George Wallace standing on the school steps keeping James Hood from entering the University of Alabama because he was black” (Huffington Post, 2016).
Consider the devaluing of women and the many people around the world with views that limit what women can do with their lives. In many places, women are viewed as second class citizens. A 2012 study showed that 92% of women in New Delhi, India reported having experienced sexual violence in public places (UN Women, n.d.a.). A study of 143 developing and developed economies showed that 79 had laws restricting the types of jobs that women can hold, and 15 legally allowed husbands to prevent their wives from working (UN Women, n.d.b.).
Consider burkas or hijabs. A woman should not be forced to wear one if they don’t want to, nor should she be banned from it, if she desires to do so.
Consider the rapid spread of Westernization. While there’s nothing wrong with the spread of ideas around the world, the problem comes when non-Western cultures are devalued and disregarded, resulting in cultural disintegration (Marsella, 1998). Our way is not the right and only way to live.
Your perspective is just your view of the world. It is your perspective and, while you can share it, it should never be forced upon another person.
What other examples can you think of that demonstrate ways that people force their perspectives on others?
Marsella, A. J. (1998). Toward a ‘global community psychology’: Meeting the needs of a changing world. The American Psychologist, 53(12), 1282–1291.
Huffington Post. (2016, February 2). Queer voices: 66 inspirational quotes about gay marriage. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/gay-marriage-quotes_n_2947825.html
UN Women. (n.d.a.). Facts and figures: Ending violence against women. Retrieved from http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
UN Women. (n.d.b.). Facts and figures: economic empowerment. Retrieved from http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-empowerment/facts-and-figures