A Wild Theory on the Desensitization of “How Are You?”

Today one of the most commonly used greetings is the “Hello, how are you?” It’s become a core part of every meeting people have with one another. First, a word is said in recognition of the other. This can be the traditional “hello” or a simple “hi.” Then an almost compulsory “how are you?” is added. Sometimes it’s added simply out of habit, other times it’s something that is said to seem friendly. Which is exactly where the issue lies. The question has been completely stripped of it’s meaning. People don’t care how the other responds. Instead of genuine interest in how the person is doing. I’ve been asked “how [I am]” countless times, to which the speaker has had no intention of listening to my answer. Everyone expects “good” or “fine” as a response, and in return they also always respond with the same answers.

Of course then one can wonder if this really is a problem. To which the answer is, no, not really. The loss of purpose behind “how are you” is not the problem but a repercussion of it. The problem stems from a numbness towards one another, and an apathy to each other’s feelings. Our world is no longer about our feelings, but instead aesthetics. Do you seem friendly? Is that the impression you’re giving the person?

Alright, but how did this “numbness” and “apathy” come to be? Well, I don’t know exactly. I have my theories—I always do—but we can never be sure. My theory relates our apathy and numbness to social media. The emphasis on aesthetics are ever so popular nowadays with the prominence of social media. People see the visually pleasing photo, and they like it without feeling or understanding the message behind it. For example, they see the Syrian refugee photos, and share it because they know it’s right to share it; because they’re supposed to share it. The same thinking can be applied to the desensitization of “how are you?” People ask because they feel a need to ask, but truly, they don’t care how you answer. They don’t expect you to spill your problems, worries or regrets. They expect a “good,” and you do too.



The Effects of Inflation

Everyone is aware—or should be aware—of the many problems caused as a result of inflation. However, I don’t believe people realize the extent at which inflation has affected the economy. Today, even the simplest parts of life have almost become a luxury. Prices have increased to a point where buying a small candy is a jab in your wallet.  Between 1900 and 1965, the price for candy was around one to five cents each. During the great depression the price remained at a static five cents, until inflation hit. Then with a sudden impact, inflation doubled the prices. Ten cents became twenty, then thirty and so on. In 2100, it’s expected that the price for the same piece of candy will become $11.75. Our lives are slowly but surely becoming a luxury. The same inflation rate that affected the price for candy is affecting the price for our education. Students are faced with the immense weight of college tuition, and decide not to pursue a greater education. People decide to stop learning because it’s too expensive. When did education become a luxury?

Below is a graph of the rising rates of various prices, including college tuition and fees, as well as educational books and supplies.


Graph is from WealthDaily, “The Student Loan Bubble” written by Ian Cooper in May 12th 2011.

Here we can see that the price of our education has increased exponentially with inflation, and this is only between 1978 to 2010. Now in 2016, the prices are even higher. In the same graph we can also see that our governments do not want to educate us. Instead they want to continue the increase of prices in order to make more money. We are stuck in a system of no escape. In order to get a proper job, you need a university or college degree. In order to get a degree you need the money; if you can’t get a proper job, how do you produce the money for your education? As human beings we have a right to education, and the tuition acts as the obstacle to it. Our governments have a duty to satisfy our rights. If they aren’t fulfilling our right to education, what are they doing instead?




Most people don’t realize the importance of “solo-adventures.” Going out for a walk by yourself, eating dinner by yourself, discovering new places, going ice-skating. Just spending time with yourself. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you’re never by yourself how will you ever know yourself.” I don’t know who wrote it—I’d be grateful is someone told me—but I strongly relate to it. Have you realized that we copy the people around us? We steal snip bits of each other. The way you laugh, talk. Maybe the way you fiddle with your hair, chew your lower lip or adjust your glasses. In reality, no matter what you do, you’ve made an impact on someone. You’ve changed someone. This is in some aspect beautiful. Your presence has defined someone’s character, be it their habits or the way they adjust their glasses. So I began to wonder: if you’re always around people, are you always copying people? If you’re always copying people you won’t have anything of yourself. You’ll be cheap imitations of other people. Spending time alone can prevent that. You’d have nobody to copy but yourself.


#7: An Admirable Death


“I don’t want to die from a sickness,” a friend told me one day. Intrigued, I asked him to explain. He told me he didn’t want to slowly wither away. Instead, he said he preferred to die in a war, shot honorably like a soldier. Everyone has a different death in mind. What is its significance?

Humans are on a constant quest to impress each other. We care about the way we dress, we check how we look in mirrors and we monitor what we say. Whether you are twelve years old or twenty, you care. People always care. Of course, there are some exceptions; there are always exceptions. There are people who act like they don’t care. In reality, however, they do. It’s a natural human instinct to impress the people we respect.

We care so much we even want to have an admirable death. It’s the least of our worries, and completely insignificant, but we care. We will not be alive to watch people’s reactions. We will not have a stream of consciousness. We will not be. This is so hard to imagine, considering how “being” is all we know. We simply cannot fathom the actuality and finality of death. Our brain’s cannot process it. And so we continue to consider people’s opinions, we continue to try to impress them. With these motives in mind, most of us long for an admirable death.

The other side of this argument is the truth that not everyone desires this “admirable death”. There are some people who simply want a painless passing. A classmate told me that they desired a painless and expected death once they had turned old and experienced everything life had to offer. Another did not care for the pain, but wanted it to be “clean” so it wouldn’t be inconvenient for the “janitor who [had] to clean it up”.

There are two sides on the matter of death, two different types of people. On one side, there are the people who want to be known, seen, and remembered by many. And on the other side, the people who simply want a painless death, one that gives the least amount of emotional pressure to their family and friends.

Death is inevitable, and “always ugly”, but how would you want to die?



#6 My Mother Dresses Me


As a girl who has grown up in a strict religious family which values conservative women as much as they do the oil they soak their samosas in, I can assure the masses that my parents understand just how important dress codes are, after all who wants to end hundreds of years of culture and sexist customs away for basic human rights and equality?

I do.

The public education system is in the middle of a crisis– there are simply too many sexist people in power who have decided that if a women (who is most likely underage) is wearing an article a few inches above the knee, or (Lord forbid) showing a shoulder, they are in an inappropriate and unprofessional attire and must change.

There is a reason the majority of  Universities and Colleges do not have dress code, because clothing does not impact anyone’s learning in any sense of the matter and if it does that person needs to stop over-sexualizing the underage 15 year old girl wearing yoga pants because jeans are uncomfortable with a pad.

By forcing the leaders of tomorrow to conform to a set of rules, especially rules that only appear to be implemented to one gender the majority of the time, we are crushing self-expression and showing girls that we only care about the education of our boys. If Dylan O’Brien walked into a math class and every girl failed the test, O’Brien wouldn’t be blamed and yet, when a girl in a v-neck blouse comes to class it is her fault that the boys were not able to pay attention.

It is understandable with rape culture breathing in the ears of our girls that parents and adults want them to be covered in public places. I understand that this is why my parents are sexist, but that does not mean it is okay. I understand why my mother and father want me to show them my clothing before I am able to wear them, I understand that I have a list of clothing that I can and can not wear but I do not understand why my brothers are able to wear whatever they want. It is impossible to escape sexist culture especially as the people raising us are implementing these thoughts into our heads.

Education is meant to push us forward, our teachers are meant to be people that students are able talk to and discuss important ideas in order to educate and therefore progress the human race further. Teachers are not in the position to tell us that what we are wearing is distracting or inappropriate, the only thing inappropriate in these situations is an adult in a professional environment sexualizing a minor.


#5: Wattpad and Hot Guys

An online story-sharing website called Wattpad has it’s community hooked onto three tenacious topics: bad boys, werewolves and Harry Styles. The girls are captivated by these stories, and they don’t seem to be losing interest anytime soon. How do these three plots capture the interest of so many girls? Is the answer simply hot guys?

To begin with, it is true that all three of the topics are bent on romance and happen to feature at least one attractive, confident guy who shows an interest in the protagonist. But an important factor to consider is that these men all have high positions in social class. In werewolf stories the men are alphas, the leaders of the pack, in bad boy stories they’re the strong and alluring leaders of a group of popular boys, and finally in Harry Styles stories the man is a celebrity with millions of obsessed fans. The appeal? A high-class man with power showing interest in the reader. The key-words here are power and interest. It’s a girl’s primal instinct to search for a powerful man who will give them security. This is due to mankind’s need to reproduce, and of course hormones. Therefore girls–especially adolescent girls–have a strong magnetic pull towards content that makes them feel desired. Which explains the frequent sexually suggestive hooks:

“”Don’t underestimate me, Hunter.” I gulp, trying to sound unaffected by our close proximity. His lips are inches away from mine when he whispers with a smirk “Bite me, Kitten.”- Bite Me Kitten by Alexandra Mogilevsky (byebyesasha)

“Grabbing the back of my neck he pulled my face towards him, his nose a fraction from mine. He looked at me in the eyes and made one thing perfectly clear “you’re mine.”” -Grey’s Tribute by rmills75

“A sickening snap is heard and something drops onto the cold, stone flooring. The chains around my wrists and ankles are broken along with the tight metal collar around my neck. “Mate.” my rescuer growls, gently cradling me in his arms.” – My Broken Luna by awesomepriscilla

These hooks draw girls in like bees to honey. It fulfills their sexual desires, as well as their longing to be loved and desired by a powerful man. Manahill Ghumman, an eleventh grader, argues that “It’s just the aesthetics,” and suggests that it’s something that would not happen in real life and therefore is attractive. She says, “[It’s] stuff that you don’t see everyday.” The fictional world is enticing. It gives girls an opportunity to experience situations they would not necessarily experience in real life, with the side-factor–or not so side-factor–of a very attractive and powerful guy. Girls want to feel safe, loved and desired and these stories appeal to all those desires. So, the Wattpad community’s interest in these topics is not just because of attractive guys, but also the safety, security, adventure and love they offer.


#4 Dear #Womenagainst Feminism

Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

With a definition so empowering, one may question why hashtags such as #feminismiscancer and #womenagainstfeminism exist today. After acknowledging arguments by the opposing side, it appears that a game of telephone is taking place within the western world; So here’s a message to all anti-feminists: Please, sit down.


We already won equal rights“, According to a study by the government of Canada on The Evolution of Canadian Wages over the Last Three Decades, Women’s hourly medium and average wages have indeed increased from 1981 to 2011 but, so have men’s wages and with the increase in both sexes pay, the equality between the sexes is clearly not there, especially in regards to equal rights. Also with activist such as Return Of The Kings advocating for the removal of women rights and, in essence, speak of endangering them, the rights and safety of women being constantly compromised, which any sane person would argue, is the opposite of having equal rights.

“I shouldn’t be shamed for wanting to cook, or clean” I agree, but there is still little to add to this. Feminism is the social equality of the sexes, and therefore, neither you, nor your male counterpart be shamed for wanting to cook, paint their nails, do their hair, clean etc. There is nothing shameful about wanting to be stereo typically-feminine but today, women and men are trying to push boundaries that cage in peoples actions and lead to people being ridiculed, feeling superior, embarrassed etc for doing things that aren’t within their genders supposed guidelines.

Feminism promotes making men our enemies.” Feminism, as mentioned multiple times before, is the advocacy of equality therefore it isn’t an attempt to make men enemies or to dehumanize them. This seems to be the most confusing aspect of feminism due to the fact that there are people out there who label themselves as feminist but seem to promote man-hating, which is the opposite of what feminism is about.

I like when men say compliments about my body” You may feel good when men compliment your body, catcall you or simply make you feel wanted but this is not the case for everyone many people (especially in the case of sexual violence victims) do not enjoy receiving unwanted attention from men (or females) especially on streets. Unfortunately this is a common event that takes place in the daily lives of many women and men. This is why we fight against this unwanted attention, because although you may enjoy this, you are not the only one who matters and to put an end to this is the only way to stop any unwanted attention is to fight against it.

I am not a victim” You may not be a victim, but I as well as women in many other countries have been and continue to be. It is important as women and men living in first world countries, fight for equality not only within their own communities but within many others. Collaborating with feminist organizations abroad such as women for women and the Gulabi Gang.

I don’t need to grow out my body hair to prove I am equal to men” I despise body hair, but it is my choice to decide weather or not I want to grow out my body hair, I don’t therefore I don’t. This is not something that make me inferior to men or mean that I am not equal to men. The choice to grow out body hair is the choice of a women and for a man to decide that all women with body hair is disgusting is disgusting in itself. This is once again the fight to remove barriers within gender stereotypes, if it is unnatural and gross for a women to have body hair then why isn’t it for men? These are the kind of double standards feminism wants to tear down.

In life there are two things that you must do, die and choose. Feminism fights to ensure that everyone last human on this planet get the right to choose their life and is able to do so without being ridiculed. The fight isn’t against men, it’s against stereotypes and generations of social norms that are not appreciated today, because it isn’t just HisStory, it is OurStory.