The McDonaldisation of opinions


 

Why India needs Feminism

You don’t need to have experience in conducting surveys to see what’s wrong with the question above. You don’t even need to be a linguist. However, if you can answer both of these questions positively then each time this question pops up, as it inevitably does on social media, in it’s various guises, it is bound to make your blood boil.

If I had asked the people of Eastwood why the town needed tourists or why Eastwood needed D.H. Lawrence Heritage my M.A. dissertation would, not only, not have been accepted, but my supervisor would probably have flung it into my face. If you want to gather people’s actual opinions you cannot ask questions to which the only possible answer is an affirmative one. Why would you even leave your home for this sort of survey? The answers are already written out in your head. There is no need to talk to people. Those interviewed are merely figureheads.

But then again, who wants actual honest opinions these days anyway? Honest opinions are messy, unpolished and require people to rethink their assumptions. They need hours and days to be evaluated and cannot be packaged into facebook memes. Thus they will not be shared by poeple and won’t go viral. Thus they will not produce the traffic that a website needs to stay in business. Had buzzfeed actually asked people what they thought the values of Feminist ideology were, the result would not have been these catchy posters but an actual debate that would have been difficult to visualise. However, it would have been fertile, it would have started an actual thought process in people’s minds on how they want to live together. There is nothing wrong with looking to other countries to see how their societies have transformed in a post-industrial world. I used to think that social media, such as facebook, would contribute to an exchange of ideas and experiences between people all across the globe. And yet, while in ‘Western’ universities people are coming to the conlcusion that there is not one defined modernity one can witness people in Asia emulate ‘Western’ ideas from the 1970s in the hope of reaching the ‘stage’ that ‘western’ countries are in today.

It seems that the world wide web, with it’s global exchange of ideas, has not made us more open-minded but quite on the contrary has made people seek refuge in older models that explain the world. They are not messy, subject to debate and bear the danger of leaving us lost for words. Instead they come pre-packaged, with their complete vocabulary and predefined answers to any questions. If you are hungry and don’t have much cash would you really spend it on an uncertain foreign food or on a McDonalds burger where you know exactly what you are gettting? Considering that the globe is littered with their outlets we know what most people do on their holidays. But by now we also know the harm these nice handy packages are causing to our planet and to our health. If we can sacrifice the convenience and give them up, can’t we muster the same strength and give up prepackaged ideas?

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