20 "Normal" Standards In Society That Are Actually Very, Very Toxic

Last month, we wrote a post where people shared the standards that have become "normal" in society, even though they're toxic. In the comments, more readers shared the awful societal standards they've also noticed. Here are the eye-opening results:

1."People have accepted medical insurance as a norm. We need to educate ourselves and everyone. All civilized countries have free Medicare. Our taxes are being spent unwisely. Insurance companies are having a heyday and we the people are paying and dying owing money for medical expenses."

"Check out the countries that have free medicals for their citizens. You will be surprised. Cuba is one of them. We can pay the government instead of insurance companies."


A doctor is talking to a patient who is sitting on an examination table in a medical office
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2."[Having so much access to people online.] I love my social media and my phone, however this morning I had to get up at 6 a.m. for work. I had a shower got dressed, and then, I noticed a message on my phone — it was a Facebook Messenger message from one of my friends saying, 'Why are you up so early?'"

"For some reason, it really pissed me off, like, I've just woken up I'm tired AF, and I need to wake up and get ready for work; I don't need to be explaining to a random Facebook friend as to why I am waking up first thing in the morning."


3."If we leave [the] schools to fully educate our children, we are in trouble. Some teachers are young, some are old, and what matters to them may not reflect what matters to us. If in general, we knew more about chemicals and how much of it goes in our food, houses, or environment, we would make better decisions."

"I'm often perplexed about the food they serve children at school. It is close to junk and full of preservatives and hormones. Children are essentially conditioned to unhealthy cheap food that when they grow up, they don’t question it, and many adults even if tell them don’t want to know. So, it would be beneficial if schools educate children beyond today’s prescribed curriculum because many people don’t know what they don’t know."


Four students focused on taking a test in a classroom setting
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4."The idea that climate change doesn’t exist or is not an extremely pressing problem in the present moment. People need to wake up."


5."I feel like we’re set up for failure. The cost of living is increasing, and jobs don’t pay enough. You need about two to three jobs just to make it. I went to college and have many other skills, but no call back. How can I provide for my family like this with no given opportunity?"


Woman at a desk using a computer in an office setting
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6."I think that too much social media is bad for your mental health: Always comparing what you have to what other people have, thinking about how you look, trying to lose weight so they look like that one person who has that perfect body."


7."That men's bathrooms don't have a diaper changing table."


"It's a small thing, but I build in Florida, and every single bar/restaurant I have put my hands on will have one. Purse hooks by the bar and in the bathroom, too. A damn changing table in the men's room. I FOUGHT for it hard in the beginning, and now, it's a norm on all my jobs."


Baby changing station with safety instructions, mounted on a restroom wall
Ratchat / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."The acceptance and pervasiveness of gaslighting. The support is worse than the action itself. When did one man’s opinion become the truth? Regardless of facts to the contrary?! Have we lost the ability to do simple math and our right to the benefit of the doubt? REALITY MATTERS, folks."


9."That being single and childless at a certain age means something is wrong with you. BS! It is a choice!"


Three friends smiling and posing together in a lake
Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

10."That there is only one correct way to live, and that the path through life must be the same for everyone. In my opinion, the only 'wrong' way to live is one where you intentionally harm others. And life's path is not linear and even. It jumps, dips, climbs, plateaus, curves, stagnates, and is unpredictable. We put so much pressure on people to graduate at 18, move out, go to college, get the perfectly respectable 9–5 corporate job, get married, buy a house, get a pet, and have kids."

"All before your prefrontal cortex is fully developed! Then, stay at the job, sacrifice all sense of self 'for your kids' (I'm a parent who loves kids, but I am still me!), stay at the same job forever, climb the ladder and never be happy where you're at, retire at 65, travel, and then settle in to die at 70. Nonsense!"


11."I’m tired of social media influencers who make it seem like having a 'modern aesthetically pleasing minimalist' house is the best/only way to live. Millions of people live in houses that are older and have older furnishings and kitchens, and THAT'S OKAY."

"I personally love the charisma and character that older houses have. They aren’t cookie-cutter layouts, and most older houses were built to last. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a new home or designing and decorating how you want, but social media tends to make people think your house has to be new and updated to be worthy."


Modern living room with white furniture, minimalist decor, and a bright colored rug
Whit Preston / Getty Images

12."The idea that furthering your education should break the bank!"


13."[The fear of aging.] When I watched soap operas, I would wonder about people (especially women): 'How the heck is she a grandmother with a totally smooth face?' 'How is this person pushing 70, and they still have such full hair with no gray in it?'"


Family with grandparents and children sitting together on a couch, smiling and hugging
Peopleimages / Getty Images / iStockphoto

14."I am so tired of people thinking public school needs to teach EVERYTHING. At what point do we finally hold parents accountable for raising their children instead of expecting a 21-year-old teacher to do it for them?"


15."I'm a young girl still in school, and the beauty standards I have to live up to are outrageous. People say they like natural girls, and if you wear makeup, you're embarrassed. But if you don't wear makeup, people comment on your bad skin and say you look like you just came out of bed, and you're marked as 'ugly.' The standards are not okay and need to be changed. But at the same time, being a kid in this time, I have to live up to the standards to stay socially acceptable."

"If I go without makeup one day, I often get asked, 'Are you sick?' Do you want your kids to grow up like this? Wondering why they are called ugly and spending hours getting ready in the morning, ruining their bodies so they are not 'fat?'"


Person seated with a smartphone in hands, focus on device, casual attire
The Good Brigade / Getty Images

16."Outrage in life, and especially on social media. There are times where someone will say something offensive or stupid, and they rightfully are exposed. But there are other times where someone does something wrong and genuinely didn't know it was wrong at the time, or don't know it's wrong now. Instead of teaching that person, the first reaction is to call them out about it."


17."Loud talkers in public spaces. This seems to be a uniquely American phenomenon, one in which I only truly realized when I visited Paris and witnessed conversations using 'indoor voices.'"


Three people in a casual meeting, two listening to one who is gesturing while speaking
10'000 Hours / Getty Images

18."[Turning every hobby into a business.] I build and refinish furniture as a hobby and I'm not afraid to say I am pretty good at it. Family and friends are always telling me I should turn it into a business. I do, on occasion, sell a piece but I mostly just do it for fun and mental relaxation. It gets very irritating to have to keep explaining why I don't want to turn my hobby into a side hustle. It would then become work and lose its appeal."


19."[Not teaching life skills in school.] Not everyone is going to college, but everyone should know basics like budgeting, creating resumes, cooking, etc."


Two individuals in a business setting, one holding and reviewing a resume
Westend61 / Getty Images

And finally...

20."The concept of SHOULD is a dangerous one. That x should be a certain way, I mean. Men, if you want to cry and embrace your feelings, seriously, it feels good to let that out and you deserve to feel good. Ladies, if you want to be a boss, awesome. Do it."

"Aand to everyone else, be whatever you want, whoever you want. Dump should. Celebrate you."


Person smiling with hand partially covering face
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What are some other societal standards that are actually toxic?" Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.