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  • Writer's pictureEllen Dodd

Are People Nicer Now?

This question has been on my mind since I watched a bit of “The Search” a couple of years ago. It’s Little Mix’s popstar talent scouting show, like “The X-Factor”. And boy, was it cheesy. Not only were all of the singers really quite decent, but even their “No”’s were kind.

“Ohhhhhhhhh wow!!! You’re such a star!!! You’re just, ooooooh this is so hard, you’re just not what we’re looking for :-( But good luck!!! Keep shining you star!!!”. 

I’m not even joking, excellent hangover material, very feel-good. But, it wasn’t what I was expecting having not seen many singing talent shows SINCE X-Factor. And, when thinking back to that, it was quite different. So, after watching an episode of “The Search” I immediately watched a 2005 episode of “The X-Factor” on YouTube. It was starkly different, full of mostly terrible singers and acts with shots of the judges laughing. They literally told one girl she was too fat to be a popstar. Brutal! Reflective of the super-materialistic 00’s we found ourselves in, idealising size 0 figures and so on. 

That’s a pretty decent place to start with the argument that people are nicer now. We have had a beauty revolution within 20 years, now beauty is inclusive of all body sizes which is just, nice. Diet culture has revolutionised to be more about transforming health, than it is about just achieving unhealthy weights. 

The X-Factor and Search conundrum is reflective of the media we want to digest, people are less comfortable being mean, and consuming content where people act in such ways. This points towards the people generally being nicer. 

Movements such as BLM, MeToo, Pride, and other inclusivity and awareness raising campaigns show that people are becoming more inclusive, and that we are starting to hold each other accountable for actions which were past unspoken. This is all progressive, and progressing towards a nicer society. 

Now for some arguments against. Well, I was watching The Terminator recently and one of the characters is hunted by a robot, and he tries to track her down using the phone book. There’s a snapshot of history all but forgotten: we used to all be in phone books! Apparently addresses too according to The Terminator. This, today, seems absolutely crazy. You wouldn’t want that kind of information free for anyone! 

But then again, we used to. In the early days of the internet, people were liberal with what we shared online. Actually, it could be the internet that’s made things seem unsafe in the first place. In the times of The Terminator, 1980’s, before my time so I’m going off what older people have said and films, but people seemed to know their neighbours a bit more and perhaps talk to each other more. This is probably because TV’s were a bit shit and there weren’t mobiles, so people went out and socialised more. Or, worked/learned/were creative more. Now, we binge watch tv and scroll on our phones. 

We also have the wonders of technology, without it I wouldn’t be able to share these thoughts for instance, but I think there’s something to be said about the divisions it’s caused. Additionally, on the case of “Are people nicer now?” - on the internet it seems sometimes that is NOT the case, people being brutal really, trolling etc and cyber bullying. Yet, within social groups and in real life media, people seem a lot nicer and fairer. 

I think the internet can dehumanise one slightly, maybe causing people to say things they wouldn’t in person. So what does it mean for answering the question of people being nicer now? 

I guess it means we dk. We are looking at a question that is seeking to analyse the population, so I suppose that our analysis of society and media is a good place to start. Looking more deeply… Well, the world is corrupt as ever BUT there are huge amounts of protests and so on against this corruption. It seems there is a divide, the powers decisions aren’t reflective of the peoples will. This is a huge problem, when living in what is meant to be a democracy, which I believe in theory is supposed to consider the opinion of all citizens. 

How can it, when we are undereducated on politics throughout school, and the media is purposefully bias. We are giving our power away to people, who can do what they want with it, even if it’s morally wrong/not their job. For instance, I think it was 7 Tory MP’s turned up for the Article 50 debate after 6 million people signed a petition. This is blatantly ignoring the will of the people, and a complete disregard of the petition system. Why have it in place if it can be ignored? 

So are people nicer now. Well, I could bet that WITHIN politics (ie at their parties which they always seem to have) they are actually probably nicer to each other. I think people are generally nicer now. 

That doesn’t mean we’re wiser LOOOOOL I know I can be unwise at times. And, those in power appear to be with their responsibilities. IE wars, signing un-environmentally friendly deals, cutting public funds whilst increasing their own wages. It’s madness. 

Are people nicer now? In short - maybe probably a bit at least. I think overall - yes. A boss is less likely to shout at an employee, and people are more likely to be nice in public I guess. General feeling towards meanness has changed. Which is - you bet it - nice! 

What do you think has changed societally in recent times? 

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