Home » Society: Norms & Expectations » The Emperors New Clothes

The Emperors New Clothes

There are times in most people’s lives where they are happy enough to merely; tow the line, not rock the boat, agree to keep the peace and follow the crowd.

Established and accepted norms and mores of society usually correspond to the need to ‘fit in’ amongst those we see as our peers.

Humans naturally want to be part of accepted social groups; therefore they will seek acceptance from those they deem to be important within their peer groups.

A group or select individuals within it might be seen as, and believed to be the ‘it crowd’.

The ‘it crowd’ is often an invite only social set up, which receives kudos (whether deserved or not) from those wishing to be part of them.

The desire to be part of the ‘it crowd’, to occupy a position of ‘glory’ too, is what the outsider may desire most. Therefore, to also attain that position and to receive mutual respect, they do whatever to reinforce the; importance, authority and knowledge of these select social set ups. The outsider then proves their deference to the ‘it crowd’.

These it crowds are perhaps even elite in their social set up. They will provide a doctrine by which those wishing to enter their territory ought to abide by. Perhaps, these select individuals are in fact the template, which any new comer should strive to emulate. These elitists are the educators of these new comers; the new comers who know nothing unless they follow their leaders lead.

It could be often seen as the case of ‘The Emperors New Clothes’ syndrome.

I am certain most of you know that Hans Christian Andersen children’s story???? Here is a summary of that tale if you don’t;

‘A vain Emperor who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. The Emperor marches in procession before his subjects wearing his ‘new’ suit. The townsfolk play along with the pretence not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretence, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others’.

It might take only one person to unmask these elitists, these frauds who are merely full to the brim of their own self importance; just like the child did to the Emperor.

Just one person who is willing to stand up and disagree with the nonsense being perpetuated, and ‘spouted’ as the truth for all to see, follow and worship.

One person; not a lot to change the tide; yet, it is possible.

So, why doesn’t this ‘unmasking’ happen more often???

Why don’t we confront such elitists and usurp them from their ‘thrones’???

Why is it we often go along with inane nonsense that has for some reason been ingrained as  enlightening truth OR higher intellectual substance?????

Why is it we often see ourselves as unworthy, not enough???

Why do we feel we need to be re-moulded by others to fit in????


OPINIONS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me know what YOU think about such social norms and mores…………………….,

What do YOU think about merely going along with the ‘it crowd’ without questioning them or their ideas/beliefs and knowledge????

Have YOU ever just followed a crowd because YOU thought they were ‘cool’???



25 thoughts on “The Emperors New Clothes

  1. There are certain degrees of the phenomenon, some mores are beneficial, some are malignant, others neither.

    We have the run off the mill national material culture, by which individuals can identify temselves culturally – not exactly exclusive, though sometimes rather pricy; The cloathes of a subcultural scene (Rappers, Emos, Hipsters, Metal, Raggae, Banker) that help people find likeminded companions; Formal wear, Uniforms are more in the way of denominating function and Rank, which is where elitism starts seeping into the equation. Some, like Police uniforms, are essential for our modern society to function, and fraternity costumes that might be considered purely group-centered and while a policeman is just a man at home, a frat boy is always a frat boy (same goes for police women and sorority girls).

    Now, I’ve been a frat boy for a little while. I saw with my own eyes, on my own person, the changes that you make just by being around them. I couldn’t take that kind of pressure, trying to change me for good.

    • Hi, thanks again for commenting.

      Interesting how you bring clothing into how we establish ourselves in a group or mind set. True enough, people often do this. Think of gang cultures; certain tattoos, the colours they wear, and in fact how they wear their clothes can all symbolise one gang or another (and the individuals who belong to them).

      Sometimes this identification goes further than clothing – as with gangs. As you mentioned ‘frat’ boys – perhaps have a specific personality or belief system, which others outside of this couldn’t fit into.

      It is very interesting.

      Thanks again,
      Bex 🙂

  2. Pingback: You ask, I respond (to Lily) | Green Embers

    • Hi Malcolm,
      Thanks for input on this topic, you hit the nail on the head!
      Your points are all too true, and just as subtle as anything we can’t truly see to address. Yes, they are part of the very fabric of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’.

      • I highly concur with Malcom’s points of why these “Cliques” exist. I know I tried once to be one of the “Popular Kids” in Middle School. When it didn’t work after 2-3 trys, I figured it really wasn’t worth it. Especially with how rude and obnoxious the other kids were and I certainly didn’t want to be like them!

        That mindset has stayed with me since. People can try to stereotype me, but I don’t really fit any particular “mold”. I will say, “I’m Goth, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at me on a Day-to-day basis. Do you know how costly it is to do that?!” but even “Goth” has stereotypes or different variations.

        I just fit several. 😀 I’m not the popular gal, but most people who get to know me for years on end and less, love me and my company. If that makes me popular, I don’t care and I don’t see it that way. I’ve always thought of myself “at least” as the “Outsider” since I’ve never quite fit just anywhere.

        I’m hoping to change that though eventually in the future because I’d like to, to quote the Disney song from the Hercules animated film, “Feel like I belong.”. It’s nice to know there are people and a place you will “always” fit (feel comfortable in/around) into no matter how far you may go and feel accepted by all, if not that, something close. 🙂

        • Hi Gweny!!

          A joy as always to receive your input on these topics. Many thanks for your comment!

          Yes, trying to fit in to any thing that isn’t naturally us is going to be difficult, hurtful and full of stress. Usually on reflection we see that those we may have deemed the ‘in crowd’ actually aren’t, or at least aren’t for us.

          I suppose we all have ways of forming our own groups in life; but I’d like to think not all of these are detrimental!!

          I get what you mean about wanting to ‘belong’. I have always used a phrase; ‘feeling like square peg in a round hole’. Basically, not fitting in to other things that other people seem to naturally – ideals, way of life, goals or whatever else! It can be troublesome, as you feel at odds with what ratified as ‘normal’. Yet, being different, I think is a joy and normal is merely a word constructed to dismiss and confine.

          People shouldn’t try to conform or agree with everything like a sheep, just to please and fit in. Why do that and waste a life wanting to be something or somebody else?

          Bex 🙂

          P.S: I do understand what your saying about being Goth.

          • Merry Meet Bex!

            I tried to reply to this last night and for some reason I somehow accidentally scrolled outside the reply window…and my comment box went “poof” as did everything I typed. I was too tried which added to my frustration I decided to re-write in the morning. 😦

            You’re very welcome! I do believe we can form our own “Peer” groups or “Cliques” which are positive and uplifting. I have no doubt it can be found and done. Just a matter of bringing the right people you call “Spirit Family” together who have the same goals, hopes, dreams and desires to help make the world and their lives beautiful and better.

            At least that is what I’d like to believe and part of me knows it’s true to a far extent as well.

            I can’t say I’ve used your analogy before, but it works very well as far as a visual reference. I don’t know why I honestly didn’t think of it sooner. I might have to start using it now. 🙂

            I think being different is very nice. When I was growing up I was picked on in Middle School by my peers. I didn’t know why. My best guess is that I would not COMFORM to their ideas, ways or things they liked. I was very different from them and they felt “threatened” by the fact I wasn’t willing to be a “Cookie Cutter”. Cookie Cutter is what I like to use as a reference to people trying to Clone, copy or model themselves after these “Popular” or “Famous” individuals.

            They forget the beauty that is them in favor of becoming a “Cookie Cutter”. Why anyone would give up that beauty I can’t completely understand, I guess Spiritually (?) but I DO understand some of the psychology behind it.

            I have been questioning everything since I was very young. The age I remember becoming fully aware of my surroundings and could comprehend just what it was I was seeing around me. I never truly believe anything at face value until I do my best to research all that I can about it, unless something prevents or hinders that quest for knowledge and information.

            The Great Buddha, and I can’t quote directly mind you so this is completely paraphrasing of what he said with message intact, once said, “Don’t believe everything you hear, see, read or otherwise. Only believe what is true for you. Never take something at face-value.” Essentially he was again trying to convey people should question everything.

            I like to think asking the questions, even the ones no one likes, is healthy and good because it gets us thinking of solutions and new ideas. Sometimes it can inspire more. The point is – just to get us thinking. That’s all!

            lol I’m glad someone understands what I mean about the “Dressing Goth” thing. 😉 Most people don’t believe me when I tell them I am a Goth. XD Then I tell them, “Well look at my Club Photos Folder then on FB! The proof is there!” XD


          • Merry meet to you too Gweny!

            The frustrations of WP, I know them well, especially when I am tired and trying to finish that last thing! I am so happy you made another response to this though, even though it was a case of beginning again.

            Yes, I think it can be quite strange how often we find people who we just connect with. I like to think that is a little gift from the universe somewhere!!!

            Thank you, I hope my analogy will be of good use to you! The cookie cutter expression is a good one, I have heard this before, but I haven’t used it. Yet, it describes cloning perfectly!

            Yes, growing up is when this can be most difficult. We feel then more than ever I think, that we need to be accepted and understood. Yet, often we aren’t, and even those ‘belonging’ to groups may feel outsiders, yet can’t admit that.

            I think as much as being on the ‘outside’ can be hurtful or something we question; it is often a good place to be and a place we can learn, develop and grow from (the experiences it brings).

            Yes, people to perhaps trade themselves in, or sell themselves short to be socially acceptable. It is sad, but then I suppose we all have times where accepting ourselves is a hard job, one we can fail at.

            The Buddha quote, makes sense to me too. Only what is right for you can work for you!! Questioning things should be encouraged and is healthy as you have stated. I suppose by accepting everything it makes no waves in a person’s life; so perhaps it is less stressful on the person. Still, I question things too, it is part of who I am!!

            Yeah, I do understand, and also believe you are!!! I think people also have very fixed ideas on Goth, so perhaps it is their stereotypes coming into play?? I never classed myself as Goth, I merely used to wear black clothing, put together in different style – people came to the conclusion I was Goth on their own accord!! They also added their own associated negative connotations too.

            Bex 🙂

          • Merry meet again Bex!

            I didn’t wear black all the time myself but I did notice at some point I did have a LOT of black clothes or black with designs on them when I did some spring cleaning some time back. I was like, “I’m subconscious Goth!” lmao I didn’t wear the make-up in school though. I guess I didn’t see a point, plus I don’t like to because I often believe in just going all “natural” as far as my face goes.

            I didn’t dye my hair “black” because as a Goth I believed people should accept me as I was, whether my hair was black or no. 😛 I’d rather wear a wig. But I’m certainly “pale” enough to pass for Goth in general when the make-up around the eyes and stuff is on and I’m properly dressed.

            I think you are right though, I think it was a matter of people passing their own stereotypes. Whether we like it or not, there are still some very old and negative connotations that still persist to this day regarding the Gothic community. I actually use some of these to my “advantage” because they help to protect me if I’m alone or by myself. It’s something I like and at the same time, can still be frustrating. A love-hate relationship if you will. heh


          • Merry meet again to you also Gwen!!

            Yes, I understand the love and hate elements. I think the stereotypes are the worst at effecting you, yet the fact there is negativity can work in your favour also (as you have stated). I also felt quite trapped by it too, as though it was my ‘shield’ from the world (in a way). In the end colour won out for me. I wanted to express myself in more ways than merely black or my ‘fixed’ stylised attire! Jeans, I wanted to wear jeans!!!!!! Haha!!!
            I remember trying avoid wearing black for a long while afterwards too; like I didn’t want to slip back into it all again. No, I never dyed my hair dark either, but it is anyway!! I did however try to dye it green at some point.

            I do still love that fashion though. There is something so stylish and unique about it – it is theatrical , elegant and beautiful.

            Bex 🙂

          • Bex,
            yes! Exactly! I love other colors too! So that year I cleaned my closet out I opted to get more COLORFUL clothes for my winter attire. You wouldn’t believe how much my Winter stuff was black and dull! XD I said, “Oh my gosh! I need to fix this! I love variety and color! I love my black too but heck!”

            I love, love, LOVE the fashion. Gothic Faerie, Gothic Romantic, Gothic Lolita, Gothic Medieval, Gothic Steampunk. Yes; I like several of the different Goth stereotypes out there. ^_^ It’s even more fun to go clubbing and get dressed up in ONE or combining a couple! XD


          • That is the same for me; I do like to mix and match. I particularly loved retro this last summer. I went for 1930’s with a twist of 1950’s. I love period costume – I especially love, which might sound very boring, pattern cutting books from decades gone by. I am intrigued by the designs. I especially love the 19th & 18th century fashions. I sometimes wonder if I was born in the wrong time!!!!!
            Oh, I always thought clubbing wearing ‘Goth’ attire was the best; plus the clubs were always the most fun!!!!!!

            Bex XD

          • I’m the same way. Ren Faires I love to DEATH! I love attending SCA events or Unsanctioned SCA events. Always a BLAST! I’ve always wondered the same myself. I’ve said, “You know – you think with how old fashion my beliefs are – I was born in the wrong place and time. O.O;”

            Yes and Yes on the Goth attire and clubbing. I always meet really wonderful people at Goth clubs. Least I have so far. 🙂 I always seem to have a blast and I get compliments on my outfit sometimes – but more specifically my dancing since I am still struggling to learn like “Industrial style” and other forms of Gothic-like embraced dance styles.


          • Its good to have a ‘partner in crime’!!!!! I sometimes feel I am the only one who loves such things!!! Yes, it was always the best nights at ‘Goth’ clubs. The whole vibe was just different. I used to look forward to being there, and of course dressing up!!!!
            Bex 🙂

  3. I once took a Political Science class, didn’t really learn much, but I remembered this. People want the most reward for the least amount of effort. I think that plays into trying to fit in with the “in crowd” (sorry I had to change that, “it crowd” reminds me too much of the British sit-com). We don’t necessarily gain anything by trying to fit in, but I think we, as people, fear what we’ll lose. It honestly takes effort to form your opinions and beliefs and to stand up to those who might oppose them. I think the key thing is to remember, no one is ever right 100 percent of the time. We should always be evaluating what people tell us, what the Internet tells us and even our own beliefs. It is so easy to let other people determine our thoughts and actions. Saying no is always an option, however being different to be different isn’t always good either.

    Me personally, I definitely have done my fair share of trying to fit in. Sometimes I am a whole different person around my different groups of friends, from speech mannerisms to diction. Sometimes I’ve felt myself being a sponge and just soaking up the people around me. I don’t know if it is always a bad thing though, sometimes it’s learning from those smarter than myself.

    I think what I am trying to say is best summed up by this Lewis Carroll quote, “One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. “ ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ Was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter’”.
    We can pick our own “it crowd” and what we pick is determined by where we want to go.

    • Hi, many thanks for your considered input on this topic. I appreciate your interest!

      Don’t apologise for the lengthy comment – I enjoy reading all comments, especially those with plenty of points raised within them.

      ‘In crowd’ is fine. I was also reminded of the ‘IT Crowd’ too!

      It can be a difficult thing to stand up against anything or anyone. I suppose such things take time; as we learn to do this through feeling confident in ourselves, and what we have to offer the world. Our perceptions on our peer groups can then often alter.

      Being part of a group isn’t of course necessarily a bad thing; unless in our hearts we feel it is wrong for us, and we are not making our own voices heard.

      I do like the Lewis Carroll quote; groups are definitely time and place specific – our needs reflect the choice of group. We just go where we need to.

      Thanks again for your comments,
      Bex 🙂

  4. if its about me then it’d be really hard for me to follow a crowd. That makes no sense to me to follow a crowd unless its about my or someone else life. I think and I fell in heaven when I’m with like minded people.

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