Challenging Dominant Narratives

Challenging Dominant Narratives

Dominant social narratives are everywhere. They inform our thinking and repress our authenticity. What narratives are you buying into without even realising it?

Monday mornings make up one fourteenth of your life. It took all of my available mathematical acumen to bring you that groundbreaker. But think about it. That’s a lot of time to squander away with over-used platitudes, reinforcing the idea that Monday morning is akin to plunging one’s head repeatedly into a bucket of offal.

Between periods of time working for myself, I took a twelve-year incursion into the traditional workforce. There I encountered a social narrative that promotes the following two precepts:

  1. The period between 5pm on a Friday afternoon and 9am on a Monday morning – we will refer to this as ‘freedom’ – is the brief interlude into which we compress all things that represent pleasure, free will and the pursuit of happiness
  2. The hours from 9am on Monday morning until 5pm on Friday afternoon – we will refer to this period as ‘the working week’ – are an exercise in endurance, through which we accrue enough good karma and financial remuneration to earn our brief encounters with ‘freedom’

Monday morning is the faithless tyrant that drags us from our Sunday sanctuary, like innocent children wrenched from slumber to endure a six-hour car trip to Grandpa’s house, where we must earnestly attempt to appear charming and not at all furious.

Tuesday slips under the radar, largely because we are distracted by the euphoria of no longer being in the barbarous grip of Monday. Wednesday is joyfully celebrated as the summit of a merciless ascent, from which we can glimpse blessed Friday, gateway to the green pastures of the weekend.

I spent the first few months of my period of employment dodging the Monday morning gauntlet of well-meaning office small talk, the staple of workplace social intercourse. I was determined not to be drawn into a dominant narrative, at odds with my philosophy of finding adventure in the everyday:

“How was your weekend?”
“Not long enough.”
“I know, it never is, right?”
“Oh, well. Only five days to go”

Dominant social narratives are often the lenses through which we experience the world and the people around us, and yet they are constructs of our own making. What narratives do you allow to frame your daily life?

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