What is the American dream? The white picket fence, nice house, two splendid children (a boy and a girl), and a wonderfully domestic wife to come home to. This is the ideal image that people have strived after for decades, but does it still apply to U.S. society today?
After seeing this vice video about the evolution of relationships in Japan, or the lack of relationships, I felt a little disturbed. The culture there does not revolve around finding your one true love and one day getting married and having kids. Rather, it’s about furthering your own success and only seeking the parts of a relationship that you need, such as someone to talk to, or even cuddle with. Japanese men and women will pay good money for things that I feel American couples take for granted. On the other hand, American relationship culture has evolved in a way that the American Dream doesn’t really even exist any more. As a current college student, I find that relationships are very rare, and when they do happen, they are much easier to abandon than sustain. By which I mean that the divorce rate is 50% these days, where it used to be significantly lower. At least Americans are still attempting marriage where it seems that the Japanese have abandoned it entirely.
These days, I see the “American Dream” shaping up to being an independent, successful person first – significant other, second. People are so afraid of not getting ahead in their careers or being held back because they are in a romantic relationship. And those that do hold true to those ideal beliefs in marriage are considered “traditional” or “old-fashioned”. However, I think that this is the way of the new century. Yes, technology has made it so much easier for people to avoid social interactions, but for those who still believe in the possibility of living life with another human being are still able to thrive in this society. The Japanese can be satisfied by paying for time with a stranger, but I think that Americans are still willing to put themselves out there to meet people and not hide behind their cell phones. Yes, the culture of dating a relationships has changed drastically in the last few decades, but so has the rest of the world. Just because we don’t necessarily live by the ideals of the American Dream, doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own in mind.