30 November 2015

Suicide in Popular Culture, the Media and Society: An Introduction

I recently began writing a book with the above title. I wanted to tackle the stigma of suicide and falsehood that it’s some sort of easy way out for cowards. However, instead of releasing it as a publication, I have decided to publish it here on my blog as a series of posts about suicide.

An Introduction

Every year over 800,000 people commit suicide. It is the 15th leading cause of mortality in the world and the number of people killing themselves has increased 60 per cent in the last 45 years. Although we don’t really understand suicide, society is certainly opinionated about it. There seems to  be a coherent attitude towards the act of suicide and that viewpoint has been agreed with by the mainstream media and expressed in popular culture. If anyone chooses to believe the opposing opinion about suicide, they are thought to be depressed and perhaps on the verge of suicide themselves. There isn't a debate about this topic. You choose society’s view or you’re instantly labeled as mentally unstable and liable to take your own life. What I want to do, is show you that there are other viewpoints regarding suicide through popular culture and real life stories.

We don’t understand suicide and it’s too much of a serious topic to discard without debating it properly. There have been dozens of studies about the causes of suicide and yet we still don’t truly understand much at all. The problem is, we need to talk to those who go through with the act instead of those who have attempted it, which is obviously an impossible achievement. The lack of knowledge surrounding suicide has made us ignorant as a society. Political correctness is probably the wrong term but there is some sort of ideology that has bestowed us to thinking any neutral or even pro-suicide literature or media should be shot down. I’m not suggesting that people are advocating suicide as that should definitely be debunked. However, any suggestion that suicide is brave or heroic is deemed as idiotic or mentally unstable. 

Suicide has been a part of life since humans invented civilisation. It has also been a great topic of choice within the arts. Suicide in fiction however, is predominately seen very differently to real life suicide. This is something that I will examine and scrutinise deeply within this book. But, firstly, there is something that I must say. Suicide isn't a depressing subject. We have this misconception that everyone who self-destructs, is sad or depressed. This is not the case.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be very interested in reading this book if it ever becomes one. I'm currently working on a book design project in school in response to the suicide of someone I dearly loved and admired and the stigma of suicide genuinely disturbs me a great deal. Pretty surprised and disappointed on the lack of awareness/literature on this.