Ch-ch-ch-changes: what will be shocking in 40 years?

How will future generations shock us?
Photo by Ross Findon.

You know how, within just a few generations, we've taken things that were previously unheard of and made them totally normal? Different sexualities, gender expressions, relationship configurations, and lifestyles just... exist! And the majority of people don't bat an eye!

Just looking back to my childhood, I remember people whispering with some level of scandal that Ru Paul was (gasp!) a man! (Shush! No! Really?) Now, Ru Paul's Drag Race is one of the most popular reality shows and drag queens read books to kids in libraries.

Heck, even just the fact that I am a 30-something woman living alone in her own apartment with a job and no husband or children would have raised eyebrows in the not-too-distant past. Now, at least in the liberal, urban bubble where I live, it's incredibly normal.

We may have a long way to go on accepting the different ways people live their lives, but things have evolved to the point that it feels like not much could shock me when it comes to lifestyle choices.

So of course, that makes me ask myself two things:

1) What is my grandkids' generation going to think is totally normal that I will find absolutely shocking?

2) What will they be horrified about the world today that we find totally normal? (Or, what are the things that I will think are perfectly okay to say or do that they will be embarrassed by?)

Here's my guess at the first one: human-robot relationships, or even just robo-rights. I can't see myself ever trying to stop someone from marrying their 'droid, but I can see my imaginary grandkids groaning in embarrassment when I whisper a little too loudly that it's "just a machine."

For the second question, I predict it will be all the consumerism, waste, and disregard for environmental concerns. My grandkids will no doubt not only be unable to believe it, but I think they'll be downright offended.

Heck, even the fact that I do live all alone in this apartment might be unimaginable in its own right: all this space and all these resources, just for one person.

Or hey, maybe we'll actually progress to a point in racial justice and Indigenous sovereignty that we will be rightly horrified and the injustice and inequality today! I WOULD LIKE THAT!

What do you think will offend the young folks' liberal sensibilities in 40 years? What would you have trouble accepting?


The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and bonus content!