Is death a taboo subject in our society

hairdressersIs death a taboo subject in our society?

Taboo or not taboo… that is the question.

Death certainly has been a taboo, but like our attitudes to sex, faith and authority, things are changing.

It’s very much about the comfort of the individual of course but here are 5 reasons we think the taboo is on the wane:

1) the taboo itself is dying; like other old taboos mentioned above – sex, politics, challenging authority.

2) death is hidden not forbidden: we just don’t see it much to comment; it’s not that we’re afraid to.

3) the taboo is only in media and medicine (where death risks being considered a medical failure).

4) we don’t always notice it’s being talked about, we use so much euphemism: ‘lost’, ‘passed on’ – not ‘dead’.

5) in reality, we don’t talk about life any more than we talk about death. We’re not that good at facing human frailty generally.

Death as a taboo : Final Fling survey

We asked why people signed up for Final Fling account as a measure of attitudes to death.

Most want to be part of the Final Fling community. Sorting legal and financial affairs and recording funeral wishes are main motivators. Most are doing it for themselves rather than for another. More are interested in making an Advance Decision than a Will. media2 We were interested to see if people are progressing as they’d planned. 6 out of 10 had to admit that they hadn’t done nearly as much as they’d hoped. Some hadn’t achieved any of their goals. As one user said: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Lack of urgency seems to be the biggest hurdle – always something else more pressing to do – manana. Lack of time and lack of clarity about our decisions get in our way too. Great news though. Not a single person said they found it a tricky subject. So much for the taboo. One user suggested that we could help with more bite-sized steps. We’ll be thinking about that for the coming year. We wondered who our users are. We imagine we’re speaking to 45-65 year old women in the main. Of the hundreds of users targetted for this survey, 7 out of 10 came from that group. Here’s what some of them said about Final Fling:

Thanks a lot for your fantastic website. It was a great discovery for me. Amazing work. Cheers from Galicia.Love the site. It’s fun and informative. I must recommend it to all my friends.I think your site is excellent. It’s all in the attitude!Brilliant initiative. Openness about death and dying is so important. Thanks.It’s fab. I tell everyone about it who will listen!Great idea and on my list of things to do.You are doing something so awesome. I think it will take time to get through to people – their problem, not yours – but you will get there and it’s SO worth it.Love its positivity. Well done, B!

The survey remains open. There are 3 simple questions; takes under a minute. Go to the survey.

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