By Maira Ito
Editor — Paola Duran
“What are they wearing?”
“Where can I get it from?”
“Everybody has that gaming console and I don’t want to be secluded.”
Social stereotyping is defined as thoughts that are adopted by specific people and are expected to represent a majority. Our communities morph to the likes of the wide majority, turning it into a social norm, either unconsciously or consciously. For decades, there was a separation within communities on those who were caught up on trends and those who weren’t. Youtube videos, hashtags, Instagram posts and stories, Tik Toks-everything in our modern day is categorized depending on the likes of the generality.
Let me give you an example, to make it a bit easier to understand: thrifting. I’m sure it won’t be super hard to scroll down on my Youtube to try to find at least one person who made a video titled “Thrifted Clothes Haul”. It’s rather humorous really, going back a couple of years ago, when the kid that thrifted was often seen as “poor” and “strange”. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Remember that famous scene from Mean Girls, with (Spoiler Warning), Regina George glorifying a girl’s “vintage” skirt, only to shame it when she turned away? Now this particular trend, transformed into a commodity, something that everybody does, even if they have more than enough money and could just purchase regular store-bought clothes. Loose fitted sweaters, dad shirts and mom jeans-those mixed with some gold jewelry and fancy scrunchies, is what everybody my age is wearing.
However, is it really all that bad? The new trend for the 2020 year, had a more positive impact within our society as it encourages an environmentally friendly mindset and discourages fast fashion. But when do social norms become problematic? Even I, fall short on the constant demand to please the general likes of my generation’s standards, however overall this constant need impacted me more negatively, and here is why.
Growing up all of my clothing and moral beliefs were a product and influence of my grandmother. Having raised me, I paid full attention to the way she talked, to her body language, her tendencies, and her walk. Everything she did was ingrained in my developing mind. After immigrating to a new country, where the world didn’t revolve around her, it took me numerous years to discover“myself”. As a pre-teen, I often found myself manipulating my personality to fit the likes of others, or doing what would catch more friends. I envied the “popular” group, more specifically I envied their handle on their academics, their social implications and their seemingly perfect families.
This resulted in many years of anxiety and introverted behaviour that led to awkward encounters stemmed from constant overthinking and saying things at the wrong moment. This continuous feeling is so socially accepted, it’s ridiculous. It can be something so miniscule as wanting the same backpack or sweater that everybody is wearing, spending needless amounts of money on materialistic items with the purpose of showing off, or more long-term objectives such as choosing a career that’s popular and is socially acceptable, even if it’s not what the person actually enjoys.
Popular trends slowly turn into dictators for personalities, defining the line between popular and anti-social.
Merely getting a better understanding and being awarethat social stereotyping prevails and is a defining and driving force for our generation, will help maintain the anxiety and stress that follow it. One problem of the generality of people that I know is that they put the expectations of others, before the expectations they have for themselves. We worry about what job will make others happy, instead of worrying about how WE think of ourselves. Social stereotyping spans out in more than just the clothes that are popular to wear, it spreads to our career choices, and even our future spouses and relationships. Gaining a better awareness for the issue, is ultimately healthier not only for the individual but for everybody.