Salty Stereotypes

Akshata Gandhe, Profiles Editor

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Photo courtesy of Clipart Library.

“Is BuTtEr a CaRb?” These famous words were uttered by THE Regina George when Mean Girls came out in 2004. The strange portrayal of high school in that movie made a lot of us question human sanity but for some of us, the movie was everything. There probably is no high school where people have not been classified as maybe the art nerd, the preppy kid, the jock or maybe the mean girl. If you’re wondering if these typical high school stereotypes still exist then the answer is yes, they do. Although stereotypes have evolved throughout the years, all of them basically categorize a certain group of people. It could be high school, cultural, racial, or gender stereotypes, all of them do indeed have a negative effect on people.

These prior assumptions that are made are not just mean, but they also result in bullying at schools. It is ethically wrong for someone to generalize a group of individuals solely based on some prior knowledge but also purposeless. This categorization of people creates the need for individuals to constantly feel like they need to fit into a group and alter their identity in the process. One can lose their true personality, identity, and individuality by just trying to fit in and avoid being generalized.

A few freshmen were asked about their initial thoughts about high school and the common stereotypes that they’ve heard. Almost every one of them had something different to say especially new students. “I thought upperclassmen would be super mean and that every underclassman would be bullied or something. To be honest, it’s pretty chill,” said Student Q.  A lot of people think these high school stereotypes are still prominent in today’s world which is quite surprising.

Upperclassmen have always been described as mean or arrogant. In reality, that is so untrue. For starters, calling all upperclassmen mean would be generalizing all of them (although some might be). Second, they’re just not mean. Similarly, the freshmen have had this reputation of being stupid and childish at times. When asked about the same, Freshman 1 said, “It’s kind of unfair when people assume things. I am pretty sure everyone is not the same”. A lot of unique statements were made as a response to this stereotype although Mr. Sullivan might just agree with it. Many people avoid doing obvious activities that would confirm certain stereotypes.

This places several limitations on people’s lives as they restrict themselves from truly enjoying their school life. Cultural stereotyping is way more common than you would think especially among high school kids. Sometimes you might face pressure from a friend or maybe your family. One thing for sure is that stereotypes never have and never will match reality. Every family is different and unique, some parents may be strict and some may be more lenient. In some households, more focus is towards academics, athletics or maybe music.  Psychologists suggest that stereotypes result in a phenomenon called a stereotype threat in which an individual has a self-confirming belief that they would be judged based on a negative stereotype. This results in a pessimistic attitude towards life and affects other decisions as well.

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