As someone who dresses “alternatively,” I experience the lovely world of stereotypes daily but a recent experience made me think about how they impacted not just myself but others. Just this morning I was in Costa with my family and a person whom I have never spoken to in my life left because of how I was dressed. I would have put it down to coincidence if she hadn’t complained to the staff that I was the reason she left, her reasoning? “That person could be concealing a weapon of some sort”. This misconception was because of the fact that I was wearing a trench coat and platform boots. This then led me to become very self-aware of how other people would view me, I don’t want people to be afraid of me.
But then it occurred to me that her views were based on the stereotype that a person who dresses alternatively could be dangerous and wants only to cause havoc amongst others and does nothing but cause trouble. A stereotype that I believe should be null and void in this day and age as there are so many people who dress in a similar style and wish nothing but the best for the world. This is a clear example of how just because one person who dressed differently and did something that could be seen as offensive everyone then assumes that people who dress differently all act the same, completely ignoring that how some dresses isn’t a reflection of their character.
Sadly this isn’t the only stereotype that still exists in our modern world, for example, a co-worker of mine, her nephew was asked if he was in a gang because of his skin tone, something he has no control over and couldn’t safely change without hurting himself. And despite all of this, there is also a double standard, the phrase “dumb blonde” is no longer acceptable as it could make the person who didn’t choose to be born blonde self-conscious, and yet it is seen as acceptable to assume someone of a darker complexion is in a gang?
This just shows how utterly twisted our world is so we must change our attitude purely because it’s not right. In 2012, 59 children of colour were bullied and made to feel so unwelcome that they took their own life. I’m not saying that by eliminating stereotypes we can solve the issue but it could hopefully be reduced as no child regardless of height, attitude, complexion, hair colour or anything that they chose to do, should feel unwelcome in this world, they should be taught the power they hold as they are our future and the people they become will be responsible for the world itself.