Tag Archives: stereotypes

Breaking the stereotype

We live in a society where being different is frowned upon. Expressing who you truly want to be is unacceptable and can make you an outcast within friends, family, and professional environments.

People can be judged on every small detail starting from how you carry yourself to how you dress. Clothing companies strive on stereotypes created by a society built on fitting into a certain category, making it that much harder to tear down the walls and expand out of what is expected of us.

Don’t you wish we could define ourselves however we want to? Can you imagine a world where we are allowed to wear whatever we wanted to without being judged or ridiculed for not dressing how the world wants us to? The first place we need to start is retail stores.

boy and girl
“There are “girl” sections and “boy” sections that are separated in halves. If you are a girl, you shop in the “girl” section and vice versa. If you even think about heading to the other side of the store, eyes follow your every move, confusion and judgment covering their faces.”

Clothing stores are the definition of stereotypes. There are “girl” sections and “boy” sections that are separated in halves. If you are a girl, you shop in the “girl” section and vice versa. If you even think about heading to the other side of the store, eyes follow your every move, confusion and judgment covering their faces. It’s not their fault, really. Society has constructed those people into thinking that gender comes in only black or white, boy or girl, masculine or feminine, but that simply isn’t true.

People should be defined as just that, people. Some identify as a boy or as a girl, but some people don’t. It isn’t fair to expect someone to fit into a specific definition when it’s way more complicated than that.

I’m a girl who likes to wear “girly” clothing but I also love to wear “boy” clothing. When I head over to the “boy” section of a store, I want to feel comfortable and like I belong there, not as if I am confused or out of place. Clothing companies owe it to us to give us the opportunity to be our authentic selves, not to be forced to be the person we think we should be.

Designers need to catch up to the 21st century and start designing clothes that are gender neutral. I’ve been dying to see clothes that have always been made for boys being made for girls. Start creating masculine clothing that fits my small frame. One of the most frustrating experiences is finding a shirt or a pair of pants in the “boy’s” section that I love but having it be way too big for me.

If designers starting making “boy’s” clothes fit girls, it would allow for the inclusion of all genders as well as let everyone wear the clothes they want to and to feel comfortable in those clothes.

Of course, I know that beginning to make clothes gender neutral doesn’t create the end all of gender stereotypes nor the feeling of not fitting in; however, I believe we have to start somewhere and allowing for those who don’t fit into society’s ideal of gender were to be able to express themselves appropriately through clothes, it would be a good start.

5 common assumptions about sorority girls

There’re a lot of assumptions that many people hold about sorority girls. In media we’re depicted as ditzy girls who are “like, so obsessed” with each other. That couldn’t be more untrue. We’re all very different individuals working toward a common goal.

  1. We all want to monogram EVERYTHING

I can’t lie; there are a lot things I want to monogram. But we don’t all have this uncontrollable urge to put our initials on everything. Some of us actually think monograms are tacky! This is actually a more southern thing than a sorority thing. Southern girls love monograms.

  1. All we do is party

This is definitely a hard stereotype to fight. Although I’m in a social sorority, we do much more than just party. We’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for different philanthropies such as Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude’s and many more. We also have a very hard focus on academic excellence. Sororities and fraternities have minimum GPA requirements that must be met. We’re all also very involved in the community. Many fraternities sponsor roads and take time to clean them. In Alpha Sigma Tau, we do a street clean up once a semester at the crack of dawn, usually on a Sunday morning. We also hold a lot of events that make philanthropy work available for those who aren’t in Greek Life.

  1. We only date fraternity men

This is definitely not true. We aren’t a different species that only sticks to our own. Plenty of my sisters have boyfriends who aren’t in Greek Life. We’re just like any other girls, and although there may be some sorority girls who prefer to date only fraternity guys, most of us date whoever we like. It doesn’t matter if they chose to be Greek or not, as long as the attraction’s there.

  1. We squeal every time we see each other

I won’t lie, at the beginning of the school year, after I’ve gone three months without seeing my sisters, I do get really excited and will do the typical run-and-jump hug. But I have never been one to scream at the top of my lungs a blood-curdling squeal just because I’ve spotted one of my sisters.

  1. We’re “buying our friends”

This is one of the more harsh stereotypes we have to fight. We do pay a ridiculous amount of money to be in our sorority. But to say we’re buying our friends is a horrible assumption to make. Although I love all of my sisters, there are days where we have had enough of each other. We don’t always like each other. It’s more like joining a team than joining a group of friends. We’re all working towards a common goal. This goal is to be the best we can be and share in our mutual agreement that we need to work toward living up to our values.

WWCHNT: emotional double standards

I was recently watching a clip from Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” where Hillary Clinton had been criticized for getting “misty-eyed” at a campaign event. Many Fox News reporters–male and female alike–jumped at the opportunity to question her credibility. This isn’t the first time Hillary — or any female politician for that matter– has been criticized for being “overly-emotional.” But how often to male politicians receive the same criticism? Continue reading WWCHNT: emotional double standards

WV: Home is where the heart is

Everyone is aware of stereotypes; they are constantly and unconsciously running through your head. Stereotypes are so widespread and farfetched that they rarely make sense. Let me tell you how I know.

I’m from West Virginia and very proud of it. My heart and soul will forever belong to the mountains. However, I get so sick of hearing comments like: “you’re from West Virginia?! Where’s your accent?” “But wait, you’re wearing shoes?” “No way, you don’t look like you are from West Virginia!” There is always some type of chuckle or smirk that follows after comments like those. It never fails, ever. Continue reading WV: Home is where the heart is

Letters to the stereotypes

The more I look around, the more stereotypical students at Radford University I see. Wannabe hipsters, Bible-thumping Christians and punks: please all of you get out of RU.

What has happened over the past year to change the campus population? Last year, I saw the campus overflowing with average Joe/Jane Bland college students.

Maybe last year I was just too innocent to notice these stereotypes, but this year all of these people I see around the campus really irk me. Well, it’s to you stereotypical individuals I write. Continue reading Letters to the stereotypes

Drop your assumptions at the door

Regionalism has no place on a college campus. Radford University may be in southwest Virginia, but I don’t see it as representative of the area.

Yes, our mascot is the Highlander because of the Scots-Irish population the Radford area had at one point. That’s cool. What I’m really talking about is the whole southern image. After living on RU’s campus for seven semesters, I can say it’s not all that “southern.”

The fact that it’s not much of a representation of the south isn’t a problem to me. College campuses should be neutral enough to make as many people as possible comfortable. What bothers me is when people don’t bother to drop their expectations when they start attending RU.

I’ve heard many comments in my time at RU where people assume that just because they aren’t accustomed to something, it must be a southern thing. Most often I’ve noticed these assumptions are wrong. People are more comfortable attributing differences to regions rather than their own lack of knowledge.

Map of Virginia. Photo from Creative Commons.

I’m not saying regions don’t have their differences, but I don’t think the differences are always as drastic as people like to believe. My family is from Rhode Island and in my opinion they have funny accents, eat too much shellfish and for goodness sake it’s a water fountain, not a “bubbler.” Despite these differences, they’re not from another planet, even if they drive like they are.

On that note, I resent people thinking it’s weird that I don’t have an accent since I’m from Virginia. Not everyone in Virginia, or any other southern state, has an accent. We don’t all fry everything, we’re not all conservative and we certainly don’t all listen to country music (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Of course there are people who fit the stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean much. Stereotypes especially don’t mean much on a college campus where much of the faculty isn’t from the area and neither are a large portion of the students. College campuses are more of a melting pot than this country is. People are forced to interact with peers from different places, and that’s the beauty of it.

What I really want people to get out of this argument is that RU may be in the south, but it’s not defined by its location. I’d like people to open up their minds just long enough to see that they are the ones who define the school they attend, and therefore are responsible for its image.

RU was considered a party school because people who went decided to say it was. If we alter our own description of RU to one that is more personalized, the school will come across differently to others. The same thing will happen if we don’t tell ourselves it’s a southern Virginia school, and instead say it’s a school that has a small student to teacher ratio and a flourishing graduate program.

In the future, I hope to see fewer assumptions about my school and my state. This won’t happen until we decide to let it.