By Jazmin Jett |Staff Writer|
Social stigmas are defined as the strong disapproval possessed by a society, regarding an individual’s traits or beliefs that are against the widely accepted social norm.
Many are often stigmatized before they even get the chance to open their mouths and speak.
For example: the transgendered student that sits behind you in lecture; the women in hijabs that you unnecessarily feel threatened by; even the student in the motor-scooter that you failed to say “excuse me” to this morning.
All of the latter are often stigmatized.
Would social stigmas be as prevalent if less people did what was expected as opposed to doing what’s best for them?
Let’s not forget those on the other side of the spectrum that have the nerve to feel as if their opinions are of enough pertinence to dictate what you think and do.
Aside from this country’s obsession with bigotry, I believe social stigmas are continuously fed because of cowardice.
Cowardice in feeling comfortable in doing whatever the hell you want and cowardice in allotting others the opportunity to do the same.
I see social stigmas as a bunch of people continuously running around a revolving door.
In other words, the same individuals who conform in efforts to avoid being judged are those that ultimately judge the most.
It’s counterproductive and extremely annoying.
More saddening is the oppression those with mental illness’ receive for being so-called abnormal.
Another aspect of one’s livelihood that is often tainted by social stigmas is sexual health.
More times than none, people are ashamed and/or embarrassed to get themselves tested for STD/STI’s in fear of what will be said about them by actually going to a testing center.
“Social stigmas and negative consequences appear to represent significant barriers to college students’ being tested, which could increase the risk of spreading infections to others”, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
And they’re right. Sexual health and sexuality, along with being yourself, is often fed to us as a form of taboo.
“Understanding the causes and consequences of prejudice, as well as improving the lives of stigmatized individuals, has a long history in social psychological research,” stated by J. Nicole Shelton, Jan Marie Alegre, and Deborah Son of Princeton University.
So would I be going out on a limb by saying that we’re indirectly taught to not only conform to social stigmas but to continuously uphold them?
Student JoAnna Aceves said, “I genuinely feel bad for the people that are always judged for being themselves but I feel worse for the people that are so judgmental. [Judgmental] people like them are only taking out their hatred of self on others.”
There is no such thing as the ideal.
There are as many ways to live as there are people on this Earth.