The Harm of High School Stereotypes

Everyone knows about the typical high school stereotypes. There are the mean girls, who are always pretty, rich, and highly involved in fashion. There are the jocks, who are dumber than rocks and only interested in sports. There are the nerds, who wear glasses and have braces, and no social skills. There are the outcasts, who are weird and utterly friendless. There are the stoners, who do drugs and subsequently have no future. There are the rogues — more commonly referred to as troublemakers — who are in detention more often than not, and don’t know how to approach their lives with seriousness and maturity.

People search for the most prevalent trait they have and group themselves with others who have it. In a bid to make friends and fit in with their chosen groups, they mimic the behavior they see. The similar personalities foster the creation of the stereotypes listed in the previous paragraph. People make assumptions about others when it seems like they’re identical to those with similar interests, and that’s harmful.

Such assumptions lead to the idea that you need to fit perfectly into one group. It makes you think that you can’t have interests that overlap with those of other cliques, and thus need to conform to a single group. People warp and change who they are in order to fit in, and they shouldn’t have to do so. They should be able to be themselves without being labeled as weird or boring.

No one is innocent of forming stereotypes. When individuals  first lay eyes on someone, they are profiled into what seems to make the most sense. It’s become an instinct to do so rather than keep an open mind. That is something society needs to work on stopping as a whole.

While those stereotypes do follow people throughout their entire lives, they inflict more harm on teenagers and children, who are desperate to be liked the moment they start going to school. They are more conscious of the people they surround themselves with, and think that they need to be just like them in order to be appreciated. This line of thinking needs to be stopped. Everyone is worthy of respect and care. explains that stereotyping can negatively impact academic performance. It can lead to stress and anxiety, as well as isolation from peers. Low expectations from teachers and fellow students can diminish the will to study and try hard in school. Once graduation comes and goes, those stereotyped students choose their future careers based off of what’s expected of them. They could continue to not put in effort in making their futures bright, all because they were led to believe that they couldn’t succeed. In contrast, they could aim higher than they can reach, and end up crashing and burning — because they were told that they had to be academically smart.

In conclusion, stereotyping is harmful and continues to impact those most vulnerable. A positive self-image promotes confidence and success. When people make  negative assumptions about others, it can be painful and self-defeating. Individuals need the freedom to express their true selves and be not chained to a label.

How High School Stereotypes Hurt Teens | Betterhelp