We are brought up on stereotypes, and although they our a natural part of our psyche to categorize people, sometimes the stigmas involved with stereotypes are negative and not an honest reflection of the person/people in question. Here are some examples of ones I have experienced;

  • Hoodies. Hoodies this, hoodies that, the media love to talk about hoodies. I was walking home with my partner a few weeks ago and saw a hoody walking towards us, out from an underpass, I immediately began to put up my defenses towards this innocent stranger and bury further into my partners arms for protection, it was then I realized that my partner was wearing a hoody and the hood was up. I was avoiding one while burying into another. My partner is not violent or threatening, he was just cold, but if anyone else had seen him they would most likely have had the same reaction as I did to the stranger. Hoody’s are people, not all are violent, that is the minority the media likes to talk about the majority of the time. The stranger may also have been cold. A hoody is a fashion statement, not a cult, it is a fabric and stitches and yet it causes so much controversy.
  • Smokers. Both my parents used to smoke and for a while my partner did. I was brought up to avoid smokers because; ‘smoking is a disgusting habit’. But in my experience, smokers are just people with an addiction. My partner and my parents aren’t anything like what I was brought up to believe smokers were like. They are people.
  • Mental Illness. As I have mentioned in other posts I am bipolar. The Mental Health Institute ran an experiment where they advertised a fictional person looking for a room to stay in, then put up the same ad a few months later with the fictional person having a mental illness, the illness wasn’t named or described but less than half the amount of people replied to this. There is a huge stigma around mental illness’, but to be fair, I have been ill since I was about 8, and yet until I tell people I’m bipolar they have no idea. I seem normal. A mental illness is an illness, when someone has meningitis or asthma they are ill, when people have depression or OCD they are ill. It’s the same concept, just different part of the body but it causes people to avoid those that are ill.