Thursday, October 8, 2015

Conformity as a Teenager

I'm a caucasian female teenager (as you might have assumed), and there's a lot of stereotypes associated with us. Especially because I'm not particularly unique in my dress or manner. We all try to avoid being a "basic bitch" to an extent, but this notion is particularly prevalent in girls like me.
I read an excerpt from "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson for English homework tonight, and the assignment was to write a discussion essay on "pick two lines that strike you and react." Here's what I wrote.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” explores the theme of conformity. In the essay, while discussing human nature and his own experiences, he observes: “The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is that it…blurs the impression of your character” (332). Emerson argues people strive for uniqueness and unconformity because it’s what differentiates them from everyone else. One’s unique quirks are what defines his personality. Furthermore, a person wants to be unique because it gives him value; it makes them worth something.
Fighting the “basic bitch” stereotype is a daily struggle in my life. I try not to drink my iced coffee with cream and sugar, I avoid wearing oversized sweaters, and I stay away from listening to pop music. However, fads are popular for a reason: because they’re delicious and energizing, or comfortable, or pleasing to the ear. I deprive myself of these small joys to preserve my uniqueness. Sometimes I try to walk the line between my unique preferences and “white girl” trends, such as wearing Uggs but in purple instead of beige, or buying a generic black backpack but covering it in pins that express my individuality, or wearing a sweatshirt and leggings but with Converse instead of running shoes. I’ve always been aware of this “white girl” stereotype but it came to my attention when a friend accused me of being one when I wore an oversized sweatshirt with leggings. I protested, “but I’m wearing it with Converse!” but in the end, there’s no fighting the stereotype. There will always be someone else doing the same thing as you, so if it makes you happy, it’s worthwhile to stay with the trends regardless of it interfering with your individuality.
I hope my English teacher doesn't mind my usage of swears. In my defense, it was the only way to get my point across! "White girl stereotype" just wasn't cutting it.
Anyway, I mainly just wanted to share my essay with you because I thought it could help someone out there who's trying to go against the grain but to no avail. I just wanted to let you know it's okay to be basic. Don't sweat it! We'll all be adults someday, and those pumpkin spice lattes you consumed will all be trivial.

No comments:

Post a Comment