Self-Expression and Discrimination

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Self-expression is an important aspect of life for many people, teenagers in particular. They are pushed by those around them; teachers, peers, parents, and mentors, to express themselves. Yet by doing so, a portion of these teenagers are discriminated against. A portion of teenagers, as well as other age groups, are discriminated against by society, as well as many others they encounter in everyday life, including those who push them to be who they truly are.

First, many of those who dress “alternative,” “emo,” “punk,” or “goth,” are often instantly labelled as trouble-causing and/or troubled teenagers. Can this be the case? Yes. Is it always the case? No. I’ve had a personal experience with this topic. I used to visit a nearby store relatively frequently. At the time, I had eight ear piercing, colored eyeliner, as well as blue and black hair. I wore a studded belt, and had neon and black clothes. I noticed that instantly when I walked in the door, employees folowed me, often verbally harassing me as I tried to buy new shoes for volleyball, or any other object I needed. How I dress has relevance with how I act. I’ve never shoplifted from that store, or any store. Once a little girl asked her mom why I had purple hair. Her mom’s reply? “That’s what happens when your parents don’t love you and you do drugs.” I’ve never done drugs, drank alcohol, or smoked. Nor do I intend to. I also happen to have a great relationship with my mom, however, my dad died when I was young.

All in all, it seems as though self-expression is only accepted by society if you choose to live and dress in the style that is considered “normal.” Not every kid with pink hair is criminal, nor do piercing equate to a drug addiction. There are many criminals and addicts that dress completely “normal.” How I dress does not effect my intelligence, goals, or morals. I’m first in my class and a member of the National Honor Society. Clearly, my style does not effect my life as severely as many seem to expect. There’s an old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” keep that mind next time you see a person that you think dresses “weird” or “abnormal.” That person might go quite far in life, perhaps they won’t. In any case, discrimination and ignorance is far more harmful to society than an abnormal hair color.





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Thetoxicglamour said...
Jul. 1, 2012 at 4:07 am
wonderful article! I have been in that position many times and it's nice to see similar feelings expressed so well.
 
Beth S. said...
Sept. 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm
A lovely article.
This happens to me and my best friend all the time especially on non uniform days. Everyone says stuff like "It's not halloween" and "ugh your an Emo you slit your wrists that's disgusting". Thanks for writing this it reasures me that we're not he only ones.
 
Hannah N. said...
Sept. 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm
Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you. That was a lovely article.
 
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