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Think

In a time of progression and steadily expanding social standards, one would think that the opinions of the public would begin to depend less and less on superficial matters. As it stands, however, the scrutiny of peers has become one of the defining factors in the lives of most teens. Why is it, that in an era of breaking down social barriers, there are still teens that cannot find it in themselves to face the public eye without first putting on a mask of makeup? Why is it, that in a time when individuality and “being yourself” are so openly praised, there are still teens who are teased and talked down for dressing in a way that is not considered the overall norm?
Think about this: there are two teen girls walking the hallways of the local mall. They pass an obese woman riding a motor scooter. Once out of the woman’s earshot, they break into giggles, and insults that generally revolve around the woman’s supposed laziness. What they don’t know is that the woman has a thyroid disorder.
Think about this: there is a group of kids leaning against their lockers at school, waiting for the morning bell to ring. A girl brushes past, pregnant belly protruding slightly from under her school jacket. The comments fly as she makes her way around the group, how she must be a slut. The girls shun her. The boys tease her. The teachers look down upon her, talking about how society has fallen, and how corrupted youth has become. What they don’t know is that the girl has only slept with one boy. A boy who she had dated for years, and who had given her the promise ring she was wearing on her ring finger. A boy who was kind and gentle when they made love, but didn’t use protection. A boy who stayed by her side during the pregnancy, and didn’t pressure her into anything.
Think about this: a boy sits in his desk at school, doodling on a piece of scrap paper, when a larger boy knocks it off of his desk. The larger boy sneers and gets on eye-level with the smaller one, and spits a degrading term in his face: fag. The smaller boy winces, but denies nothing. He simply picks up his paper and resumes doodling. Later that day, the boy is cornered in the locker rooms by the same large boy and his peers, and beaten. There are now large bruises covering his body, including his recently tattooed arm. The tattoo is of a Bible verse; Romans 15:7.
It is a ridiculous notion that someone could feel uncomfortable in their own skin, or feel vulnerable to scrutiny simply for disregarding the general standard. Think before judging, and remind yourself that you do not know everything.





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