This I Believe

Stephanie - Brookfield, Illinois
Entered on February 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Looking Beyond Stereotypes

I believe in looking beyond stereotypes and getting to know someone before making judgments about them.

There are many labels people use on each other, and most of them are used negatively. Such labels as prep, punk, jock, stoner, and goth are used by children as young as five years old and some adults. I think that we learn at a young age to label people by such names, and it is partially caused by media and the things we see others doing. Ever since I started listening to punk and rock music in about fifth grade, I have been extremely judged. I feel that liking a certain type of music should not lead to being called names and being treated differently than someone else. I have been called goth and punk but I never once let that stop me from being myself. What others have said to me in the past made me who I am today, and made me realize that judgments are unnecessary.

When I was about 13 or so, I started getting pierced. I am sure many people believe that piercings are a sign of rebellion and hate, but it is nothing like that. I have my piercings because I like them, not because I hate the system or just want to make a statement. Piercings are an art form, just like a painting or a sculpture. When I started getting them, others started looking at me as though I were another form of life or something, which shows how narrow minded people can be. Having a bunch of piercings or tattoos does not make a person less special or less smart than someone who has none. This is a concept others are still not getting. I guess it is okay to be curious about such things and ask questions, but when questions start getting like “oh, do boogers get stuck in your nose ring?” or “does that go all the way through?” it is a bit too much. The point I am trying to get at is that people who look different and have body modifications or any thing that sets them apart from others, are not from another planet, they are as much an individual as anyone else.

When people learn to be less judgmental, I feel others will get along better. I have met some of the most amazing people in my life by looking past their stereotypes. It is all about looking past labels, learning right from wrong, and stepping out of the box. The person that you would least expect of being a cool person might just be a potential best friend. You will never truly know someone unless you look past what others think of them, just as you will never know how the water feels unless you take the plunge.