Accepting the mainstream

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When I was a kid, I convinced myself to hate pink. This wasn’t because pink was an objectively bad color, or even because it had nothing to do with the things that I liked. It was because the girls in my class got teased for liking pink, for being like “other” girls. So naturally, my first-grade mind made the executive decision to hate the color pink — and I did that for the next few years. Although this is a particularly strange way to begin an article about accepting the “typical,” I now find that this moment was the first of many in which I was so bent on rejecting the status quo that I villainized things I never should have. 

Throughout our lives, we are taught to reject the status quo. This can be a good thing because people are multifaceted and should be accepting of many different interests. There is nothing wrong with liking things that break stereotypes — in fact, we should all encourage it. There is, however, a line between rejecting the status quo and outright villainizing it. 

Reflecting on this turn of events many years later, I find it strange how so many girls, or guys, were shamed because they liked something that fulfilled the status quo. It was even more strange when I realized this childish behavior still occurs now that we are older, it just takes a different form. 

It’s very common to be shamed along a gender binary and for things that are considered “typical” of men or women. Today, girls are shamed for liking to party or being extra committed to their craft (I can’t help but think about Sharpay Evans from High School Musical). Many guys are teased for being gym bros or wearing just normal “basic” clothes. Although this isn’t straight-up bullying, it’s still commenting harshly on some people’s specific interests. My point here is, we all claim to be accepting of everything, but this should also include things that are perceived as mainstream.

College students should feel like they can go out every weekend and be proud of it (so long as it’s COVID-19 conscious and safe, of course), girls should be able to enjoy things like doing makeup and hair, and it should be celebrated just as much as liking coding is. Guys should be able to talk about going to the gym without being called a gym bro like it’s a bad thing. 

The truth is, these are all things that people enjoy, and that is what we should be celebrating. We should celebrate each other’s happiness, not whether or not what makes people happy is something that falls into the status quo. 

So, to all of those who have fallen into the “not like other girls” stereotype, or even into the strange way this behavior materializes itself today: Enjoy your pink and spend as much time as you want doing your makeup in the morning. We are all getting older, and it’s about time we all start doing the things we enjoy.

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected].