Faith and Family

A Teenage Take on Stereotypes

Group of students walking in school hall

When I was asked to write something about stereotypes, I wondered what I would have to say. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that teenagers know a lot about stereotypes. Not only are we often subjected to them, but we are also really good at imposing them on ourselves and each other. 

For instance, at school there are definitely various groups of people who are always lumped together. And based on which group someone is in, people think they know everything about that person. Often such stereotypes are broken down into groups, such as the ones that you always see in the movies—the athletes, the intellectuals, the popular kids, etc. The thing is, though, just because someone is part of a certain group, it doesn’t mean that he or she is just like everybody else in that group. 

It is true that the groups we put each other in are self-imposed stereotypes, but we are not the first, nor will we be the last to do so. It’s been going on for years. 

Unfortunately, we are also subject to different types of stereotypes from others who are not our peers. I have been told a lot of times by people older than I am how easy life is for my generation as opposed to when they were growing up. As a member of Generation Z, more than once I have heard the term snowflake used to refer to my generation, implying that we are weak. 

While some of the things that are said about my generation may be true for some, please don’t think those things apply to all of us. Most of us are going to school, worrying about grades and tests, and also working in order to save money for college. And we had to do a lot of that with remote learning during the pandemic. Trust me, that wasn’t easy. 

When we do hear these stereotypes being directed at us, we aren’t even able to defend ourselves. That is because, since we are younger, to challenge what is being said about us would be seen as disrespectful. Yet I don’t understand how the reverse isn’t true. Just because someone is older doesn’t make stereotyping a certain group right—or less hurtful. 

No one likes to be lumped in with others based solely on their friends, interests, or even age. We are all individuals made by God with our own talents and traits. It would be nice if we could all treat each other that way. 

Faith and Family | St. Anthony Messenger