Stereotypical Individuality

“No, I don’t like pink!”

“I’d rather wear my sneakers, thank you!”

“I hate chocolates!!”

“I have more to my life than the stupid fashion show!” “I don’t care if she’s a fashion disaster, I don’t want to discuss her clothes!”

“I want to play ball instead!”

“I have absolutely no idea, what’s in this summer”

“There’s a sale? So? I don’t want to go shopping!”

“Do we have to waste time talking about people who don’t even know we exist?”

“No! I am not a tomboy!”

Yes, a woman spoke these lines. Yes, she is a rare specimen, indeed. Yes, I am sure she is a woman, I double checked! No, she does not have a mental disorder, she is perfectly normal.

I wonder why the above statements would come as a shock to many people. But then again, how often do we hear a girl say she doesn’t like shopping? I am tired of these labels. If the women aren’t overly girly, jumpy, quirky and giggly, they can only have one other option. They should then be rough, tough and tomboyish! This has pushed me to my limits and I want to scream against these pathetic stereotypes!

Humanity, especially women, does not need labels. We are individuals and we all have our own separate identity. Gender or race may unite us but the real beauty of the humanity lies in the diversity that nature put in everyone by default. No two people are alike and that fact cannot denied. But this age old ‘race’ to fit into a stereotype or justify a label has killed this diversity, the very beauty of human beings.

What is more shocking is the fact that even the men of today worry themselves with this nasty business of fitting into a specific cliché. They must give off a certain vibe and represent a certain image, or they are at the risk of being the laughing stock of every social gathering.

The entire world seems a little confused with the agenda it wants to promote. On one hand they advertise stereotypes and ‘images’, making sure that people are not only aware of them, but the acquisition of a particular image or label is also within their reach. While on the other hand, a large number of people have exhausted their lives and resources to uphold individuality and celebrate differences.

It is saddening indeed that the oh-so-intelligent humanity is a victim of stereotypes, plagued with superficiality. They may talk about being an individual and enjoying the fact that there exist differences in the population, but that is only mere hypocrisy. The very people who may uphold individuality are victims of stereotypes. Not only their appearance, but their demeanour, ideas and even mere reactions are inspired by some dictate of the society!

Every single thing, from colours and accessories to career options and study courses, has been divided along the lines of stereotypes. One must very carefully choose what they want to be associated with and who they want to represent or they’d be called confused and even ‘lost’.

I often question this ‘tradition’ of fitting into one label or the other and fulfilling the requirements for one stereotype. I am usually called a non conformist, but even that is a label that I don’t need! I am an individual with my own thinking, my own ideas and my own beliefs. They do not need a specific label and I would never like to be put into a certain category just to be socially ‘acceptable’ or uphold an agenda. Sometimes, I think there are powers that we don’t understand, and those powers do not want us to come out of this petty and useless pursuit. This is all a conspiracy to halt our mental and social development and to limit and stagnate our productivity. But then again, these are just my thoughts, many people still want to fall prey to these classifications, and gladly as well!

Kulsoom Khawaja

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