“Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.” --Martina Navratilova
Labels can be very annoying and harmful. One problem many of us have with stereotypes is that they can be blatantly incorrect. For instance, there’s a stereotype of short guys as being immature and childish. When I was in high school, the yearbook asked several questions such as, “Who is most likely to succeed in life?” or “Who is most likely to become a movie star?” I remember finding out that I had received the most votes in my class for being the “Most likely person to never grow up.” I remember being infuriated because although physically small, I felt like I was emotionally very mature. I felt like I had been stereotyped because of my height.
Even if the stereotype may be correct, it can still be emotionally damaging. For instance, there’s clearly a stereotype that short people can’t play basketball very well. This stereotype proved to be true for me though. Some other challenges of stereotypes that were mentioned by those we interviewed were that amazing people of a different race can be perceived as a threat simply because of their skin color. Others may accuse you of getting unfair privileges because of affirmative action; you may be excluded from activities; or you may just simply get tired of being defined by one physical trait.