Social Stereotypes

For some reason, we all seem to find the need to label each other - Social Stereotypes introduction. How many times has somebody put you on the spot and asked “So what are you then?”. And what are you expected to reply? Am I a townie because I own a pair of Adidas trainers or am I a grunger because I bought a rock CD? Am I a Beck because I’m Jewish or am I a trendy because I bought my bag from Topshop?

I don’t know. You tell me. The fact is, the person asking me who I am has probably categorized me already, and they will have classed me as one of the following:

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First there are the townies. Townies can be recognized by the gold jewellery and sports clothes they wear, both of which cost �5 down the local market. They can be spotted in any town centre, playing garage music out of their Vauxhall Nova or sitting in any McDonald’s around the country. Townies like to show off their “bling”. After all, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you haven’t got it, then rob it off a passer by. This is the townie philosophy. Townies are generally given a bad name by the “rare” townie girl who try to start a fight because she thinks your skirt is too short or the “odd” townie boy who will either ask for sexual favours and/or rob you.

Secondly, there are the grungers. There is a mutual dislike between townies and grungers. Grungers, as you can probably guess, listen to grunge music, a sub-genre of Rock. They claim to dress for comfort, not conformity. Perhaps, then, it is a coincidence that they are all wearing the same studded belt and wristband. You may find it difficult to differentiate between grunger boys and girls, as both will be wearing the same oversized jeans, Nirvana hoodie and have the same haircut.

Next are the Becks. Normally spotted in their natural habitat, Starbucks in Golders Green, Beck girls are likely to be three things: rich, Jewish and done up to perfection. The Beck girl comes with a variety of accessories including at least one pair of Miss Sixty jeans, �100 hair straighteners and a Tiffany Star of David. They will almost certainly have blonde highlights, their make-up will always be perfect and they will always have a new pair of jeans, or a new top or belt or whatever ridiculously overpriced item of clothing they “needed” daddy to buy them that week. Not that I’m implying that they’re shallow or anything.

“Trendies” are simply everyone left who don’t fit into the above cliques, providing they shop in high street shops, i.e.: Topshop, French Connection. There are few trendy trademarks. They have no passion for a certain type of music or style of dressing. They are just the remaining ordinary teenagers who have no desire to stand out.

Of course, there are those “non-conformists”, who believe that they alone are above the teenage social hierarchy. The Goths. They dress in black and listen to the likes of Marilyn Manson. They will insist in having deep, psychological problems, suicidal tendencies and an inclination to self-harm, despite the fact that they are perfectly stable, middle class kids looking for attention. They accept you for being different, providing that you dress like them and listen to their type of music. Their individualism centres on dressing, acting and thinking like everyone else in their clique.

Having just said all that, I can hardly deny that I categorize people to these stereotypes. I do it every day. What does piss me off though, is that people are narrow-minded enough to dismiss someone entirely because of the clothes they wear. I know people who just aren’t interested in getting to know me because they don’t agree with the type of music I like. I also hate the underlying hatred between different groups. I asked my friend the other day why she hated a girl and the answer she gave me was “because she’s a townie”. I often get people saying to me “why are you going out with a grunger? You’re a townie”. Am I? And if I am, does that really mean that I can’t hang out with the people that I want to?

Townies hate grungers because they listen to Nirvana. Becks hate Goths because they’re weird. Grungers hate Becks because they’re shallow. Everyone hates townies.

I’m not suggesting that these groups should be entirely abolished or anything. I just think that everyone should be a little more accepting and a little less judgemental. I don’t think the music you listen to or where you bought your shoes changes who you are.

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