Us humans just love to categorise things into groups. Whether this is to make life a lot simpler for ourselves or it's just the way that our complicated minds work I don't really know, but what I do know is that I have never been a very big fan of the way that we group other people together based on certain stereotypes.

It is true that there are probably people that actually fit every stereotype that you can think of, somewhere on Earth there is a French guy with onions round their neck and wearing a beret or a blonde girl who actually does lack intelligence for example, and we normally manage to do this completely subconsciously, but the problem that I have with stereotyping is that it generalises a whole group of people who are, in reality, very different and making you feel like you need to fit in with one of these generalisations in order to be 'normal'.

At school, I was smart but not intelligent enough to be classed as a 'nerd', I had friends and put myself out there socially but not defined as 'popular', and then of course you have other typical groups such as 'emos', the sporty 'jocks' and the 'unpopular people' (my least favourite grouping of all), all stereotypes that have been created for the pure reason of grouping people together to create this social order within society, none of which I ever really fit into which left me questioning my position in all of this social ranking. Was I just an outsider floating around the fringes of groups, was I part of a completely different group that didn't exist yet, or was I just lacking the normality of other people. It even begins to occur when you escape the realms of school and enter the big wide world, everyone has to have this class or social ranking within society, which many people make the mistake of letting define them. Everyone in this social ranking is in fact born equal.. the only difference between the 'rich' and 'working class' is the amount of money they have, not their self worth, their happiness or the life that they are entitled to live. There is nothing worse than seeing people get criticized for being creative and original, not letting themselves get drawn into devoting their lives to fit into these categories. I admire people that don't worry about what other people think of them, people that are not afraid to truly be themselves in a society that is afraid of change.

One of the stereotypes that bothers me the most is the 'you shouldn't do that because you're a guy/girl' mentality which certain people seem to have adopted, something that shouldn't even exist in our modern society. I have told surprisingly few people that I run a blog, that I actually enjoy photography and being part of a community consisting mostly of girls, due to a minority of guys that I thought I call 'friends' openly criticising and labelling me as 'gay' or 'feminine', neither of which are true, for 'doing something that is meant for girls' because I am in fact a male. I went through a period of completely lacking self belief, confidence and this constant feeling of insignificance, and the thing that they don't realise is that blogging is something that has rejuvenated my sense of passion, it gives me a sense of purpose and has become something that brings me endless amounts of confidence and happiness. Why shouldn't a guy like me be able to blog without suddenly being judged for being something that I'm not by people who do not even have a clue about the industry, why shouldn't girls be allowed to be footballers or rugby players without being openly judged, why should men all have to be a 'lad' just to fit in with the moronic males who have the idea that this is how all guys should act. 

Every single person on this earth has the ability and freedom to be original and different with their own personality not matter what gender, race, religion you happen to be. The truth is that I don't think 'normal' even exists, it is just this concept that we have come up with to make us feel better about ourselves when we act or feel like other people. I think it is so important to remember that there is absolutely no right or wrong way to live life, despite what other people may try to tell you. If you have a dream or goal in mind that you want to achieve, then never let anyone tell you that you can't do it, don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd, with a little passion, perseverance and self belief, you can do anything that you put your mind to.


Megan @ said...

Preach! I would have probably classified myself as a 'nerd' at school - but just because I didn't seem to fit anywhere else, and it was always better to fit in somewhere than nowhere, right?

Now I'm at uni I can see how you decide how you want to live, and it's got nothing to do with groups of stereotypes. I admire you for being a male blogger - I know I find it frustrating when 'general' chats turn into conversations about makeup, I can't imagine how much it must annoy you sometimes - but you shouldn't have to feel different as a male blogger, because at the end of the day we're all just doing the exact same thing and gender shouldn't have to define it.

Society's a strange place, but ultimately you're right - you can do anything.

Carolin said...

Thank you so much for sharing such an honest and in-depth post. In school I belonged to the unpopular ones (not that it ever bothered me). Years after I left school I went back to a reunion and recognised that some people never changed and still placed people in categories. But guess what, these were the ones who've stayed in our small town all of their life and never went out to see the world.

People who generalise just want to make life easy. It is easier to think in categories rather than to use one's own intelligence and question stereotypes. Happens all the time sadly. Hope you're well and we'll speak soon xx

Caz | Lunch Break Adventures

Amber Davey said...

Great post man :) these stereotypes and you're "mates" making fun of you are thanks to the patriarchy, it hurts men too, so much, because there is NOTHING wrong with being feminine! And girls are pretty awesome to be friends with if only guys would stop moaning about being in the "friend-zone"! You stick at it man! I love your blog, as do lots of others, and you clearly love it too :) people are afraid of being rejected by people with similar beliefs to them, which is groups of lads can get extra laddy :/ xo

Hannah Shambrook said...

One of my favourite post's! I agreed with everything you wrote and. Found your blog less than 5 minutes ago and I can already tell you will quickly become one of my favourites :) x

James Bickle said...

I was exactly the same, the closest group that I could fit into was probably the 'nerds' but I didn't really have anything else in common with them other than intelligence so it seemed pretty silly to try and fit in. I am so happy that other people are starting to break away from this trend of following everyone else, it really gives you a whole lot of inspiration to be your own person and embrace who you are. Thank you, I kinda like being part of a minority within the blogging community, it gives me a chance to be unique compared to what everyone else is blogging about and hopefully a chance to inspire other male bloggers. I agree that gender shouldn't really define anything in life, let alone blogging, you should be able to whatever you want without judgement, no matter what sex you happen to be.

James Bickle said...

I hated how people singled out other people as being unpopular just because they were different, liked things that were considered uncool or had differing views to that of others. I think they were the most inspiring people, the people that despite being bullied or singled out for what they believed in, continued to be themselves and not get sucked into this trap of changing their personality and trying to be somebody that they're not in order to be liked or considered popular by others.

Some people waste their whole life constantly worrying about what other people think about them and trying to get to the top of the social ladder and become popular while forgetting to actually enjoy life and have a bit of care-free fun every so often.

I hope that you're well too, thank you for your comment!

James Bickle said...

Thank you so much, I'm really glad that you enjoyed reading :-)

James Bickle said...

I think that females can sometimes forget having to live up to all of this pressure from male peers to be a 'real man' who feels like he is supposed to do manly stuff has just been thrust upon us by society, and sometimes I feel like I should or shouldn't do certain things because it wouldn't be found acceptable for a male to do, but I try my best not to let that stop me doing them anyway! (if that makes any sense at all) I don't really like the idea of a 'friend zone', it's just something that jealous guys, who wouldn't even know how to start talking to a girl, make up for guys that actually manage to become really good friends with girls.

Thank you so much! I think lad culture is just down to guys trying too hard to fit in and be respected by each other by bringing down and picking on others, which is actually kinda sad since the world would be a lot better place if more guys would actually support each other.

Imogen C said...

I love this post - completely agree with everything you've written here! I suppose I was one of the 'nerds' at school due to being quite quiet, but I never felt like that was really what should have defined me. Luckily I made great friends but it was pretty crap knowing that others labelled you as 'the shy one' or 'the boring one'. People are so quick to judge, and I suppose we all do it, but your post is a great reminder that people are often very different to whatever stereotype we might place them in!
I especially love your point about being a male blogger - of course I can't relate to that myself but I can see how frustrating it must be to be told it's a 'girl's' hobby. What's girly about writing about what you enjoy? It's a shame that the blogging world seems to be so makeup-oriented, hopefully people will begin to realise that all different kinds of people love to do it!

Kaylee and Shaguna said...

I love this post. I went to two secondary schools, and both were really different. One was really hierarchical and the other still had groups but not as much of hierarchy. Every group had a reputation, but by the time we graduated, we removed those boundaries and created a much more warm and inviting atmosphere in our grade. I'm really glad to read a male blogger because we all think differently and your diversity into this area is really appreciated. I have so many thoughts about this post I can't process them all quickly enough. Amazing piece overall.

Caroline said...

Great real honest post and as ever James, well written.
I have to agree with and relate to everything you said. It's a sad world that we live in where you think this type of thing ends after school and doesn't happen in 'adult world' but it does.
I think, which I'm only starting to realise myself is that, it's worse trying to fit in or thinking your different with no self worth, but in reality, if you don't love your life and yourself how can you expect anyone else to. One life, one shot. Do you want to live pleasing or being scared of others or enjoy it and be happy?
I have a lot of respect for male bloggers and recently have found great pleasure in reading the ones I've come across.. and in all honesty, I'm a little jealous of all of them in different ways.


Debi said...

This is a really good post. I have a real issue with stereotypes too and I often go on a rant about it - especially when it comes to gender roles. The problem is that it is all so ingrained in our society that it seems, to many, completely normal to take these stereotypes as facts, to assume that girls can't play rugby or that a stay at home dad isn't a "real man". We are so concerned with trying to fit each and every person into some sort of group that we often forget to celebrate individuality and originality instead.
Debi x

Amber Davey said...

Hhm I wouldn't say females forget that seeing as women are faced with many more pressures based on our appearances and personalities. We can't be too girly, too "bossy", if we take the lead that's just not good, yet men are seen as intelligent. The patriarchy is the reason men are told to "man up" and have these ideals thrust upon them too, it's because being sensitive/emotional/thoughtful etc etc are seen as traditionally/stereotypically feminine traits, and anything feminine and not macho macho man is just not good enough.

Lad culture is also down to sexism and oppression of women, the need to fit in is because of the things I said above :) it is sad but unforch keeping us all like this basically brainwashed into thinking this way is because it works out well for a few very powerful, rich, white men. Just gotta keep spreading the word and maybe one day we'll have a peaceful world :) (keep dreaming lol!)

James Bickle said...

I think you just explained how I feel perfectly and better than I ever could myself.. As always a joy reading your comments, thank you :)

James Bickle said...

Every single person has a slightly different personality regardless of how similar they may seem, so trying to group people together is never going to work, but I find it sad that even the modern society accepts this as a normality.
I don't particularly mind that there's a lot of make-up based or female orientated blog posts, I still enjoy reading the lifestyle related posts on those sorts of blogs and will always continue to do my own thing regardless and welcome new readers who are interested. I think blogging is something that is constantly changing and adapting to the people who are becoming part of the community, maybe this is just the start of something big for male bloggers and blogging as a whole :-)

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