Blog Post #5: Stigma

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        Stigma, by definition, is the process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity. Stigma may also be described as a”label that associates a person to a set of unwanted characteristics that form a stereotype.” People are affected by stigma everyday, because it goes back to stereotypes. Society makes these judgements of people whether they are true or not and then because everyone listens to each other and half the time it is monkey see monkey do so they each follow one another. If someone is different or has a problem, it should not be a priority to people to make that person feel different. We are all the same and just because we differ a little bit, doesn’t mean that it gives people the right to make someone feel inferior with themselves. Make them feel as if nothing is wrong and they can go on living a normal life. If people make them feel like they are different (whether they are or not) this will make the person feel as if they do not want to go out into the real world because they are afraid of being judged. Because of the way people are stereotyped, eventually those that are being stigmatized will start acting the way they are being labeled. So for instance, what if a girl was labeled bulimic and she’t not? Are they going to feel better when she starts to become a bulimic? It disgusts me how people can’t just accept anybody anymore for who they are. Just let people be themselves and no one would ever have to worry about what anybody is saying if people would just learn to stop judging and stop labeling one another. 

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4 responses to “Blog Post #5: Stigma

  1. Since this is a sociology class I would like to say I find it very interesting how people are categorized in a certain way also based upon who they hang out with or by association by sociology. There is always a certain stigma about a group of people such as all biker’s are in a biker gang and they commit illegal activities. If your friend for instance is a heroin addict, chances are someone will think you are just by association. Society has been developed in a certain type of way to accustom evrything and everybody and sometimes even make capital out of it. Such as the whole gay phenomenon, thousands of organizations have made money off of gay campaigns world wide and gay t-shirts that say legalize gay marriage. It is just mind boggling to me and honestly quite funny how everybody is stereo typed to which has alot to do with stigma aswell.

  2. Stigma very much does lead to stereotyping, despite the fact that American society is suppose to be very accepting of “individuality” we still see stereotypes being formed. Many people looking at American society as one that is accepting a huge melting pot of cultures and idea. Our society is still a very competitive one and I believe that stigma and stereotyping has a root in this competitiveness. Like you mentioned in your post about a person who might not be bulimic but people may label them as that with the hopes that they do become bulimic. The above comment talks about using stereotypes as a way of gaining capital. American society is very competitive and some people will do what it takes to gain from it.

  3. Since competitiveness is a characteristic of capitalism Does stigma and stereotyping exist only in countries with this regime? I think these both exist everywhere, as you mentioned it is part of any society, then it could be a part of human nature. We all have being in one side or the other, we have stigmatized people and we have been stigmatized by people, I think is in ourselves to open our eyes and learn from previous experiences so we could finally stop the typical “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell who you are”

  4. Bingo, Andrea (andifaj)! Thank you for bringing *Goffman’s* insights to this problem! For Goffman, “stereotyping” is inevitable. All of us, when we meet someone new, assign them a *virtual social identity* based on past experience and knowledge. Of course, sometimes we make incorrect assumptions — and the stranger’s *actual social identity* is quite different from the *virtual* one we had ascribed to him/her. But this doesn’t make us bad people, Goffman would add; it’s human nature.

    Mel, you write:

    “If someone is different or has a problem, it should not be a priority to people to make that person feel different. We are all the same and just because we differ a little bit, doesn’t mean that it gives people the right to make someone feel inferior with themselves.”

    I’ve read a lot of posts expressing a similar moral point of view (akin to calls for a “color-blind” society). But are you sure you want to go this far? Sometimes, when someone is different or has a problem *it makes sense to treat them differently.* For example, if you use a wheelchair, it would be nice if the hosts of an event considered your “special needs.” Many people, especially members of different ethnic/racial or cultural minorities would like their “difference” recognized and respected.

    Remember recognizing difference does not necessarily mean creating hierarchies based on difference. Different does not necessarily mean better or worse. That’s where *stigma* comes in — “difference” that is *discrediting*.

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