Blog 5: Goffman’s Stigma

Whether we are aware of it or not, we judge others and through this process, categorize individuals based on our anticipations and later, formulate expectations of what type of person they ought be. If this individual were to display characteristics that do not fit the grouping we had put him or her under, this individual is deemed “tainted” and, as a result, has lost our respect and acknowledgement. Goffman explains that these “tainted” individuals are, to us, stigmas — people who are different, bad and dangerous.

In the early 1900’s, society viewed working mothers as stigmas. The expectations for women at the time was to stay home, clean, cook and take care of the children; it was the husband’s duty to go out and work. If a woman did work, she wasn’t expected to be working because it was her “duty” but more because working made her attractive and smart. However, a working mother was unheard of.

Today, mothers who work (just like their counterparts) are a common occurrence. No one is surprised when someone says that both their parents work. This is an example of how stigmas can change over time. What was stigmatized in the 1900’s has now normalized in today’s society. Conversely, one could even argue that the unemployed, stay-at-home mothers have become our new stigmas.

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4 responses to “Blog 5: Goffman’s Stigma

  1. I agree, working mothers are a good example of a stigma that has evolved over time. I don’t think working moms get enough credit sometimes. I’ve heard of the the term “momprenuer”, which is defined as a woman who balances the mother role and the entrepreneur role. I think in the society we live in today there are many momprenuers, because as you stated, working moms are normal now, there is no longer a stigma attached to them.

  2. working mothers is a really great example of a stigma that once was but no longer is. There are plenty of stigmas that have slowly begun to change over time but they’re still not quite gone yet. The idea of the stigma of working mothers being nothing but a thought of the past is a really cool thing to bring up because it gives us hope that in the near future other stigmas could fade away as well.

    • Im glad you can relate and I’m sure your brother probably thinks you’re the most special and awesome person he knows. As corny as I might sound I feel like disabled individuals each have a certain gift. I think it’s all about awareness and understanding, most people aren’t fully knowledgable of mental or physical disabilities and don’t understand that they’re people just like you and me.

  3. I also agree with everyone on how mother’s is a great example of how stigma change over time. It’s inspiring to see how mothers nowadays are able to balance time between their children and jobs. Times has change and definitely for the better. :)

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