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Stepping outside of the box and addressing labels

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Mar 6th 2018 08:00 pm
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Western society is currently going through a period of social change where social issues like greater acceptance of individuals of the LGBT community, different ethnic groups and religion have come to the forefront of most of our minds. 

Over the course of decades of fighting for representation and ultimately, equality, minority groups have begun to dig out the footing necessary to build the foundation of social justice they hope to not only build, but obtain. To the dismay of older generations, recent social trends have been headed toward ideals which uplift groups that were previously oppressed, and held to such a low standard that it was dangerous to openly claim them. With this widespread shift of social consciousness comes the need to establish the importance of being open minded and accepting of others. This is the message sent through the Gender Equity Movement’s “Don’t Box Me Up” event, targeted at addressing social inequalities that we experience and participate in. According to sciencedaily.com, social inequality is any set process that, “has the effect of limiting or harming a group’s social status, class and social circle.”

Hosted in the Fireside Lounge of the Seymour College Union, “Don’t Box Me Up” was hosted with the intent to address social stigmas and make clear just how important it is to get to know people on an individual level, rather than categorize them according to preconceived notions that may exist in society.

Gender Equity Movement, the club that created and hosted the event, had the intent to not only provide students with information, but also engage participants in the topic at hand, causing them to think about the different social stigmas they are faced with and how much those sterotypes impact both how they perceive themselves and how they interact with others. 

This concept was represented through the size of the boxes, where labels were placed on larger boxes based on how students believed society’s expectations impacted them most, and smaller boxes represented sterotypes that weren’t as impactful, but still apparent.

In order to ease students into the session, GEM treasurer Emma Hartman labeled boxes according to labels she feels she gets from society. 

“For me, my smallest box would be my race,” Hartman said. “My biggest box would be my age and gender because I feel I’m judged off of that.”

Hartman explained the intent of the event was to bring awareness of equity to the forefront in a way that was more than just verbal information.

“If we acknowledge these boxes we’re placed in, we can break through them,” Hartman said. “I think that lead[s] to good discussions about how we can work together to do that.”

It is important to bear in mind that stereotypes can take form in many different ways. Some common forms of social inequality as a result of set sterotypes are disaprities in wages, homelessness and level of education, according to inequality.stanford.edu. Therefore, just because you experience social inequality doesn’t mean you don’t also contribute to the process.

If we can learn anything from social inequality, we should understand how harsh the judgement of others can be and make sure to be coscious of our own judgement.



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