The Stereotype Experiment

Continued from Issue 8 of the Prospector
katie sweatsToday is the first and last time I am going to break my golden rule: not wearing sweatpants to school. I realize that people wear sweats everyday; a pair of these soft, cottony pants carry the majority of high school students from class to class.
As much as I would like to say, “Yes, sweatpants are like the Holy Grail or Johnny Depp — only better!” I can’t even bring myself to utter such words.
Yes, I bared through the day with a small smile on my face, but on the inside I was cringing, crying at the sight of what I was wearing. I felt sloppy, messy, like I should be living in a box in the city or like I had just rolled out of bed (minus the bed-head, of course).
But then again, that was point for the day.
It wasn’t something I was used to at all, and on top of all that, I found myself falling asleep in my classes. I will admit, I was comfortable in the sense that I could fall asleep, but sweatpants were not something I felt were classy enough for school.
When I asked freshman Maggie Haaning what she thought of my attire, I was deemed looking “relaxed and comfy.”
How right she was, but when I see upperclassmen wearing fancy dresses and skirts, nice shirts, high heels (I couldn’t wear these if tried due to my lack of coordination) — the whole shabang– they seem to act and look more mature. It just seems like they get more respect.
Then there are kids in sweats who, when I personally look at them, don’t even compare. They look like they had just rolled out of bed and needed some serious help from Stacy and Clinton from “What Not To Wear.
I didn’t get as much respect from my friends who kept making snide comments about looking like I was homeless, and I couldn’t help but agree about how uncomfortable I felt.
Don’t get me wrong, wearing sweats was an experience — it just wasn’t for me.
katie fancyFor the first time this week, I actually feel like myself. Hum Hallelujah! Not only did I feel a little bit more in my element than earlier this week, but it was also one of the first actual spring-like days.
For today, I wore a burgundy skirt, tawny colored top, dark blue cardigan and my pocket watch necklace to go along with it. Everything seems to be in order for a pleasant day.
I found that when I dress up or dress nicer, I feel better about myself. It gave me a confidence booster. I talked more than usual; I was happier.
Everyone noticed my change in mood, especially compared to the stereotype I was the day before. People around me seemed happier; I could just about hear Hall and Oats “You Make My Dreams Come True” and see the little cartoon blue birds flying around my head and the flowers dancing. It was surreal, like living in a musical.
People no longer looked at me differently; I was accepted. And my confidence was boosted when I got comments from people when they told me they liked my outfit, liked my shoes, necklace, etc.
And as much as I don’t like the mainstream style, it felt good to be praised and to fit in for once. Unlike Wednesday, when I got stared at and avoided like the Bubonic Plague, people actually came near me. It was a good feeling, let me tell you.
Yes, it seemed that today, cartoon birds and background music was a splendid possibility. And let’s not forget those random break-out-in-song moments.
Thank the gods. Back to normal, and let me tell you, it feels great. I was back in my dark wash skinny jeans, flowery top, plum-colored cardigan — and, of course, my antique clock necklace. 
Today, while duller than the rest of the days, was more like normal. I’ll admit, as much fun as it was acting preppy (It almost felt like I should be in “Bring It On” or something along those lines), acting and dressing like a stoner/skater/the kid you don’t want to talk to/burnout and Thursday dressing up more than I normally do, I felt safe once I was in my own style and my own clothes.
I found it is important that we, as individuals, need to be ourselves. We need to form our own views, opinions, styles, and even choices. People judge each other all the time; it’s part of high school. But being original and unique seems to make a greater effect on our lives by making us who we are and more down-to-earth.
We need to learn that we can’t act fake or similar to the people around us. We need to make our own choices, whether it be life choices or what to wear in the morning. Acting like people who we aren’t isn’t going to get us anywhere.
So if people don’t take you for who you are, tell them to kiss your un-stereotypical and original butt.