Individuality: -. “Something vital to each person. Something that desperately needs to be displayed for ourpopulation to be diverse, interesting and varied”
Without individuality we are left with a bland and boring abyss of sameness. A plain world. Allowing our children, friends, family, students etc to show their personality, through clothes, artwork, dance, hair colour and more, allows everyone to live freely. Not only does displaying these simple acts of individuality allow more freedom, but it also encourages the idea that people can express their emotions or sexuality. Making people enclose their true selves and hide who they are behind clothes which make them feel uncomfortable, trousers which feel too big, shoes which they hate but spent ridiculous amounts of money on, a haircut which doesn’t suit and leads to insecurity, makes people lose a sense of who they are. They say we shouldn’t be a sheep and follow the crowd, yet we all look the same. A puppet in a world of puppeteers, controlling our every move.
I find it difficult to believe that the same people who encourage us to be ‘unique’ are those that are also stripping away the ability for us to express who we are, simply because it doesn’t fit their description of ‘smart’ or of ‘sensible’. This also happens to be (in some cases) quite sexist too, especially when it comes to forms of expression through clothing choices. How are women told that their trousers are too tight fitting in a formal environment, yet the male stood to her right and left have tighter trousers than she does. “But it’s different” they say, “It’s a distraction” they repeat, but a distraction for who? Why are the men in tight trousers not a distraction? Why should females be regarded as a ‘distraction’ in form fitting trousers, and males deemed ‘fine’?
I wish our world wasn’t so hypocritical. That if I want to wear a badge on clothing that I won’t be told to remove it or want two earrings in each ear that I won’t be told its ‘Affecting my ability to learn’, that hair colour and style wasn’t something people could tell me wasn’t ‘smart enough’. When we are told these things, told to fit in to the point where there is no difference, it makes us feel lost. Places which already cause some people anxiety, which already make some people want to crawl back into their bed’s, shouldn’t strip us of our ability to express who we are – even in the tiniest forms possible. A simple compliment on someone’s shoes or someone’s choice of earrings could be the beginning of a friendship, yet if we are told we must not wear this, and must look like this, there is nothing to talk about, no conversation starter, no difference.
It’s difficult enough to meet new people, and make new friends, but it’s so much easier when we can see differences between ourselves and others that we can complement on and like about someone. Similarities are great too, but differences between you and the person sat behind you, make you both individual and unique – that word we are encouraged to be, but then actually are stripped of our ability to be. Those unique attributes to a person, could be the beginning of a relationship which saves someone; that gives them hope and support. Breaking the ice is as simple as complimenting a difference between you and someone else. We need to consider all of this when we say ‘nope, that show’s too much skin at the ankle’, and ‘no, those earrings are too flashy’, and ‘no that bag is not acceptable’ and ‘no, your hair isn’t smart enough’. When do we draw the line and say actually this is wrong?
Too much time is spent worrying about our clothing, hair colour and appearance, that we are forgetting that life has more purpose. We have an education to gain, a career to develop, a story to tell, but yet our world is so fixated on these tiny ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ we are missing out on achieving our dreams.
So much time is wasted. So, let us be unique.
Article by Young Reporter Grace
First published in Grimsby Telegraph 1st Feb 2022