Updated: May 16
The element of individual Sanctuary amidst the Domination of the Masses
Originally published by Illumination Curated on Medium
Social stigma is about disapproving and bigotry against a person based on perceivable social characteristics and ideologies. It is about what kind of traits serve to distinguish us from other members of society. Social stigmas are commonly related to culture, gender, race, socioeconomic class, age, sexual orientation, intelligence, and health.
It is easy to stigmatize others, and those who do are often targets of “group thinking.” Meaning, they fall into the trap of psychological spectacle that merely occurs within the group of people in which they live and strive for communion and conformity irrespective of an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Once a person struggles to for in, they start rationalizing their stigma mission under glamorizing the self and labeling others to keep themselves at the center of the group think survival realm.
It is all about being Different as a Group, not Unique as an Individual
Once we are among a group, be it voluntary or involuntary, we are unconsciously trying to find a position to fit in that community. Thus, we try to seek the state of ultimate harmony by alienating our uniqueness and creating a different profile from anyone outside our artificial community. The ideals we adapt by fitting ourselves in the group become the point of reference, so if someone relates to that is welcome, and if not, subject to stigma.
The more we Glamorize our novel standard and the stronger our groupthink position becomes, the more security and affirmation by their team. Glamorization drives a person into the groupthink trap, while stigma reinforces their bearing within the community.
“A perpetrator of stigma is Seeking constant approval at the expense of those who are simply different, just like them before they lost their identity.”
People Stigmatize others Differently
There are many different causes of stigma, including fear, attractiveness, unease, association, values and beliefs, policies and legislation, and more!
Fear, in particular, is a common cause of stigma. As the fear of people who seem dangerous just because they look different, such as homeless. Or conditions that cause people to be perceived as unattractive, particularly in cultures where outward beauty is highly valued, just like being obese in Hollywood today.
Obvious circumstances make people feel uncomfortable. Under such a status quo, they fail to act appropriately in the presence of somebody with such a condition. It can involve small things that seem awkward, like, not knowing how much to look at a person. As looking too much maybe seem as the person is staring, not looking enough may be perceived as avoidance. Communication difficulties can also be a source of feeling uncomfortable. That may happen in contact with deaf people or with those who have difficulty speaking.
Stigma by association (also known as symbolic stigma) may occur when a health condition is associated with a situation that is perceived to be undesirable. Instances are attributed to commercial sex work, illicit drug use, sexual orientation, poverty, or loss of employment. One condition may also become more stigmatized because of association with another state.
As mentioned earlier, values and beliefs are influential factors in creating or sustaining stigma. Religious values, in particular regarding things like sexual orientation, relationships, and marriage, may result in stigma.
Social stigma is the instrument of the Tyranny of the Masses
When we talk about tyranny, the image that comes to mind is usually one person who dictates an entire community, nation, or state. However, society itself can be a tyrant; thus, the source of the social stigma.
Social stigma and ostracization, and so individuals give in by conforming to the expectations and customs of their societies. Society can be the tyrants against individuals who compose it.
When trapped in a politically stifling climate, one can turn to like-minded acquaintances and friends for comfort and vent; however, there are fewer chances to escape from social tyranny because it inflicts on society and is riddled by stigma.
Out of fear of social stigmatization and even rejection, many people adopt the social rules that dictate appropriate behavior to that particular society. However, those who blindly adhere to social customs in their day-to-day lives cease to think for themselves thus take a passive role.
Social tyranny utilizes traditions to stigmatize and discourage constituents from thinking for themselves. Since day-to-day events drive habits and beliefs, those who lay all their conviction into societal customs will have difficulty successfully navigating their problems or affairs as individuals. Furthermore, even if social norms are convenient because so many people follow them, still, they compel society’s aptitude to better itself because so few people are eager to do or say whatsoever that encroach upon customs.
Because of the associated stigma those who intrude upon the norm, few people taunt to share innovative ideas that might help society improve itself.
Non-conformity to the dictated societal customs is the only way to break away from the tyranny of those standards. Thus, is merely achieved through “non-conformity, meant for “protection against the tyranny of established opinion and feeling. Non-conformity is the individual mission and field by that person’s faith in self-autonomy. That, in turn, can be realized by inspiring rather than dispiriting people to consciously challenge customs that are against their innate individual predispositions or principles.