Stigma around shaking it off causes society to be okay with spiteful words
By Genavieve Orgen
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
This saying has been repeated a continuous amount of times, causing people to brush off the haunting words that are spoken. Teens and preteens have been taught to shake off the hateful words without discussing the need to understand the power behind them.
A simple sentence or word could change someone’s mood instantly, and affect their whole day or more. As a society, people have become insensitive to the labels thrown on others.
“I’ve noticed a big issue in high school with the idea of thicker skin because unlike adults we haven’t had time to grow our ‘thicker skin,’” said junior Madeline McCauley-Field.
A national study taken in 2011 from the American Assn. of University Women states that slut shaming is very common in students in high school and a third of students have had someone make sexual comments, jokes or gestures to them in person.
“Teenagers don’t know if it’s funny, empowering, or hateful. It’s the same word, but in a different tone,” said therapist Karen Viggiani, who is based out of East Lyme.
“As a teenager, that [comment] means the whole world,” said junior Bella Wild.
Teenage girls are constantly faced with judgement. The pressure to dress and act like every other girl while finding their way through high school is one that can cause the label of a slut or whore to be thrown around like nothing.
This problem of throwing around hurtful words without a care has and will only become increasingly worse if continued to be used on a daily basis.
“I think people have thrown out derogatory terms a lot more frequently [around school] that insinuate different kinds of harm to each other…because it’s almost accepted as a common thing to say to people, the hurt is even worse for people who are affected by it,” said school counselor Lisa Ramaccia.
With the constant discrimination of race, personal appearance, and sexual orientation, people have started to become insensitive to the words they label others as. Teenagers tend to lean towards the thought that people don’t care if they throw around the word slut, whore, or even the n-word because they’ve become so used to hearing it in everyday conversation. They don’t realize that the harsh words they’re saying can truly hurt someone.
However, kind words can have just as much of an impact of people.
“Being kind can extremely [over rule] the rudeness and cruelness of teenagers,” said sophomore Branden Matias.