Sometimes Stereotypes SUCK! My brain has felt like a giant (or perhaps not so giant) amoeba for the last two weeks as I have struggled to find a source of inspiration to fuel a rant. But last night my brain was shocked out of amoebadom by the security guard at Islington Academy. Aunty Rug-muncher manning the door told me to take the hood off my head and I was so infuriated that I was speechless. I realise that I don’t look like the twenty-seven seven year old, church going, mom that I am but I was alone and I was attending a gig as a music journalist – what kind of threat could I possibly pose? What the fuck? I was wearing my hood because it was fucking cold and the wind was destroying my hair … not because I belong to some reprobate, council estate, gang looking to knife someone at a gig. Good grief. Naturally I fall into the ‘person wearing a hoodie is dangerous’ stereotype and Aunty Ruggy was erring on the side of caution.
I had a long time to think about this largely insignificant incident on the never-ending escalator at Angel Station after the gig and the more I thought about it the more bummed I got. I am an adult and I felt like I was being treated like a naughty school kid – unjustly. Stereotypes are based on common behaviours associated with particular groups of people and most of us apply stereotypes in order to understand others, no matter how unjust or untrue. And sadly, most of the dodgy, gangster, knife wielding kids around London wear hoods. Hoods have become synonymous with danger. So I guess that I should be grateful that Aunty Ruggy was performing her duty so valiantly: in a bid to ensure the safety of all those in the venue who would feel threatened by a hooded woman – a venue filled with black haired, pierced, tattooed metal heads. Go figure. Hopefully the irony of using stereotype to prove a case against the use of stereotype has not escaped your attention. It merely serves to show the complexities associated with the very notion of compartmentalising individuals. Existence within society eliminates the notion of ‘the individual’, who is no more nor less individual than prescribed by another (by society), making the notion of individual redundant. My point? Note to self: get over it.