Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Reader Question: A Different Kind of Elitist

Dear Mary Rose,

My issue is thus: I am attending school for mortuary sciences and I do tend to dress very gothfully, lots of black, skull jewellery, and that kind of thing, but while I haven't had any trouble with goth elitist I have had issues with my fellow classmates. Their opinion seems to be that because I enjoy the darker side of things in my personal life I must not really be interested in my field and am doing it for "goth points." I try not to make a big deal of it to not give bullies the satisfaction of bothering me but it does bother me a lot that they don't take me seriously. Do you have any advice for what to do? Should I stop dressing how I wish?

Marshall



Hi Marshall and thanks for writing in.

I'm sorry to hear that your classmates aren't being supportive or friendly because of your interest in the Gothy side of things. There's a very strange predicament in our society that you should find a career doing things you enjoy, but that if you choose your career based on your other interests it must not be "genuine." I had a similar comment made to me when I first started studying Art History and expressed an interest in Gothic architecture, but after making my own interest clear I didn't get the same continuing comments you seem to have gotten.

Honestly I think the only thing that will shut this kind of person down is to buckle down and do the best work you can and prove that your interest in your field is genuine and sincere, not just an effort to garner more Goth points. If you're going to be in classes with these people until your degree is finished, they will eventually see how committed you are and hopefully will leave you be. Stopping dressing how you like would probably only serve to prove their point that you were faking your interests, so I wouldn't recommend doing that.

Good luck to you!

Readers, have you ever dealt with this kind of elitism in your work before? How did you handle it?

7 comments:

  1. Nope, never had any elitist behavior thrown at me before.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, but I was at a liberal arts college where almost literally anything went. Ignore them and let your work speak for itself.

    I would caution you, though, to consider school a trial run for employment. I don't mean, necessarily, that you need to give up your look entirely, especially not right now, but (I'm in the U.S) I've been told that the mortuary industry is somewhat conservative and image-sensitive (understandably, I guess, since it is a service that handles people when they are under extreme emotional stress), so this might be a good time to experiment with professionalizing your look. I work in a university library and, while I don't see a lot of people face-to-face, there is definitely a limit to how off-center I could dress before our clients became uncomfortable (they're mostly historians, doctors, and potential donors). Yes, I know, don't judge people by their appearances, etc. etc., but that's not really how the world works, and I'm certainly not willing to risk my employment just to see how far I can push the individuality envelope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is great advice, I'd be interested to hear what a mortuary professional had to say about it since I don't know much about the industry myself.

      Delete
  3. Hello! I was majoring in Mortuary Science for a long time. Although I ended up changing my major for other reasons, during that time I faced the same thing. I tend to notice that no matter what major, you're going to face that mentality about style choices. For instance, since I've always been passionate about science and forensics, I've been called "Abby" a lot, like the character from NCIS, and have been accused plenty of times of just trying to make an image for myself. In the end, it's just something to be aware of. Many people will underestimated your intelligence, and if you don't do well, people will blame it on your image.I just like to think of this as a challenge. Having a distinct image can actually be used to your benefit, though. I tutored Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology, and I think it was fun for a lot of people to learn the gross stuff from someone "spooky". It's always helpful to have a professional look for professional environments, but as a student, it's usually okay to look the way you do. In the end, it's only your professors' opinions that count. Just put your heart and soul into your work, and the respect will follow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's nice to hear from someone in the industry, thank you so much for the help!

      Delete
  4. I'm studying architecture, and while I get light-hearted ribbing about gargoyles on skyscrapers (and the Chrysler building, which actually has grotesques -not drains, so not gargoyles- and is a skyscraper...), I have managed to stamp out any assumptions that I only care about Gothic architecture and spires and castles, by participating actively in class, by showing that I do like modern architecture in my project choices, and by trying to be a hardworking student and trying to achieve my best in class. In most academic/scientific studies, I'd guess that if you do well at what you do, that will be the important thing. Also, it's more important, especially in any subject with minimal group work, that your professors and lecturers have a good opinion of you than your peers. Architecture, however, involves group projects, so I am trying to demonstrate that I am a good person to have on team, and that being spooky is irrelevant to whether or not I'm good at what I do.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm studying architecture, and while I get light-hearted ribbing about gargoyles on skyscrapers (and the Chrysler building, which actually has grotesques -not drains, so not gargoyles- and is a skyscraper...), I have managed to stamp out any assumptions that I only care about Gothic architecture and spires and castles, by participating actively in class, by showing that I do like modern architecture in my project choices, and by trying to be a hardworking student and trying to achieve my best in class. In most academic/scientific studies, I'd guess that if you do well at what you do, that will be the important thing. Also, it's more important, especially in any subject with minimal group work, that your professors and lecturers have a good opinion of you than your peers. Architecture, however, involves group projects, so I am trying to demonstrate that I am a good person to have on team, and that being spooky is irrelevant to whether or not I'm good at what I do.

    ReplyDelete