A hoodie is a hooded sweatshirt that typically has a hood, which can be used to cover the head and face. The hoodie was originally created in the 1930s by New York-based clothing company Champion for its employees, and it became popular among college students and athletes. Today, hoodies are worn as casual attire around the world because of their comfort and convenience. Although one might think that hoodies are an innocuous garment with no significant meaning or associations beyond being a comfortable article of clothing, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Hoodies have been stereotypically associated with people who commit crimes such as mugging or burglary given that they may draw attention to themselves when seen on camera due to their design obscuring.
The adage, “Do not judge a book by its cover,” is one of the most disregarded expressions in English-speaking countries. Instead of judging people on what they say or do, groups take the easy way out and base their judgments on someone’s appearance. A person’s skin color or the clothes they wear are factors that influence how people treat them, thus reinforcing preconceptions.
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Following the death of Trayvon Martin, a new hooded persona stereotype has emerged. The story of this seventeen-year-old boy demonstrates how society limits individuals’ freedom to dress as they choose without being compartmentalized into an incorrect and dangerous pigeonhole. Following a news anchor’s claim that his hoodie may have caused his death, the “hoodie” movement was sparked by Trayvon Martin’s tragedy.
Hundreds of thousands of people, including a member of the US Congress, donned hoodies as part of an anti-crime movement. The hoodie demonstrations had a lot of racial undertones, but it’s clear that the victim’s item of clothing was at the heart of these efforts. In order to understand why the hoodie is so significant in the case, one must consider its place in history. Because the garment tends to conceal the user’s individuality, it sometimes elicits negative responses. In most instances,
When someone is wearing a hood, concerns ranging from race, fear, crime, and safety will emerge. However, the Trayvon case has shown that these preconceptions are not yet entrenched in the public’s mind; instead, people have questioned them and sought justice. This type of reaction demonstrates that today’s society understands that to understand another person, you must go beyond their appearance.
A number of people on social networking sites and other media outlets have attempted to explain the hoodie. These sources are quite beneficial in deciphering the mind-set and social fears surrounding the garment. Many youngsters wear hoodies for functional reasons; they have no political agenda when it comes to selecting clothes like these.
They enjoy the comfort and convenience that they provide when wearing them. In reality, hoodies strike the proper balance between heavy winter coats and light summer apparel. They’re ideal for those chilly days that aren’t cold enough to require bulky jackets. Even older individuals prefer these clothes for comfort and warmth. Hoodies are also readily available; they can be found in nearly every major supermarket chain in the country.
Even if one does not like wearing a hoodie, there are still far worse ways to stay warm. Furthermore, they may not have to spend much money on them. As a result, it would be incorrect to label someone as a delinquent, offender, or suspect because of their hoodie. The majority of them are simply looking for warmth. The item was designed to provide wind and rain resistance as well as warmth protection (Prosper 5). Many runners wear hoods in the morning to guard their faces from the weather (Prosper 5).
Others wear hoodies for non-practical reasons; they see it as more of a fashion statement. Many high school students, particularly in Martin’s neighborhood, prefer to dress like this all the time. Some of them have them in various styles, shapes, and colors. In certain schools, the hoodie is mistaken for a uniform. This form of fashion is an expression of youth culture in general.
It is a microphotograph of what someone is about, and has nothing to do with their character. The danger lies with those who make judgments too quickly without getting to know the wearer. Because the United States is a multicultural society, it should have open-minded individuals who are willing to apply sound logic before judging others. Citizens must go beyond the surface appearances in order to reach these decisions.
Choosing the rational alternative over the hysterical one may make all of the difference in another person’s life. Trayvon Martin would undoubtedly be alive if his shooter, George Zimmerman, had realized that wearing a hoodie when it was raining makes sense. He’d have learned that this is simply an outer garment and has nothing to do with Martin as a person.
The shooter of the hooded victim, for example, has a very warped perspective of the world. They draw conclusions based on flawed beliefs about their own safety or a perceived danger. Even President Obama acknowledged that if he had a son, he might have looked like or been in the same scenario as Trayvon. Categorizing folks according to their external appearances may result in prejudiced behavior that may even take someone’s life (Prosper 8).
If people are still being discriminated against because to their clothing, especially the hoodie, the problem could get out of hand. Some radicals may believe that hooded attire should be prohibited to protect individuals from these clothes wearers. However, this would be a very aggressive and ill-advised approach to address the problem. If people continue to despise hoodies, it will send the wrong message to unbalanced persons such as Zimmerman.
A person wearing a hoodie will be perceived as weak, easy to attack, or even shoot. They will believe it is acceptable to assault or even fire someone because of what they are wearing. If the idea that hoodies convey weakness was applied to its extreme, everything worn by criminals to conceal their identity should be prohibited, such as masks, stockings, shades, and so on. It may very well be true that masked individuals commit a lot of liquor-store robberies; nevertheless , this does not justify lumping all people in hoodies into one group.
A stereotype is just a cause for prejudiced people to profile others. If the same logic were applied to other forms of clothing, one would have a right to be concerned about someone wearing dark glasses or driving with tinted windows. Anything that masks identities and takes away others’ rights to conceal themselves would get one’s blood boiling.
According to one blogger, hoodies are being discriminated against because they are black. One may comprehend their viewpoint since the offended party was a black man and the perpetrator was white. It could have been racially motivated or not; nevertheless, this example raises the possibility of other racists hiding behind clothing in order to express racist sentiments. Symbols that are commonly linked with the target race or ethnicity group may be utilized as a pretext to commit hate crimes by internet trolls. If the nation takes pride in democracy, it should not tolerate this sort of prejudice.
The hoodie movement has highlighted the prevalence of preconceptions in today’s culture. It has shown how harmful prejudices can be when they are treated irrationally. While biases will always exist, what one does with them speaks volumes about who one is. In reality, the hoodie movement signifies a powerful force in society’s democratic arena because it aims to prevent future excuses for discrimination, which is quite admirable.
A hoodie is a type of clothing that looks like a t-shirt but is covered in thick cotton and has a hood. It may or may not have a zip. It’s comparable to a sweatshirt with an attached hood. Hoodies are frequently worn by teenagers for two reasons. First, they’re considered to be a style statement and an expression of “machismo.” Second, they’re used as windbreakers and to keep oneself warm from the cold air gusts.
Hoodies are also worn for a third, less social, purpose. It may be used to hide one’s face and conceal one’s identity as a criminal. As a result, wearing a hoodie is increasingly linked with crime behavior. Hoodies are frequently associated with younger teenagers who have underachieved in school, are financially limited, and have adopted antisocial attitudes because of it.
Wearing a hoodie is not an indication of criminal activity, yet it is considered to be deviant in society and has become a major social issue. Rather than relying on typecasting a group of individuals based on their preferred clothing, it’s crucial to embrace sociological imagination and understand the function played by society and media in propagating this imagery.
Description of the Social Problem
The negative perception of hoodies is a social issue, since it has an impact on a portion of the population. It’s a problem for young individuals who like wearing hooded clothing but also understand that they might get shunned by society as a result of it. Not only that, such teens may always be under suspicion and must continuously prove their innocence to the public. Teens argue that this is a significant issue.
Devin in U.S. is the main character of Undercover Boss (2012). During a late-night journey, he was confronted by police, and explained that he had never been questioned before. His wearing of a dark sweatshirt that night played an important role, according to him. It’s more likely to suspect a young male of a certain race if they’re wearing a hoodie, which leads to numerous racial conflicts. A youngster was shot dead while walking down the street in another narrative narrated by Grimes (2012).
The fact that the kid was shot because of his sweatshirt he was wearing at the time has elicited harsh criticism and arguments against this action. Grimes (2012) quotes a tweet in response to this event, stating, “hoodie is like a signal saying, ‘shoot or pause me’ ” This sociological viewpoint against hoodies is a social ill since it encourages prejudice against certain age groups, genders, economic classes, and races. The various theories of social problems may be used to explain the stereotyping and social inequalities that a group of people face. Theories from the following section are discussed in greater detail.
Theories of Social Problems
The two key components of theories of social problem are the structure and culture development of a society. The next section covers the sociological issue of teenage hoodies, with several theoretical viewpoints; the functional viewpoint, conflict perspective, and symbol interaction approach are discussed.
According to this viewpoint, rapid societal and social changes are a significant factor in many societal issues. The rapid transformation of society has led to an increase in the generation gap. “Every adult generation has maligned the conduct of its youngsters,” according to Deucher (2011). Fashion is a part of a culture that is constantly changing. People’s preference for clothing has changed dramatically during recent years, as evidenced by the fashion industry’s evolution.
The preference for informal attire has resulted in a change in dress style. Formal shirts and pants have been replaced with hoodies and sweatshirts. The younger generation of society is more inclined to embrace this new fashion trend. Adults, however, are unenthused by hoodies. These disparities have resulted in the hoodie’s stereotypical association with young people.
Given such a negative image, hooded clothing has been associated with criminality. Media is the most significant actor in the production of these so-called “moral panics” against adolescents in general and hooded jackets in particular. Moral panic is a term that refers to criminal behavior, according to Bastian (2011). When society changes rapidly, moral panic is created. According on Marsh and Melville (2011), social institutions like media react to situations in a way that increases fears surrounding individuals. This establishes an unfavorable social image about a certain group of people.
According to Garner (2003), half of the accounts concerning British teenagers in 2002 were crime-related. The words connected with crime included ‘hoodie,’ ‘evil,’ and ‘monsters.’ This has led people to link the word hoodies with evil and monsters. In fact, the many juvenile crime stories have resulted in teen boys being wary of one another. As a result, the media’s influence on branding hoodies as harmful for society is significant.
The basic lesson from the conflict analysis is that economic inequality, opposing values and interests, and power are three major causes of social problems. Hoodies are associated with non-wealthy teenagers. As a result, one of the factors contributing to this issue is societal economic diversity. Another reason for this problem is difference in values and interests among various groups within society.
Different organizations and individuals are motivated by their own objectives. While a teenager is preoccupied with fashion, media is focused on blowing problems out of proportion to increase viewership. A politician’s position on a social issue is influenced by how they want to present themselves in front of the public. It’s clear from the clash of interests that some groups will benefit while others will suffer as a result of this policy. In every society, there are powerful groups who gain at the expense of others.
Because of its wide accessibility, media is a strong institution. Politicians are powerful since they have the ability to create society norms and define right and wrong. The MPs backed the proposal to prohibit hoodies in shopping malls as news media hyped the wearing of a sweatshirt in public (Secrecyandprivilege.com, 2011).
It appears that the objective of this was to provide the public with a sense of security from what they believe to be a dangerous hoody. (2012) According on another tale, politicians in the United States donned hoodies in order to show their support for Trayvon Martin, who had been shot and killed by George Zimmerman. As a result, these two powerful organizations inadvertently influenced society’s acceptable and wrong behaviors. The powerless teenagers who are unable to influence or control the society are the ultimate victims.
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
According to a symbolic interactionist theory, social problems are caused by intentional manipulation of social encounters. This is typically done for an ulterior political or economic purpose. The creation of a “moral panic” is an example of an economic goal being achieved through the media and prohibiting hooded tops in a shopping mall is part of a political effort to gain popular confidence. In both scenarios, society’s norms are being established in such a manner that wearing a hoodie becomes anti-social. Sanctions may be levied against people who violate these regulations as result of this development.
The hoodie is a form of hooded sweatshirt that has become popular among teenagers. It may also be used to conceal one’s identity as a result of its nature as a hiding place. As a consequence, the hoodie is increasingly connected with crime and anti-social behavior. This is a social issue since it affects part of society and is founded on class, age, race, and gender prejudice. The social structures play an important role in generating people’s preconceptions through sociological theories.
The business plan of media corporations motivates them to magnify issues and create moral panics. Moral panics are used by politicians to promote hidden aims. The two most powerful social institutions establish norms that define society’s norms in such a way that wearing a hoodie is considered taboo. The powerless teenagers are the victims of this soci-created panic scenario, which was created through media sensationalism. As a result, don’t be concerned about being branded as dangerous merely because you’re wearing a hoodie. There’s an obligation for individuals to be aware of this typecasting, which is has an influence on youth.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the senior African-American Literature class at South was asked to respond to a question connected to the themes of the course. Denebola is now posting one of these essays almost every day throughout February in order to start a debate about race beyond the classroom. The following is the prompt:
“Tell the story of a personal experience that relates to the concepts and themes of this class in about 500 words. The majority of the piece should be spent telling the tale, with the conclusion indicating clearly what the narrative reveals about a topic or idea from class.” One day my cousins and I sat on park benches across from their house while our friends played basketball. While watching the game, I noticed some black boys wearing black hoodies enter the park across street.
There was something about those boys that made me feel nervous and uncomfortable. I turned to my uncles and said, “I believe we should depart.” My older cousin appeared perplexed and asked, “Why do you want to leave? What’s the matter with you?” I felt guilty but, honestly, I didn’t want to be there. “I’m afraid; I think those guys are up to no good.” She looked over towards the basketball court before turning back to me.
“Diara, you can’t do that,” she said. “Just because they’re black and wear black hoodies doesn’t imply they’re up to no good. You can’t just judge people like that.” So I grew frustrated and sat there quietly for a moment. I still had a lot of reservations, but she was my older cousin, so there wasn’t much I could do about it. We stayed glued to the game until one of the players saw the boys standing on the side.
He paused for a moment, gazing at them, then walked away from the court and over to his belongings. He took a drink from his water bottle before putting on his pants. After taking two steps up the stairs that we were sitting on, he began to run. My cousins and I looked toward the court to see why the boy was fleeing. One of the males I had suspected previously pulled out a gun and began shooting.
We leaped up and began running back to the house. As I was running, a bullet nearly struck my face. I looked in the direction from which the shot had come, then turned around, realizing that I was chasing the man being shot at. After sprinting so fast, I arrived home after crossing the street and going through a park. I was terrified and perplexed; as a result, I burst into tears.
Later, as I thought about it, I realized that listening to my white friends talk negatively about Boston and their perceptions of gangsters got into my head and influenced me. Because it made me more awake, I knew it was wrong, but it made sense especially after what happened because it motivated me to be more vigilant. Despite my best efforts, I still have a tendency to stereotype black males who wear hoodies.
I know it’s not right, and it’s not fair. I do believe that being exposed to so many white people and watching films has had a significant influence on my views toward minorities, especially black males. Because in a way, I feel like I am stereotyping all black males, and it isn’t fair to them.