Examining Labels Tori Boissonneault

What is a Hick?

According to Merrian-Webster dictionary, an uneducated person from a small town or the country

*Sometimes they are referred to as rednecks as well.

What Do We Expect of Them?

Being considered a “hick” comes with a variety of expectations and stereotypes. We expect them to be wearing the stereotypical outfit of Timberland boots, a John Deer or Cabelas hat, and some kind of camouflage clothing. Sometimes, we expect them to even sound a little different, such as having more of their own kind of accent or slang. At Thornton Academy specifically, we expect them to be a part of the Angler's Society and to go hunting and fishing regularly. Hicks typically are thought to be very educated on and interested in the different kinds of trucks, which may or may not even showcase confederate flags dangling out of the trunk. However, we do not tend to think of them as very educated in many other regards. It is pictured that they live in rural areas, such as the outskirts of Saco, Arundel, and Dayton. Country music is probably the genre of choice, but I have heard people referring to a different kind of genre called "hick-hop" in which the artist is rapping, but he or she has a country accent.

When Asked to Provide Information about the Stereotypical Hick, Here are What Students Said....

"You expect them to wear Tims or mud boots, drive a truck, wear a flannel, and talk in their own slang."
“They live on the countryside and wear strange things, and they have strange minds.”
"They are rugged and manly, there's nothing feminine about them. They seem to fit in with their culture. If you are a hick you seem to automatically be friends with other hicks.”
“They don't wear too fancy clothes, and are mostly nice.”
"They drive big jacked up trucks, very loud.”
“They wear a John Deer hat and a Carhartt sweatshirt and are always talking about trucks.”

How Does This Affect People Put in the Category?

Depending on where they are, a hick could be more or less accepted. For example, the stereotype could more positively affect them when they are in such places like Dayton and Arundel, where that kind of thing is more common, and more people of the same kind of social group surround them. However, at Thornton Academy, it is perhaps less advantageous because it could lead to being deemed a social outcast. On the social ladder, they are usually lower down. When we think of hicks, they generally do not fit the stereotypical "popular" person. This, in turn, affects how we treat them. Because people tend to think that hicks only care about things like hunting, fishing, and trucks, it is less likely for someone to connect with a hick through other things. This leads to more pressure on those kids here to act and think the way we think they should. Not every hick is necessarily into hiking or fishing, or any of those things, but for some reason we just assume they are all the same.

The Looking Glass Theory Applied to Hicks...

The "Looking Glass" theory is the idea that our self image is at least partially determined by how we believe others perceive us. If we think about what has been previously said about hicks being unintelligent and near the bottom of the social ladder, I think it is fairly acceptable to assume that maybe this hurts their self esteem and could possibly lead to a "hick" believing that he or she is, in fact, not intelligent and therefore not able to succeed in school. Similarly, this could affect school performance as well.

Portayal in the Media

This stereotype is also perpetuated through social media and even movies and TV shows. There is a movie titled Hick based around the entire stereotype. Below is a link to the movie trailer, which begins with a man in a beat up car and stereotypical "hick attire" drivincg directly into a climbing structure on a school playground.

So What About Me?

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all being put into categories by the people around us. So, I have done some reflecting as to which label I believe has been put on me....

I feel like if anyone were to put me into a label, I'd be a part of the AP and Honors kid label. People in this group are generally expected to....

  • Be very Smart, maybe even know-it-alls
  • Only care about grades
  • Generally have less of a social life than everyone else
  • Be extreme overachievers (which can can a negative connotation to some)
  • Be snobby or boastful
  • Get all A's all the time
  • Be a part of a variety of academic clubs at Thornton Academy, such as the Neuroscience Club
  • Maybe wear glasses or have braces

How Does this Affect Me and Do I Fit This Label?

I fit this to an extent because I do care about my grades and doing well academically a lot, but it certainly is not all there is to me or all I think about. I still have somewhat of a social life (I go out when I want to basically.) I do not tend to think of myself as boastful; I am sometimes proud of my grades but I do not go around talking to others about how well I did. I also do not get purely straight A's, (a few B's will sneak up in there), and I am not in any of the acedemic clubs at TA. However, even though I know that I am more than my grades and the level or classes I am taking, I definitely do feel the pressures of this label at times. I try and exceed because that is simply what is expected of me. If I don't get an A in a class, I'm questioned, and then it starts to make me wonder, and can lead to lower self esteem even though I have not gotten below a B. Sometimes this label can be very damaging because it leads me to push myself a little too hard.

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