RCL #5: Rhetorical Analysis Essay Draft


Social stigmas surround society in more ways than they ever have before. They surround many things that are supposed to be normalized after years of existence. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for every example. The phrase “social stigma” is a relatively new term, now commonly being used in modern-day language to express, “the disapproval of, or discontent with, a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of society,” as defined by NoBullying.com. Some common stigmas surround those with tattoos or piercings in areas other than the ear lobes. Yet one of, if not, the largest stigma that goes unnoticed in today’s society is the one that surrounds mental illnesses. Sadly, mental illness is becoming more of a prevalent issue than in generations past, making for stigmas to easily encapsulate such a sensitive subject. However, this has led to backlash from the communities that have and support those who suffer with mental illnesses. For example, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health of Canada has made it their mission to erase the inclining social stigmas focused on mental illness through a series of posters, such as this one.


  • Social stigmas
    1. Expand on their definition? (Maybe erase the definition in the intro)
    2. How and why did social stigmas come into existence?
    3. Commonplace associated with social stigmas (who receives them, who doesn’t?)
  • Tattoos & social stigmas
    1. Explain the history of tattoos (briefly) to help understand its history & power of storytelling
    2. Social stigmas within tattoos having meaning & tattoos being unwelcome in the professional world, i.e. tattoos’ commonplaces
    3. Is its stigma improving?
  • Mental health & social stigmas
    1. Explain the history of mental health & past treatment procedures/the evolution of mental health acceptance
    2. Mental illnesses as “invalid”: The beginning of its stigma, i.e. mental health’s commonplaces
    3. Is its stigma improving?


In brief, social stigmas surround an almost uncountable amount of perhaps risqué subjects in modern-day life. As society evolves and the information world advances, so do opinions. For what reason do stigmas exist other than, simply put, to harm others who are considered “different” or “unequal”? Personally, this topic is incredibly tricky to fully embrace as a human being who shares humanity with others on this very same planet. Perhaps these stigmas will eventually decrease in time, or perhaps they will increase. It is difficult to project the pathway that social stigmas will take, yet it is easy to yield our thoughts and opinions for one moment in order to step back and take a glance around us at our surroundings and brethren. Whether someone is covered from head to toe in tattoos or not is of no importance, just as whether someone suffers from chronic depression or not is of no importance either. Society must learn to embrace our differences, throw away our prejudices, and come together as one to accept and embody what makes each and every one of us unique.

Works Cited

“Social Stigma: Defining Ourselves in Culture.” NoBullying.com. N.p., 22 Dec. 2015. Web.
“Who We Are.” Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2012. Web.

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