I am a proud Cancer.
For as long as I can remember, I have strongly identified with my astrological sign – the crab that rules over those born between June 21 and July 22. In my opinion, I’m also in good company: fellow Cancers include Selena Gomez, Meryl Streep, Princess Diana, Lana Del Ray, and of course my co-editor-in-chief. I know the intricacies of my zodiac chart: my sun sign (Cancer), my moon sign (Aquarius), my rising sign (Sagittarius) and what that all means, and I also know my friends’ signs by heart.
But while I enjoy and appreciate astrology—its history and its role in contemporary pop culture—I don’t think judging others by their sign is a fair practice or legitimate way of evaluating someone.
Personally, I identify with my plate. According to Allure, a popular beauty and lifestyle publication, cancers can often be characterized as “highly intuitive,” “self-protective,” and “gentle.” Cancers tend to be domestically oriented — focused not only on the family, but also on creating safe, comfortable spaces for others to live in — and typically attract friends through their “loyalty, devotion, and emotional depth.” However, Cancerians also tend to avoid conflict – as crabs, we naturally walk around problems on a horizontal path, rather than face them directly – and are prone to passive aggressiveness. I admit that all of these traits, among others, are part of my personality – including both the good and the bad traits described above.
By stereotyping others, you force and expect them to fit into a certain “shape” or “brand”[…]and keep yourself from forging potentially strong bonds with these people. ”
— Julia Herlyn ’23
Although I may associate my personality with that of a so-called “typical” Cancer, this opinion was not forced upon me: I came to this conclusion myself. Yet I have heard in my experience that my peers make general, uninformed inferences about others based solely on their astrological sign, which, incidentally, is determined only by one’s month and date of birth.
“Never date a Virgo man.”
“Capricorns are such social climbers.”
“Aries women are way too much work to handle.”
“I hate all Geminis; they’re all two-faced liars, especially Gemini men.’
These narrow, overarching imprecise assumptions are rooted in generalizations that may be correct to some, but also totally uncharacteristic to others. By stereotyping others, you’re basically forcing and expecting them to fit a certain “shape” or “brand” — even though we’re all unique individuals who collectively share a desire to be treated as such — and you’re holding yourself back from doing so. potentially forging strong connections with these people.
In addition, in some cases, these stereotypes are sexist in nature: According to Vekke Sind, an astrology and tarot-focused website, Scorpio women are the “most hated zodiac sign for women” as “She is power hungry and craves control over every person and every person.” situation […] Scorpio women are probably unfaithful and they like to hide their affairs.” This article doesn’t quote studies, polls, or academic research — it’s based on “typical personality traits and behaviors of each character,” or, in other words, blatant stereotypes. Another page on this website claims that Gemini women dislike Gemini men less because “women have two faces,” and “overly talkative and dramatic are character traits that are more strongly associated with women than men.”
Ultimately, astrology can be another means of self-identification, but it is not a definitive, all-encompassing truth that everyone can or should live by. While I can proudly profess my allegiance to the crab — my own astrology sign — that doesn’t mean anyone else should be held to the oversimplified and sometimes sexist standards that plague astrology signs and perpetuate destructive, unjust stereotypes in our society. Rather than characterizing all individuals by their sign, we should learn to celebrate our differences and the diversity of people who happen to share the same astrological sign.