Generalized astrological assumptions are invalid, fail to encompass a person


Photo by Julia Herlyn ’23

Over the years, I’ve collected my fair share of astrology paraphernalia, including a notebook, an informational book about Cancers and a Hello Kitty keychain dressed as a crab.

I’m a proud Cancer.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve strongly identified with my astrology sign—the crab that reigns over those who are 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 ascending sign (Sagittarius) and what all of that means, and I also know my friends’ signs by heart.

Yet, while I do enjoy and value astrology—its history and its role in pop culture today—I don’t think that judging others based on their sign is a fair practice or legitimate means of evaluating someone.

Personally, I identify with my sign. 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—focusing on not only family, but also creating safe, comfortable spaces for others to dwell in—and typically attract friends through their “loyalty, commitment and emotional depth.” However, Cancers also tend to avoid conflict—as crabs, naturally, we walk around issues in a horizontal path, rather than facing them directly—and are prone to exhibit passive-aggressiveness. I admit that all of these qualities, among others, are part of my personality—including both the good and bad traits as described above.

By stereotyping others, you are effectively forcing and expecting them to fit a certain “mold” or “brand”[…]and inhibiting yourself from forging potentially strong connections 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 on my own. Yet, in my experiences, I’ve heard my peers make generalized, uninformed conclusions about others solely based on their astrology sign, which—by the way—is only determined by one’s birth month and date. 

“Never date a Virgo man.” 

“Capricorns are such social climbers.”  

“Aries women are way too much work to deal with.”

 “I hate all Geminis; they’re all two-faced liars—especially Gemini men.”

These narrow-minded, overarchingly imprecise assumptions are rooted in generalizations that may be accurate for some, but could also be wholly uncharacteristic of others. By stereotyping others, you are effectively forcing and expecting them to fit a certain “mold” or “brand”—even though we are all unique individuals who communally share the desire to be treated as such—and inhibiting yourself from forging potentially strong connections with these people. 

Additionally, in some cases, these stereotypes are sexist in nature: according to Vekke Sind, an astrology and tarot-centered website, Scorpio women are the “most hated zodiac sign for women,” since “She is power-hungry and craves control over every person and situation […] Scorpio women are likely to be unfaithful, and they take pleasure in covering up their affairs.” This article does not contain any citations of studies, polls or academic research—it’s founded upon “typical personality traits and behaviors of each sign,” or, in other words, blatant stereotypes. Another page on this website claims that Gemini women are less disliked than Gemini men because “Being two-faced is more expected amongst women,” and “being overly talkative and dramatic are character traits more strongly associated with women than men.”

Ultimately, astrology can be another means of identifying oneself, but it is not a definitive, all-encompassing truth that everyone can or should live by. While I may proudly profess my allegiance to the crab—my own astrology sign—that does not mean that 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 based on their sign, we should learn to celebrate our differences and the diversity of people who may happen to share the same astrology sign.