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People around this world have had different culture and religion, they have lived in variations of societies, they had been classified differently and thus people have different beliefs and feelings for each other. A standardized conception or image of specific group, persons or object is known as stereotype. It is the mental picture of a group or individuals who share certain characteristics. Stereotype tends to be a natural human function through which beliefs and values are expressed. Number of characteristics are possessed by stereotypes, they have some positive aspects and some negative, they are used in vast number places and they are stuck within certain people.
Racial stereotype is one of the major types of it. It involves race discrimination and support. More and more news are heard in the global society relating to racial discrimination. American and African American race, Hindu and Muslim race are some of the examples we know about racial stereotype. African-Americans are stereotyped as physically powerful, unclean, unintelligent and superstitious, musically talented and excellent lovers, lazy and emotional
Stereotype relating to gender is another type.
Gender discrimination through its stereotype that girls are inferior to boys and they should be glued to house work only and professionalism do not match with girls.
Religion stereotype is another one whereby people fuse discriminative stereotypes within each other eventually giving out devastating results. For instance, the historical fight between
In arts and literature, cliches are used as a method of stereotyping certain characters and dialogues. There tend to be certain clear characteristics of stereotypes.
They are simply described in one to two sentences, they are acquired from second hand person or from others thoughts and views, they are always erroneous and false and they are resistant to change.
Stereotypes are normally found in the world of drama and entertainment. Innumerable number of movies is one of the most influential stereotype displayers. They display characters and roles which brings standard impression in real world for people who resemble the movie character.
Media play major role in stereotyping too as they are part of entertainment world. They display dumb blonde joke in comic strips, blockbuster movies portray group characters and culture.
Stereotyping is not only blended on humans but it is also used on tangible objects, for instance, a stereotype of serving coffee when it is hot. These stereotypical undesirable beliefs can be altered by appropriate education and familiarization. Stereotype plays a major part in communication process as it is standardized and pre known impressions exist about certain stereotypical puppets whereby one does not have to be told vocally about these puppets (PSPB, 1997)
Stereotypes are always thought to expose negative effects on the society. But this is always not the case. There are number of benefits of stereotypes. Simplification of complex realities is usually solved by stereotypes whereby situations where people don’t understand what to do and are unable to handle such complicated situation, stereotypical beliefs often solve such problems, classification of individuals in a positive way is another use of stereotype. For instance, freshers in a college are often considered to be innocent and unknowing although this is not always true, but the college committee try to setup a special seminar for the freshers so that they would have no difficulty in the college.
With stereotype sometime involve countertype. Countertype is a positive stereotype and it cancels out negative stereotypes and by using this, the discrimination shown by using the stereotype is often reduced (PC, 1992). As a model, when white Americans stereotype black Americans as unsuitable for the country, other people try to comfort the latter by phrasing that “no matter how unclean, loud, emotional, uneducated you are, you can make it up by wearing suitable clothes and educating yourself “, this way they positively encourage them although it still maintains that the stereotype is true by giving the black people impression that they have to improve from what they are therefore a countertype is still a stereotype.
Many television shows and movies have been made to idolize the black Americans, for instance the Cosby Show, The Negotiator and many more. This way one can say that media have had played good role in stereotyping.
Attractive people are often stereotyped as being happier, outgoing, intelligent and successful. There are many such stereotypes which classify people. People who have fairly red eyeballs are often considered drunk and aggressive. Stereotypes basically occur in people who share common cultural mindset.
Bell Hooks (1996) took this approach in her book, Reel to Real – Race, Sex and Class in the Movies, where she looked at stereotypical images in the cinema and examined what is omitted. She stated that people learn about race (and sex, class, etc.) from the movies and that they give people the opportunity to experience the other without engaging them. In other words, static, traditional stereotypes are presented, but more complex realities are not
Stereotypes are often harmful in nature and cause devastating effect on the society. Another drawback stereotype through movies possess is that it gives certain characters limited attributes and qualities. Actors who posses certain virtues onscreen are limited and people just stick to those attributes, alternatively these people can possess attributes greater than the ones shown in the movies.
Media takes no time in changing or form values and beliefs about something (Davison, 1997). Wilkinson Sword Razor Company gave an advertisement about an idol woman looking more beautiful when her body was shaved and in less than two years it became great hype and the WSR company accomplished its goal. Media played a great role in fulfilling this task by using such stereotype of shaving the whole body.
One needs to examine stereotypes closely to determine if they are negative (reinforcing racism, gender, religion) or positive (creating new roles). Stereotypes tend to be constructed ichnographically, a few verbal and visual traits are used to represent the character or group and they tend to be static and unchanging (Dyer, 1993).
Getting rid of stereotypes is a very difficult aspect, but there are methods of decreasing or clear them. Firstly, focus on every person individually generally reduces the problem. Secondly, further awareness of stereotypical behaviors can be another solution. Sight on others point of views, knowing that we are part of many groups therefore we don’t have any identity ourselves, taking opportunities to neutralize stereotypes when we hear them and willingness to know about different cultures and background diminishes the negative stereotypical behaviors in us.
Eventually, stereotypes are all in all considered as false and irrelevant in unconstructive situations and they are considered beneficial and helpful in upbeat situations.
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