Stereotypes are rampant in our culture and have been a dilapidating issue in our civilization for a long while. The use of stereotypes to judge another human being can cause serious detriment to the success and happiness of others. Understanding what stereotypes are and how they came about is important to eradicate the use of stereotypes and be able to assess a person’s worth based on their own individual traits. Some of the most common stereotypes are among politicians, tattooed persons, feminists, and senior citizens.
I will uncover the stereotypes associated with these groups, how the stereotypes are used and why, and how stereotyping most definitely leaves a negative effect. Stereotyped Groups There is a vast majority of people that are stereotyped. When a stereotype is implemented, it groups individuals into a certain category (Moore, Parker, 2004). This poses a difficult standard because most people can fit into several categories based on different factors such as religion, race, sex, and personality traits among other features.
When someone chooses to group people and give that group a description, they are opting to provoke “a thought or image about a group of people based on little or no evidence” (Moore, Parker, 2004, p. 130). Political cues and stereotypes are key elements in the political spectrum that undoubtedly propel a certain gage in voter’s decisions (Johnston, 1981). Politicians have always had a general stereotype of being dishonest. The term “crooked politician” is a common one, and is seemingly used on a regular basis. Although there are mendacious politicians, it is unfair to ascertain that all or most of politicians have this characteristic.
If a politician believes in a different ideal than a citizen, or if that politician simply belongs to the opposing political party, it is unfortunate that he or she may very well be coined as a dishonest politician. This is a form of mockery and slander. It is the more appropriate form of judgment to assess the unique traits and beliefs of that individual politician rather than putting them into a class of untrustworthy representatives by default. Another stereotype falls into the lap of tattooed persons. Those with tattoos have a stereotype of being tough, scary, and delinquent.
One study perpetuated results that children connect a strong negative assumption about tattoos (Durkin, Houghton, 2000). Similarly, in this study it was also purported that young people who initiate interest in getting tattoos are aware of the stigma of criminality attached to those with tattoos or body art (Durkin, Houghton, 2000). Many people who choose to cover their bodies with tattoos do so with a creative edge and it does not represent any delinquency per se. However, it is obvious that many criminals and gangs have tattoos as standards, and this realization seems to bleed into the mainstream population of those with tattoos.
It is unfortunate that society deems those with tattoos as estranged wrongdoers as it certainly impinges on the ability to gain employment or be generally respected and greeted appropriately by others. Feminists have long been looked upon as abrasive activists. Feminism started out this way in the 1960s in order to appease the needs of women and obtain rights. Some feminists have been extreme with their attitudes and choices of activism, but it does not necessarily represent the entire feminist population. Many feminists are not radicals but are mild heroines of women’s rights.
Although some women have positive views of feminism as it related to fighting sexism and sexual oppression, only 12% of 200 college women in one particular study readily identified themselves in a feminist group (Roy, Weibust, Miller, 2007). This shows that feminism still has a negative connotation and most are scared to endorse feminism despite some of the positive aspects it entails. One last stereotype that seems highly unfortunate is that of senior citizens. Most people have the view that elderly people are slow and dumb. This comes from some facts pertaining to old age that include deterioration of the mind and body.
However, it is very clear that many senior citizens have active lifestyles and are healthy and happy. Furthermore, the aspect of this stereotype that is most regrettable is that unlike the other groups that were discussed such as politicians, feminists, and tattooed persons, being elderly is not a choice; everyone comes to that stage in life. Therefore, perhaps the stereotypes forced upon senior citizens are by far the most pertinent examples of a lack of philanthropy and signify how stereotypes are harmful, outrageous slanters that lack conviction and critical thinking.
The Truth Behind Stereotypes Stereotypes were developed on assumptions without any evidence. However, most stereotypes come alive with part truths that permeate the surface. There are relevant facts that pertain to stereotypes that have been witnessed within a particular group. This is possibly the most crucial aspect of stereotyping. Because of this, most people engage in stereotypes without recourse because they believe that they are expressing truth. After all, some politicians are dishonest while some tattooed people are definitely unlawful.
And most people can see that feminists are usually radicals while senior citizens are most surely slow and lack wit. However, it is not viable to put all individuals who share those labels into one group because there are most certainly many people that can be in those categories who invoke a ration of the unexpected. That is why truth should not be used as a scapegoat when applying stereotypes, because truth is whole and encompassing. Stereotypes clearly only deal with some and not the entire portion, therefore there is no truth to stereotypes.