It took me aback to stop and think about how common stereotypes are in this day in age. Without even the mere thought of doing so, stereotypes are placed on people daily, and have been for years. The four groups that were chosen to write this paper on were selected for a specific purpose. If you stop for a minute and think individually about politicians, tattooed persons, feminists and senior citizens, you will find that a specific thought or image immediately follows. In some cases, someone you know may fit into one of these categories, but many times you think of the attributes that commonly go along with each one; this is how stereotypes are created.
Each one of these groups holds many positive and negative common stereotypes. The stereotypes that were given to these groups have been and will continue to be effected by the culture of the current time. Lets begin by taking a look at politicians. If you think back to the origination of our county, politicians were the people who were chosen to lead and govern. Politicians were viewed in a very positive light. They were elected to serve the people and had only the peoples well being in mind, that was there sole purpose. To take politicians and look at them in todayÐ²Ð‚â„¢s perception, many place stereotypes on them as being sneaky and deceptive, only out to gain social, financial and political power. What has changed our perception of politicians over the years? Does the way that we think about them have no truth to it? In my opinion, the way that we stereotype politicians today is based on the vast amount of scandals that some of them have taken part in. Because of this, most of the stereotypes that go along with politicians reflect quite negatively on each individual, regardless of their motives. Unfortunately, there are many other groups that have negative stereotypes attributed to them; one of them is Feminists.
It is hard to place feminism into one category because of the many diverse types of feminism. Many stereotypes of the more common liberal feminist come from some of the many other radical feminists of long ago. In fact, in the early 20th century, feminists even decided to join forces with socialism. Germany, Britain, and yes-even America, had and still has socialist feminist organizations. (Hasslanger) Because of these radical movements towards creating equal rights for women, many stereotypes have come to be attributed with feminists. Things such as hating all men, being lesbians and thinking that women are the better sex are all common misconceptions about feminists. Although these things are true for some, they are most definitely not true for all.
Just as feminists have been given stereotypes based on what they are thought to believe in, people who have tattoos are given stereotypes based on how people think they act. People get tattoos for a variety of reasons. For some people it is for the attention, for some it has genuine meaning, but for lots, its gives recognition and respect in a community that exists within our own communities. An author and publisher, who also has tattoos, Shannon Larratt, writes, Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe stereotype of a tattooed person is that of criminals, drug addicts, and chronic underachievers, and there is a statistical truth to that slander. Sadly, when it comes to people who choose to show those tattoos on public skin, the stereotype is often all too true.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ(Larrett) Because of the negative images that come along with having tattoos, there are not very many positives. In my opinion however, more and more, people are beginning to have an appreciation of tattooed people in general. It may take a few more generations to extinguish the fire completely, but I believe that we are on our way towards having a more open mind towards tattoos and many other things that this world has to offer.
Speaking of different generations, senior citizens have many stereotypes. When I think about these stereotypes however, they seem more humorous than cruel or ill intentioned. From bad driving to being forgetful or even smelly, senior citizens have many stereotypes that could appear to be negative. Out of the four different groups, however, senior citizens were the only ones that I could think of a positive stereotype about, great amounts of wisdom. In many countries, the oldest generations have the greatest amount of wisdom and knowledge. Although this assumption may not be true at all, out of common respect, we all give them the benefit of the doubt.
I have found in my readings and in talking to some family members that people vary greatly in the stereotypes they hold about groups based on the interactions they have held with each of them. Although many of the stereotypes that I have written about today are false, equal amounts are true in some respect. For example, although there are many gay feminists, not all feminists are gay; this is a fallacy. In writing this essay is has become much more apparent to me what stereotypes I commonly place on people just because certain images that have been portrayed. I began thinking about something that people could place a stereotype on me about, my Christianity. There are many stereotypes about Christians, and most of then are negative. David Barshinger writes, Ð²Ð‚ÑšSay the name "evangelical Christian" to your coworker, and you might get a cringe in response. For many, the name carries strong negative stereotypes: Right-wing extremist fundamentalist, homophobe, constrainer of women, doubter of reason.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ(Barshinger) Although this is true for some Christians, I would hate to be thought of under these same false assumptions. Hopefully because I have started to become more aware of the stereotypes I have been placing on people, I will be able to remove the use of them in my own life.
In conclusion, from politicians, to people with tattoos, to feminists and senior citizens, all have been burdened from one common thread, stereotypes. Although some stereotypes may just be humorous, it is important to not immediately categorize people based on what groups they are in. It can be easy sometimes to just assume that people are a certain way because of the job they have or what they believe in, but it may be worth taking the time to give them the benefit of the doubt. If nothing else, this paper was very useful in my own self-evaluation, I hope to not soon forget what I have read over the past week.
Ð²Ð‚Ñž Larrett, S. (2004). Proud to be tattooed? WhatÐ²Ð‚â„¢s there to be proud of?. Publisher Ring. Received May 25, 2008, from http://www.bmezine.com/news/pubring/20040617.html
Ð²Ð‚Ñž Barshinger, D. (2006) Shattering Christian Stereotypes. Boundless Webzine. Received May 27, 2008, from http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001463.cfm
Ð²Ð‚Ñž Hasslanger, S. (2003) Topics in Feminism. Stanford. Received May 24, 2008, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-topics/