The Fact and Fiction of Stereotypes

Molly Bond

Stereotype-n. oversimplified conception or standardized image of a person or group. Especially from the middle to high school age, people are cast into certain groups based on their interests, race, gender, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. This judgment defines them, makes them who they are, at least according to other people.

Most of the time, this “casting” of people into certain groups is condemned as wrong and untrue. But these stereotypes must have come from something. They were not just pulled out of nothing in order to make people feel badly about who they are.

So if these stereotypes come from the truth, is it right to assume that they are always accurate? Are all cheerleaders ditzy? Are all teachers evil middle-aged people out to ruin the “greatest years of our lives”?  Do all overly academically driven people spend their Friday nights playing Dungeons and Dragons? The answer is no. Stereotypes are not applicable to every person of every clique. Does that stop us from making assumptions about people? No. It most certainly does not.

I believe that stereotypes and judgments are taken and evolve directly from the media, as well as presumptions made after a one-time encounter with a person of a certain group. These snap decisions are the thing that may negatively define a person, and therefore limits the person’s comfort zone.

In order for people to stop being so conservative when it comes to interacting with other groups, for example, a nerd and a big-shot athlete, people need to look past these stereotypes, and see the potential friendship inside.