I personally don’t like labels, and especially don’t like when people try to put me in a box and expect to not act outside it. There has been too many times in my life where people would get offended or mad that I didn’t fit into this role that they had set for me, or expected me to fill. So now I have a question for you. Have you ever had a time where you were treated a certain way based on a preconceived notions people had about you? These notions were no doubt based on physical appearance or traits. I feel that everyone has had at least one experience where they were put into some category or labeled, even if they didn’t notice it.. I want to know what the difference between stereotypes vs archetypes is, as well as why we so so easily try and put labels on people.
What is a stereotype?
According to Wiki, a stereotype is, “a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things”. My definition of a stereotype would be when people take societies view of what a certain social group, ethnic group, gender, etc should be, and anything outside of that view is wrong. What many people need to realize though is that just because you think a person might act or be a certain way, doesn’t mean its true. I feel that stereotypes in our society are heavily influenced by Social Media. Hollywood pushed out what they feel certain groups should act like and society picks it up and rolls with it. When I was researching this topic I came across a quote that explains it perfectly.Growing up and even still today, the main stereotypes that I have struggles with is based on my race, gender, and social group. Stereotypes are not necessarily bad, its when people assume that the stereotype is all that you are is when I have a problem with it. People are so complex and when we try to dumb people down because we cannot understand their complexity i feel that this is an injustice. Never judge someone by outward appearances.
As I said earlier I have had experiences with stereotypes growing up, but before I get into my experiences here is a little background about myself. I am a 21 year old female that is not the most feminine girl out there. I am majoring in computer information systems, and love playing video games and reading comics. I built my computer from scratch, and love working with technology. Because of my love and talent for all of this I strive to be a game developer some day. Now all these interests are not remotely girly habits, and most wouldn’t expect a girl to enjoy. Likewise when most people figure out about my hobbies they make a huge deal about it and, immediately try to but labels on me. Geek, Nerd, Tomboy are the three most common. Growing up I was made fun of for not being black enough, as if all black people had to be a certain way. Most of the time it was because I talked in complete sentences, used bigger words, and didn’t use slang often. Other times it was because I cared about my grades, and goal in life wasn’t hooking up with as many guys as possible. I could go on but I feel like these are some pretty good examples of stereotypes and labels I experienced in my life. I found a video on YouTube that really relates to the stereotypes I grew up and continue to live with.
As I said before I don’t like stereotypes and labels, because they put limit on what we can be. The only way to stop this cycle is for people to not buy into the stereotypes that media pushes out, and to realize that people are a lot more complex then they realize. Just because someone is complex doesn’t mean you should try and dumb them down with labels, instead you should sit down and try to get to know them better. Well that’s what I think about labels. I hope it was an eye-opening experience, or at least showed you through my view what stereotypes I have and continue to face.