Stereotypes

free essayStereotypes are not official notions. They maintain discrimination and prejudice in society while placing limits on human lives. Moreover, they build boundaries between people and stop them from doing what they desire. Being widespread in most societies, stereotypes can totally influence mental and psychological health of people. There are many types of stereotypes, but the most popular ones are gender and racial stereotypes. The existence of these stereotypes shapes not only the behavior of the individuals, but also their learning process. Consequently, it is important to realize to what extend stereotypes can influence human life.

According to McLeod (2008), a stereotype is a fixed belief about a group or class of people. That is why there are many various versions of stereotypes. It is the fact that gender stereotypes are most pervasive and least acknowledged. From the moment of a person’s birth, society tries to set rigid boundaries by teaching boys and girls what colors they can use and what games and toys they can play with. Consequently, men and women become influenced by the strict distinctions concerning the notion of gender. “Notions of femininity and masculinity are reshaping themselves in societies across the globe”(Ramdas and Janus, 2011). On the one hand, both sexes understand the difference in the body structure and mental abilities of men and women, so it helps to maintain a balance in society. On the other hand, because of the development of mankind, men have started prevailing, causing the loss of equilibrium. It leads to the vulnerability of the woman’s position in the contemporary society. Therefore, one may admit that the existence of the gender stereotype can cause the difference in the development of the whole society and an individual as its member.

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Generally speaking, individualism is the key component of human existence. It shapes a person. The psychologist McCrae states that individualism influences a person (Schimmack, Shigehiro, & Diener, 2008). It means that human behavior solely depends on individuality. The question is what happens when a person losses it. The answer lies in the end of Marge Piercy’s poem “Anonymous Submission”. In this poem, a person discovers the main component of his existence and becomes a puppet in the hands of the society. The reason is stereotypes. In such a way, stereotypes affect the society. The bright example of such an effect can be observed in regard to how women treat their body. Most of the women gradually subdue to the common stereotypes of the community. As a result, more and more women are dissatisfied with the shape of their body. It was proved that “approximately 60% of girls and 30% of boys report a desire to change their size or shape and nearly 25% of adolescent girls report clinically significant levels of body dissatisfaction” (Presnell, Bearman, & Stice, 2015). Consequently, all this leads to mental distractions, as well as fatal diseases. It looks like society ruins itself from the inside. It destroys human desires, hopes, and even lives. Therefore, this contributes to the appearance of new fatal illnesses and the destruction of the world as well. All the abovementioned can be treated a result of the lasting impact of stereotypes.

Another type of stereotype is a racial one. It presupposes that there is only one type of people who can prevail. The lasting impact of such a stereotype causes racial and ethical inequality. The problem of racial and ethical inequality has deeply ingrained in the contemporary cultures. Many scientists started investigating these issues in every aspect of people’s life. They found various explanations of the appearance of the racial and ethical inequality. The bright example can be the research conducted by Barkan. He proposes some factors that he thinks influence the emergence of racism and ethical inequality, namely stereotypes, cultural deficiencies and structural obstacles (Barkan, 2013). All of them are of paramount importance, but the cultural deficiencies explain the racism from the social point of view. Hence, this factor is vital for sociology as well. The reason is obvious: the cultural deficiencies presuppose the failure to obtain a good job position and create the family ties. There is an assumption that race influences the social life of every individual. It is the fact that many employers are not ready to hire the workers who are of different skin color. Consequently, it influences the further future of the individuals. That is why stereotypes together with other mentioned factors negatively influence the development of society.

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There is one more important issue that should be mentioned: it is the impact of stereotypes on education. Stereotypical attitude towards education has been recently introduced. It is believed that girls can show better results at school than boys. Nevertheless, these types of assumptions are rather controversial. There are many examples that prove that both boys and girls can achieve good results in education. However, the stereotypical attitude towards boys’ success in education still prevails. That is why it influences a normal behavior of boys. They become less attentive and active. They show no interest in education because of stereotypes. They do believe that they cannot achieve the learning goals because only girls are able to do this. Consequently, the stereotypes form boys’ perception of education. One may admit that stereotypes have been created by individuals and they have been transmitted from one generation to another, having dramatic impact on the human development.

To conclude, stereotypes are considered to be serious issues of the contemporary world. They destroy human plans, desires, and lives. Moreover, gender stereotypes are the most widespread ones. They show how both sexes face the same problem. Stereotypes have an enormous impact on the way people live. What is more, they shape social, cultural, and education development of the society. After all, society becomes more vulnerable and unprotected. That is why stereotypes stop normal development of society. One should admit that apart from gender stereotypes, there are racial ones. They make a strict border between various cultures. Furthermore, they build some type of fence between people with different colors of skin. That is why stereotypes have negative impact on the society, and they should be reduced as soon as possible.