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Vartazaryan 1

Monica Vartazaryan
Professor Vana DerOhanessian
English 115
19 November 2014
Stereotyping in Society
Women arent as smart as men. All Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. All blondes are
unintelligent. Racial remarks, sexual remarks, and gender remarks are the biggest forms of
stereotyping. Each time an individual or a group of people are judged by someone without prior
knowledge about them, it is considered a stereotype. Stereotypes are a part of our daily lives and
they follow us everywhere we go, but why do they exist? According to an article from ABC
News, Psychologists say we categorize -- or stereotype -- by age and race and gender, because
our brains are wired to do so automatically. All people, young or old, dark skinned or light
skinned, are secluded from society with some type of label that is either positive or negative.
Either way, that certain label does not necessarily represent every single person in that group.
Stereotyping affects peoples emotions, social lives, and how they communicate with their
environment.
Stereotypes have a great impact on how a person feels. If an individual feels singled out
from society because of the label that has been placed on them, it can lead to a lack of motivation
to participate in everyday life activities. For example, if a child is stereotyped as fat or obese,
how can they go on with their day with a smile on their face? This label that has been placed on
the child will decrease his or her performance level in life. People that are stereotyped feel
constantly stressed because they have to worry about what they look like and what they should

say or do; they think that they have to be perfect for society to accept them. Essentially, they are
afraid of failure because they think that if they speak up, they are going to say something wrong
and that will make them look ridiculous. An example of this theory would have to be the
stereotype that men shouldnt cry. Society has created the idea that men are not allowed to
show emotion because that would make them look weak and inferior. Men are people too, they
have feelings and emotions as well. We must learn how to control our own feelings and thoughts
rather than allowing stereotypes to control them.
Everyday we meet new people and interact with new faces, but sometimes we are not so
open to this idea. We all get criticized no matter where we go or who were with. We get judged
on the type of music we listen to, the clothes we wear, what we look like on the outside, how we
act around others, and who we hang out with. Stereotyping has created a huge dilemma in our
society. It puts labels people on how they should act according to their sex, race, personality, and
other variables. This affects individuals who like different things or engage in different activities,
but feel ashamed of doing so because of stereotypes. The most common examples include all
men like sports and women are not as strong as men. Going onward, stereotyping a person
based on their race can be connected to one of the readings I read in my English 115 class,
Mother Tongue. This reading was an essay written by a Chinese author, Amy Tan. In it, she
talks about her experience of growing up as a bilingual child. She mentions numerous
stereotypes against her race and one really stood out to me: But I have noticed in surveys-in
fact, just last week-that Asian students, as a whole, always do significantly better on math
achievement tests than in English (Tan, 5). This stereotype is very well known in todays
society; that Asian students are better than others in math. This does not apply to every single

Asian student because some of them might be better in English, art, science, or something else. It
is not right to label an entire group based on one false statement.
Stereotyping goes all the way back to childhood, we were all exposed to it since day one.
Most children receive stereotypes through media and this cannot be changed, unfortunately,
because it is just how our society functions today. According to an article found on ABC News, a
study was conducted that proved children are aware of stereotyping even at such a young age. In
this study, three groups of children were shown two pictures of different men and they were
asked to state which man they liked more. One picture was of a white man and the other was a
black man. When asked about the picture of the black man, the children stated He looks mean.
FBIs Most Wanted. He looks like a basketball player. Whereas, when asked about the white
man, the children said that he looks nice, though he may be mad about something. These
statements made by the children are ironic because the white man in the first picture was a
bomber from Oklahoma City and the black man in the second picture was a professor at Harvard
University. Why must a black man always be associated with the National Basketball
Association or danger, and why must a white man always be associated with kindness? It is
stereotypes like these in which our society has been ruined. Children must be taught to value
other people for what they are, not for what they appear to be. It is important to teach them to
respect others regardless of sex, skin color, race, culture, religion, and personality. This is vital
because, essentially, they are the future of our society. Things must change before they worsen as
time goes on.
One main source of stereotypes is media, specifically television. In the reading, Reality
TV Goes Where Football Meets the Hijab, Porochista Khakpour talks about American popular
culture, mainly reality TV, and she critiques media stereotypes in the United States. Darkness-

dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin-always equaled trouble (Khakpour, 2). This is another stereotype
that has been created by Society; that people of dark skin always correlate with some sort of
danger. Another stereotype that Khakpour mentions in this selection is, America was a pretty
O.K. place for freakdom. And thats one message sent by our culture of reality TV (Khakpour,
2). Here, the author is stating a stereotype about Americans, that we are all freaks. I agree with
the fact that this is what reality TV shows make out to the public; that in America, it is okay to be
a freak. An example of this freakdom is the famous Kris Jenner accompanying her daughter on a
Playboy shoot. Normally, this would be considered wrong, but since it is occurring in America,
apparently it is O.K.. Because of the way society works today, everywhere you turn to, there is
some type of label placed on a certain group of people.
Critics may argue that stereotyping is just another way of classification. For example, we
learn the word dog at a young age, and often classify any mammal of that sort (four legs and
furry) as a dog. We learn what behavior to expect from different people/things. This method
changes when it comes to humans because we judge someone based on their physical attributes.
People are not dogs, they are unique individuals. A commentator may say that stereotyping is a
sort of classification and that there is nothing wrong with classifying someone, but this is wrong
because it excludes certain types of people from society. As clich as it sounds, people should
not be labeled based on what they look like on the outside because it is whats on the inside that
mostly counts. As stated previously, a white man who is portrayed as nice and kind by
society, can easily be a terrorist. How could you possibly know for sure?
Stereotyping can cause numerous issues, starting from playing with ones emotions to
affecting ones social life. Singling out a specific person based on where they come from or what
they look like can cause a lack of motivation in that person. They would feel that they have to act

a certain way or be someone different in order for the people of society to accept them. We, as
the current generation, should put an end to stereotypes and discrimination. We must be aware
that all stereotypes, whether positive or negative, are harmful to society because they cause
prejudgement. Everyone must respect each others cultures, and where we come from. I believe
we truly have the power to change the perceptions of stereotypes, and better our society.

Vartazaryan 6
Works Cited
Khakpour, Porochista. "Reality TV Goes Where Football Meets the Hijab." New York Time Nov.
2011: n. pag. Print.

Stossel, John, and Kristina Kendall. "The Psychology of Stereotypes." ABC News. ABC News
Network, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2006.

Tan, Amy. The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings. New York: Putnam, 2003. Print.