Stereotyping is one of realities in our life that make it much more difficult and unhappy, which has already been scientifically proved (Gensler, 2001). When people feel that they are discriminated on the basis of some stereotypes and prejudice, they tend to perform worse and even after the situation changes, for example, they leave the group of people where they were discriminated, people still tend to be more aggressive and dissatisfied (Kemick, 2010). It is the main reason why I consider stereotyping to be absolutely inappropriate in today’s world, but unfortunately, I think that to get rid of it is not easy and hardly possible as of today. The thing is, the most common stereotypes are deeply ingrained in our world perception, but still there are ways out of this situation: for instance, we can try to change the stereotypes we have by testing them on practice and even if there will be some of them left, we can just suppress them not to make life of the others worse. In this paper I am going to analyze three common stereotypes: that women cannot be good at formal sciences, that men cannot watch their kids as good as their wives and that young children do not understand anything.
So, the first stereotype is that women cannot be good mathematicians, programmers and other representatives of the formal sciences. Those who follow this stereotype say that it happens so because of the different ways the minds of men and women work. So, according to them, it is just a peculiarity of women’s way of thinking. I think that this stereotype is mainly supported by those women who just do not want to be good at these sciences (in this way it becomes a perfect excuse for their laziness) and by those men who just happen to have many women around who think in this way. The practice shows that women can be perfect mathematicians and can become even more successful than men in these fields. It is true that representatives of the two sexes perceive the world in different ways, but it doesn’t in fact imply that this prevents women from being good at math, programming and other formal sciences.
In our society it is also commonly assumed that fathers cannot take really good care of their children, especially of babies. Often it happens because women just don’t let them fully participate in raising their kids (Kanazava, 2008). In this case, they just don’t have a chance to demonstrate their abilities and love to the child. Among the arguments people have for this stereotype is that men just aren’t suited for this because of their sex and because they didn’t give life to the child in direct sense of this word. In fact, men can be as good as women in this matter, as they also have instincts and can give their children a lot, practically everything except for breast-feeding. Still, because of this stereotype, it is not only the men who can be suffering, but the kids themselves, as for them it is very important to feel the love of both parents. If our society overcomes this barrier, the next generation will be really happy and strong.
The last stereotype I am going to consider is that children, especially in the first years of their life, cannot understand anything (“Ageism,” n.d.). Those who think so try to control their children by giving them commands without any explanations. They should behave as their parents want them to just because it is the way the things are. People often think that children are too small-minded to understand the way our world works, so they just choose the easiest way – no explanation, just attempts of control. In fact, scientists have already proved that children are extremely wise, although it is a fact that they perceive our world in a different way. But it doesn’t mean that they are stupid – they also deserve explanation, attention and respectful attitude. The difference between children brought up in the first and second ways is evident. Those who receive proper attitude are better developed in all aspects and have less psychological problems. They are also more likely to succeed in life.
So, stereotyping is evidently a thing that makes people’s life worse. But there are cases when prejudice allows people to find perfect excuses for their unwillingness to do something. The matter is, people like to believe in such things that they want to become true (“How Pre-Existing Beliefs,” n.d.). Women who don’t want to see into math, fathers who don’t want to get up at night to see what their babies want, parents who don’t want to think up explanation to something – they just use stereotypes as a means of defense from the public opinion and their conscience. And it is one of the main reasons why stereotyping will continue to exist for a long time. But I am sure that if every person decides for him/herself that stereotypes don’t have place in their world perception, we will receive a chance to live better and happier lives, which is certainly a goal worth striving for.
Ageism: Discrimination Against Age. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://knol.google.com/k/ageism#
Gensler, H. (2001). Introduction to Logic. London: Routledge.
How Pre-existing Beliefs Distort Logical Reasoning. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://searchcenter.intelecomonline.net/playClipDirect.aspx?id=E22DB555B562B463C0F5EE35DE315BCB5CA9621ED0132E1823264876125E799D1789474455514F32C8FEA4B7688954B4
Kanazava, S. (2008). Why are mothers better parents than fathers? Part I. [blog]. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200806/why-are-mothers-better-parents-fathers-part-i
Kemick, A. (2010). Stereotyping Has Lasting Negative Impact. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/08/12/stereotyping-has-lasting-negative-impact.