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Текст 8: stereotypes and stereotyping

Stereotyping is a simplification and generalization process. It helps people categorize and understand their world, but at the same time it often leads to errors.

Stereotypes can be positive or negative, such as when various nationalities are stereotyped as friendly or unfriendly. We often find people stereotyped around characteristics of age(“All teenagers love rock and roll and have no respect for their parents.”), sex (“men want just thing from a woman.”), race (“All Japanese look and think alike.”),religion(“All Catholics love the Pope more than their country.”), profession(“All lawyers are greedy.”) and nationality(“All Germans are Nazis”).

Objects can be stereotyped around characteristics of places (“All cities are corrupt and sinful.” “Small towns are safe and clean.” “In England, it rains all the time.”) and things (“All Korean cars are cheaply made.”).

The term “stereotype” initially referred to a printing stamp which was used to make multiple copies from a single model, but the great journalist and commentator Walter Lippmann adopted the term in his 1922 book “Public Opinion” as a means of describing the way society is set about categorizing people – “stamping” human beings with a set of characteristics – as well. In his pioneering work, Lippmann wrote that stereotypes are:

1 Simple: certainly more simple than reality, but also often capable of being summarized in only two to three sentences.

2 Acquired secondhand: people acquire (and absorb) stereotypes from someone else rather than from their own experience. The culture “distills” reality and then expresses its beliefs and values in stereotypical images.

3 Erroneous: all stereotypes are false. Some are less false than others, and (more importantly) some are less harmful than others: But all are false by their very nature. They are attempts to claim that each individual human being in a certain group shares a set of common qualities. Since an individual is different from all other individuals by definition, stereotypes are a logical impossibility.

4 Resistant to change: during the last twenty-five years the difficulties with racial and gender inequalities in American life have alerted most people to the tragic consequences of popular stereotypes.

Despite the fact that stereotyping is a natural method of classification and despite the fact that stereotyping has useful functions under certain circumstances, it can be problematic.

Stereotypes can reduce a wide range of differences in people to simplistic categorizations, transform assumptions about particular groups of people into “realities”.

As a stereotype in psychology understand simplified, schematized, often distorted or even false, characteristic for the sphere of ordinary consciousness, idea of any social object (the person, group of people, a social community, etc.).

Sometimes as stereotypes understand steady, regularly repeating forms of behavior.

There is a huge set of the most different stereotypes, including gender stereotypes - cultural and socially caused ideas of qualities and standards of behavior of men and women.

Characteristic features of the man: strong, it is inclined to sports activities; worries about the appearance less and almost isn't afraid of an old age; carries out a role of the supporter of a family; has experience of sexual life; it is not emotional, resistant; it is logical, rational, objective, possesses the developed intelligence; aspires to the power and leadership; it is independent, free; it is active; aspires to success, it is ambitious.

Characteristic features of the woman: weak, it is not inclined to sports activities; worries about the appearance and is afraid of an old age; shows attachment to a family; it is virtuous; it is emotional, gentle; it is thoughtless, inconsistent, possesses a keen intuition; it is compliant, obliging; it is dependent, to a great extent needs protection; it is passive; shy, timid.

Now the tendency to weakening of similar stereotypes is noted. And psychological researches showed that there is no "purely" man's or female personality; and gets both in scientific, and into ordinary consciousness idea that stereotypes aren't something natural more and more, and are created by society.

There is a considerable coherence of gender stereotypes in many cultures. Men are perceived as aggressive, avtokratichny, impudent, dominating, inventive, strong, independent, rough, clever; women - as emotional, pensive, sensitive, obedient and superstitious.

Thus, gender stereotypes are very strong and are accepted even by those groups concerning which they are created. Existing stereotypic ideas of feminity and courage are rather close in different cultures. Stereotypes tend to be acquired early and they change with great difficulty.


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