Stereotype word cloud concept with abstract background

People have expectations from everything that exists in our environment, like other human beings and if these expectations are not met then they tend to form a judgemental opinion about them. Discrimination takes place based on gender, caste, community, color, age, religion, and many other parameters. These stereotypical things harm our society to a greater extent.

Some typical examples of stereotypes include “Asians are good at math” (Racial stereotype), “Republicans are rich” (Political stereotype), “Women are bad at math” (Gender stereotype), “Florida residents are elderly” (Demographic stereotype), and many more. Each person existing on this planet is unique. They have their own identity and individuality. These stereotypical things try to limit ourselves, our actions, our dreams, and many more things. 

Stereotypes are everywhere. They are positive as well as negative. They impact us in many ways. The media is very powerful which is the main means of mass communication including broadcasting, publishing, and the internet. We see stereotypes being presented in famous films, TV programs, music videos, advertisements, and so on. Creators of this earn huge money by making comedies of color, race, culture, tradition, and many more. If these things happen to us personally then it will not be funny but hurtful. To reach more audiences, the way the media is portraying attention to these stereotypical things is shocking. Stereotypes present in the media affect the opinions of people.

Stereotypes are like opinions, judgments we have in our minds permanently. Stereotypes affect everyone. They hurt us, make us sad, and lower our self-esteem. If one person is not part of our community or is different from us then we start to view the person negatively. People are constantly reminded of how they should be ideally. Stereotypical beliefs try to hold us back and limit us. Stereotypes control our behavior.

When you think of an engineer, what comes to mind, men or women? The engineering field is still considered to be a men’s field. A teenage girl is already told when she is going to get married, what kind of job she will do to handle children, and to whom she should marry whereas a boy is encouraged to focus on his career, getting a good job with a good salary so that he will be able to take whole responsibility of his family, wife, and children. Girls are not allowed to be out of home after the sunset whereas the boys are always allowed and not denied. Beautiful women are not considered smart. Women can be beautiful and smart.

There are different ways we can look at each other. We can beat these stereotypes by looking at other people as individuals. Some psychological forces drive us to stereotype someone even if we know that it is wrong. Everyone has some weaknesses and strengths based on which we decide how important they are to us. Stereotypes are shadows of the past and the past always keeps chasing us. We must go beyond skin color, caste, culture, and race and treat everyone equally. We should stop categorizing people. 

We all are unique in our way. We must accept ourselves the way we are and others are. We should not be rude. We are humans and we must have humanity. We should set the right examples for our future generations. We also should not suffer stereotypes. We must take a stand for ourselves. 

Pranali Mahindrakar, Student of BSc. CS, Pune.

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