Meaning of Stereotype

What is Stereotype:

A stereotype is a immutable image, idea or notion that one social group has about anotherto which behaviors, qualities, abilities or distinctive features are generally attributed.

The word is made up of the Greek roots στερεός (stereos), meaning ‘solid’, and τύπος (types), which translates as ‘impression’ or ‘mold’.

Formerly, in the 18th century, a stereotype was an impression taken from a lead mold that was used in printing instead of the original type. Hence, a stereotype is the impression of a “solid brand” (immutable) representative of a group.

In this sense, stereotypes are a set of pre-established ideas and beliefs that are applied in a general and undifferentiated way to a social group, based on their differencethat is: nationality, ethnicity, socio-economic class, age, sex, sexual orientation, profession, trade or others.

stereotypes can be positive or negative, but they are always generalizations. Therefore, although they contain part of truththey offer a distorted view of reality. This is because they magnify or absolutize very specific features and apply them to identify and characterize individuals in an intelligible category.

exist positive stereotypes. For example, the idea that all Brazilian soccer players are humble and professional. Also exist negative stereotypes. For example, the false belief that blondes are stupid.

Some stereotypical characters of modern society are foreigners (it will depend on each host country), geeks, nerdsmad scientists, tormented artists, among others.

Many times stereotypes become pejorative or derogatory labels. Often this leads to undesirable attitudesas the discrimination and the intolerancefueling racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance or homophobia.

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See also:

  • Discrimination. .
  • Geek.
  • Nerd.

Stereotypes in literature and art

Like any social discourse, in literature and art stereotypes can also be associated with gender roles, cultural, racial, socioeconomic groups, etc., because they function as forms of representation of a reality.

This issue has been extensively studied through an analysis methodology called imagology, which has its origin in the comparative literature of the 19th century. Imagology studies the image or representation of the other (for example, the foreigner) in the representations of literary or symbolic discourse in general.

An example of a stereotype in the plastic arts is the representation of odalisques in Western painting. These are always half-naked and complacent while waiting for the lord of the harem, which contradicts the conflicting reality within the harems in the Eastern world.

See also:

  • Character.
  • Cliche.

Stereotypes and the media

In the mass media, be it cultural production (films, series, news, podcastamong others) or advertising and propaganda, certain stereotypes are frequently disseminated, either of beauty, charisma or character.

In this field, stereotypes are used deliberately to establish a simple, fast and effective communication that guarantees the transmission of a message efficiently.

As an example, we can cite the stereotypes of the animated series The Simpsons: the Hindu Apu, owner of a supermarket; Flanders, the ultra-conservative Christian, and the Italians Luigi Rissotto, cook, or Fat Tonny, gangster.

computer stereotype

In Computer Science, the stereotype is a concept within the Unified Modeling Language. It is used to encapsulate behaviors.

Therefore, a stereotype is used as a vehicle to communicate the requirements of software and designs, and lacks the current negative connotation given to it in general usage.

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