Maybe it’s the hormones? Wait a minute, I don’t take any, unless you count the ones my body manufactures…. Oh, that is such stereotypical thinking. You can do better Halle.
If we think at all, we use stereotypes. Yet there is probably no more implicit criticism you can level at anyone who is trying to fit in as a member of some group they were not born part of, than to suggest they have followed a stereotype.
It is ironic that I should write a post about the use of language, because it is something I use only as a tool, and would rather not have to analyze, however, here goes. The English language has so many words with alternative meanings, where one of the meanings pushes buttons, and generally is the taken meaning.
There are words with innocent, even honorable meanings that have been pulled in the same way as ‘stereotype’. The word ‘normal’ is one, as is the word ‘discriminate’. A person of ‘discriminating taste’ is generally well thought of, even now, but to suggest that someone discriminates in the way they think, goes the other way. Why is that, and how did it happen?
Not being one who subscribes to conspiracy theories, it seems to me that there are individuals who go to great lengths to find ways to distract attention from the weakness of their arguments by either referring to some higher authority, or by casting aspersions upon those they criticize by lumping them into some already generally distrusted group.
I did not grow up a woman. My upbringing allowed that I could and did learn most of the tasks that either a male or female could perform in a home and for that I have always been grateful (there go those stereotypes again). I, of course never learned how a woman should ‘behave’ or ‘act’ other than what I could observe. I have been observing all of my life. I haven’t always liked what I saw in how the women in my life have been treated; I suppose I could be termed a feminist, yet because I have not been ‘personally affected’, my credibility in this is tarnished. I would like to be able to take on a female persona and a female role, but again, lack of training and natal credibility make it hard. I am overly sensitive to my failings, even though I have few options to gain credibility.
Because of the above, it is a pretty simple matter to put me on the defensive. In the case of being accused of relying on ‘stereotypes’ I am going to say it really pisses me off. What else am I supposed to do? Who will take on the task of making a ‘proper woman’ out of me, if not me? How else to model yourself, but by what you experience every day? What am I to call the collected modes of behavior but by the label ‘stereotype’? So if your goal is to make me feel really bad about myself by suggesting that I have ‘discriminated’ in my selection of role models and my choice is ‘stereotypical’, you have chosen the wrong person to mess with.
I intend to keep learning and growing, doing everything I can to avoid inappropriate actions, but knowing that learning involves taking risks. You have to do something, and it may not make everyone happy. One of the risks is ridicule, and only by having a confident attitude can that be conquered. If that confident person seems to be stereotypically confident, then so be it!