Shattering Stereotypes

 

Lunar dream

by Lily

Everyone is exposed to many stereotypes every day. For example, it is a popular belief that because a lot of terrorists are Muslim, all of them are terrorists, which is absolutely ridiculous. Another example is Donald Trump. He once stated that if he becomes president, he will make sure that no one of Muslim descent will enter the country. Once again, absolutely ridiculous. He also said that he would definitely build a wall to keep ‘the wrong’ people out. Why discriminate someone based on how they look or their race? It just makes no sense.

The Holocaust was also a big example of mass stereotypes. Hitler made a huge decision to try to kill anyone who didn’t have blonde hair, pale skin and blue eyes, which was considered ‘holy’ at the time, even though Hitler himself didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. People  with any other combination of hair, eyes, or even skin tone, which were most commonly Jews (brown hair and brown eyes most likely), would have been considered ‘not normal’ or ‘subhuman.’

And there are stereotypes that don’t have to do with race, ethnicity or religion. Such as the joke that goes way back that police officers are immediately associated with donuts and coffee, or that people who wear glasses are smart or ‘nerds.’ Making a judgement about someone has a very close side effect that leads to stereotyping people, and stereotyping can lead to prejudice or negative judgements about people, but all in all, we just shouldn’t judge people from the beginning. We usually make judgements about a person because we haven’t met them before, and our mind is deciding whether you should be their friend or not, according to a 2012 study by UCLA.

The media makes a very big imprint on us in terms of what we’re supposed to look like, how much money we need to make, or who to vote for when we get older. For example, the newest trend in the media is that women should have a ‘thigh gap.’ According to google a thigh gap is a space between the inner thighs of some women when standing upright with knees touching. A thigh gap has become an aspect of physical attractiveness that has been associated with fragility and femininity. It is added to the mass stereotype about what women’s bodies should look like. That’s RIDICULOUS. Why should the media have the right to tell us what looks good and what doesn’t especially when it comes to a person’s body? If having a ‘thigh gap’ is natural for you, that’s great! Embrace your body. But if it’s not, don’t beat yourself up about it just because the media is saying that’s not pretty, because believe me, as long as you’re healthy, it’s all good. Don’t let stereotypes affect the way you think about yourself . . . or about other people.

However, we have come so far in stereotypes since even the fifties. Sexism and racism stereotypes were even more common in public back then: for example posters featuring men hitting women, directly saying that men are better than women, saying that it’s a man’s world—and even posters featuring a photo of a woman down on her knees serving a man. I wonder what they would have said if they had known that our generation would experience what we are today: that we might have a women president next in line? As for the racist ads, there were many for the movie Song of the South, a product called skin whitener, and others littered with tons of racial slurs, making fun of how various races supposedly talked, and other equally inappropriate things. It’s really, really scary to think that this was the normal thing to be around and hear back then. Basically, only white privileged males can go back in time and actually enjoy themselves from what I’ve seen so far, otherwise, almost anyone that was a woman or of a different race would have been faced with these advertisements in the media all around them. And the schools and drinking fountains that only white people can use?

If we could all stop judging each other for no reason, everyone would just all around (a) be better people and (b) be nicer not just to one or two specific people in our lives, but just have a better attitude about everyone. The main three things I try to live by in life is (1) have fun in life (2) be nice (3) make friends. I feel like making friends and being nice is always a good place to start, and having fun in life is a really good way to think about everyday life. I believe that by doing as many fun things in life and to be busy every day until the day I die helps put a positive outlook on everything that is to come, and just everything in general. But in the end, if we all just stop judging each other and giving in the stereotypes being put out by the past and the media, we would all just be better people and make more friends.

 

 

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