According to Oxford dictionary, stereotypes are ‘a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing’. (Oxford University Press, 2016)
They are usually, if not always negative and present a specific view of an individual, group of people, etc.
In order to explain stereotypes I’ve illustrated some which I am aware of.
As a foreigner in UK I’ve experienced discrimination based on negative stereotypes that exist about Eastern Europeans. Generally, after learning where I’m from people would talk to me in a slow and simplified way, ask me how come we learn English in Croatia, am I Russian and so on. This made me extremely self-conscious about my nationality to an extent that I hide it.
The stereotype for some Eastern European countries (such as Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria) are that women are prostitutes and promiscuous, while men are primitive, violent and wear the signature Adidas tracksuit. While some women might go in for prostitution, reasons are much more than promiscuity. Massive inequality gap between Eastern and Western Europe, poor education, rural areas and socialist and communist heritage have a great deal to do with the trade some chose and how men are raised.
‘All Muslims are tourists’ – after doing some research about islamophobia in UK, I came across this amazingly funny typo someone posted on their twitter account. The general stereotype about Muslims is how they are all violent, terrorists and so on. These stereotypes are reinforced by the bigot Western media with harmful ideology of promoting nationalism and hatred. I thought the right way to tackle this is by humour.
Middle-aged women, if not married are considered to have almost lost the purpose of their lives. Marriage is an unexhausted source for chick-flick movie – wedding day is considered as the greatest day of women’s lives. Choosing flowers of the right shade of nude and toppings of a three-floor cake are unavoidable. It almost appears that middle-aged women are gaining purpose by marriage.
Lastly, LGBTQ community carries a weight of a lot of stereotypes. Each representative letter has its own stereotypes, not to mention discrimination that exists within the community.
Oxford University Press (2016) Oxford Dictionaries. Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/stereotype (Accessed: 06.05.2016.).