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Perception And Stereotypes In Our Daily Life

1473 words - 6 pages

Life is based on a series of different perceptions. Human beings often attach opinions, sentiments and value judgments to every moment or incident in their life and this is mostly done unintentionally. Most of the times, these opinions are fixed and are stored in their minds for a long period of time. They then stay there, unbending and inflexible. Although a common perception is that because a phenomenon exists, it must be grounded in truth and the idea of stereotypes is also based on a similar fallacy, but this is incorrect because stereotypes are overarching theories or generalizations that are detached from reality and only exist because of preconceived notions, social perceptions and ...view middle of the document...

As members of one particular society, internalization of these values is not only encouraged but also appreciated and subsequently rewarded. This can be seen by taking the example of the stereotype which termed all women as inferior; more commonly led them to be known as the ‘weaker’ sex. A stereotype is an ideology. So in this case, the manifestation of this ideology could be seen a hundred years ago in Britain when women were not even allowed to cast their votes because they were believed to be insignificant parts of the populace, only there for caring and rearing while men were believed to be strong, brave and intelligent and the only ones having a say in or impact on more pragmatic aspects of life. The inferiority of women as citizens was a stereotype and their not being allowed to vote was a result of the prevailing stigma but was the stereotype actually true? It was not as women were eventually successfully able to fight for their rights which led to them acquiring the right to vote in 1867. The stereotype that many felt was grounded in reality turned out to be just the established mindset of society at that time based on preconceived notions and was clearly fought against and eradicated. Women now are largely believed to be equal to men and although the practical experiences of most women might suggest otherwise, the important part is that the stereotyping of women in the minds of people has decreased significantly because it was not based on truth.
Stereotypes can also come into existence as a result of common incidents. Human beings have a tendency to share experiences. They do this because they want to be able to relate to others. This not only gives them a sense of belonging but also a way to associate with other human beings. People go through the same kinds of situations every day. They also often come across the same kinds of people having certain attributes specific to them only. However, this commonality of experiences becomes problematic when a certain category of people classified on the basis of their age, class, gender or race also have a certain set of characteristics common to them. For example, if some people come across some Asians at some point in their life and happen to find them intelligent and then tell their own personal stories to other people, this leads to a general assumption being formulated about Asians: all Asians are intelligent. Other people outside these categories might also have those same characteristics but they are overlooked or ignored simply because they do not fit the overall generalization that has already been created and propagated. This, however, is an extremely simplistic way of looking at the situation. In reality, the analysis becomes much more complex due to the presence of external factors such as media that has resulted in globalization. These personal stories no longer remain personal as they can now be shared not only among the people of a particular region or society, but on an...

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