Stereotypography Essay

1227 words - 5 pages

Latina women have long been known for their passion, their sexuality, and their skills in housekeeping. It's a lucky man that finds himself married to a Latina: her fiery personality will never prove boring, and the house will always be spotless! Never mind that this isn't necessarily true, this is how they've been portrayed by television programs, radio, and word of mouth, so there must be something to it, right? Stereotypes often occur out of ignorance, be it for another group’s style, traditions, or history. If there's a way to group people, there's a stereotype pertaining to them, and stereotypes can provide a sharper cut than any blade. Three examples of this follow: the first cut targets a sole Latina, next, a slice into Irish ideals, and finally, a brutal stab into the heart of the Mexican perspective.

For a first example of stereotypes, In “The Myth of the Latin Woman,” Judith Ortiz Cofer writes about the many stereotypes that she, as a Puerto Rican woman, has endured. She opens with a tale of how she had been publicly serenaded—on a London bus, of all places—by, as Cofer puts it, “a young man, obviously fresh from a pub” (187). Later on, she mentions a second random serenade of sorts, this time from a older man in a classy metropolitan hotel. The young man sang “Maria” from West Side Story, the older man first chose a song from Evita, then encored with a crudely-worded song to the tune of “La Bamba.” In both situations, whether it was their intention or not, their actions resulted in alienation of the author, singling her out and thrusting the stereotypes of her lineage in her face. The men may have meant well; they may have felt that what they were doing was good-hearted fun. They may have even been trying to win her heart, for that matter. Would they have done the same, singing tunes from Fiddler on the Roof or Yentl, if the author were a beautiful Jewish woman?

A more brazen instance of stereotypes being strongly woven into America's national psyche is in the Irish. The Irish drink, they fight, they fight about what they're drinking, and they drink to what they're fighting about. You can see the “pride” of the Irish show itself every Saint Patrick's Day. You'll find people laughing, cheering, and drinking green beer. Buttons and tee shirts with “Kiss me, I'm Irish” boldly printed on them for all to see. Folks dressing as leprechauns and speaking in harshly overdone accents to their friends even though the closest thing to the 'rolling green” hills of Ireland they've ever lived by was SEPTA's old, pale olive, elevated subway platforms in Fishtown. In reality, this is not in homage to the Irish. Nor is it in homage to what the actual holiday is about. This is a holiday that incorporates stereotypes as an excuse to get drunk and be unruly.

In Ireland, March 17th is celebrated as a religious day, somewhat like Easter would be in most countries. In the United States however, it's treated more as a day to act...

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