What is a stereotype?
A stereotype is a oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person. They are often portrayed inaccurately and are oversimplified versions of a certain group of people. A famous and commonly used example for a stereo type is that cheerleaders are stuck up girls, and have no depth in them. These labels for certain groups of people can be negative or positive, portrayed often as cliche characters. These characters have no originality or uniqueness as they are created from a mold.
When is a stereotype useful?
Stereotypes are often seen as negative in today’s world. However, they are helpful in guiding us and shaping our attitudes and behaviors toward other peoples, races, and cultures. They provide us with conscious awareness of differences and the need to understand that different norms and values exist regardless of our assumption of the common. In this way, we eventually learn to be anticipative in social interaction and communication and consciously seek to verify our beliefs regarding others.
Considering people & characters that represent people – why can’t you ‘judge a book by it’s cover’?
Although these stereotypes are in some cases true, categorising every person in the group to be the exact same person and have the exact same personality is just impossible. Every person is different and although some may look the same on the outside, every single human being on this planet is different in their own way, both positively and negatively. They all have different stories that their appearances may not tell, just as if you’re in a public area you don’t know what is going on in their life.