This is a discussion on Stereotype within the Discrimination & Sexist Double Standards anti misandry forums, part of the Why We're Here category; I have put this under 'discrimination', a word stolen by feminism and given a wholly negative connotation. It used to ...
- 28th-April-2009 #1
I have put this under 'discrimination', a word stolen by feminism and given a wholly negative connotation. It used to mean being able to distinguish between the worthy and the worthless.
Here is an article about 'Stereotypes', yet another mangled word. It used to mean - as this writer uses it - putting some clear aspects of a person quickly into impersonal categories. A handy and essential survival skill.
It is easy to stereotype men and women. Men are not allowed to stereotype women but women seem to be unable to do anything but stereotype men.
By Amy Alkon | Apr 26, 2009
Susan Boyle, the Scottish woman who sang on the British talent show, has been the subject of much discussion all up and down newspapers and the web.
The thing is, looks matter, and that sucks, but probably feminism's insistence that looks "shouldn't" matter has meant little girls and women aren't told what Boyle should have been: that looks are important, and that it's very important you do the best you can with whatever you have. Boyle, by the way, now looks much better, thanks to a bit of hairstyling and a mowing of the brows that looked like two black overgrown front lawns.
Looks matter because we evolved to care about them. It was a survival thing. Men evolved to seek the female face and body that indicate [COLOR=#009600! important]fertility[/COLOR], and yes, what we consider beautiful -- youth, clear skin, symmetrical features, a .7 waist-to-hip ratio (hourglass figure) -- are indicators a woman is fertile. Women, likewise, go for men who are taller, and also care about symmetrical features, but evolved to care very much about whether men are providers, dads, not cads. Again, this sucks, but it's a fact, and telling girls not to care about their looks isn't helpful in terms of guiding them through reality.
By the way, my mother didn't teach me to care about how I look. (I don't think she cares all that much about how she looks -- not enough to put in the level of effort many women do.) I got the idea about it from all the books I read as growing up (during the friendless years). I remember, in particular, some book about the Holocaust where one of the women in the camps had a tube of lipstick and rubbed it on her cheeks and wore it on her lips so the guard would think she was pretty and keep her alive.
Pam Belluck at The New York Times writes about the biology of why looks matter:
On a very basic level, judging people by appearance means putting them quickly into impersonal categories, much like deciding whether an animal is a dog or a cat. "Stereotypes are seen as a necessary mechanism for making sense of information," said David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University. "If we look at a chair, we can categorize it quickly even though there are many different kinds of chairs out there."
Eons ago, this capability was of life-and-death importance, and humans developed the ability to gauge other people within seconds.
Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton, said that traditionally, most stereotypes break down into two broad dimensions: whether a person appears to have malignant or benign intent and whether a person appears dangerous. "In ancestral times, it was important to stay away from people who looked angry and dominant," she said.
Women are also subdivided into "traditionally attractive" women, who "don't look dominant, have baby-faced features," Professor Fiske said. "They're not threatening."
Indeed, attractiveness is one thing that can make stereotypes self-fulfilling and reinforcing. Attractive people are "credited with being socially skilled," Professor Fiske said, and maybe they are, because "if you're beautiful or handsome, people laugh at your jokes and interact with you in such a way that it's easy to be socially skilled."
"If you're unattractive, it's harder to get all that stuff because people don't seek you out," she said.
AGE plays a role in forging stereotypes, too, with older people traditionally seen as "harmless and useless," Professor Fiske said. In fact, she said, research has shown that racial and ethnic stereotypes are easier to change over time than gender and age stereotypes, which are "particularly sticky."
One reason our brains persist in using stereotypes, experts say, is that often they give us broadly accurate information, even if all the details don't line up. Ms. Boyle's looks, for example, accurately telegraphed much about her biography, including her socioeconomic level and lack of worldly experience.
Her behavior on stage reinforced an outsider image. David Berreby, author of "Us and Them," about why people categorize one another, said the TV audience may have also judged her harshly because, in banter with the judges before singing, she appeared to be trying, awkwardly, to fit in.
"She tried to be chipper, and when they asked her age, she did this little shimmy," as though she assumed that on such programs "you're supposed to be kind of sexy and personable, and she got it wrong," Mr. Berreby said. "Nothing sort of triggers our contempt more than something trying to be acceptable and then failing."
When people don't fit our preconceived notions, we tend to ignore the contradictions, until they are too dramatic to overlook. In those cases, said John F. Dovidio, a psychology professor at Yale, we focus on the contradiction -- Ms. Boyle's voice, for example. While that makes us see her as more of an individual, we also "find a way to make the world make sense again, even if the way we do it is to say, 'This is an exceptional situation.' It's easier for me to keep the same categories in my mind and come up with an explanation for the things that are discrepant."
... Professor Dovidio said that encountering discrepancies to stereotypes probably "creates a sort of autonomic arousal" in our peripheral nervous system, triggering spikes of cortisol and other indicators of stress. "That autonomic arousal is going to motivate us to do something in that situation," he said, especially if the situation is dangerous.
Helen Fisher, an anthropology professor at Rutgers, theorizes that in Ms. Boyle's case, the audience also experienced a "rush of dopamine" from the surprise pleasure of hearing her voice. "Novelty drives up dopamine in the brain and you feel good," she said.
That may help explain why so many people are drawn to the Susan Boyle story. But their embrace of her and other underestimated underdogs is unlikely to upend our penchant to stereotype.
Similarly we stereotype men who come here as .... what? All good guys? Again, as with the women, we need to wait a while and see what appears after a while.
First impressions don't count on the internet.
No-one is going to throw a spear out of the screen.
By the way, I saw a clip of Susan Boyle bringing the house to its feet. She was brilliant. And so unexpected a 'Presence' once 'she' - her dumpy appearance - disappeared and her voice remained, Ascendant.
I wept. Beautiful music and voice does that to me.
Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum
Love the Sinner but not the Sin.
“ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. “
(and within ourselves)
(Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
A Feminist is a human being who has lost her way and turned vicious.
If you meet one on the road as you Go your Own Way,
offer kindness but keep your sword drawn.
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