Curb your social stereotype



Photo by KOBE GLOVER


This article is all about how stereotypes can limit your social interactions. We're going to take a look at why people assume certain things about you based on what you say and do, then we'll show you how to break those stereotypes so that no one sees you as one-dimensional.


If it seems like people already have a preconceived notion of who they think you are before they get to know the real, authentic version of you, there is no need to stress or be intimidated. Social stereotypes are only limited by your willpower, there are no other limits to the types or kinds of people in this world. While we may have biases, preconceptions, and stereotypes about most things in life, there are simply too many unique individuals to list them all. As long as you don't mindlessly follow these popular social stigmas, you can make that one person who doesn't fit into the pattern feel like an exception rather than an outcast.


After all, everyone is just a little bit different from the rest and that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with that. You don't have to be a stereotypical alpha male to be the social king of the party or school campus. It's how you treat people that counts, not how many people you can get to follow you. Thank goodness for individuality and the unique quirks that make us who we are. I'm sure that the future of humanity is going to be positively affected by these outliers even if society is a bit slow to catch up. So sometimes, it is necessary to break social stereotypes in order to make sure society doesn't fall into a groupthink mentality. The problem is that these preconceptions may be so deep-rooted and ingrained in our society that we can't even see them. Without seeing the stereotypes for ourselves, how can we break them?


However, if you choose not to follow through with the stereotype, you might be hesitant to say anything at all. This is where active listening and first impressions come into play. The first thing you need to do is practice active listening on a regular basis. Take practice by listening to someone speak before you say anything else. The best approach to improve your listening abilities is to rehearse "active listening." This is the place where you put forth a cognizant attempt to hear not just the words that someone else is saying yet, more significantly, the total message being conveyed. To do this you should focus on the other individual cautiously. You can't permit yourself to get occupied by whatever else might be going on around you, or by shaping counter contentions while the other individual is still talking. Nor would you be able to permit yourself to get exhausted, and lose centre around what the other individual is saying.




Photo by ELENA LACEY


Individualism and collectivism


What is the role of social stereotypes in our everyday lives? How does individualism and collectivism influence these stereotypes? In this manner, let us explore how individualism and collectivism impact our daily interaction with social stereotypes; attitudes, feelings, and beliefs about certain groups of people. They are deeply ingrained in our society through a multitude of powerful cultural media outlets. Individuals tend to have unique opinions on the characteristics that define different groups. Social stereotypes are often depicted through media outlets such as movies, television, and advertisements.


Recently, another reason for the persistence of social stereotypes is that they are a form of social categorization. In psychology, there is a theory known as Social Categorization Theory which explains that "people categorize the members of the in-group in more favorable ways than they do those outside the group". However, individuals who are members of different groups tend to possess similar traits when put in comparison to other groups. For example, when an individual is asked to define a "typical" male or female, they will give examples that reflect the stereotypical characteristics of each gender. This can be explained through Social Categorization Theory. Individuals categorize social groups in "more favorable ways than they do those outside the group". This leads us to believe there are differences between genders that can be easily distinguished. Individualism is defined as a social orientation that prizes personal freedom and responsibility for social conformity and interdependence. Collectivism is a social orientation that prizes interdependence and conformity over personal freedom. Social psychologists use these social orientations to understand the relationship between an individual and their group. Individualism leads to a desire for autonomy and independencies, whereas collectivism leads to a desire for interdependence.


Collectivism culture generally stands out from individualism culture. Cooperation focuses on the significance of the local area, while independence is centred around the rights and worries of every individual. Where solidarity and magnanimity are esteemed qualities in collectivist societies, autonomy and individual personality are advanced in individualistic societies. These social contrasts are inescapable and can impact numerous parts of how society capacities. How individuals shop, dress, learn, and direct business would all be possibly impacted by whether they are from a collectivist or independent culture. For instance, labourers who live in a collectivist culture may endeavor to forfeit their own joy for everyone's benefit of the gathering. Those from individualistic societies, then again, may feel that their own prosperity and objectives convey more noteworthy weight.




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Social stereotypes have more influence on youth than before because of the way that they live their lives. As of 2012, 70% of youths used social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. This number is up from 40% in 2007 and 20% in 2005. Social media gives people a place to communicate about themselves and the world around them. This place, however, is a virtual one- a place where people can decide what they want others to see about them. The resulting constructions of self are typically filtered through popular culture's representations. When younger demographics use social media, they can begin to develop the self-views or self-concepts that are promoted in modern American pop culture. These views include a focus on popularity and appearance and how it pertains to others. It shows how a person's popularity has power over the rest of their lives. This can lead to behaviors like making people feel excluded or forced into stereotypes of themselves so as not to offend others.


A study in 2001 found that more than half of college students surveyed had experienced some sort of "minority stress". Minority stress is the result of having one's individual needs, interests, and behaviors devalued by society as a result of perceived differences. The study found that the stress was not just limited to the college students who were members of minority groups; it was also found in students whose primary affiliation was with a majority culture group. The students who were stressed had symptoms like anxiety, depression, and withdrawal from friends and family. This shows how being a member of the majority does not necessarily mean that they are exempt from minority stress. While social media is typically viewed as a tool for people to develop their public identities and present themselves to potential mates and employers, it may be having darker consequences. The way people see themselves can be threatened by social media portraying others as having better lives or popularities.


At the end of the day, the social norm of stereotyping will still be taboo in many generations to go, not only towards the youths but for other social classes as well. What we can do is understand people more and confabulate in a positive and healthy way, in that way the chances of enhancing the right posture in a conversation will be much greater.


By: Shaun Fong Yugendran


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