What makes something a cliché

Stereotype: definition, examples, consequences

Germans are always on time, Italians are loud and French know how to live. Men all love football and women only think about shopping. Whenever we meet people, we think in Stereotypes. A stereotype simplifies the point of view and thus enables quick decisions. In and of itself, a stereotype doesn't have to mean something negative. Mostly, however, it leads to reviews being added. It is difficult for those who are involuntarily categorized to get out of this prefabricated thinking, which is why stereotypes can have lasting consequences ...

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Stereotype and Prejudice: Definition

Stereotype is a combination of the Greek words steréos = rigid, firm and typos, in German: Stroke, impression or pattern.

The term stereotype (plural: the stereotype) originally came from letterpress printing and in the 18th century also referred to printing fixed, immutable Fonts. Nowadays stereotypes are mainly known from psychology, social sciences and folklore.

A predominantly rigid one is referred to Presentation of people or groupsthat is present in society. So it’s about widespread beliefs that relate to people.

Everyone is due certain characteristics subject to such categorizations:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • hairstyle
  • gender
  • Skin color
  • dress
  • behavior

One of these dates from the American journalist Walter Lippmann to this day defining definition. Accordingly, stereotypes are ...

Solidified, schematic, objectively largely incorrect cognitive formulas that have a central role in facilitating decision-making in processes of coping with the environment.

Because so different disciplines deal with the stereotype and its effects, the definitions are, as expected, different. Be in everyday use anyway Stereotype and prejudice often mentioned in the same breath, so it is hardly surprising that the terms are often used interchangeably.

Instead of a stereotype, Cliché, stencil or prejudice spoken. However, this does not quite agree with today's understanding of stereotype research. Accordingly, the difference between stereotype and prejudice is that ...

  • Stereotypes

    are based on an unconscious and almost automatic categorization. This means that through pigeonhole thinking, people are sorted into certain pigeonholes, each of which represents different characteristics. Stereotypes can contain neutral or positive evaluations.

  • prejudices

    however, build on stereotypes. There are certain characteristics that are assessed negatively by a person. Prejudices express a general attitude.

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Stereotype: Examples of stereotypical thinking

Everyone knows stereotypes, everyone is considered by others with stereotypes. Widespread and in some cases can hardly be explained Attributions depending on nationality.

Is it about the ideas about that own culture, is driven by car stereotypes spoken. If one thinks of foreign cultures, one speaks of heterostereotypes:

Germans always reserve the loungers by the pool with the towel in the holiday resort. Scandinavians and Russians drink alcohol excessively and Spaniards keep siestas. These and similar stereotypes then emerge prejudices called ethnophaulisms from that everyone knows:

  • Frog eaters for the French
  • Island monkeys for the English
  • Spaghetti eater for Italians
  • Herb eater for Germans

The problem is less that not everyone knows an example from personal experience that confirms the stereotype. Rather, it is made by an individual on the whole group - in some cases a whole nation - closed.

All The French eat frogs - regardless of whether there are perhaps vegetarians. In addition, these prejudices are dressed in an insulting form, so they are used as a swear word.

This is by no means a German specificity. Of course, there are just as many stereotypes and prejudices about Germans. Especially many seem in the Polish language to exist. This can be explained by the changeable German-Polish history, which is often negative for the Polish side.

But there are also stereotypes in abundance within Germany: The northern Germans are particularly taciturn, the Bavarians very hospitable and the Swabians very stingy. And of course, professional life and certain industries are just as unsafe from stereotypes:

Punctualit is said about. Lawyers are all cutthroats, Social pedagogues are do-gooders and in any case only people sitting in government offices are easygoing.

Stereotype meaning: origin and purpose of the assumptions

The following explanation for stereotypes also comes from Lippmann, so it is about ...

Solidified, schematic, objectively largely incorrect cognitive formulas, which have a central role in facilitating decision-making in processes of coping with the environment.

Stereotypes and prejudices have certain "advantages":

  • More safety

    Although the stereotype is often incorrect, this simplified representation of people or groups helps in making decisions.

  • More manageability

    Complex relationships and social structures are summarized. The world suddenly becomes much more manageable.

  • More self-esteem

    Both stereotypes and prejudices contribute to being able to define oneself more precisely in relation to others. Those who think in such categories are less insecure and self-esteem increases.

  • More sense of belonging

    By devaluing others, one can value oneself. It is now clear to the derogatory person who and what he is. If someone like that meets other people with the same stereotypical ideas, a feeling of belonging quickly develops.

As desirable as a high self-esteem is: as long as it is created by devaluing others, it is cheese. Healthy self-esteem comes from within and does not need devaluation of others.

Stereotype: Follow stereotypical thinking

What starts as a harmless oversimplification sometimes ends as a merciless generalization. Not all stereotypes are as nice as the German one, who is characterized by excessive punctuality. Sure, the other side of the coin is philistinism.

But that in itself has to be no career brake be. The situation is completely different with stereotypes that lead to solid prejudices.

Three (partially overlapping) areas can be identified, those in professional life especially faced with stereotypes are:

  • gender
  • origin
  • Names

Women in particular are affected by gender stereotypes that have a negative impact. While men are ascribed activity, strength and assertiveness, women primarily represent emotionality, dependence and empathy.

The problem with such stereotypes is especially when the person is their respective Role does not do justice. If a woman does not show the expected empathy, she is automatically perceived as a deviator.

What Helge Schneider satirically sang about years ago with "You have smaller hands, so you get into the corners better", ultimately reflects social reality: Because of their great emotionality, women seem to be suitable for social professions per se.

At least that is the widespread assumption. It is also known that the same characteristics lead to different ratings in men and women: what is perceived as opinionated in a man is interpreted as bitchy in a woman.

From professional Disadvantages due to stereotypes Migrants or people with first names that sound foreign or arouse negative associations are also affected.

People with a migration background will - even if they were born here and speak fluent German - first of all met with skepticism. It has been proven that the same applies to Germans with overly creative first names.

The stereotype: Kevin and Cheyenne tend to be a little less well-off. From them is Not a lot in terms of work expected. Applicants who fall into one of these categories have to write significantly more applications.

Overcoming stereotypes: is it possible?

Science already knows that from about three years Children begin to be divided into groups. The typical characteristics are then skin color, hair color or gender. And the group to which you belong is always judged a little better - because you are familiar with it.

Psychologists were able to demonstrate this phenomenon in the brain scanner: Test subjects were shown members of their own group as well as people from other ethnic groups. The region in the brain that starts with Fear and flight related, the amygdala, was strongly activated in strangers, but much quieter in members of the same group.

Obviously, stereotypes are biologically favored. The question therefore arises as to whether they are an inevitable side effect of all human perception or whether they can be individually controlled.

There is no general answer to this question. The fact is that every individual with the stereotypes present in its culture is familiar. Whether this leads to prejudice or even discrimination depends very much on the person in question.

What you can do:

  • Have conversations

    Stereotypes come about based on a wide variety of characteristics - even facial expressions contribute to this. Angela Merkel is often said to be in a rather bad mood due to the slightly drooping corners of her mouth. Such hasty judgments are absurd, but common. So before you just categorize a person, you could ask, for example: Listen, is something bothering you? You've been looking so sad to me for weeks.

  • gain experience

    Do you think all Poles steal cars? Then you should get to know some personally. This of course also applies to all other clichés and stereotypes. Travelling forms. It promotes intercultural competence and helps to break down such stereotypes, because you will find with increasing experience that no group and no nation is a homogeneous mass.

  • Acquire knowledge

    Those who cannot travel can also check their stereotypes by reading. Of course, it depends on the choice. There is such a thing as a self-reinforcing effect. Stereotypes and prejudices contribute to the fact that information is sought, so to speak, that fits into one's own scheme. For example, those who obtain their knowledge exclusively from hate speech will experience little new, but rather feel that their views have been confirmed.

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