stereotype

< Previous | Next >

tufguy

Senior Member
hindi
I would like to know about the word "stereotype".

1) You are saying all the family members of Johnson's family are helpful. It is the stereotype of that family as kind.

2) By saying Tom is also like his other family members you are stereotyping him.

Have I used this word properly in these sentences?
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    You have used the verb correctly, I believe, but I am not comfortable with 'positive' stereotypes - e.g. helpfulness. Stereotypes tend to focus on people's bad or funny features, in my experience.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Stereotypes tend to focus on people's bad or funny features
    Indeed, but not always.
    Inasmuch as stereotyping tends to involve oversimplification, you could say that it reflects more on the person doing it than on the persons being stereotyped.
    You could say that a stereotypical social scientist is one who stereotypes other people. :)

    Stereotyping is what you do when you use both hands while typing.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Stereotyping is what you do when you use both hands while typing.
    You don't say!!! :D Is it better to 'monotype', then? :)

    See, it is an international word that we use in my language as well and, while I agree with your points, I am still left with a tiny little feeling of incomplete satisfaction when I see the word 'stereotype' used in connection with some good, commendable feature like 'helpfulness'. In conversation I would ignore that completely, but being made to think about it here I just can't help noticing... :)
     

    tufguy

    Senior Member
    hindi
    You have used the verb correctly, I believe, but I am not comfortable with 'positive' stereotypes - e.g. helpfulness. Stereotypes tend to focus on people's bad or funny features, in my experience.
    Are both of these sentences correct? Can you please guide me on this? I am really confused about using this word. Are there rules that can be followed to make sure I am using it correctly?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I am really confused about using this word.
    In that case it would be better not to use it until you understand it better, after considering various dictionary definitions and examples. It does not fit well in the examples you gave in #1. A useful synonym is "type-cast".
    Here is OED's definition, with some examples, and the words "preconceived", "oversimplified", and "typify" are important:

    A preconceived and oversimplified idea of the characteristics which typify a person, situation, etc.; an attitude based on such a preconception. Also, a person who appears to conform closely to the idea of a type.
    1968 W. E. Lambert et al. in J. A. Fishman Readings Sociol. of Lang. 487 American students of English-speaking backgrounds who are in the process of studying the French language have a generally negative set of stereotypes about the basic personality characteristics of French-speaking people.
    1974 Howard Jrnl. 14 102 The stereotypes which society has of the offender, are quickly matched by stereotypes which many offenders create of society.
    1981 Church Times 23 Oct. 9/1 The neatly dressed unmarried lady (never without handbag)..is definitely not the narrow stereotype our media would have us think she is.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I would not use it in your original sentences because it usually applies to a broad class of people when you don't personally know most of them. You prejudge an X as being like all Xs everywhere.
    In 1), I would think you know this because you know the family. It is a simple observation.
    In 2), you know all the Johnsons except Tom, so you assume that Tom is also kind.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top