The Problem with Stereotyping - Elmira College
Recently I talked with Amy-Willard Cross about the problems with stereotyping women in advertisements. We discussed The Buchanan Test and why so few commercials can pass this simple test for stereotyping women in your ads.
It's part of the constant struggle to create television that reflects the racial diversity of America without amplifying its problems with stereotyping and prejudice. And what's obvious from a look at the new shows coming next season is that the struggle is about to get more complicated than it has ever been.
What we are left with is the claim that many or most Hollywood films, though not all, present their female characters from a masculine perspective according to which their chief, perhaps only, value is their value to men. This will permit us to say neither that any particular film endorses the view that all (real) women are valuable only insofar as they are valuable to men, nor that "the Hollywood film" as a whole endorses this view. This is not to say that frequent stereotyping is innocent or innocuous. (A very plausible account of what precisely is wrong with it has been offered by Noël Carroll.) But the problems with stereotyping do not have to do with what films say, or film in general says, about women.Social psychology has a long history of studying stereotypes — it’s been core to the field’s interest for generations, says Hazel Markus, a professor in the Stanford social psychology department and a close colleague of Eberhardt’s. But Eberhardt has helped move the field’s focus from the people with biased attitudes to the people targeted by those biases, and she has found ingeniously simple but powerful ways to make the problems with stereotyping apparent.Stereotyping comes from a person’s limited, often outdated, and personal set of observations and untested verbal information about a subject. In stereotyping, an unproven or untested conclusion is quickly reached and is maintained. The problems with stereotyping arise when the individual tunes out any proof or evidence that does not reinforce the existing conclusions.Author Lesley Hazleton, who blogs at , recently gave a TEDx talk on the “Seeing Muhammad and Others” and the inherent problems with stereotyping Islam. Watch for yourself, and please comment below.I'm a statistics researcher in an applied field (university academic research) that suffers its own image problem, and my impression is that what we're witnessing in many STEM areas are problems with stereotyping in science, and marketing fads. I'm not sure that I disagree with what you're saying, but I think that there's another stereotype operating as well that cuts at the field of statistics in a second direction.The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. - Chimamanda Adichie, "The Danger of a Single Story."