by: Laura Green
A plate cast in type metal from a matrix, as of
papier-mâché, and reproducing on its surface the
composed type or other material impressed upon
the matrix. 2.
Anything made or processed in this way. 3.
A conventional or hackneyed expression, custom,
mental image, etc. 4.
A person possessing or believed to possess characteristics
or qualities that typify a particular group.
Chink. Retard. Welfare .
doesn't seem too far-fetched to assume that at
an institution of higher learning like the University
of Western Ontario the majority of students would
be sensitive to the negative effects of stereotyping.
cartoon that depicts a prostitute standing between
two nuns with the caption "2 tight ends and a
wide receiver"; another that portrays a black
man named Isaac, the dyslexic pimp, buying a warehouse;
an article that instructs first-year Western students
on how to get some action on campus. Probably
not the representation you would expect to see
on our campus and yet these images were submitted
and published in our student newspaper.
equity officer Shirley Murray was disappointed
that the Gazette published this kind of stereotypical
am surprised that we have not come very far on
this issue at all . I thought that in this day
and age people would have a much better sense
of handling these issues in a more sensitive way,"
her work at Equity Services, Murray said she has
seen students suffer from harassment that comes
from people who buy into stereotypes.
doesn't create an environment where people are
going to feel comfortable. It makes women objects
. It's not necessary," said Murray.
Russo is a first-year UWO student and cheerleader.
According to the Gazette article, cheerleaders
are "nymphets" who should be searched out by the
jocks for "some good old porking." Russo wishes
people would give cheerleaders more credit.
think that people don't realize that it really
is a sport and that it really is hard and we're
running stairs . and working out ten times a week.
All they see are cute girls in short skirts and
they think 'she must be pretty easy.'"
Russo doesn't take it personally when people make
stereotypical comments about cheerleaders.
think there are tons of stereotypes everywhere.
I think it's shown in every type of media we have
and although I wish they weren't there, stereotypes
don't bug me. Maybe it's because I have enough
confidence in myself that if people say crap,
I just brush it off and know that I'm a better
to Murray, the problem is that stereotypes objectify
women. "It creates an environment
that's not in keeping with the way the world operates
today, and that's my major concern."
it really shouldn't come as a shock that the school
newspaper entertains these point of views if they
are reflecting the voice of the student body.
Some students don't see stereotypes as a problem,
even when they are aimed at them.
people deserve it," said Sean Marcy, a
first-year UWO student. "I
have guy-friends who wouldn't care if you called
them a dirty, but girls take offence to it."
A dirty, for those of you not up-to-date with
today's terminology, is a player, or slut. Marcy
said that expressions like "that's gay," or "that's
retarded" don't have any meaning for him, they're
don't think anybody really thinks about what they're
saying when they're saying it," said Marcy.
"I think it's just for humour."
roommate Mark Young thinks that stereotyping can
lead to violence. "I think
some people can take offence to certain comments
. I've seen it turn into a bar brawl."
Young doesn't know what we can do about it. "I
think that's just the type of world we live in.
Everything's being analyzed, everything's got
to be politically correct."
White, professor of sociology at UWO, said that
students who aren't in the minority don't realize
the effects of stereotyping. "It's
the Teflon effect - if you're a minority, it sticks
a lot more."
pointed out that stereotypes usually come from
dominant groups and apply to less dominant groups
or dominated groups. "Really,
stereotypes are all about domination and maintaining
domination and that's why they are dangerous in
isn't just kind-hearted or light-hearted fun.
It's really talking about how people treat one
another and see one another," said Murray.
"It effects both the people
that are stereotyped and the person doing it.
If you hold a stereotype, you have already preconditioned
your response to people and when you precondition
your own response you end up with a very narrow
range of human relations and human interactions
and you really lose yourself."
said that stereotypes become even more destructive
when they become part of popular culture because
they shape social and public opinion.
why does this happen, especially in the educated
setting of a university? White said it has to
do with difference.
beings are social animals, but they are only social
to the level that like is much more comfortable
than different. People who are different from
us we tend to be weary of and look for particular
activities, traits, and things like that,"
said White. "We tend to
create and try and type those differences and
bring those people into an understanding. And
stereotypes are the easiest forms of understanding."
to White, we need to discuss stereotypes more,
question them, try and deal with what we think
is negative stereotyping. "All
stereotyping can be negative, but most stereotyping
that is negative we can deal with," he
"Anything that can be learned
can be unlearned."
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