The Danger of Stereotypes

How stereotypes shape our views and perspectives.

The Wealthy West Coast And Southern Belles

Other regions of the United States that are affected by stereo types are people from the West Coast, The Mid-West and the South. Just as New York and other states in the North East are sometime negatively looked at by stereotypes, so are these other areas of the country.

When the West Coast is thought of, many of us refer to California and mostly Los Angeles. From that, an instant thought is bleach blondes and plastic surgery. If you think about it, how are we forming these stereotypes? What is leading us to these conclusions? Most of where our ideas come from today is the media. New reality shows are being created all over the country. When it comes to a stereotype that is being forced upon those who are from LA, why are we thinking that? All of the Real House Wives shows are putting a spin on an area of the country. There is a Real House Wives of Orange County and of Beverly Hills. These two places are most commonly known as wealthy areas. Where is the evidence to negate the false information given to us each day by the media? Another reality show based in California is Keeping up with the Kardashians (imdb.com). This gives us another example of the spoiled and rich culture that doesn’t hold true for the West Coast.

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If you think about it, many people that live in LA are people working hard to try to pursue their dream whether is in music, dancing, or acting. These people are being handed favors and have to strive every day to get one step closer to achieving what they want. A few years ago there was this show on MTV called Dancelife (mtv.com), it is shows like this that show the hardships and struggles many dancers have to surpass in order to achieve their dream. This show was a way of showing how a dancer in LA struggles to find work and how they must attend audition after audition. Katy Perry wrote a song called California Gurls, in this song, she sings: “California girls, We’re unforgettable, Daisy Dukes, Bikinis on top, Sun-kissed skin…” (Perry). This song plays into the stereotype given to girls from California.

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The south deals with mixed stereotypes. First there is the “Southern Belle” which are young women often associated with the darling southern accent, a winning smile and always cheerful (urbandictionary.com). Southern Belle’s tend to be wealthier than other southerners. Other southern stereotypes are that you live on a farm, you are home schooled, your family is poor and all southerners ride horses. Again, many of these stereotypes are based off of what we learn from the media. Yes, most of these are assumed based of movies such as Sweet Home Alabama or The Blind Side. Both of which are movies in the south and portray families differently (imdb.com). Popular movies, television shows, books, magazines, newspapers and even YouTube videos shape our society today. In some cases, they spread a false stereotype that takes away from the people who are associated with it. These stereotypes can be harmful and spread extremely fast through the use of the internet today.

I think in order for our society to grow away from the use of stereotypes, we need to stop listening to these reality shows that give us one part of a society or of a region. Today we are very quick to judge others after we find out where they are from, what race they are or how much money they have. This society needs to work on stopping that habit before it goes any further.

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