Types of Stereotypes to Consider for Academic Papers- Student Guide

author By Mary Boies

A stereotype is a generalized perception or belief about a group of people. It can be positive or negative but is most often negative and usually leads to bias and discrimination. For example, the gender stereotype that men are better than women has led to women being paid less than men in many male-dominated industries.

In this post, we will look at the most common types of stereotypes. By learning about the most common types of stereotypes and their differences, you should be able to quickly write a stereotype essay when you are asked to write one.

Let’s begin.

10 types of stereotypes to Consider for Essays and paper

When assigned to write an essay or research paper on a stereotype-related topic, here are some main types of stereotypes and examples to consider.

1. Racial stereotypes

A racial stereotype is a stereotype based on race. More specifically, a racial stereotype is the prejudgment of people based on their race (Chinese, Indian, white, black, etc.). This type of stereotype is closely related to ethnicity, which is the prejudgment of people based on their ethnicity (Native American, Hispanic, Indian, Somali, etc.).

Racial stereotypes usually emerge from society and often follow people throughout their lives. For example, about two or three decades ago, the racial stereotype that Africans are intellectually inferior to whites was widely believed. While this stereotype is no longer widely accepted, some quarters still perceive or treat Africans as intellectually impaired.

Another excellent example of a racial stereotype is the stereotype that African Americans are violent. This is widely believed by many people and has led to the mistreatment and discrimination of African Americans. This is despite the fact that the majority are peaceful, law-abiding citizens.

As you can see above, racial stereotypes are often harmful and lead to people being mistreated and discriminated against. And the mistreatment and discrimination often lead to disharmony between races/groups. However, as you will see in the rest of the post, virtually every type of serious stereotype leads to mistreatment, discrimination, and disharmony.

Examples of racial stereotypes:

2. Gender stereotypes

A gender stereotype is a stereotype about gender. It is defined as the over-generalized perception of an individual or a group based on sex. Gender stereotyping usually involves assuming what one can or cannot do based on gender. For example, there is a prevalent gender stereotype that women are only good for homemaking. That they cannot work as men do. This is, of course, not true. Women have proven over and over again that they can work just like men and sometimes better than men.

Gender stereotypes have been around for ages. For instance, men have always perceived women as less than their equals since time immemorial. Because of this, for a long time, women were not allowed to own property, work, or vote. Many communities around the world still perceive women as inferior to men. However, we all know this is not the case. Women are equal to men. They have repeatedly proven that what a man can do, a woman can do better.

While women are often the victim of gender stereotypes, there are also gender stereotypes against men. For example, many people regard secretarial and nursing jobs as jobs for women. As a result, men who apply for nursing and secretarial jobs often have a lower chance of getting selected than women who apply for the same jobs.

Examples of gender stereotypes:

3. Cultural stereotypes

A cultural stereotype is a stereotype about a culture. It can be positive or negative. Most ethnicities around the world have their own unique characteristics and ways of doing things. These characteristics and ways of doing things are known as culture. Unfortunately, these cultures can lead to either positive or negative stereotypes. For example, in some Middle Eastern cultures, girls can be married at a young age. This has led to the stereotyping of Middle Eastern people as child exploiters. Of course, this is wrong as many people in and from the Middle East do not support child marriage or exploitation.

A few moments ago, cultures can lead to positive and negative stereotypes. You have just seen an example of a negative cultural stereotype. Here is an example of a positive one. Education is highly regarded in some Asian cultures, e.g. the Chinese culture. This has led to stereotyping of Chinese people as high achievers in academics in the Western World. As with most positive stereotypes, this stereotype is not harmful but can lead to bias.

Examples of cultural stereotypes:

4. Sexuality stereotypes

A sexuality stereotype is a generalized belief about a person or group of persons based on their sexuality. Unfortunately, sexual stereotypes are very prevalent across the world. Many people hold prejudices or negative beliefs about people based on their sexuality or sexual orientation. This has led to many people of different sexuality (LGBTQ) being mistreated or discriminated against.

An example of a sexual stereotype is the belief that some dangerous diseases are spread more among gays and less among straight people. This dangerous stereotype has led to the stigmatization of gay people and has made many people fear seeking medical assistance when needed. But, again, this is because of the fear of discrimination.

While sexuality stereotypes are prevalent worldwide and have led to the stigmatization and discrimination of the LGBTQ community, there has been some progress in the recent past. The progress has occurred particularly in the Western World, where laws have been enacted to embrace and protect LGBTQ persons. In addition, many leaders, celebrities, and organizations have also embraced LGBTQ persons, reducing negative beliefs against them.

Much more must be done to tackle the negative stereotypes against LGBTQ people, especially in places where they face the risk of violence because of their sexuality.

Examples of sexuality stereotypes:

5. Social class stereotypes

There have been stereotypes about workers or working-class people since time immemorial. Many people, particularly the rich, perceive working-class people as dirty, jealous, violent, and uneducated. These perceptions of working-class people have led to lower wages, lack of promotions, and reduced opportunities for success for working-class people.

Even at the school level, there are perceptions about students based on their social class. For example, kids from a poor background are often perceived as unintelligent, unmotivated, unfocused, and violent. This often leads to them being treated differently because of their background.

There are social class stereotypes about rich people, just are there are social class stereotypes about poor people. For example, rich people are typically arrogant, uncaring, and pompous. This can lead to them being prejudiced or badmouthed in the press even though many are humble and caring people working to help society. However, because they are wealthy, rich people are often less likely to suffer harm because of prejudices against them.

Examples of social class stereotypes:

6. Nationality stereotypes

A nationality stereotype is a generalized negative or positive belief about people from a particular nation. For example, when you say people from China are high academic achievers, you are perpetuating a nationality stereotype, albeit a positive one. Making assumptions about someone or a group based on national origin can lead to prejudice, discrimination, or wrong judgment/decision.

Nationality stereotypes often emerge from old tropes spread over the years through word of mouth and social media. Unfortunately, they continue to be perpetuated, especially by people with insidious intentions such as to annoy, mistreat, discriminate or propagate a bias against a person or a group of persons from a particular nation. But, like most stereotypes, nationality stereotypes are often not accurate.

Examples of nationality stereotypes:

7. Religious stereotypes

A religious stereotype is a generalized belief against a religious group. A religious stereotype is often negative and is usually perpetrated by someone who doesn’t belong to the targeted religious group. Religious stereotypes can cause disharmony among religious groups. Also, they often perpetuate the mistreatment and discrimination of the targeted religious groups.

An excellent example of a religious stereotype is the belief that Muslims are terrorists. This belief was particularly prevalent after the 9/11 attacks. It was also prevalent when the terrorist group known as ISIS was at its peak in the Middle East. While indeed many terrorists are Muslims, not all Muslims are terrorists. Most Muslims are peace-loving and law-abiding citizens. However, they also hate what terrorists do in the name of their religion, and they are often the victims of their acts.

Unfortunately, anti-Muslim religious stereotypes “other” them and make it difficult for them to fully cooperate with the authorities to fight extremism. Therefore, it is important to fight these religious stereotypes to make it easy for moderate Muslims to cooperate with the authorities to fight extremism.

Examples of religious stereotypes:

8. Age stereotypes

An age stereotype is a generalized belief against a person or a group of people based on age. A brilliant example of an age stereotype is the belief that young people are incapable of national leadership because they are immature. This is wrong and has been disproven many times over the years by young people who sometimes outperform their seniors in leadership roles.

The age stereotype that assumes old people are too deteriorated mentally to do anything meaningful is known as ageism. It is probably the most common type of age stereotype. While it is true some people who are old are not mentally strong enough to do some things, it is wrong to generalize this belief. This is because many senior citizens are capable of mental and physical tasks.

Examples of age stereotypes:

9. Disability stereotypes

A disability stereotype is a belief against a person or group based on disability. For example, there is usually the belief that people with mental disabilities are crazy and can cause harm at any time. This dangerous belief has led to society othering people with mental illness. While some people with mental illness can be violent because of their condition, it is rare. Most people with mental illness are calm and indifferent.

Disability stereotypes like the one described above about people with mental disabilities often lead to the othering or exclusion of disabled people from social participation. For example, it also leads to mistreatment and discrimination. Fortunately, efforts have been made over the last 30 years to help address negative disability stereotypes and the related discrimination against disabled people. This should continue to ensure disability stereotypes are wholly ended and the discrimination against disabled people stops.

Examples of disability stereotypes:

10. Political stereotypes

Political stereotypes are often prevalent close to elections when politicians and their biggest supporters perpetrate them in political rallies and social media. By definition, a political stereotype is a generalized belief about a person or a group of people based on their political leaning or support. A political stereotype can lead to disharmony and even discrimination.

An excellent example of a political stereotype is the belief that liberals are sexually deviant. Of course, this is just a belief, and no study shows that a liberal is more likely to be sexually deviant than a conservative or something similar. Therefore, the stereotype that liberals are sexually deviant is untrue.

To ensure that political competition doesn’t result in stereotypes that fuel disharmony and discrimination, it is vital for campaigns that promote healthy political rivals to be run during the political season. This will reduce political stereotyping. It is also essential for politicians themselves to be asked to sign a code of conduct in which they promise not to stereotype.

Examples of political stereotypes:

Why stereotyping is bad

Stereotyping is wrong because it often leads to othering or discrimination. Othering is the social exclusion of an individual or a group based on perception, while discrimination is the ill-treatment of a person or group. Both othering and discrimination limit opportunities for those targeted and diminish their quality of life. They can even result in outright violence.

Final Words

There are 10 major types of stereotypes. They are primarily negative and harmful. This is because they lead to bias, prejudice, mistreatment, discrimination, and/or violence. The stereotypes include racial stereotypes, gender stereotypes, cultural stereotypes, sexuality stereotypes, social class stereotypes, nationality stereotypes, and religious stereotypes.

Every person has a responsibility to prevent the perpetuation of stereotypes by not propagating any stereotypes. Every person also has to play a role in fighting against stereotypes and the resulting discrimination and mistreatment of persons or people. Doing this will make the world a much better place for everyone.

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