Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stereotypes and Straw (Wo)men

"Women's instincts are finer and truer than men's, because women, as a rule, are morally better than men; and it is a fact, known to every observant person, that women are less unreasonably conventional in their views of this matter than men are. It is men, and not women, who loosely class together as bad all works of fiction which deal with forbidden things of character and conduct, without intelligently discriminating between those which deal with such matters in artistic fashion and exalted purpose and those which make them as an allurement to attention." (Eggleston, 1890--The Nude in Literature, The Author).

It important to realise that no stereotype is all bad. That may feel odd to some people, but it is important.

Stereotypes are two things. They are generalisations, which are lazy and do not respect individuality... but otherwise no great sin. And they may also be fallacies, so the quality being generalised may not even really differ between the two groups.

But if a person doe not think, for example, that men and women have a different level of worth--stereotypes are just sloppy and mistaken. And that means they are correctable.

If you realise that a person who stereotypes women attributes both good and bad qualities to them, there is a basis for discussion. You may rankle at the negative stereotypes, but your point might be more effectively made by looking at the positive ones.

And if the positive stereotypes somehow ring true, perhaps there is more than one person in the conversation who needs to check their facts and reconsider their position?

8 comments:

Julie said...

I know this is unrelated, but I LOVE that picture you used in this post. Where did you find it?

Emily Veinglory said...

I have a stash of vinatge ephemera, so this is probably a scan of one of my old pics or postcards. Although a few of the pics in my files are from shutterstock--I don't remeber which one this is.

Tuscan Capo said...

If you have some nudes don't be shy about emailing me a few if you're in the mood... :)

Emily Veinglory said...

Not a lot of nudes, but quite a bit in the 'scantily clad' genre....

Heather in BC said...

"Women's instincts are finer and truer than men's, because women, as a rule, are morally better than men;..."

YES!!! I love this stereotyping - it's sooooo true :)

cady said...

i'm typically not a fan of sterotypes. i don't think that you can put an entire group of people under one description.

Ravyn said...

I disagree. Even "good" stereotypes like your opening paragraph can work against the people they're supposed to describe. Being on a pedestal can be just as bad as being pushed into the gutter--almost worst, because then if you try to break the stereotype, you're looked down on further.

I'd rather be considered individually than stereotyped positively.

Emily Veinglory said...

That being my point, although perhaps not clearly made. If you are willing to accept the positive side of a stereotype it hampers the overall effort to oppose stereotyping.