You’ll hear people dis them, while others may accept them for what they’re worth. What is a stereotype worth?

You mean a typical and expected behavior based on X, Y, or Z can have value? Well, of course they can.

We are creatures of habit and have evolved to find patterns when sometimes they don’t really exist. And while stereotypes are far from always being true, there does exist an element, some even say a kernel as if to make seem insignificant but ask yourself how often do you fit a stereotype and why?

It could be something simple like being a miserable grouch on a Monday, buying a case of beer on a Friday for that much needed staycation, maybe it’s going to Wal-Mart in your sweatpants, or going to Whataburger after the bar closes, or hey being a person of color that just so happens to be eating on some Popeye’s Chicken. But hey, who doesn’t? I mean, maybe some health nut vegan, no hate, no dissing, just sayin’ that even a vegan that is willing to impose her diet is also a stereotype.

Some people may not feel comfortable using stereotypes because various reasons, but sometimes there doesn’t seem to be an alternative. Especially for believable characters and dialogue. While not ever southerner has an exaggerated southern draw, we tend to have a variation of it. This becomes even more evident when around others from other regions. Capturing the way people talk, their dialect, is essential to good dialogue, right? Would you believe for a minute that people in the Bronx would speak perfect English, or even British English. If a reader were to read that they may infer that the character has either a high education or had recently moved there.

Some people might feel uncomfortable having a female character depend on a male character, but maybe they’re in a relationship and they find themselves in a life or death situation, what do they do? Does the man freeze up when someone assaults his girl friend? Does he react and try to chase off or fight off the assailant? What about if the roles reversed? In a real life life or death situation, it is very common for people to lean on someone they know, someone they trust, someone that appears strong for protection. So common that it’s a predictable pattern of behavior, a stereotype.

Last thing I wanna say on Stereotypes is that while you might feel inclined to not use certain ones because they’re “offensive” it really depends on what sort of story you want to tell. It is quite possible that someone might perceive a character interaction or component of a story as an “offensive” stereotype, but was that the intent, and if so what was the reason?


DTancientonesII
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