This post was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Stereotypes.
“So, are you a student?” I get asked when I go to a mechanic wearing a winter cap. “So, do you work?” I get asked at the bank when I may look scruffy. At bars I’m sometimes picked on by both girls and guys if I even look at them for a second, since they assume I’m looking for a date; even when I am there only to give someone a ride.
Stereotypes are everywhere, and so are stereotypical questions. Many of such questions start with assuming something, which is the stereotype itself. Religion, culture, politics, gender, sex, weight, ethnicity: even having different kinds of blogs gives people more incentives to stereotype. It is like me going to a party where everyone is of a different skin color like black/white/brown/grey/orange/purple/green/blue/violet/pink, and some stranger asks me “You sure you at the right party?“, as if I don’t belong there.
5 questions to help you Stereotype me
Here are 5 popular ways to stereotype me and everyone else, and ensure that you remain a narrow-minded person because you always stereotype and never ask questions to find out the exact fact. Even if you guess correctly, you are guessing, and thus stereotyping. Ask these questions repeatedly without thinking about the other person at all, and you will be stereotyping instantly.
- Are you straight? Are you gay? Are you bisexual? Are you retarded?
I run into this almost everyday, both online and offline. Many people online will assume I am gay or straight because I talk indifferently about gay and non-gay people, because I joke comfortably about gay and non-gay topics, and because I don't start feeling defensive or throw a hissy fit if someone thinks I am gay. I also don't start hating gays because some gay guy touches me or hits on me; guys hit on girls all the time and think it's cool, even when the girl is freaked out, but when it happens to boys themselves, they become sissy and start crying because of feeling uncomfortable. Wow.
Similarly, some people offline will start assuming I am gay because I treat everyone normally, and because I act normally around both gay and non-gay people. Just because I don't care does not mean I am gay, and just because I don't care also does not mean I am going to agree and participate in every anti-straight topic out there.
- Are you Christian? Are you Muslim? Are you Jewish? Are you Anti-God?
This one is just plain weird. People assume things about one's religious beliefs because of what they support or do not support. People, stop assuming; Just because I say I love the design of a church does not make me Christian, and just because I say I oppose a war does not mean I am Muslim (War, Iraq, Muslim, get it?)! Similarly, just because I talk positively about the Jews in Palestine does not make me Jewish, and just because I never associate with any religion does not mean I hate God. I could be any of these things, or all of these, but you cannot assume what I am. You have to find out what I am if you want to start associating me with a certain aspect of religion or non-religion.
- Are you single? Are you dating? Are you married? Are you divorced? Are you a widow? Are you looking forward to be a widow or divorced?
My relationship is my life. I am not going to drag my girlfriend into things without her will. She has her own choice and if she wants to meet all my friends, that will probably happen. Otherwise, I do not need to talk about how much I love or hate someone, and I do not need to post 10 pictures every hour of me and my girlfriend. Why? Because I know if I feel insecure about a relationship, letting others know about it will not solve anything. Just because I do not talk about my relationship does not mean I don't have one, or that I have a bad one. It just means I know how to talk about things relevant to the people and topic at hand.
I love my personal life, that is why most of you will consider yourselves and myself to be close friends, and yet even with you I will rarely ever talk about my relationships. It's not secret; it's just something that is talked about at appropriate times. If you ask me I will tell you. Otherwise I won't even hint that I know what the concept of boyfriend/girlfriend means. I don't like bragging about being single or in a relationship; period. You can do that, and I'll listen and I'll ask questions and I'll love it. But I personally cannot do that, as that is my character. Please stop stereotyping because I do not brag about something all the time, or at all.
- Are you from the South? Are you Chinese? Are you African? Are you Martian? Where are you from?
Yes, you! Do you ask people where they are from, even before they start speaking, because they look different than you? Unless the situation demands or warrants it, you are most probably racist, may have racist thoughts, or you may simply have some kind of a bias that all people are not the same, since you cannot accept the fact that someone may look different than you and still be from the same country. Oh, by the way, the line "I know we are in America, but what is your ethnic background?" makes you look even more stupid, especially if you say it to act smart.
Someone asked a friend of mine, who looked Asian but was in fact French, this question, embarrassing her in front of everyone else who did not look Asian. Not only that, the guy kept on asking her about her background and asking how she has no accent, acting as if he was so cool that he could make someone feel like an outsider. My friend looked at me, and I stepped in. What I asked the guy resulted in me and the guy never talking again, but the entire party and the girl appreciated me more than ever. The lesson? Don't assume characters or personal backgrounds of people, even in questions, because of other people's appearances, and don't assume that defending someone, including your friend, with all the just and logical reasons will result in everyone being happy.
- You are a guy; why are you crying, thinking, apologizing, feeling emotional, caring? You are a girl; why are you not crying, not thinking, not apologizing, feeling non-emotional, not caring, feeling strong?
Think of a few guys you know in real life who open doors for all the beautiful girls. Do you ever remember them opening doors for aging grandmothers? Do such guys open doors for girls they do not find attractive? Do such guys open doors, when they are dating someone, for other girls? Also, many guys always saying they love someone, but when the girl stops having sex, the guys start finding problems with their relationships. Also, isn't it funny how guys will assume girls that reject them are slutty and retarded, but those same guys won't think those same things for their own mothers and sisters if those mothers and sisters acted slutty and retarded to other guys? Also, why is it that some guys will get offended if a girl wants to pay for something, or if a girl wants to run a relationship, completely or even financially? Also, many guys tremble with fear, because they think they will look sissy, if their girlfriends drove them around, instead of them driving their girlfriends around. Haha! All these are stereotypes, and people expect such stereotypes to happen while 2 people are in a relationship.
Similarly, guys always saying that they do not cry, HAHA. Not crying doesn't make you macho! Al Capone cried, Hitler cried, Churchill cried, Stalin cried, MLK cried! Also, you getting into a fight with 10 people, when you have 10 friends backing you up, does not make you macho. You getting into a fight, while not knowing how to fight, and getting beaten up, and then still holding on to what you fought for and still telling the people who beat you up that you will not change your mind about something: that makes you macho. Ever heard of someone who got stabbed and jumped by 6 people, and yet that someone beat the crap out of 2 of them, dragged them out of their cars while they tried to flee, and spanked them nicely, all while bleeding from the neck, and all while the remaining 4 "I'm a gansta" running the hell away in terror, because they never imagined 1 guy, who never talks about fighting, causing so much chaos while bleeding? Me neither. :) [/end of bragging]
Has it occurred to you how many guys and girls will always say "My ex was cheating on me" when asked the reason for their last breakup? It seems everyone is innocent but their ex wasn't. Haha!
Similarly, many girls always say "We give sex to get love." Well, you're happy with such love, right? Why complain later? Many girls expect their boyfriends to do only certain things, like open doors, buy clothes, give money, and other similar things. And then they say "He only likes me for sex." DUH!!!!!! He pays for everything and doesn't do things which do not involve any money, and you think he loves you for a long time before realizing. Why be so careless?
Those are 5 things, among the thousands of other things, that many people keep stereotyping everyday because they may be unconscious racists, or they may simply have biases against or for some things, like ethnicity or age, sex, money, gender, politics, religion, etc.
What do you think? As for me, I have to keep on laughing for a while because of all the stupidity squeezed into the above points: hahahahahahahahaha *cough cough* 0_0