Subject: Female Stereotyping: Is It Fading or Growing
Dear One and All:
Take a look at American female jockey Anna Rose Napravnik. At 113 pounds, and towering 5’ 2”, Rosie rides horses weighing 1,000 pounds, galloping 40 miles an hour. AND she wins such events as the Kentucky Oaks, pulling in millions of purse dollars. But what did Rosie do when she first started racing in 2005? She disguised her gender on race forms by calling herself A. R. Napravnik! She wanted to avoid being stereotyped as a female jockey. As her accomplishments and wins mounted, she dropped the initials and used “Rosie” instead.
Stereotyping is a form of discrimination. In fact, it is akin to scapegoating where we blame someone for something because they are a particular gender, race, age or any other category of humanity. To go even further, stereotyping can lead to bullying where others criticize and tease an individual or group, making reference to the stereotype characteristics. We’ve seen tragic results of bullying in the news.
When we attach negative characteristics or limitations to gender, race, ethnicity, age, political persuasion, religious affiliation, or any other package that we human beings happen come in, we are GENERALIZING, that is, we are failing to look deep into the heart and soul of the individual person. Look what happened in Nazi Germany when Hitler GENERALIZED.
Are you a woman who has suffered from stereotyping because of your gender? Have you been stereotyped on the job, paid less than male counterparts with the same job description? Does your husband or partner treat you as less capable than he is, or less “in the know” so to speak, and leave you out of significant conversations? Has anyone ever said to you, “Well, you’re a woman; I don’t expect you to understand taxes.”
Here are my tips for any woman who has been stereotyped, scapegoated, or bullied. If you feel safe enough to remain in conversation with the offending person or persons, then try these tips:
Tip #1: TELL ME MORE: If someone verbally stereotypes you, make a clear, calm statement back to them: TELL ME MORE. WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT statement?
Tip #2: KEEP EYE CONTACT: Look straight into their eyes as they try to explain what they meant.
Tip #3: LISTEN CAREFULLY: Listen with both ears while they talk. Stand still. Focus.
Tip #4: MULL IT OVER: Think before you speak. Digest what they tried to explain.
Tip #5: SPEAK WITH AUTHORITY: Respond in a firm, calm voice with your ideas which include some information to educate the person(s) who did the stereotyping.
Tip #6: SEND LOVE: Before you leave the situation, silently send love to the offender. Remember, you don’t have to like a person to send love. Love is probably the only thing that may help enlighten that individual.
Tip #7: DON”T DWELL ON IT: Rosie Napravnik said, “If you dwell on every loss, you’re going to do a lot of dwelling.” She was talking about racing losses, but her philosophy applies to stereotyping, scapegoating, and bullying. Walk away, forget it. Don’t dwell on it.
I’d like to hear your experiences and ideas about stereotyping of women, or men, or any other type of stereotyping issues.
Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Each person is a unique individual, full of treasure.