In order to better understand what a stereotype is, we must first define the word. A stereotype is a conventional and oversimplified conception or belief. The negative connotation that usually accompanies stereotypes comes from the misunderstanding of a stereotype in itself. Stereotyping is a natural function of the human and cultural mindset, used in order to simplify and generalize otherwise complex realities. It is a double edged sword, because a stereotype can prove to be both positive and negative in its usages. One must go back to the origin of the stereotype to understand why and how each individual one was created.
The standardized conception or image of a specific group of people or objects serves as a sort of cookie cutter for our brain. It forces a simple pattern upon the masses and specific characteristics for all members of that group. The most common application of a stereotype is on people, but it is quite possible to stereotype objects as well. In examining popular culture it is useful to understand stereotypes as they directly reflect expressions of beliefs and values. Once a stereotype is identified and defined, it allows us to understand otherwise hidden views that people hold.
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We can be warm and loving with our parents, efficient and neat at school, sloppy in our room, vulgar with our friends, and show poise with our peers. The parents will paint a picture that talking to strangers is a bad thing, and by doing so bad things will happen. There is a belief that all people with disabilities are sick and have a poor quality life; this is far from the truth. A disability is part of the natural human experience and is not the same as being sick. Fraternities and sororities will host so called welcome weeks as to introduce the freshman to the college life, and host group activities planned especially for newcomers. It hinders the development and social interactions of mature relationships. We also found that in order to understand the stereotype, we had to find out how it came to be. Individuals with disabilities have varying degrees of need, and are sometimes sick, just as non-disabled are too. The motto, "be all you can be", doesn"tmt mean that if you don"tmt join the Army then you are not fulfilling your potential. If the assumption that all strangers are bad is held onto, it will turn the person into an introverted hermit that is scared of society. It is obvious that most stereotypes tend to cast a negative generalization on things, but in turn we found them to be, at times, beneficial. It implies that he or she is young, inexperienced and naive to their relatively new academic surroundings. When children are young, they do not have the judgment or insight to understand who is good or bad. The misconception that people with disabilities have a poor quality life is the most common and most damaging stereotype.