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To think most stereotypes are based on some truth

86 replies

lesley33 · 08/04/2011 14:24

AIBU to think that if there is a stereotype about a group of people there is usually a nugget of truth there, even if that nugget of truth is out of date?

For example, there has for a long time been a stereotype that women are worse drivers than men. I don't think that is true now, but I think 30-40 years ago, in general, women were worse drivers than men. I think this was for the simple reason that very few families had more than 1 car. Usually the man drove the car most of the time - to work, family outings, etc. Women in general drove far less than men, so obviously weren't as experienced and this made women in general worse drivers.

And I know this is an in general thing. There will have been individual women 40 years ago who were better drivers than most men.

OP posts:

PaisleyLeaf · 08/04/2011 14:27

It'll be interesting what the middle class, boden wearing, professional, homeowning mums make of this thread.


fedupofnamechanging · 08/04/2011 14:33

I think there is usually a grain of truth in stereotypes, that's how things become stereotypical.

am not going to commit myself to examples though Grin


hecate · 08/04/2011 14:34

stereotypes about Jewish people???
Stereotypes about black man???
Stereotypes about asian people???
Black men are... Jewish people are... asian people are...

I've heard all of the above. I've heard it all and never have I thought, hmm, there's a grain of truth in that.

I prefer to think that stereotypes are born of lazyness and ignorance and often used to put people down.

In the case of women drivers - to put women down.


kerala · 08/04/2011 14:35

Yes stereotypes - lazy and ignorant shocking racist etc etc.

That said MIL is German I will say no more.


BobbiDazzler · 08/04/2011 14:36

I agree wholeheartedly with hecate.


AccioPinotGrigio · 08/04/2011 14:37

What Hecate said.

I am of Irish descent are you telling me that there is a kernel of truth in the stereotypes applied to the Irish. I can't believe you are.


LDNmummy · 08/04/2011 14:41

Some stereotypes have a grain of the smallest truth, and some don't. Some are born of other more ignorant assumptions but some do have a root.


lesley33 · 08/04/2011 14:43

Okay Hecate- stereotype about Jewish people being money orientated and mean. Not true IME, but I think the nugget of truth comes from:

  1. Jewish people are traditionally outsiders in Christian societies. Because of this, traditionally many jobs have not been open to them. So traditionally a higher proportion of money lenders have been Jewish as it has been a job most people don't want to do. Obviously could breed fresentment from those who owe money to them.

2. Traditionally (not the case anymore) Jewish people used to kepp their savings in gold. I have been told this comes from a fear of pogroms, attacks, etc as gold can easily be picked up and taken with you if you have to leave a place suddenly.

3. Jewish families traditionally place a very big premium on education. Well educated people tend to earn more money than poorly educated people.

And if you look at the stats in America and in particular compare earnings with religion, Jewish people on an average basis do earn more than the average christian person. Haven't seen stats on thsi for UK.

And this is from someone who is Jewish and whose great grandmother was a money lender.
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Hammy02 · 08/04/2011 14:44

I still think most women aren't as good at driving as men. Sorry but 95% of the instances when someone drives badly, I glance at who is driving, and it's a woman. And I say that as a woman myself.


lesley33 · 08/04/2011 14:49

With Irsih the stereotype is obviously that they are thick. Lots and lots of Irish people came over to England during times of extreme poverty such as the potato famine. The people who came over were often those living on the land and they generally had a poor education and low levels of literacy.

That didn't mean that all Irish people were poorly educated, just that those people in Scotland and England came across who were fleeing extreme poverty, tended to be poorly educated. Obviously this hasn't been applicable to Ireland for a very very long time, but the stereotype persists.

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MillyR · 08/04/2011 14:50

I have never heard the stereotype that men are better drivers. I've only heard the stereotype that women are better drivers and less likely to have an accident.


MillyR · 08/04/2011 14:52

I've not found the stereotype that Londoners spend their time eating jellied eels, eating pie and mash and singing along to piano tunes in pubs to be true.


LDNmummy · 08/04/2011 14:53

Hammy I think there may be a bit of truth to that because biologically speaking, women do not have the same ability as men to judge distance and have less spatial ability generally. Apparently it stems from the days when women were gatherers and men were hunters.


lesley33 · 08/04/2011 14:54

Milly when I first went to live in the East End of London about 25 years ago I was amazed to find pie and mash shops still selling pie, mash and liquor and jellied ells! Isn't the case now, but it did used to be.

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scurryfunge · 08/04/2011 14:54

Stereotyping is about controlling a group and putting them down -nothing more.

Hammy you are talking rubbish.


DuplicitousBitch · 08/04/2011 14:55

i really think we need an 'irish hating ' topic and then i can hide it.


BobbiDazzler · 08/04/2011 14:56

Bollocks to men are better driving (based purely on anecdotal evidence, of course!).

Every time I glance up at some wanker who has just cut me up, is driving at 100 mph or has just made some manner of extremely dangerous manouevre it is always a man. Usually a middle aged man driving a nice car. Grin


lesley33 · 08/04/2011 14:56

And I have heard old people complaining about the lack of pianos in pubs to have a sing song. So although this isn't the case now, and it would in the past never have been the case for all east enders, it was true for some east enders.

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scurryfunge · 08/04/2011 14:57

LDNmummy -suggest you read "Delusions of Gender" by Cordelia Fine.

Until then join Hammy in the corner Grin


lesley33 · 08/04/2011 14:57

Stereotypes are used to put people down. I'm not saying they are a good idea! Just that there is a reason particular stereotypes exist. They are not just dreamed up from nothing.

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StealthPolarBear · 08/04/2011 14:59


Katiepoes · 08/04/2011 15:00

LDNmummy that is an example of bad science not a stereotype source.

I thought the Irish sterotype was drunk and fighting? Or have Geordies stolen that one from us (just like ye stole our land ye english monters ye)?

Germands being humourless and Americans not doing irony are horsepoo too. The Germns pinching sun loungers is true though. They even admit it themselves.


MillyR · 08/04/2011 15:04

An Irish comedian was recently saying that the main difference between Britain and Ireland was that the Irish were about 60% more mystical. So he would go and look for his car keys and they had turned into a winged horse.

I think that is now the stereotype of the Irish - that they are full of whimsy and have some kind of amazing connection to a mystical past.

I don't think there is any truth in that at all. I blame Riverdance.


Saltatrix · 08/04/2011 15:04

There are a grain of truth in many stereotypes however they are often simplified exaggerations and major generalisations for the target population.


bubblecoral · 08/04/2011 15:05

I agree with you OP.

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