According to the definition contained in the RAE, a stereotype consists of a structured image and accepted by the majority of people as representative of a certain group. This image is formed from a static conception of the generalized characteristics of the members of that community.
In its origins, the term referred to the Print Obtained from a mold made of lead. Over the years, its application became metaphorical and began to be used to name a set of fixed beliefs that one group has over another. It is a representation or a thought unalterable over time, which is accepted and shared on a social level by most of the members of a group.
Stereotypes can be of the type social (according to the social class from which they come. Ex: chetos), cultural (according to the customs they have. Ex: fascists) or racial (According to the ethnic group they are part of. Ex: Jews). In any case, stereotypes are usually formed by joining these three characteristics, so it is very difficult to completely separate them from each other. It should also be noted that there are stereotypes linked to religion, as the one who defines the Jews as greedy.
In the artistic or literary environment, stereotypes appear as obvious scenes or characters that abound in cliches. North American films, to cite one case, tend to present diverse stereotypes, such as those related to people from abroad, for example: the villains were formerly Soviets, today they are Arabs and the marginalized are usually Latino.
The most frequent use of the term is associated with a simplification that develops on communities or groups of people who share some characteristics. This mental representation is not very detailed and usually focuses on supposed defects of the group in question. They are built from prejudices regarding the person that comes from a certain area of the world or that is part of a certain group. These prejudices are not exposed to experimentation and therefore, most of the time they are not even faithful to the identity baggage of the group to which they are linked.
For example: affirming that Argentines are arrogant or that Spaniards are ignorant is to reproduce a stereotype that only serves to discriminate and attack people of those nationalities. When such thoughts are widespread, the only way to reverse them is through education.
Throughout the history of the countries stereotypes are created that serve to understand the different stages and convey a linear version of the story. In Argentina some of the historical stereotypes are:
*The Native American: a stereotype created from the vision of the conquerors, where the original peoples were illiterate (despite the fact that in some cases they had their own writing), wild (Their customs, so far removed from those brought by the conquerors, were impossible for them to understand) and uncivilized (Lacking cities, they were considered rudimentary and unprepared for life in society, when in fact the facts show that this stereotype was far from reality).
*The Gaucho: also from the point of view of Europeans, the stereotype of gauchos was formed by similar attributes than that of the natives. In fact, thanks to the dissemination of these stereotypes, this group was used to fight for ideas that certainly did not represent them.
*Immigrants: From the arrival of huge contingents of people who came in search of a more prosperous land to live in (second half of the 19th century), a new stereotype was created in the country, that of foreigners, who were differentiated according to to their place of origin. Immigrants from Spain, regardless of the exact place from which they departed, received the name of “Galicians” and they were rated as unintelligent and stubborn. Italians were called “Tanos” and they were regarded as noisy and little workers. Those from Anglo-Saxon countries were called Gringos and to the blondes, whether they were Swiss, Russian, German, Belgian or Polish, “Russians”.
Advertising and stereotypes
An element that considerably affects the way in which one group looks at another, that is, it allows the stereotypingIt is advertising, what is tried to instill in collective thinking through the media. An example of this is the macho advertising that tries to convince us, for example, that cars are for men (that is, all men like vehicles and women don’t care about them) and body creams are for women (That is, all women are very interested in their physical appearance and men are not concerned with theirs).
In macho advertising, the image of women is presented as that of someone heterosexual, married to a man, who performs household chores and takes care of the children they both have in common. Their professions are usually nurse, teacher or secretary (always with a boss, mostly a man). And if not, they present her as a frivolous, superficial, tender being, an object of desire of men (homosexuality is never mentioned), guilty of divorces and with great emotional instability.
For his part, the man is a strong, balanced being, an unequivocal father, who is overwhelmed by the problems of the house (of which his wife is guilty) and takes refuge in the “beer on Saturday” with his friends or in your job, to avoid situations that cause you stress.
Two stereotypes of the same society where the role they play is to divide it: men on the one hand, women on the other, the elderly, children, people from the city, those from the country, etc. And so we find a society absolutely fragmented by this human mania of labeling and separating everything.
Despite the fact that over the years it is tried give a more open image, it is enough that we sit in front of the television for about an hour to find that things have not changed so much and that in reality, we are still so smeared with stereotypes imposed by sexism like centuries ago.