First Impressions and Stereotypes

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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There are plenty of stereotypes, but I believe the one that is understood is that of appearances. Someone may look at the exterior of a person and expect one thing when actually they are exactly the opposite. Stereotyping is something that we all do. It?s a natural part of the way our minds work and not necessarily a bad thing. When we stereotype, it affects our ability to understand and accept individuals and various groups of people for who they are.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stereotype as ?a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.? In today's society, stereotyping occurs in all aspects of life. It doesn?t exclude anyone; those with money, fame, happiness, children, or even our mayors. It can occur because of one's gender, race, ethnicity, culture, faith, age, sexual orientation and economic class.

A young white girl just getting off from work might be intimidated (Staple 419) by the older black man sitting in the back of the metro on the way home. Everyone at one point or another has looked at someone and judged them for the color of their skin, the way they dress or even the people they associate with.

There are plenty of stereotypes, but I believe one that is common amongst adolescents is what the conventional teenage ?freak? is. Throughout my high school years I was one of the ?fortunate? who was accepted into the popular crowd. I dressed according to what was trendy and fashionable at the moment, even creating a few trends of my own. We were the untouchable. We did as we pleased and passed judgment on anyone we wanted. I always picked on a girl who was constantly dressed in black...