Girl's Life v Boy's Life: "Do you Know When to Shut Up" vs "Jokes to impress"


You could start with a more complete definition, Wikipedia puts it better:

“A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things,[1] but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality.”

When discussing a group of individuals, characterised and identified by their ideology, then assume they actually meet the criteria for that ideology, that is not stereotyping; not in any meaningful sense of the word, and not in a way that has any relevance in this discussion.


As Mr. 44 already pointed out, the things you are talking about are not even close to an inviolate part of the ideology of the group you’ve identified. Not historically, and not at this time, and most likely not in the future. For example, my elderly Republican, Christian father and all his elderly Republican, Christian friends don’t fit your stereotype.

So now you’ve been invited to realize there’s something wrong with your state of knowledge, and revise it. But “man is a typing animal” as Dr. Jackson observed. You’ve got your types sorted, so you might find it painful to restructure your taxonomy. You might even find it more palatable to argue that my empirical data is invalid.

OK, I really really am going home now. Damn selinux.


I think we’re mostly getting bogged down in semantics, which is often the case. I think I also made an error with my example - as that probably is moving far closer to stereotype than ‘necessity for chosen label’.


I think you’re the only one using semantics with your “informed assumption”.


This is one of my favourites on the subject: Thin Ice: Stereotype Threat and Black College Students.


Well at least I don’t think that judging someone for the default beliefs of their chosen belief system is the same as a racial or gender stereotype.

Head, meet wall.

If you can’t understand the difference please stop replying. We have nothing more to discuss, I tried a ‘let’s agree to disagree’, but apparently even that’s too much to grasp.

What makes a stereotype a stereotype?

Well for any particular plank in the Republican party platform I’m pretty sure we can find at least one Republican who disagrees. Does this mean that any discussion of Republican party policies whatsoever is unfairly stereotyping Republicans?


Generalizing people based on political affiliation is totally different than stereotyping based on race or gender. By definition, a Republican or a Democrat or a Libertarian or a Socialist or a member of the Mickey Mouse Fan Club is a person who made a conscious decision to align themselves with an organization that espouses certain ideals, goals and beliefs.


Yes, I agree. I was seeking clarification from either @Medievalist or @Mister44 since they seem to think it’s unfair to generalize about people on the basis of political or religious affiliation. Apologies if I’m reading anyone incorrectly.


Well, I wouldn’t want to draw in the extra “unfairly” label. I didn’t think Nathan’s stereotype was particularly unfair, as stereotypes go. You see a lot worse in these forums all the time.

And, short answer, no it does not mean that. Long answer, any fair discussion of any group’s beliefs or actions will include recognition of absolutes and variables. Stereotypes help misrepresent variables as absolutes, usually for ill.

Example 1: You cannot be a member of the Christian church if you do not believe in the reality of Jesus Christ. You can say you are, but you’re not. It’s an absolute laid down by Jesus himself (and denied by clergy who believe in the theological legitimacy of excommunication) that only God gets to determine who is a Christian, and he says “whosever believeth in me” etc. Saying Christians believe in Jesus is not stereotyping, it’s accurate.

Example 2: The Republican Party is not anti-gay. You can say it is, but it isn’t. Opposition to homosexuality from within the party is a variable that is constantly changing over time and differs from person to person. Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole worked in concert with the Log Cabin Republicans (which is an equality group within the party, mostly composed of openly gay Republicans). However, many Republican candidates (probably most) are anti-gay, and are constantly loudly spouting off about it, and claiming all Republicans in favor of gay rights are RINOs - so the stereotypical Republican is anti-gay.

Stereotypes act to misrepresent variables as absolutes. If you don’t want to mislead the uninformed (such as your children, or clueless Britishers) you need to avoid them and/or acknowledge them. Nathan’s children may very well make bad decisions and be unfair to people simply because they’ve believed their father’s false categorization. That would be sad for everyone involved, and unnecessary, and it’s why people don’t like stereotyping.

But I work with logic professionally, and have worked with types (it’s one of my hobbies) in the natural science sense, so in this debate I will almost certainly be excessively precise and technical. You know the Aristotelian square of opposition in syllogistic logic? Some of, all of, none of, etc? If all fish live in the sea and all herring are fish then all herring live in the sea? Fair warning, I’m more likely to be technically correct than great fun at parties.


Well, you’ve stated an absolute - so it only takes one counter-example to disprove it.

But until you define “align themselves” I can’t do it, because that word’s too slippery.

And if you mean what I think you mean, I agree with your point and don’t want to disprove it anyway :wink:

Clearly, I do not know when to shut up.


In the case of a political party “align themselves” means to either A) register as a member of or B) self-identify as a member of that party. Clear enough?


Their policies are, though. So you take a given Republican who is not personally anti-gay but nonetheless votes for someone who votes for DOMA. The actions of this person are anti-gay – perhaps indirectly but nonetheless the person took a deliberate action (voting) in full knowledge of the consequences (support for DOMA).

This is the problem with rigid Aristotelian syllogistic logic. The words we actually use in real-life examples and the ways in which we use them only rarely hew very closely to categories that are strictly Aristotelian. While you can certainly argue that the existence of a pro-gay Republican somewhere invalidates any and all arguments to the effect that the Republican party is anti-gay because “a single counterexample disproves blah blah” we come back to the real world where ostensibly non-anti-gay Republicans support candidates who are indeed anti-gay – or at least act the part because so much of their constituency is anti-gay.

And if I want to use the term “anti-gay” to refer to people who support organizations that take actions that can reasonably be construed as “anti-gay” you can disagree. At that point it’s a purely semantic distinction with no real moral dimension except, perhaps, that it makes you feel bad when someone says Republicans are anti-gay by a pretty reasonable definition of “anti-gay”.

As far as your first example goes, you do realize there is more than one Christian church and some disagreement between them as far as what is required for salvation. You might also realize that plenty of people consider themselves “cultural Christians” without actually believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Once again, trying to use Aristotelian logic to describe the universe leaves your models with holes. (Not even getting into how much it drives me up the wall when people make absolutist statements about the interpretation of the gospels.)


Perfect! In that case I do in fact totally agree with your point, which is that I chose to be a Republican (because I want to make a positive difference in the world, and that choice optimizes my opportunities) whereas I did not choose to be tall and ugly (the height I get from both parents, but the ugly is all Dad’s).

So in a sense, when the mob arrives to burn all Republicans at the stake, it’ll be at least party my fault, because I chose to take a stand. You’re right. If they burn me for being tall, I can’t be blamed.


When people accuse you of supporting anti-gay causes, they will be partly right if you have chosen to identify with a group that has been working for anti-gay causes. That’s not quite saying any unjust punishment would be your own fault, yeah? Besides, when this mob comes to burn you alive you should easily be able to turn the tables on them, as strawmen are extremely vulnerable to fire.


That doesn’t work. I am a registered Republican. I have never voted for anyone who voted for DOMA. I have probably never voted for any Republican who holds any of the positions you decry, except in the specific case of certain primaries (hello, Christine O’Donell!) where I voted strategically in order to achieve a specific result in the general election (goodbye, Mike Castle!).

You will notice a Republican I voted for featured prominently in the articles below. Mike Ramone ain’t perfect, but his Democratic opponents fit your stereotype of the Republican better than he does which is why I voted for him.

The Delaware Marriage Equality act was spearheaded by Republicans and the loudest opposition was from some of the most solidly Democratic parts of this very blue state. I am a heterosexual Republican and I wrote a lot of letters and talked to a lot of people (“standing on the side of love” is a remarkably effective argument with sincere conservative Christians, BTW). I am speaking from personal experience; the Republican Party is not anti-gay.

Read what I said about Christians again, by the way. You cannot be a Christian, regardless of your claims, unless you believe in the reality of Jesus Christ. I said reality, not divinity. Warning: I also study theology so that discussion can get boring very quick too.

Stereotyping acts to hide the actions of minorities and unfairly stigmatizes real live individuals.

And this shit is not really as academic as we might think. I can say “most Republicans are anti-gay” and nobody is harmed. But if I say “Republicans are anti-gay” I could potentially spread bigotry because someone might believe me and go do something harmful to one of the good Republicans. People vandalize churches and mosques because of stereotyping, you know; my own church has been vandalized. Sikhs and Hindus have been shot because people believed stereotypes spread about Muslims; there is potential for real harm.

So I implore you to go ahead and be precise; I admitted already it makes you less fun at parties, but earnest really is better than hip.


No - of course not. First you need to acknowledge there is a difference between an organization’s “official” policy and the views of its members. So saying the Republican party is XYZ, is different from saying Republicans are XYZ. That might be splitting hairs to some, but I think it’s an important difference.

The larger an organization, the more variety you will find in the views of its members. Rarely do they line up 100% down the line. People usually chose affiliation due to having enough in common with the organization, or they disagree so much with the other side, they support that organization to go against what they disagree with.

One example is gay rights. The party has clearly made anti-gay marriage statements, but as you can read in the liberal survey BB linked to, moderate and libertarian leaning Republicans were less likely to be against it. It is a case of a loud, powerful voice in the party making policy (evangelicals) that don’t necessarily match with a large portion of their membership. I’ve seen several articles of Republicans being frustrated at the direction of the party on some of the issues and how the party alienates their more moderate members (and the right leaning independents). And as per my previous example - there is an official gay arm of the Republican party (as well as a black one, for an organization that is supposedly racist).

I am sure the Democrats aren’t all happy at several of Obama’s policies. I wouldn’t stereotype Democrats as pro-domestic spying or drone attacks.


I said it’d be partly my fault. I chose it. But how will they be right? I spend my time and money advancing the cause of equal rights for gay people, and that somehow is transmuted magically into harm simply because they don’t like another guy who looks like me?

Think about that a little…

Gotta go pick up the wimmenfolk, good night all.


If you were in the UK your dilemma would be more one of local vs national politics.

As you may be supporting a candidate that shares your beliefs, but that gives more power to his organisation which doesn’t share your cause.

Your POTUS isn’t elected based on local elections (at least not directly) - so that doesn’t quite work in your case.


I think politics and religion are sort of special targets for stereotyping.

If you are black, like country music, or are a gamer, you don’t have some official manifesto or doctrine people can point too and go “Aha! You gamers are all misogynist who marginalize women, it says right here!” If Toby Keith says something, people don’t automatically think that the rest of the people in country music and their fans have the same view.

With religion and politics, they do have official doctrines. They have a hierarchy with people in charge making statements. These people are the face of that organization. But the problem is people belong to this groups but not always agree with everything the organization stands for. This is because these organizations evolve and change as time goes on. Leaders change and the direction of an organization can change. Some organizations listen to their members more than others. People continue to support an organization they may not agree with 100% because they feel like it is the best choice out there, or they are actively working to change it.

But I don’t think you can point to these official statements and use it to justify a stereotype, if there is a significant population that doesn’t meet that. Just like I can’t wave a survey of girls that showed 89% of them chose pink as their favorite color and justify the stereotype that girls like pink.