Continuing the discussion from Girl's Life v Boy's Life: "Do you Know When to Shut Up" vs "Jokes to impress"):
For those just joining the conversation, it’s essentially a debate about what makes a stereotype a stereotype, and what kinds of judgements should be referred to as such. There’s some disagreement, but it’s a bit of a fuzzy one (in my opinion). I’m not how interesting of a discussion it is, but I wanted to come to a better conclusion (from either side of the debate) before moving on with my life
I think the discussion started to become a bit sour (also my fault) and so I felt it worth while splitting this off into a separate discussion (first time using the feature, I thought, why not?).
I felt that I could probably better explain myself, with the hope of adding clarity, as I don’t think my position is very black/white and could do with a bit more context.
It all started with this comment:
Now as it happens I don’t think that the content of this comment is that debatable, as both of the examples provided by ‘Mister44’ are ugly characterisations (although I’m not sure I’d agree that Republicans eating babies is a stereotype, per se) - but at the same time it rubbed me up the wrong way, as I feel there are fundamental differences between organisational characteristics and personal stereotypes (this is where a semantics argument came in, which apparently didn’t go down well - but I also think it’s the apex of the disagreement).
I previously used an example which was distractingly inflammatory, which I feel hurt my point more than helped it:
And rightly so, as I say, I think this was a poor example - although still debatable, it’s emotive and extreme and dividing, distracting.
I’d like to present a slightly different argument in the hopes that my point has more clarity.
If one were to assume that any given Christian felt that homosexuality was a sin, you could argue that was an outmoded viewpoint, that Christians have moved on from that outlook, and that the Church has become more progressive (as it does). To make that assumption would be arguably stereotyping Christians. It’s a relatively justified assumption, in that it’s based on actual doctrine put forth by the church, but it’s not necessarily informed, as it’s a subject oft debated by even the higher echelons of the church itself.
However, if one were to assume that any given Christian found gluttony sinful, I would consider that an informed assumption, not a stereotype. Now I’m sure there are Christians that don’t believe gluttony to be a sin, but it is one of the core rules put forth by the Church, it is defined as a sin, and to reject that rule is to be less of a Christian. There’s nothing wrong with that, to each their own - but to reject one of the commandments is by it’s very definition not-Christian.
Now, in contrast, if one were to assume that a woman is a home’s primary care-giver, a ‘housewife’, if you will, that would be an uninformed assumption. It would be an unpleasant stereotype. There is no doctrine that states that for one to be a woman she must be a housewife, and therefore to assume as such is misguided.
I don’t believe that when assuming someone meets the criteria of their own ideology that you are stereotyping them, as I’ve said, ‘in any meaningful way’. That’s not to say that you can’t use a dictionary definition to justify the use of the term, but then this isn’t dictionary corner - sometimes a definition doesn’t account for the wider context and any geographical variances, the weight it might have, who uses the terminology and why.
A woman is not less of a woman, because she isn’t a housewife; because being a housewife isn’t a female characteristic, it’s a stereotype. A christian is less of a christian if they don’t feel that gluttony is a sin, to assume as much is not so much stereotyping, as making an informed assumption - the characteristic is a part of the definition - like assuming that a woman has a vagina - she might not! But I don’t think it’s stereotyping to assume that she does…
IMO there is a cavern of difference between characterising someone based on their chosen beliefs, and characterising someone because of an innate characteristic of their personage.
To use the original comment as a source, claiming that Christians are sheeple is certainly insulting and unpleasant, but I don’t recognise that as a ‘stereotype’. What one really means when they make a statement like that is, given the assumed beliefs of this person (assumed based on their own self-identification as a follower of certain beliefs), one believes them to be weak minded. To argue that this conclusion is based on stereotypes is to argue that some Christians may not be that Christian. That’s not to say that Christians can’t be stereotyped (because of course they can, as can anyone) - but I don’t believe those stereotypes are sourced from their shared belief systems, they’re still personal characterisations - such as assuming that a priest is a pedophile (nothing actually to do with being a Christian).
Maybe you’ll still disagree with me @Mister44 - but I hope that at least you see my perspective a little clearer, and perhaps understand the point that I’m making, especially when I refer to this being an issue of semantics.
Or maybe I’m just not getting it, and inviting a few extra voices to the conversation will add clarity to either side of the discussion.