Thursday, December 27, 2007

Stereotyping.

A few days back, I was bawling my vocal cords out. I had screwed up. Not my vocal cords but my exams. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise as it happens to me all the time. Not my exams not going well but my bawling out. My friend, in a desperate attempt to stop be from crying, said, “Hush. 26 year olds do not cry”.

This made me cry even louder (one of those days when you get into the mode of crying). Once I was calm after my friend convinced me that my next exam would go well and how the concepts of protein folding and unfolding we so interesting, I wondered- What did he mean 26 year olds do not cry? You can’t cry and express grief just because you are 26? So what do they do anyway, mourn in silence? And then I thought of my reply- “You insensitive men do not understand what we go through”.

26 year old girls do not cry.

You insensitive men do not understand what we go through.

Weren’t both of us stereotyping? It’s not just others who do it. I myself do it all the time. I started to think of these stereotyping comments I have heard or made at people, and boy, I came up with an unending list. Here are a few, in any random order of having said or having heard.


You Indians are so good at math (well, okay, yeah, maybe).

You Bengali women love to gossip and eat fish all day (well, eh? errr? I never ate fish till I left home).

You Southies know not the world beyond Rajni.

What do these people here understand about bonding and human relationships?

You grad students in the US have such an easy life compared to that in India.

You IIM people end up being a money churning machine.

You married women barely understand the pangs of being single.

You single women don’t know how difficult married life is.

You PhD people are like humans with two extra brains.

You Microsoft people are humans with two extra wallets.

You Oriyas are such boring people (okay I didn’t say this, but someone else did, mistaking me to be an Oriya. And I promise, I reprimanded her more for stereotyping Oriya people than for calling me an Oriya).


You ABCDs know nothing about struggle in life.

You women have an easy life- study and then get hitched to an NRI.

You Biology students are so bad at math.

You doctors are suckers for money.

You men are so romantically challenged.

You men…. You women….. You doctors…. You engineers…. You buggers….. You desis…… You fat people…. You white people…. You socialists.... You communists....... the list goes on and on…… Rarely do we realize that each of us is fighting a battle, fighting our own battles and that irrespective of what we are and what we have, no one has had an easy life so far.

sunshine

7 comments:

Adarsh said...

he he
'We bloggers talk about anything and everything' :P

mausam said...

Nice. That said, stereotypes are stereotypes because they are by and large a property of the class we are talking about. Probabilistically speaking, if you make a distribution of crying of a 26 year old its mean will be very close to zero. Or, interestingness of an Oriya low (chuckle, havent heard this one before).

Thus there is some merit in stereotypes. That said, an implication (because you of a particular class, you must be acting/are expected to act in a certain way) is what I object at. It is not the stereotype, but assuming that there is no variance in the distribution and everyone of a class lies at the mean, is what the problem is.

PS: I don't really believe you started eating fish after leaving India. [;)]

Anirudh said...

Hey Sunshine.

I think its a bit brutal to name oriyans as boring. That someone named u boring because probably the real sunshine in the bone and flesh out of this blog is boring.

U see this is a compliment any way for ur blog. (Except the boring oriyans part).

Sanyukta said...

Hey Sunshine di...Happy New Year :)

zahid said...

A stereotype comment here:

"Hey there !!! nice post !!!"

Happens with all good bloggers!!!

sunshine said...

adarsh- That we do :)

mausam- Well well, that was quite some thoughtful comment :)

anirudh- a circuitous comment?

sanyukta- hey, where have u been? a ver happy new year to you too !!!

zahid- hehe..

Anu Russell said...

you are funny! I like the way you write...makes me laugh on a boring day...keep writing!

Anu