What is Stereotype

The stereotype is a concept, idea or image model applied to the persons or social groups, often biased and without theoretical foundation.

In short, stereotypes are impressions, preconceptions, and “labels” that are generalized and simplified by common sense.

It was with the development of societies that stereotypes emerged and standardized various aspects related to human beings and their actions.

In such a way, these models or clichés were repeated over time, resulting in impersonal patterns and preconceived ideas.

How does stereotype come about?

Stereotypes have been instilled in the heads of individuals since childhood

Stereotypes have been instilled in the heads of individuals since childhood.

Stereotypes are reproduced by cultures and broadcast in various media, such as television, the Internet, and are often depicted in humorous shows.

We generally use stereotypes unconsciously as they are concepts related to the history, geography, cultures and beliefs of various societies.

Note that these models of stereotypes are mainly related to physical aspects, for example, when we see a girl dressed more masculine, then we intuit that she is homosexual.

However, these appraisals can be erroneous and often derogatory and biased.

Although stereotypes may have positive or negative appreciations, they often carry negative aspects.

Beauty Stereotype

Gender Stereotype

In comics we can understand how the stereotype of beauty is present in societies

When we approach the theme of stereotype, it is clear that a very recurring subject is the famous “stereotype of beauty”. That is, that standard model instilled in people’s minds about the physical aspects of individuals.

In this sense, we can think of models, which work under the stereotype of beauty, where body and weight are crucial characteristics.

Note that the stereotype of beauty, that is, what is considered “beautiful” may vary depending on the culture in which it is inserted.

That is, the stereotype model developed in Japan, for example, may differ from Brazilian standards.

However, with the deepening of international relations and the development of globalization, stereotypes are becoming broader and more homogeneous.

Stereotype Types

Several types of stereotypes were created from behaviors, actions, physical aspects, among others. Check below the types of stereotypes most reproduced by society.

Social and Economic Stereotype

Mainly related to the social class to which it belongs, this type of stereotype is widely spread by the media.

Cinema can be an interesting case for analyzing the relationship between different socioeconomic positions, for example between the poor and the rich. The former is considered inferior to the other since it has less material goods.

Note that this is often reproduced positively, for example, when the poor man in the story has a happy ending because of his values ​​and principles.

However, stereotypes can cause inconvenience to those who receive them, for example in the phrases: “the patricinhas are futile and only think about money”, “the sissies are neat nerds”, etc.

Gender Stereotype

Ethnic and Cultural Stereotypes

The gender stereotype defines what is the subject of men and women.

Long practiced by society, since we were born many stereotypes are attributed, for example, blue color is boyish and pink color is girlish.

Or even when we think of giving a gift to a child we offer a stroller for the boy and a doll for the girl.

All of these patterns have been developed by society, however, we must exercise caution when practicing these models, as they are not fixed and carry negative and derogatory aspects of beings.

Associated with gender stereotypes we can mention “homophobia”, or aversion to homo-affective relationships.

Machismo and misogyny are also applied to stereotypes when it comes to female and male gender.

In this regard, many stereotypes are produced on a daily basis, either by the media (for example, an advertisement for detergents or soap that only women appear) or in the phrases: “ women’s place is in the kitchen ”, “ this is man’s work “, among others.

Ethnic and Cultural Stereotypes

There are many stereotypes based on the different cultures that exist in the world.

Another very developed stereotype is that associated with races, ethnicities and cultures. So when we think of a Chinese, we immediately assign various value judgments, as if all Chinese were equal and ate dog and cat. Or even that all Arabs are terrorists, the Portuguese are dumb or the Brazilian are offered.

And, not least, is that stereotype associated with skin color, where blacks and Asians are taxed in various pejorative ways.

With the process of globalization, many cultural stereotypes were developed by society. In this regard, we can think of xenophobia, a prejudice that defines aversion to foreigners, or anything that is different from our culture.

Moreover, ethnocentrism is another kind of prejudice, reproduced by cultural stereotypes, from which the term is applied to define the superiority of one culture over another.

Stereotype and Prejudice

If stereotypes are impressions used to judge people and their behaviors, we can intuit that often these assessments are closely related to prejudice.

Prejudice, like stereotype, arises from the attributions made on people. Thus, value judgments are cast on a particular aspect of society, whether social class, culture, religion, ethnicity, skin color, sexual preference.

Thus, we come to the conclusion that stereotypes strengthen prejudiced ideas, that is, they are the basis of several types of prejudice, which generate verbal or physical violence between individuals.


Remember that the term stereotype comes from the Greek. This word is formed by the union of the words “stereos” (solid) and “typos” (impression, mold) which means “solid impression”.

Abbreviation Archives