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Angela DiGioia's picture

Self-fulfilling the notion of stereotypes?

The most interesting part of this discussion was that all of the men in the class went to the math group.  To me, this was quite interesting since no one commented on it, yet we were fulfilling a certain stereotype as a class.  All of the women went to the literature and biology groups, which are presumed to be more right brain activities than math, which is presumed to be more of a left brain activity.  After the fact, all of them men said that they enjoyed math more than the other two subjects, which is why they chose that group, and dismissed the fact that all of them went to that group. However, I think that there is great value in examining this more.  Although this stereotype is dated (as epeck points out above), how do stereotypes change?  Will it take a generation or two for this to change?  Another outdated stereotype that comes to mind which has not been completely shaken in society is that a man staying at home with the children and a woman being the main breadwinner in a family is socially acceptable.  It is still laden with eyebrow raising and some questioning about the man's masculinity (I'm vastly generalizing here).  Point being, I agree that many stereotypes are outdated, but when and what makes them obsolete?  I think that relying on statistics about the numbers of women CEOs, scores on SATs, college acceptance and enrollment rates, etc is not completely accurate because it doesn't paint a full picture, but I'm not sure what else we have as a society to indicate the changing of a previously held stereotype. 

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