Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: People In General

Originally published June 18, 2014.

Revised and republished August 9, 2017 after a web host transfer.

In September 2017, I attended the Woman and Spirituality Conference in Rochester, Minnesota. The Diversity Council of Rochester offered the workshop “Ally Bootcamp For Courageous People”, led by executive director Dee Vazquez Sabol. I participated in the workshop and learned valuable strategies for a variety of situations. I adapted some of those strategies into Strategies For Shattering Stereotypes. Those strategies are at the end of this post. I recommend both the Women and Spirituality Conference and the Diversity Council.

The research into gossip goes back at least to the middle of the 20th century. Both men and women research gossip. Putting all of their research together, gossip is talk and writing about people — both other people and ourselves — in family, social, workplace, and public settings.

Both men and women gossip. I have more than one source stating that men gossip more than women. One source was a replication of an earlier study’s finding that old men gossiped the most. The replicated study found that old men do indeed gossip the most. However, old men gossip the most because they have the time and opportunity to gossip. Women who’ve spent their lives caring for others still do the work of daily living when they are old. Old men — especially in the middle of the 20th century — never faced cooking and cleaning and laundry expectations.

As a child in the 1950s, I lived next to a Protestant minister and his wife. Both were elderly. The minister had time and opportunity to gossip while his wife took in extra laundry to pay bills. When the minister felt like having a piece of pie, he would get his wife into the car and drive to a restaurant. No matter what the weather, the minister made his wife stay in the car while he went inside for pie and gossip. When the wife needed glaucoma surgery, the minister insisted she return to her household duties days later instead of six weeks later. The minister’s mid-20th century religious belief assured him that his desire for pampering was more important than his wife’s need for recovery. You can see how this elderly wife had little time and opportunity for gossip. The entire neighbor sighed in relief when the minister died first.

Much of the research shows that gossip is both positive and negative. I define gossip as good, bad, or ugly. Good gossip ignores or breaks stereotypes while bad and ugly gossip are based on negative stereotypes.

Negative stereotypes exist about everyone, no matter their age, gender, race, religion, profession, etc. These stereotype blog posts will help you understand the negative stereotypes about you. Each post will focus on one or two or a few characteristics.

My collection of stereotypes comes from books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, radio programs, news shows, conversations, etc.

Stereotypes and categories overlap at times. I create categories of stereotypes as I have stereotype examples to put into those categories.


I started collecting stereotypes for an appendix in a book on gossip power. I recorded many of the citations in the index for the gossip book. As of today, I have 22 typed pages of just stereotypes and a cardboard box with more stereotypes. Eventually, I will separate the stereotype citations from the gossip book index and create a master list of all stereotype citations. It will be awhile, however.

I am publishing the stereotypes without citations because the sooner you know about them the sooner you can take action to counter the stereotypes other people use about you. Also, knowing about the stereotypes can help you avoid the negative consequences of using bad and ugly gossip. If you use negative stereotypes about other people, you are inviting other people to use negative stereotypes about you.

All stereotypes will be listed on this blog rather than in my book. There are just too many stereotypes to include all of them in the book.

Stereotype Updates

After I finish posting my 22 pages of stereotypes, I will start on my box of stereotypes. The date for the most recent update will be at the top of each post. New stereotypes will be in blue font. When I am caught up on my stereotype file, I will start working on more complicated forms of stereotypes.

My stereotype posts will alternate with blog posts about other topics.

Make sure to read the Points to Ponder at the end of this post.

Negative Stereotypes about People in General
Listed in no particular order

The Relationship Between Men & Women


Beautiful People









rotten lovers

too impatient to work at relationships

Physically Unattractive People

political radicals (which stereotypes political radicals negatively)

homosexual (which stereotypes homosexuals negatively)

Geeks (Nerds)

real pains



social outcasts



less trustworthy

can’t be taken seriously




less attractive






Short People




Heavy People





unable to control self

unable to maintain personal health

take up too much space

Heavy Men


low self-esteem

lack will power

few friends






Heavy Women

few friends





low self-esteem

lack will power

Thin Men

few friends

Thin Women




Women In Jane Austen’s Time

laughing is a sign of sexual availability

showing teeth is a sign of being garrulous, plebeian, vulgar


extensions of women

Crack Babies


lost generation

permanently damaged


juvenile delinquents


bubble gum chewers

hormone laden slobs




Elderly People









slow moving






An Unhealthy Old Age Is…

a punishment for living “wrong”

Single Parent Families


Children From Single Parent Families

end up in trouble

Government Officials

tell lies

cover up the truth

engage in conspiracies to deprive citizens of their  liberty

People Not Part Of Organized Religions, Conspicuous Consumption, Car Culture


mentally ill

People Who Report Being Abducted By Aliens


inclined to fantasize

have a propensity to daydream

enthralled by novels


represent everyone in their ethnic group or religion

Arab terrorist attacks against Israel

come from racism and hatred without reason


gum-chewing ditzy snobs




Homeless People

want to be homeless

single men


Unemployed People


Truth Tellers




People Dependent An Others




uniquely feminine

Newspaper Readers, Television News Audience, & Radio News Audience




uninterested in good news

uninterested in hard facts

want soft news, uninterested in world news

only interested in crime

Television Audience To Advertisers



mindless boobs

Points to Ponder

Did you notice that heavy men, heavy women, and thin men are all stereotyped as having few friends? Thin women, on the other hand, are stereotyped as flirtatious. Stereotypers believe heavy men, heavy women, and thin men are socially unsuccessful because their weight gives them little value. But stereotypers give thin women some social value. The other stereotypes about thin women are negative. To stereotypers, thin women have limited social value and limited social success.

Pay attention when stereotypers pick the same stereotype for opposite characteristics. They will do the same thing to you if it gives them what they want. Clues to what stereotypers want come from the situations in which they use stereotypes. Stereotypes satisfy a need within a situation. Those needs include superiority, control, and self-protection.

Strategies For Shattering Stereotypes

Choose a strategy based on the level of danger in the situation. Talk to the target in front of the harasser only if the situation is safe for conversation. If the situation is dangerous, create some kind of distraction. I now carry a personal alarm with me for creating distractions quickly.

Talking to the target instead of the harasser allows the harasser to just walk away. If harassing situations come up regularly in a workplace or other common location, you could also use these strategies at calm times to increase understanding about the consequences of using stereotypes. Just tell stories to your coworkers/colleagues as opportunities come up.

Adapt the strategies as you need to. Write about other successful strategies in the comments section.

Surprise The Harasser(s)

If you can possibly do so, give the harasser(s) a moment of dignity. People harassing others will not expect positive statements. The positive statements might be enough to stop them in that situation. One example:

“It’s obvious —– is having a bad day. Let’s give him/her/them time to
calm down and ease the strain on his/her/their heart(s). Let’s hope
tomorrow will be better.”

This statement tells the harasser(s) that they are under stress and deserve to feel better. By expressing concern for their health, you are letting them know you consider them valuable. They may not feel much value in their daily lives.

Do a search for “WSA-TV Paula Kramer”. My WSA-TV interview includes a story about giving moments of dignity, starting at 5:42. I prefer not to have my interview embedded in this post because this post is about stereotypes, not about me.

Visit the website below for resources on opening doors that give moments of dignity:

Make Yourself An Example

This works best if you are not whatever is the reason for the harassment, not Muslim, not black, not Jewish, not Hispanic, not whatever. If you can identify any commonality between yourself and the target(s), talk about them to the target.

“Excuse me, but I noticed that we share a taste for … How would you
recommend cooking it?”

Your commonality will at least partially shatter the stereotype.

Provide Information About Stereotypes

If you can connect to the Internet, bring up the appropriate stereotype blog post and tell the target what the stereotypes are about you and why they are wrong. You could start with:

“Did you know there are stereotypes about everyone? The stereotypes
about me are …, but they don’t fit me because …”

You would be shattering a stereotype in front of the harasser.

Talk About The Consequences Of Creating Failure

Visit this Success & Failure Choices page to read about various types of success and failure. If you can think of an example from your own life, tell that story. Otherwise, use one from the blog below.

You could use this example from “Standout Success For 19 Year Old Joey Prusak”:

“A Dairy Queen customer saw manager Joey Prusak stand up for a
visually impaired customer. The bystander customer sent an email
to Dairy Queen. The story ended up on Facebook. The owner of Dairy
Queen, Warren Buffet, called Joey to thank him. Queen Latifah invited
Joey to appear on her show and gave him money for his college fund.
NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick invited Joey to a race. Good things can
happen to people who take care of other people.”

Talk About The Benefits Of Living The Golden Rule

Remind the harasser of the Golden Rule:

“Since the Golden Rule is important to me, I’m going to treat you
the way I want to be treated. I also know that being kind to others
is good for my health.”

My favorite version of the Golden Rule comes from Buddhism, “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” See this PDF file for Golden Rule statements in 21 religions, 5 philosophies, and 2 moral/ethical systems to pick your favorite version.

Read up on the health benefits of kindness for details to talk about.

And again, write about other successful strategies in the comments.

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

Standards For Success Posters

Good, Bad, & Ugly Gossip

Gossip Proverb

Resource Rock Star Details

The Compliment Too Many Men Miss

Originally published July 31, 2013.

Republished November 27, 2015 after a web host transfer.

People are raised to believe all kinds of stereotypes. For men, one of those stereotypes is that friendly women are interested in sex. In the May 25, 2013 Dear Abby column, one young woman wrote that she was “naturally friendly and sometimes guys I’m not interested in think I’m flirting with them.” I am also a friendly woman. I encounter this stereotype frequently.

I have been widowed for decades and single by choice since 1998. The last man I dated wanted to marry me. I said no because I do not want to be married again. If my husband were still alive, I hope we would still be married. But I have reached a stage in my life where I am happily single. I intend to remain happily single for the rest of my life.

However, I do enjoy having conversations with men. I start conversations with men in public. I also start conversations with repairmen who come to my house to work on my telephone, furnace, electricity, and plumbing. Some of the repairmen are interesting to talk to, so I look forward to new conversations when those repairmen come back to my house.

One of those repairmen keeps mentioning his wife, which means he has missed my compliment — that I enjoy our conversations.

When I was in my 20s, I worked in a small neighborhood store in Chicago. A man with a high paying job who lived across the street from the store would come in to talk to the owner. One day when the owner wasn’t there, the man came over and talked to me. We had such a good conversation that he invited me out to dinner. Our interesting conversation continued through dinner. I went home knowing that the man had paid me the compliment of considering me an interesting person to talk to. He was free for that evening and invited me out so he could enjoy further conversation. I never expected anything more.

Compliments can smooth the irritations of the day. Compliments can increase confidence. Compliments can show people the positive things others see in them.

My conversations with men are compliments. I wish more of the men would recognize the compliment, because I intend to keep the compliments coming.

Below are some resources that reveal men’s mistaken assumptions about friendly women. Ironically, a study of college students found that men can misread women’s sexual come-ons as friendly gestures. The Dear Abby advice seeker also wrote that, “…when I try to flirt with a guy, it never works.” See this happen for yourself. Watch Leonard mistake Alex’s sexual come on as friendliness, “The 43 Peculiarity” episode of The Big Bang Theory.

It seems that too many men are missing more than compliments.

Men can also misread sexual desire in other men. Below are three quotes from three articles about the television show Death In Paradise. The characters mentioned are Detective Inspector (DI) Humphrey Goodman and Detective Sergeant (DS) Florence Cassell.

“He (Goodman) was probably trying to impress DS Florence, who he’s clearly in love with (as he was with DS Camille) though he doesn’t even realise it himself.”
Sam Wollaston, reviewer

“I don’t think they’re like that together – I think they’re just mates. I think that it would be a little disingenuous and a little cheating to the show.”
Kris Marshall, the actor who plays DI Humphrey Goodman

“You’ll see their friendship and how Florence wants to help him find a new girlfriend,” reveals Josephine. “But it is just friendship and nothing else. Humphrey had a kind of love story with Camille, so it’d be too silly to have another love story with another French policewoman.”
Josephine Jobert, the actor who plays DS Florence Cassel

I watch this show. I read Wollaston’s review before I watched the episode where Wollaston saw Goodman “clearly” in love with Cassell. I saw no evidence of love. Wollaston is just one man out of many who make the same mistakes. Makes me wonder what Wollaston has missed.

“Actor Kris Marshall on Death In Paradise: We have some real cracking murders coming up”
John Marrs
Sunday Express
December 20, 2015

“Alcohol’s Role in Sexual Violence Perpetration: Theoretical Explanations, Existing Evidence, and Future Directions”
Antonia Abbey
Drug and Alcohol Review
September 2011, Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 481-489

“Clueless Guys Can’t Read Women”
Jeanne Bryner
Live Science
March 19, 2008

“Death in Paradise review: the TV equivalent of a boring holiday timeshare”
Sam Wollaston
The Guardian
February 27, 2015 02.00 EST

“Death in Paradise star Kris Marshall reveals all about series five of the BBC drama”
Frances Taylor
January 7, 2016

“Science Confirms The Obvious: Men Mistake Female Friendliness For Sexual Interest”
Laura Allen
Popular Science
April 4, 2009

“Trying to flirt can backfire”
Dear Abby
March 24, 2013

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.
Updated August 18, 2017

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

Resource Rock Star Details

To Maintain Gender Stereotypes, Find A Study Of Monkeys & Stick With It!

Originally publish September 11, 2013.

Revised and republished November 25, 2015 after a web host transfer.

In an opinion piece titled, “Boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls…so far”, Jim Wolff expressed concern about attempts to offer “boy” toys to girls and “girl” toys to boys. His concern showed up in these phrases:

“gender neutral”

“genderless society”

“politically-correct bulldada”

To justify his distress, Wolff wrote that “stereotyping is not created by society.”

Wolff cited three studies to prove that stereotypes are “naturally” created. His favorite study must have been the study of vervet monkeys because he mentioned it twice. In the study, boy monkeys chose “boy” toys and girl monkeys chose “girl” toys. In response to Sweden’s attempts to break down gender stereotypes Wolff wrote, “Apparently nobody in Sweden paid any attention to the study”, referring to the study of vervet monkeys.

Both of my grandsons did play with trucks. Both of my grandsons also asked to wear nail polish and went out in public with their painted nails. My youngest grandson marched in a parade with me. We wore vintage hats. He chose a hat with a red rose on top. People both admired his hat and applauded us as we walked by.

My granddaughter did briefly play with dolls. She later announced that she no longer wanted to wear pink clothes and was planning which tattoos she will get first when she is old enough. She’ll probably start with tattoos on her arms.

Were my grandchildren just not exposed to the right monkeys? Or is human behavior far more intricate than Wolff wants us to believe?

Wolff also stated we shouldn’t “bet the farm” on boys becoming “seamsters” because parents give them sewing machines. Wolff must consider it a crying shame that Jason Wu’s “cool parents” actually let him play with the toys he chose to play with — dolls! His favorites included a Bob Mackie Barbie, a Dior doll, and other Barbies! Jason even read fashion magazines! Then, his cool mother made the terrible mistake of buying Jason a sewing machine when he was only 9 years old! Jason’s parents even stood by and let Jason sew clothes for his dolls! How could Jason Wu possibly become successful with a sewing machine instead of a truck? It’s a tragedy that Jason Wu ended up designing two inaugural dresses for First Lady Michelle Obama. Now he’ll make the mistake of thinking he can be a successful seamster!

Stereotypes are like clay molds. Most of the clay has to be cut away to fit just the right amount into the mold. Most of what people feel and think and do has to be ignored to fit just the “right” feelings  and the “right” thoughts and the “right” actions into the stereotype mold. Jim Wolff cut out the evidence of what real children feel and think and do to push one study of monkeys as the guide for raising children the “natural” way.

“Boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls…for far”
Jim Wolff
The Berlin Journal
December 6, 2012, page 2

“Jason Wu: The American Dream”
Suzy Menkes
The New York Times
September 6, 2013

“Jason Wu Woos at Saks Chevy Chase”
Alexandra Geisler
Capitol File
August 29, 2013

This post will be listed as additional reading in the following book:

Gossip Power: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

No publication date is set.

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

Resource Rock Star Details