Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Workplaces

If you use negative stereotypes about people who are different from you, you are inviting everyone who hears you to use negative stereotypes about you. Below are some of the negative stereotypes other people could use about you in your workplace.

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.

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.

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.

Stereotype Updates

I add stereotypes as I come across them.

I will add the new stereotypes at the bottom of each listing, putting ~~~~~ between the older stereotypes and the new stereotypes.


People who do their jobs well

hall monitor

tattle tale


trying to get coworkers in trouble




time of the month

bad tempered


Half White / Half Black

Performs better than Black





Nice guys

finish last


less happy with success




less likely to maintain a steady relationship



hide feelings

less feminine

more masculine

less desirable

Women bosses




too aggressive

Women are seen as unsuitable for management positions

when their hair is long, curly,  extreme in color, in the face,
fastened with barrettes and ribbons

when they wear extreme amounts and colors of makeup,
soft or tight sweaters, low necklines, ruffled blouses,
dangling or ostentatious jewelry,  and don’t wear a jacket

when they are attractive

Attractive women


should be trophy wife instead of career woman

interested in sex


less trustworthy

more expendable

should smile at everyone

less competent

Handsome men


threat to management self-interest


Feminine dressing women

low managerial skills

low interest in work


overemotional in critical decision making

financially responsible


dependent on the influences of others


flirtatious in social relations

not  assertive

low independence

low self-confidence

Successful / career black women






Women who use the title Ms.

more motivated

more masculine

less likable

Women who use the titles Miss or Mrs.

lacking personality characteristics of a successful middle manager



pregnant workers

overly emotional

often irrational

physically limited

less than committed to the job

don’t perform well

not valuable or dependable as a worker

Older workers

absent more

lower productivity levels

less flexible in their behavior

unable to learn new skills

prone to job-related accidents

Overweight workers










Construction workers




shell shocked soldiers are neurotically susceptible and infantile




hound celebrities

interested in human weakness

chew up private lives for entertainment

Clothing designers


Men who work in stereotypical female professions

taking a step down

receive preferential treatment for hiring and promotion
— a glass escalator

Male nurses

gay (which assumes that being gay is bad)

Male librarians



Male social workers



Male elementary school teachers


failures as men

Male managers



Disabled workers



ineligible for jobs


need to be compensated with huge sums of money to
motivate them to do their jobs well




fast talkers


subverters of justice

look for loopholes



menace on the highway

Low income workers

will not be motivated by higher salaries to do their jobs well
or work harder

will only be motivated by the threat of their jobs being moved

Giving raises, health care, and retirement benefits to workers

will increase inflation

squeeze profit margins

end economic prosperity

Giving stock options, bonuses, and multimillion dollar salaries to CEOs

will lower inflation

increase profit margins

lead to  economic prosperity






loose cannons

dangers to businesses damaging to career of fellow workers

habitual liars


masters of deceit

committed crimes

fudged resumes

In general women workers are stereotyped as

less competent

not good as leaders

incapable of assertiveness

less knowledgeable

having less authority

being deviant for showing competence and assertiveness

being deviant for interrupting a man

too emotional to do important work

In general women’s work is stereotyped as

less important

less authoritative

less convincing

less valuable

needing to be rejected

ignored or unrecognized

inferior to men’s work

Because of the stereotypes, employed women experience

less pay

lower performance evaluations

fewer promotions

fewer opportunities

less power

fewer resources

less autonomy

less approval for efforts and more disapproval of efforts

more pressure

less accommodation

less cooperation

more interruptions

less authority

less respect

less credit for their work

When men succeed on the job, the stereotyped reasons include

the ability and talents of the men

When women succeed on the job, the stereotyped reasons include

unstable or external causes

When men fail on the job, the stereotyped reasons include

lack of effort

a difficult situation

bad luck

When women fail on the job, the stereotyped reasons include

lack of talent and ability

work-family issues

are concerns for women

research on the impact of parental work

focuses on the mother having a job or the father losing a job


criminal activity

Points to Ponder about Men in the Workplace

Men in women’s fields enjoy a glass escalator of preferential treatment for hiring and promotion and are over represented in managerial positions. But choosing a career in a traditionally female field means you’ll face stereotypes of failure and criminality.

Points to Ponder about Women in the Workplace

If you are a woman, be careful to never use any of the negative stereotypes about women in the workplace against other women. If you do, you will be giving permission to everyone else to:

Pay you less

Lower your job performance evaluations

Pass you over for promotions

Deny you opportunities

Deny you power

Deny you resources

Deny you autonomy

Denying approval for your efforts while disapproving your
efforts more

Put you under more pressure

Be less accommodating with you

Be less cooperative with you

Interrupt you more

Deny you authority

Deny you respect

Deny you credit for your work

Points to Ponder about Pay & Benefits

Did you notice the following?

Money and benefits supposedly motivate CEOs but not the
workers that keep the company going.

Raises for CEOs supposedly benefit the economy but raises
for ordinary workers supposedly harm the economy.

Secretaries cannot be motivated by raises but are materialistic
while CEOs need big pay raises to be motivated but are not

Perhaps we should ask the CEOs who get the top pay and benefits to explain why programs that give money to the poor have created so many benefits that dozens of countries have those programs.


Critical Thinking Questions

1.  What’s happening?

2.  Why is it important?

3.  What don’t I see?

4.  How do I know?

5.  Who is saying it?

6.  What else? What if?

Stereotype Thinking Questions

1.  What is threatening my beliefs?

2.  How can I make it unimportant?

3.  What can I reject?

4.  What can I laugh at?

5.  How can I attack people who threaten my beliefs?

6.  How can I deflect?

The stereotype thinking questions are mine, based on my observations of stereotype thinkers.


Online workshop that provides strategies to chip away stereotypes in both professional and personal relationships:

End Negative Gossip & Increase Collaboration

“After participating in the gossip power presentation, I know I now have a better plan to be more effective in understanding how gossip affects every area of a person’s personal and professional life. Using her strategies on gossip power and gossip ears I feel I will be better able to navigate these areas both inside and outside the office. Paula does a great job, using both scientific research and personal anecdotes and examples, to develop strategies for turning the power of gossip into positives for anyone attending her presentation. I left energized and excited about her message and what I learned and am definitely looking forward to learning more at her glass ceiling presentation.“
Mark Spiers
SBDC Consultant

Paula is a fabulous motivational speaker. Not only does she speak on positivity, but she conducts webinars on gossip and how to get out of the trap!! She is very knowledgeable, professional and inspirational! I love Paula’s talks and webinars! She mentors women to bring out their best and believe in themselves! Thank you for all that you! The world needs you right now!
Lauren Ebbecke


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
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 or months.

Gossip Posters

Gossip Proverb

Good, Bad, & Ugly Gossip

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots

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