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.
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 add stereotypes as I come across them.
New stereotype examples in each category are underlined.
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The Relationship Between Men & Women
too impatient to work at relationships
Physically Unattractive People
political radicals (which stereotypes political radicals negatively)
homosexual (which stereotypes homosexuals negatively)
can’t be taken seriously
unable to control self
unable to maintain personal health
take up too much space
lack will power
lack will power
Women In Jane Austen’s Time
laughing is a sign of sexual availability
showing teeth is a sign of being garrulous, plebeian, vulgar
Nice Men / Sensitive Men
lesbians are masculine
lesbians hate men
gay men are feminine and flamboyant
gay men are sexual predators or pedophiles
transgender women are drag queens
determined to ‘convert’ others
extensions of women
Single Parent Families
dangerous to married women
raise children who resent and hate them
have questionable income
gave up on marriage too easily
milking the system
clueless about cooking, housekeeping, laundry
can’t handle pressure
no good with infants or toddlers
ineffective at jobs
harming their children
Women seeking abortion
kissing cousin relationships
ignorant about sex
Children From Single Parent Families
end up in trouble
abandoned her own flesh and blood
drops out of sight
burden to the family
yearn to find birth parents
bubble gum chewers
hormone laden slobs
incapable of making effective decisions
deserve to die
An Unhealthy Old Age Is…
a punishment for living “wrong”
cover up the truth
engage in conspiracies to deprive citizens of their liberty
People Not Part Of Organized Religions, Conspicuous Consumption, Car Culture
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
feel racism and hatred without reason
gum-chewing ditzy snobs
want to be homeless
People Dependent An Others
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
liars about health problems
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.
Visit the website below for resources on opening doors that give moments of dignity. Read People Success Example #5 on the People Success page. You’ll learn how I turned a bad relationship around using moments of dignity, and reaped an unexpected reward.
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 these 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.
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 personal and professional relationships:
“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.“
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!
Paula M. Kramer
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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.
Positive Identity Directory For People With Mugshots