Stereotypes Articles

Stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people. Whether a person is facing discrimination based on race, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation, stereotypes can lead to prejudices. People begin to assume that all people of a particular group behave in a specific way or look the same. Stereotypes are dangerous to our society because they don’t account for individuality. Each human being has an identity that doesn’t relate exclusively to being a member of a group.

Here you will find articles stereotypes and how they impact our society. You will read about how you may actively participate in stereotyping people without realizing it. If you’ve experienced racism, religious discrimination, or any other marginalization, it can be painful and make you feel like you’re not a part of the society. You’ll read about ways to deal with being stereotyped in various settings and how you can cope.

What Are Some Positive Stereotypes And Are They Bad?

You may hear the term “positive stereotype” and think to yourself that it sounds like an oxymoron. That’s because, for the most part, it is. Even positive stereotypes can be bad...

22 Ways To Overcome Gender Stereotypes

Many people feel that gender equality has already come to most industrialized countries. Nothing could be further than the truth. Instead, women and men alike deal with gender...

Stereotypes: Definition And Why They Are Wrong

People have a lot to say about stereotypes. Some loudly shout that they are wrong in all situations, other’s argue that the stereotype would not exist if it were not true...

How Gender Stereotypes In The Media Harm Society

Gender stereotypes, in general, have a massive impact on our society. Both men and women are frequently harmed by the adaptation of gender stereotypes in the workplace, in the...

What Are Some Common Stereotypes, And Why?

Stereotypes are, in a word, terrible. Even good stereotypes are terrible. Why? Because no two individuals are the same, so to put a label on a group of people who are assumed to...

How High School Stereotypes Hurt Teens

Teens entering high school are intensely aware of negative stereotypes related to their group membership. There are stereotypes about gender, sexuality, race, religion, and even...

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA


Stereotypes are generalizations based on preconceived ideas that aren’t necessarily true. A stereotype is a widely held but fixed image of a particular person, place, or thing. They serve to group people into categories, but they can be harmful. If you believe a specific culture all acts the same way, you’re mistaken. One of the most beautiful things in the world is how diverse we all are. Stereotypes can be dangerous because if you make an automatic assumption about a group of people, especially a negative one, it can lead to prejudice. These generalizations are not typically helpful, but rather harmful.


Explicit and Implicit Stereotypes

Explicit Stereotypes

Explicit stereotypes are when people verbalize or admit to others an idea that they hold about a particular group of individuals. It’s surprising when people talk about their biases toward others. However, some people blatantly voice them. Some people will admittedly say that they’re judging this group of people. They may believe that they're just being honest about their opinion, and that makes them honorable. But discriminating against a person or group of people in an upfront way doesn’t make it right, it just makes it blatant. Stereotypes harm people more than they help. They’re a way to generalize about human beings, and not all human beings are the same. We’re unique, and we need to celebrate the differences we have.

Implicit Stereotypes

While explicit stereotypes are out there in the open, an implicit stereotype is underneath the surface. These are things that people think but don’t say. An implicit stereotype is subconscious. In contrast to explicit stereotypes, a person isn’t necessarily aware that they’re judging others when an implicit stereotype comes to mind. According to social psychology, a stereotype is a widely adopted specific set of beliefs about a group of people and their behaviors and that those aspects represent a group of people as a whole. Within psychology, we know that this doesn’t make sense.


The Etymology of the Word “Stereotype.”

The word stereotype comes from the French adjective “stéréotype,” which derives from the Greek words “stereos,” meaning "firm and solid," and “typos,” meaning “impression.” When these words are put together, they mean “solid impression," which is the literal definition of the word "stereotype." Stereotypes have negatively impacted many groups of people: cultures, races, religion, genders, and so on. It's important to learn to identify a stereotype and think critically when you come across one.

How Stereotypes Can Make Sense of the World

Stereotypes are typically overgeneralizations about a group of individuals, but they can serve a purpose. Although stereotypes are dangerous, they’re often made in an attempt to understand the world through categorization. They’re made to grasp and predict the way that people, places, or things, will be, but the danger in this is that not everyone fits into a cookie cutter mold. You can’t say that everyone of a particular religion, for example, will behave a certain way, because that is incorrect. Instead of looking at things stereotypically, you can modify your way of thinking and acknowledge that people are individuals who are not defined by the group that they may or may not fit into categorically. If you are the victim of a stereotype, it can make you feel isolated, targeted, and misunderstood. It's is a painful experience, being stereotyped, and talking about your situation in therapy can help you feel less alone.

Online Therapy

Therapy is a great place to talk about what makes you unique. Online therapy is an excellent resource for talking about your experiences with being stereotyped as an individual. Perhaps, a stereotype has harmed you significantly, or maybe, you tend to stereotype others and want to stop. Talk to an online therapist and try to understand what you can do to eliminate or decrease the effect that stereotypes have on you or the world around you. The therapists at BetterHelp can help you understand the harm that stereotypes contribute to in your life and how to work to fight against them. An online therapist is there to support you while you talk through your experiences with discrimination.


For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist Today
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.