It Is High Time We Took The Onus Of Questioning These Stereotypes

What will it take for us to recognise these stereotypes for what they are, and change the dynamics towards a more evolved existence?

Do you remember playing that candy and color box game, when you were a kid?

You had to put the color candy into the respective color box?

That is not just the game for us, that is the basic setup that shapes our mental wiring.

That is what stereotypes are – putting the people or things into the boxes. We think in terms of categories we create from our experiences. These experiences are the consequences of our culture, values, religious, economic, and social environment. Those categories clarify the world for us but sometimes over-simplify it. At some point, those natural over-simplifications cross the line into stereotypes. We can’t think without using our categories, and in the long term, these categories hinder our capabilities to make sense of things.

You know, those ideas people have about others based on things like where they’re from, their religion, or how they look. Now, think about a time someone assumed something about you just because of where you come from or how you dress. It doesn’t feel great, right? Aren’t we all different?

Is it fair? No. Is it intentional? Maybe, not.

Just yesterday, I saw a movie named “The Great Indian Dysfunctional Family”, where a guy aged around 25, belonging to a religious Hindu family, comes to know that he is a Muslim. His, and his family’s reactions creates turmoil in their lives, even though they have been living together happily under a roof for the last 25 years. That’s what presumptions and stereotypes do, they don’t let you think outside the box, and they don’t let you accept the difference.

And in a diverse country like India, stereotypes are everywhere, acting as an invisible barrier based on your background and gender. These stereotypes limit what we think, what we can do, and also let others do. And these stereotypes spread from society, enter stealthily into our minds and conscience, and become a part of our upbringing so much that we cannot even realize being unfair or even being wronged.

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I was just going through a video shared by a lawyer explaining the reasons why couples separate, even after sharing profound love and respect. In her opinion there were many but one reason that made me ponder on a very fragile issue was that people don’t want to stay together because of the way they have been conditioned. Even today, the males are not taught basic survival roles, justifying the patriarchal approach. Now this is not the fault of our boys, but we have to change the way we bring up our children.

What is done cannot be undone, but can be bent so that we can focus on more important issues. The thing that causes emotional detachment is when one person gets tired of telling the other person what to do.

Change, as we know, is inevitable. Generations now are challenging these established norms. One key factor contributing to this change is education. As more people gain access to education, awareness about the need for equality and the detrimental effects of gender stereotypes is spreading. We are witnessing a generation that questions these roles and seeks a more inclusive society. Remember the movie Ki and Ka. In the end, Kareena gets jealous of Arjun when he starts getting equal attention when he chooses to handle the house whilst she is the breadwinner.

Now you know it’s the way we have been conditioned. We are humans at last, learning and evolving is the only trait that would keep us going well. Even Ariel has adopted the marketing strategy “Share the load” Let’s challenge stereotypes, both in our thoughts and in our conversations. Let’s be curious about each other’s stories and learn from them. In doing so, we would make the world a better place to be!!

Thank you!

Image Source: A still from the film ‘The Great Indian Dysfunctional Family’

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