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Stereotypes are considered to be a group concept, held by one social group about another. They are often used in a negative or prejudicial sense and are frequently used to justify certain discriminatory behaviours. More benignly, they may express sometimes-accurate folk wisdom about social reality.

 

Often a stereotype is a negative caricature or inversion of some positive characteristic possessed by members of a group, exaggerated to the point where it becomes repulsive or ridiculous.

Stereotype production is based on:

 

Simplification
Exaggeration or distortion
Generalization
Presentation of cultural attributes as being "natural"

Stereotypes are seen by many as undesirable beliefs which can be altered through education and/or familiarization. However, stereotypes need not be confined to negative characterizations about individuals or groups; they can also have positive characterizations.

There are even genuinely positive stereotypes about groups. Some groups have even tried to evolve new genuine positive stereotypes for themselves.

 

Stereotypes are common in the world of drama, where the term is often used as a form of dramatic shorthand for "stock character". In literature and art, stereotypes are clichéd or predictable characters or situations. For example, the stereotypical devil is a red, impish character with horns and a pitchfork (actually a trident), whilst the stereotypical salesman is a slickly-dressed, fast-talking individual who cannot usually be trusted.

 

Resource: Reference

 

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