"Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you." --Aldous Huxley

> > > Stereotypes

The dictionary defines stereotype like this:

stereotype (noun)

  1. a plate cast from a printing surface
  2. something conforming to a fixed or general pattern; especially : a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment

Stereotypes can also be viewed as expectations of who we should be or who we will be. What is expected of us is very little and when we are constantly faced with these negative stereotypes there is a danger that we will become exactly what they want us to become. These stereotypes keep us down, and then our mind set is "If that is what they think I am, that is what I'm going to be." This is an example of how young womyn define themselves against and/or through the stereotypes. 

>  Stereotypes frequently used to describe young womyn of color
> Stereotype Stickers Explanation


> Stereotypes related to our sexuality and body type:

  • Promiscuous
  • Oversexed at a young age
  • Likely to become pregnant
  • Not a virgin before marriage
  • Whores/fast
  • Trashy dress wear
  • Have "fat asses"

> Stereotypes related to our perceived intelligence:

  • Uneducated
  • Undereducated
  • Don't speak proper English
  • We don't know how to solve our own problems
  • Ambitionless
  • Simple

> Stereotypes related to our supposed class level:

  • Poor
  • Unemployed
  • Lazy
  • Welfare dependent

> Stereotypes related to our behavior:

  • Unable to protect ourselves
  • Too emotional
  • Sloppy
  • We act like animals
  • Loud and obnoxious
  • Boisterous
  • Talk too much
  • We can't go anywhere because we don't know how to act
  • Immature
  • Have crack babies

> Stereotypes related to our relationships:

  • Dependent on men
  • Don't understand men
  • Involved in abusive relationships
  • Not able to have trust other women
  • Women who fight for women's rights are feminist and/or lesbian and will end up alone

 

By now we are assuming, or at least hoping, that most of you have come across one or more of our "Stereotype Stickers" which are up around the entire Lower East Side and other parts of the city. Most advertisements seen on public transportation and around the city are discriminatory and sexist, so what we created is something mocking those ads but instead of selling you sex, we're making you think. Those of you who have spotted them must be wondering exactly what our motive is with these "Stereotype Stickers". That's simple. We are looking to plant a seed in the minds of society. We wanted our stickers to upset you to the point of inspiration. We want our beautiful, young, urban womyn of color to realize what it is we have against us and we hope it will give you all the motivation to go against the grain; to prove everyone wrong. If you are checking out the web site or are reading our newsletter right this very second, then our job is half done. From this point on it is completely up to you to decide whether or not you are willing to accept these stereotypes or reject them.

Be smart.
Be independent.
Be strong.
Be womyn.

(The reason we spell womyn with a "Y" is because the "correct" spelling of woman and women have the words man and men in them.)

> What do stereotypes leave out?

It's clear that these stereotypes are very limited in their scope and unable to fully encompass the complexities of individual lives. Through our self-descriptions and conversations with other young women, we identified some of the specific aspects that stereotypes are insensitive to.

  • Background
  • Struggle
  • Lack of support
  • The abuse that some women face
  • The inherent diversity of every woman
  • The challenges young women face that sometimes leave them in compromised stereotypical situations.
  • The individuals
  • The aspects of life that makes things more complicated.
  • The true stories of why/how stuff happens
  • The identity of the person--we are so much more complex
  • The ability for people to think for themselves
  • If you go against the crowd you are an outsider--which is a bad thing
  • The person's story
  • All that makes each life special and unique
  • Everything!