ok, i really try not to stereotype people. as i have mentioned before, yes i will judge you (i can admit that it is a fault of mine), but it will damn sure not be because i believe you to fit a stereotype. following that logic, i can not stand to be stereotyped. ugh. i have been stereotyped all of my life because of the way i look, where i’m from, hell, sometimes even because of my last name (although that particular stereotype is one that by chance does fit me: “crazy but in a good way”). by all means, label someone AFTER you know them but do not stereotype them before.
i have been stereotyped under many different things throughout the years, some of which are very contradictory: tomboy, girlie (see? opposite), crazy, poor, well-off, middle-class, lazy, energetic, well… you get the point. what brings you this latest rant (hopefully chock full of good humor as well) is the stereotype of “country girl.” i sincerely ask anyone who truly knows me if i could be labeled a “country girl?”
really? what is a stereotypical “country girl?” do not get me wrong. i do NOT think that being labeled a country girl is a bad thing, i think being stereotyped a country girl with no factual basis is a bad thing. in no way shape or form is the label bad, the stereotype is. in fact, some of the most amazing, strong, sweetest, and generally fantastic girls that i know would consider themselves “country girls.”
i however, don’t think of myself as such. i’m from the country, well sort of except that it is actually a quite large town with a thriving, and well-known university, but i really don’t like cowboy boots (on me), fishing, farming, or any of the other activities other people generally associate with a country girl. i work in a world of academia and books. so what in the world brought someone to label me as such?
see below conversation:
subject a: oh so where are you from?
myself: (insert typical smallish town here), in any state south of the mason dixon or in the midwest
subject a: well you must be one of those country girls!
GAH! (by the way, subject a doesn’t even know my last name, yet he/she will make assumptions) yes, this is an actual conversation that i have had many times.
so what is the difference between a stereotype and a label?
Wikipedia defines label as:
1. An item used to identify something or someone, as a small piece of paper or cloth attached to an article to designate its origin, owner, contents, use, or destination.2. A descriptive term; an epithet.3. A distinctive name or trademark identifying a product or manufacturer, especially a recording company.
1. A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified conception, opinion, or image.2. One that is regarded as embodying or conforming to a set image or type.