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Subject-Informal Logic: Rhetoric & Stereotypes

Introduction

The word “stereotype” means “a person or thing that conforms to an unjustifiably fixed or standardized picture” (Fiske, 2006, p. 299). A very common example can be taken from the movies. Adam Sandler is a very popular American actor, but due to a large number of comedy movies in his career he is primarily stereotyped as a comedian. As a result, he is force to opt characters that are comical in nature such as 50 First Dates, Bed Time Stories, or Anger Management.

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We have some stereotyped perceptions on many professions, but in a number these perceptions are proved to be wrong in many cases. In each moment of our lives we receive so much information from all our surroundings, as well as the popular media sources like television, radio, and television. These ideas commonly form our belief and overall ideology as the old saying goes “that information rarely informs, but only to influence, induce and invoke”.

These things form our ideas that are the fallout of social subjectivism. As a result, it could be ascertained that the aspects of stereotype are fundamentally myths within the parameters of public perceptions. In reality, there is hardly any truth in such beliefs about the stereotypes. THESIS STATEMENT NEED TO GO HERE *Main Idea/Thesis:

I also wanted to take a look at your thesis statement:

“These ideas commonly form our belief and overall ideology as the old saying that information rarely informs, but only to influence, induce and invoke. These things form us our ideas that are the fallout of social subjectivism.”

I like the fact that you mention social subjectivism here, but I am not sure how this concept relates to the topics of stereotyping and rhetoric. How are you linking those 2 terms together as you write this paper? How does social subjectivism serve as a way for you (or the reader) to better understand stereotypes and rhetoric? These are the kinds of questions that you need to answer as you write your thesis statement. Please revise the thesis statement to meet what the paper will be telling the readers. You need to mention Politicians, tattoos, feminism and senior citizens in the thesis statement as well.

Politician

Give the reader some transition into why you’re talking about politicians and relate it to stereotypes. Maybe change sentence two for one and reword. While discussing about stereotypes, the first group that comes to the mind are the politicians. This is a profession that has evokes skepticism down the history. Thus, there is almost a traditional stereotype about politicians. Generally, a politician is always looked in a bad light in any popular fiction book or in the movies. It is not wrong in many cases as in our world there are many politicians who are involved in many wrong doing from such as contract killing, taking bribes, using public money to one’s own profit, and helping criminals. Abuse of power can be really economically satisfying; it is really applicable to a politician.

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But, not all the politicians are like this? No, sometimes there are really good and positive works done by politicians. One of the very important issues of our world, the Global Warming, has been dealt with positively by some leaders of politics. From the problems of low-cost housing for the poor, to regular works for the jobless people, and most importantly, the aftermath of any terrorist attack, which is also one of the very important problems now-a-days, has been and continues to be handled very efficiently by politicians (Crandall, 2005, p. 869).

Actually, at the end of the day, politics is nothing but the following of principals. Politics is having faith in a system and following it. It is understandable that there may be conflicts in ideas, and one may not like the idea of a politician and he or she is free to criticize the politician. But, we have to keep a clear mind, and if that very politician does something good, we need to appreciate that. The stereotyped bad individual should not apply to all politicians, simply because the person is a politician and some politicians have done wrong (Carnaghi, 2007, p. 919-920). However, the public perception of a politician is mostly, virtually always, negative apart from some exceptions of celebrity politicians like Winston Churchill or John F Kennedy.

Tattoo

Use a clear transition sentence here. Like: Stereotyping people with tattoo is common also. Please add a clear transition statement. Just like politicians, stereotyping people with tattoo is common also. A tattoo is a type of body-painting which is in most cases is permanent; it is a type of body art and body modification. A tattoo has a lot of negative effects throughout the world. Sometimes criminals use tattoos to show off their gangs and many other things.

Sometimes many offices ban persons from employment in their organizations because of visible tattoos. Actually, the primary attitude towards a tattooed person is that he or she is rebellious, hard to control, seeking attention and other things. In a general context, though the popularity of tattoos is on the rise in the western society, they are still associated with criminality. They also carry a heavy social stigma among some criminal groups.

But, is a tattooed person is always a criminal? We can start looking at the question from a very renowned novel, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. In the novel, there is a character called Queequeg, who befriends the narrator of the story (Melville 2001, p. 56). He had his whole body tattooed, and was a cannibal. Initially the narrator was afraid of him, but later became best of friends with him and ultimately Queequeg was responsible for saving the life of Ishmael, the narrator’s life. Here the tattoos of Queequeg first gave the wrong impression about him to the narrator, which later on the course of the novel changed and the tattoos did not mean anything (Melville 2001, p. 56).

A lot of modern celebrities have tattoos. And they are not involved with any criminal work. We can take the examples of Angelina Jolie, who is an Academy Award winning actress and also the Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

She has numerous tattoos which have been caused several media speculations. Similarly, David Beckham, the English soccer star and one of the most recognized athletes throughout the world, has almost seventeen tattoos. He is one of the role models in modern sporting culture. The fixed belief about tattooed persons obviously does not apply to these names. With or without tattoos they are popular icons, role models in their own rights (Fiske, 2006, p. 304). Thus, it can be stated that to general mass, the perception of a tattooed individual is not always negative. In fact, with so many celebrities and icons taking tattoo, it is fast becoming a popular trend and thus can be evaluated with a positive perception.

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Feminism

Again, I need a clear transition statement here. In the context of stereotyping, the same is true about feminists. The term feminism means the advocacy for the equality of both the sexes and an advocate for this cause is called a feminist. Basically, in the popular culture a feminist is always looked at as a rigid person, mostly a very strong-willed woman, who always speaks strong language, very serious in nature, and most difficult to handle. They are also believed to be control-freaks.

But, the real case is not the same. Some of the world’s most respected minds have been feminists. Alan Alda, Kurt Cobain, Hillary Clinton, Sylvia Plath, John Lennon, Benazir Bhutto, John Stuart Mill were all claimed themselves feminists. It is really wonderful to read that Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism was also a feminist. These names also are very popular and some are institutions themselves. Actually, feminism is mainly devoted towards the equality of man, in many cases the sufferings of woman, which is overlooked generally, are really dealt with patience in the branches of feminism, and this is a really wonderful thing (Fiske, 2006, p. 306-308). Thus, with the rise of the need of human rights added with the concept of feminism, it can be stated that it is a positive perception lately among the general society in the United States.

Senior citizen

Transition statement here too. Stereotyping is present in the aspect of senior citizens too. A senior citizen is a person who is over his retirement age. So it is evident that a senior citizen is on the verge of his or her golden years. Generally, senior citizens are stereotyped to have short tempered, inflexible, slow drivers, early dinner eaters and so on and so forth. Most importantly, the generation gap becomes a huge problem for any senior citizen.

Adjustment to the advancements of the world of technology or the loss of physical ability becomes a really problematic issue in seniors. All these things are reflected in popular culture. But, here one can remember an often quoted line from the very popular movie series Indiana Jones where the lead character, played by Harrison Ford, who himself is an example of defeating this senior citizen tag and said that “mileage does count and not age” (Carnaghi, 2007, p. 914).

There are a lot of examples of persons who have been really effective despite of his or her old age. Harry Bernstein is an author who published his first book, The Invisible Wall in the age of 96. Mae Laborde is an actress who began acting in her 90s, to be very precise in the age of 93. Arthur Winston retired from his job working for the Los Angeles Metro after 72 years in the age of 100. There are a lot of examples of persons who are still working in their old age.

Therefore, the stereotypical ideas do not really apply to them. O Toole, an acclaimed actor who has received most number of Academy award nominations than any other actor, was nominated for the Best Actor award in the year 2006 at the age of 74 (Carnaghi, 2007, p. 921). With more emphasis on welfare economics and elderly care awareness, this perception, today, cannot be judged as positive or negative. So, it can be stated that the general perception about senior citizen is mostly neutral.

Conclusion

The fundamental learning process indicates that stereotyped examples will always remain. However, after a self-evaluation of my personal learning in chapters four through six, the best method of applying stereotypes is to avoid them. Evaluating people based on stereotyping is unfair and a flawed method. Evaluating people based on what they show you about themselves is a sure way to reach an unbiased opinion. That way, subjectivism would not be allowed to enter rhetoric. As stated by Moore and Parker (2006), “it is best to think of subjectivism as a half-baked piece of philosophy, rather than as a fallacy” (Moore and Parker 2006, p. 157).

Maybe, there are some truths about these stereotyped examples, maybe sometimes they create problems but, everyone cannot be subjected to the same bracket. It is clearly understood that the public imagination and the approach of stereotype is based on social myths based of traditional perceptions. Sure, there is some truth in these myths and perceptions but they are far from constructive generalization.

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References

Carnaghi, A. (2007) Subtyping and social consensus: the role of the audience in the maintenance of stereotypic beliefs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37(5), 902-922.

Crandall, C.S. (2005) Creating stereotypes and capturing their content. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26(6), 867-898.

Fiske, S.T. (2006) Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination at the seam between the centuries: evolution, culture, mind, and brain. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30(3), 299-322.

Melville, H. (2001). Moby Dick. Auckland: IPCL Press.

Moore, B. N., and Parker, R. (2006). Critical Thinking (Custom 8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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