It is not an uncommon phenomena for media to appeal to our stereotypes for the sake of positive effect and laughs.
I get it! If you don’t like a good joke about stereotypes and generalizations, well then you’re probably semi-dead inside. I love to laugh (seriously, it’s good for the soul) and, for whatever reason, stereotypes are often hilarious. We all know, however, that though stereotypes are a tool for comedy and a valuable heuristic, they can cause indirect harm. Generalizations, though they appeal to our limited cognitive capacities and love for a good hearty laugh, are not the whole story. When we fail take the time to think critically and check them, a broad stroke is painted on those that don’t deserve a certain color. A self-proclaimed female environmentalist, I feel we have been given a bad name that has been largely constructed by the likely innocent imaginations of media. My concerns with the messages about female environmentalists offered in these movies come to fruition as I note the obscene degree to which I am expected to plead good character for myself in order to make an argument for our collective future. As I address people in my daily life about the dire and urgent problems we face as a planet, I am met with smirks and sneers. They don’t see the validity in the stark calamity of the dying planet at hand, they see a dumb blonde with a nose ring wasting time with parables and play-time stories about how we can “save the world.” Often in my efforts to inform friends, family and the public about the now undeniable climate change and global pollution, the information is shrugged off and I am met with, “oh, stop being a hippie — everything is going to be fine.” It is movies like these that may be contributing to a global perception of environmental pursuits — particularly those taken on by females — as frivolous, idealistic fluff. This is a country of faith that seems to be largely based on logic and science. Therefore, ecologically-conscious individuals and behaviors, when associated with this kind of hysteria and lack of sexual integrity, are typically rejected and questioned. Stereotypes, in general, do serve a purpose. We humans are not omniscient. In spite of our great innovations, we cannot know everything about this dynamic world and the other people that inhabit it with us. Therefore, we depend on simple cognitive short-cuts like the heuristic of organizing into labeled cognitive compartments the slew of information presented in our waking reality to get us through the day. Stereotyping, or categorizing, has evolved to our support our cognitive-limited species in a highly unpredictable world. There’s no shame in that! So, Im not asking you to give up these stereotypes. If you did, you’d be lucky to make it through the next week alive. What I am asking of you is to, please, just be mindful of them. In particular, please recognize that not all women in service of bringing forth a new world paradigm of social and environmental resilience are stupid sluts. They are more often than not incredibly sensitive, compassionate and brilliant individuals committed to the greater good (please ignore my bias). (Source: Huffington Post)