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Overcoming Untrue and Unflattering Stereotypes

October 26, 2012

Article and images by Darlene Vincent, GOTR Atlanta’s fall intern from Georgia Gwinnett College

Many middle schoolers, including our Girls on Track teams, are repeatedly reminded of how girls are “supposed” to be, act, look, and so on. During one of this week’s lessons, these Fulton GOT girls discussed where these messages—that often lead to feelings of inadequacy in areas such as beauty, size, and intelligence—originate. Some girls acknowledged that checkout counter and book store magazines boast images of supposedly “perfect” or “ideal” women and attempt to portray the often airbrushed cover models as “real” or what a girl should aim to look like. Other teammates noted that movies and television shows often unjustly and incorrectly categorizes females into stereotypes according to their appearances. For instance, skinny girls are often seen as beautiful but vindictive, while girls who are not skinny are shown as undesirable yet kind or only “pretty on the inside.” The GOT team also recognized the often untrue and unflattering stereotypes society assigns to different ethnicities and how some individuals are even judged by their hair colors–for example, the infamous “dumb blonde”stereotype.

Obliterating the offensive and ludicrous dumb blonde stereotype, recent Jeopardy! contestant and seven-time champion Stephanie Jass proved that one’s hair has nothing to do with the brain beneath and intelligence inside. Defeating men and women of all hair colors, Stephanie’s total winnings of $147,570 placed her among the top 15 winners in the game show’s history. She also tied with the women’s record for most wins on Jeopardy! After several of her impressive wins, the blonde Stephanie told host Alex Trebek that she wasn’t “going to have to worry about having to deal with those blonde jokes” anymore. Who would question the intelligence of a seven-time Jeopardy! champion? Thus, not only did Stephanie set records and win big on the challenging game show, but she became a role model and hero for females (and blondes) nationwide. Overall, her seven-episode reign on Jeopardy! illustrates how untrue negative stereotypes are by turning the dumb blonde stereotype on its head. Stephanie set the example that girls should not ever adhere to or believe the media’s messages that make them question their self-worth and that they should, instead, live their lives according to who they are, not who society says they should be.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Gandhi

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 9, 2015 7:05 pm

    I think that this is good that young girls are overcoming the streotypes of everyday society.for me as a runner i face the same challenges being an African american when i go to cross country meets the vast majority of the runners are white its good to see more black people running cross country

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