This is the second part in Reflection Cube’s series Stereotypes.
If you haven’t read Stereotypes: Part 1, feel free to check it out here.
Stereotype #5: Depressed individuals are weak or self-focused.
There’s an unhealthy stigma – which is only beginning to dissolve – in our culture that says a depressed person is a weak person.
Depression, like any illness, happens to the best of us – to the strong and weak alike. Depression typically involves biochemical changes in the brain (though this is not the only factor in depression). Wacky neurochemistry is a monster too powerful for even the hardiest spirit to combat alone.
So a depressed individual is not weak. In fact, significant mental strength is drawn upon by persons who fight and survive depression (make it out alive).
Regarding the “self-focused” accusation frequently thrust upon depression sufferers:
In order to recover – or at least prevent themselves from sinking deeper – depressed individuals may (and, generally, should) be compelled to concentrate on their own needs for a time, so it follows that they might come across as a little “self-focused”, but depression is rarely (if ever) an attention-seeking tactic.
The insinuation “You’re just trying to get attention” is made by those who have never experienced depression, or perhaps never experienced it in the utterly debilitating and overwhelming way that many individuals do.
This is one of the most excellent pieces I’ve ever read on depression:
Also a practical, short read on how to express support for a depressed person:
Stereotype #6: Physically attractive (by society’s standards) women have below-average intelligence.
The assumption here may be, I suppose, that if you’re attractive, you must be vain and seriously obsessed with maintaining an attractive appearance. You obviously spend too much time in the mirror (and, therefore, less time reading or learning).
There seems to prevail – particularly within occidental society – an outlook which precludes the possibility of being both beautiful and smart. You can’t possibly have the time, money, or the genetics, or whatever to be born with or to achieve both beauty and intelligence. You just can’t have it all! If you “lucked out” with looks, then by default, you must have paid the price with another part of yourself (like, brains).
(For my perspective on beauty, click here.)
Unfortunately, this stereotype can negatively influence an attractive woman’s career opportunities – her ability to land a job or progress upward in the workplace.
There’s no way I can cover all the stereotypes out there, but these are a couple that came to mind. And no doubt, there are countless others that haven’t crossed my mind, which I may be guilty of unwittingly believing and supporting.
What stereotypes drive YOU nuts (can be one(s) you’ve noticed that don’t directly affect you, or something you’ve personally experienced)?
Share about a societal stereotype that you’ve observed or perhaps caught yourself perpetuating. Who knows? You might see it pop up in another Stereotypes post!
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