Hello everybody

We are students of HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences. Our task was to observe different stereotypes in Plan magazine’s articles (Plan Maailmankuva 9/2011). In the articles there were three themes; “culture creating stereotypes”, “stereotypes in  developing politics” and “prejudices in society”.

Plan is a nonprofit organization that has been helping child poverty since 1937. The organization is working in 50 different developing countries.

In all of the articles it became obvious that people start to categorize minorities because of their different habits, looks and culture. These images of people and the negative expressions used when talking about minorities are hard to change and they often pass from father to son.

There were articles for example about gay people in Africa and immigrants in Finland and what prejudices they face in everyday life. There was also discussion about media, how they portrait people living in developing countries and creative images of different cultures with their choises of words and pictures (“rhythmic Caribbeans, humble Asians etc”).

There were also examples about dangerous stereotypes that men and women face especially in southern countries: the men should be strong and macho and women are feminine and weaker than men. The concerning part is that in many southern countries it seems that women think they sometimes deserve to be beaten.

We would be pleased to hear any comments/your own experiences concerning the subject.


Thank You! 🙂

– group Stadi

2 Responses to “Stereotypes”

  1. Jaclyn Breg says:

    Hi group Stadi,

    I think you had a good point about how stereotypes pass from parents to children. We believe what our parents say about the world and other people until we reach a certain age when we realize that we need to discover our own world view. It can be hard to break free from those stereotypes we were led to believe growing up.

    While reading your discussion on the challenges faced by minorities in everyday life, I was thinking about a discussion we had a few weeks ago in class about how none of us could recall being in a situation in which we were a minority. In all of my schools, jobs, and social settings, and even where I’ve traveled, I have never been a visible minority. I think my classmates and I need to experience what it’s like to be a visible minority somewhere so that we can identify with and understand people who have to face that challenge daily. Have any of you been in situations where you were a minority or have you group’s experiences been similar to those of my classmates and myself?

  2. Tanja Ronkainen says:

    Hey Jaclyn, thanks for your comment.

    I agree that stereotypes are often hard to break, especially the ones we’ve learnt from our parents. But I also think and hope that youngsters are smart enough to make their own opinions about people and don’t believe everything that they are told. Nowadays it’s so easy to find information so we don’t need to buy the stories that our parents or grandparents tell us.

    About being a minority the only time that I comes to mind right now is the time when I was in exchange in France. There were times I was a minority. On the courses I had there I was one of those few exchange students surrounded by the French students. There were also only two of us Finns, when there were a big group of Germans, Italians, Spanish and Americans.
    It was actually quite funny to hear comments about my behavior or looks. People from other countries were saying very different things, sometimes I was told that I’m a very typical Finn, when others were wondering if I was really from Finland because to them I didn’t behave or look like typical Finn. I think these comments were based on the stereotypes the people had in their countries about Finland and Finns and sometimes on their own experiences.

    When you’re in a different country I think it’s hard to avoid being a minority: there might be situations when you are the only one (or one the few) black people/white people/blond/Finn/Canadian etc. in that hotel, bus or shop.

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