I know of no joke that starts that way, but it seems possible and likely. How many of us have heard a hundred dumb blonde jokes? This is a stereotype—that blondes are pretty and therefore don’t need to have brains to get ahead, which is good, since they don’t have brains.
To all the brilliant or moderately intelligent blondes out there, this is grossly unfair.
For the most part, stereotypes are unfair because they are fixtures in our minds that leave no room for looking at people as individuals.
Do you know that pretty children get more attention in classrooms? That means they do better in school. This perpetuates the notion that pretty equals smart. This, of course, is in direct defiance of the dumb blonde stereotype. Conversely, we think the skinny guy with ugly glasses is probably smart, too.
What are some other ones? That women can’t drive, be engineers, or change their own tires. That men can’t be homemakers, the parent who stays home to raise the kids, or nurses.
We all know exceptions to these rules. We all know many exceptions to these rules. So why does society, authors, TV program producers/writers, script writers, and broadcasters persist in maintaining stereotypes? Because it’s easy. It’s lazy. It lets us be superficial and not bother getting to know individuals.
Let’s be defiant and look at people first.
How many times do we look at an overweight person and presume they are stupid? Have you ever talked loudly to someone with an accent, presuming that will help them understand you better? Or have you ever talked to a blind person’s companion rather than the person because you think they can’t—what?—hear you? It’s kind of amusing, and yet it is truly offensive to the person to whom one is speaking. People presume someone with a disability doesn’t have a job, according to surveys of—wait for it—human resource managers, who also admitted up to 35% of them (which means more probably think it) they don’t think a person with a disability will make a good employee because—I have no clue.
They don’t look at the individual or abilities, just a preconceived notion called a stereotype.
We can do better than that and meet people where they are as people. We can be in defiance of stereotypes, whether we are hiring someone, encountering a stranger in a check-out line, or creating a character in a book.
What are some stereotypes you have faced in the last week?
I’ll start: That historical romance novel equals bodice-ripper. I have written over 20 historical romances and not one bodice gets ripped.
Best-selling, Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes has always been opinionated and mouthy, happy to push back against the norms. Her heroines reflect this attitude, being women who were professionals when doing so was defiance in itself. She even moved north just in time for winter.
Mia Roper isn’t a typical nineteenth-century woman. Refusing to pass up the hard-won opportunity to prove herself as a journalist, she left Hillsdale, Michigan, hoping in vain that Ayden Goswell would follow her to Boston.
When the train bringing her back for her first major story crashes in a snowstorm outside town, Mia is stranded. Not even the survival of a fellow passenger, a toddler, can ease her heart’s sudden ache at seeing Ayden, now a history professor at the local college, courting someone else.
Ayden’s never gotten over the fact that the most fascinating woman he ever met chose her career over marriage…and he let her go. But marrying the department director’s daughter could at least guarantee him a permanent job. It’s a satisfactory arrangement, yet his kind, pretty bride-to-be has one simple flaw: she’s not Mia.
As soon as the trains are running, Mia will be leaving again, unless she and Ayden can reconcile ambition and love—and take a leap of faith together.
Thank you so much Laurie, and as a bonus, she has offered to giveaway a copy of Collision of the Heart, a historical romance set in 1856, where my heroine beats the stereotype that women in the nineteenth century were uneducated and did not have jobs. My heroine has a four-year college degree from a co-ed college and is a journalist, all historically accurate. A US winner will have a choice of paperback, Audible, or e-copy and an international winner will receive an e-copy or audible book. Enter through the Rafflecopter link below:
The giveaway will run through December 5, 2016 and the winner will be announced on December 6.
You can read more about her and her books at: