I was walking with the dog when I saw a BIG truck- the kind of truck that people use to haul things and do construction and stuff…

Big macho truck.

Driven by big, burly tattooed guy with a leather vest.

Did I mention the truck was painted pink?

Big, tough looking PINK vehicle- manned by big, tough looking guy.

On the side of the big, pink truck was an inscription to whomever the driver had lost to breast cancer. Some words about being an ambassador for curing the disease. A big pink ribbon telling people to please get checked out regularly.

All on this big pink truck.

When I saw it my first thought was:

Wow. What a great way to try to get a message across to people. Use you vehicle to promote awareness about a devastating disease.

My second thought was:

I’m just surprised that this big tough looking guy actually did this on his work truck

I know. Flog me. I’m a bad person because I don’t think shaved head, muscled tattooed guys can be sensitive to women’s issues and to so openly being devastated by the loss of a loved one.

For the record, I know that I shouldn’t judge people by how they look. Yet…there I was, dumbfounded by looking at the man and reading the message.

Macho guys have the stereotype of being insensitive. The word macho even implies uber maleness…when I see a macho guy every bad stereotype of men pops into my head.

I just can’t help it.

When I walk by construction sites and these big guys stop to pet my dog and AWWWWWW over her cuteness, I am always taken aback. Really? These guys actually think my 7 pound fluffy dog and her pink raincoat are cute? Don’t they see that rather stately German Shepherd right over there?

No matter how evolved we think we have become, we still can fall back on judging a book by its cover. We see a “type” and we “assume”.

If you’ve ever seen “The Odd Couple” you know that when we assume, you make an ass out of u and me

Don’t assume anything.

Don’t stereotype.

58 thoughts on “The One Where I Stereotype

  1. I came across I similar situation with teenage boys play hockey. One of the moms is a breast cancer survivor. Another boy also has a family member who is a breast cancer survivor. These two boys had pink hockey tape on their sticks.

    Most of the other boys have black or white. None of them ever said anything about the pink hockey tape but most of them did not volunteer to put pink tape on their sticks.

    One day there was some fundraising going on involving breast cancer awareness month or something and the coaching team decided all boys on the team woukd wrap their stick with pink hockey tape as a token to those who are fighting, have survived or lost someone to breast cancer.

    All the boys participated but a couple of the boys looked a little bit uncomfortable. Pink tape on a hockey stick takes a little bit of getting used to for some boys.

    I thought it was a great way to remove the stigma of pink in a heavily male oriented sport. You see this sort of thing more often in the younger age groups but for these boys who were 13 and 14, for some of them it felt a little odd.

    It made me wonder: are they afraid of being judged? By whom? And doesn’t matter?

    It may not be directly related to your story but it’s what popped into my head when I thought about the colour pink in all places where typically males spend their time at work or play.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s totally in line with my post…and a good add on. We perceive pink in a certain way, and have made it a female color that “real men” don’t wear (my husband has gotten grief over his pink button down) and it’s a bad perception to link traits to colors

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems we’re destined to always make these assumptions about people or groups of people. I think it’s really bad now with everything from race to religion to political parties. It seems like no matter how hard we try NOT to stereotype, it’s always there under the surface. The odd thing is, stereotypes happened for a reason. When enough people act/dress/speak a certain way long enough, it’s easy to attribute those characteristics across the board.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very true. Many men in the military can come across as tough and uncaring but some have a big heart. When I was in the military, I experienced some good guys and some not so fair or good. Sometimes it is hard not to judge all of them by what I experienced. It was a different time and I married many years later a veteran, so I learned to be open again. Such is life. There were some women who were great and others, not. Never judge by the cover.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, while I am glad that I went in the military my time on ship was very challenging as there were few females during this time. I have also reaped many benefits from my time in service, so I took a chance and appreciate that I learned from the inside about a job in the navy. Things have changed, but I am sure some things remain the same. I also met some very good people.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think now and then, even the most liberal, progressive minds can become victims to stereotyping. It’s not conscious but learned behavior that gets buried deep down. And every now and then it rises to the surface. Most of us don’t realize it is there until suddenly it smacks us in the face.
    I consider myself extremely aware of progressive ideas. But sometimes I’m surprised at myself too. Past stereotypes peek out and I realize how narrow minded those old views were.
    Don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens. Our generation has witnessed so much change that it would be impossible not to harbor some remnants of old stereotypes at the corners of your mind.

    Plus, we watch tv, read novels and often characters are still portrayed in a stereotypical manner. When my cable breaks, I would be very surprised if a female came to my door to repair it. Not that a woman couldn’t do the work. But because I’ve never had a cable repair person who wasn’t male. I’d prefer a woman. They are usually neater and clean up after themselves. ( did I just stereotype?). Yeah, I’m assuming a female would wear foot covers and do a neater job. I’ll never know because in all the years I’ve lived down in Florida all the cable guys were men. All my AC guys were male. So I’m used to male repair people. We get used to what we see. And then we become surprised at what appears different. It’s human nature.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s funny with descriptions. If I were to write this guy as a character in a book, the assumption would be that he was a tough guy…so we sort of perpetuate these things….I think that’s worth a post…

      Like

  5. In my younger days I may not always have looked as respectable as I could have done. Shaved head, beard, larger than average. I had to call the police once when someone they were loking for came into the shop. The attending offices thought of arresting me too, as I later found out. They thought I looked like I should be guilty of something . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What helped me not to stereotype others was a discussion where I got to hear an honest take of where others – who didn’t know me – categorised me. I didn’t like what I heard, in truth, I was very upset – but I understood I was placed there based upon how I appeared to them. The fact of the matter is any stereotype based on my outside is very far from who I am because I’ve lived an unusual life for someone who looks like me. I’m grateful for that experience, as it’s only once you’ve had your eyes opened via feeling that hurt, that you can start the process of getting a handle on how your presumptions feel to others.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, but what have you done with those experiences? How have you used them to ensure that you don’t misjudge others? That’s the bit which matters – using the experience to change yourself for the better. Stereotyping is a result of the way our brains sort stuff. It sees a pattern and it gives you a shortcut (the stereotype). But you can change that by providing your brain with evidence it’s sorting stuff wrong, otherwise it’ll just keep on doing it and we’ll all go around judging one another by what’s on the outside rather than what’s on the inside.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ObviousLy not if my second inclination was to not think this guy had a heart. If his truck wasn’t painted pink and I didn’t actively think about it, I would have assumed this guy was insensitive. As KE pointed out, brains making patterns is instinct…if faced with a crisis or such we rely on our brains to quickly jump to the chase….but….after writing this I’ve considered a bunch of different things….so eventually there will be more on this topic.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. LA, we’re all works in progress along many paths. I’m pretty darn sure this is going to have an impact on your future thinking.

        The whole subject of changing your thinking is so interesting. I mostly know it around helping people change their thinking when they suffer from things such as anxiety, lack of self-confidence and the like, but you can apply it to all kinds of areas – like this one.

        Really interesting discussion. Your break clearly got you firing again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I absolutely LOVE this. Yes, we all do it. I hate when I do and generally give myself a stern talking to about making assumptions and all the like. We are heavily influenced from childhood by a barrage of messages, some of them quite insidious and sneaky. We take them in and when they crop their ugly little messages consciously into our minds we can be quite shocked. hey, we’re all only human. But critical thinkers such as yourself will question such messages and send them packing.

    I had sort of a similar experience when I was young. I was working in a key kiosk at the time and this big man, wearing leather vest and chains and looking like something out of the old motorcycle movies featuring nefarious bike gangs like the Hell’s Angels, came to get a key cut. But when he spoke this very high, rather feminine-sounding voice erupted from his mouth. I was shocked. Again, it had everything to do with the macho image portrayed in movies and television (among others).

    Kudos to that man for painting his truck pink and spreading awareness! That’s so awesome!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t think it’s terrible to stereotype people – it can be part of a fight or flight response. But doing it without realizing that you’re being judgmental is the problem. If I make an assumption about someone and then stop myself, I think that’s okay. It’s when I don’t notice myself doing it that I’m in trouble. That’s what my kids are for. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I learned this phrase in grad school, “the brain is a pattern-maker.” That’s how we make sense of the world. Where we go wrong is literally thinking every person is like X because Y.

    This topic is fascinating to me because we’re all multidimensional, and I’d think it would be easy to not stereotype because we don’t wanna be stereotyped, but then I go back to the quote. I think it’s something we have to fight hard against, because it’s quite natural.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Stereotypes! Macho men believe in them too.

    A few years back I owned a fencing company supplying the construction industry. On numerous occasions, when I quoted buyers, they looked to speak to ‘the boss’ and got totally flummoxed when I said that would be me. One guy wouldn’t believe me. I had to put him on to my employee (male) to close the deal.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with you wholeheartedly. For the record, I am not a “big burly man”, however, I do have over 34 tattoos and have had my share of people making assumptions about me based on this surface-level knowledge. And, we all do it. The important aspect of this knowledge is the awareness to disrupt the pattern of doing it. To question it…great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh my gosh. I’m around burly, big construction man and I’ve never seen more guys come out of Starbucks with these venti pink and lime green coffee drinks. I’ve only maybe one gal out of, oh probably 7 men. But, I do think dogs are a man’s kryptonite. Everybody send more friendly when traveling with a dog. 😋

    Liked by 1 person

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