University of Washington
Understanding and Developing from Misconceptions
As a blonde cheerleader, I've chuckled to myself when instructors who don't yet know me refrain from calling on me the first week of class. I guess the uniform and pom-poms give them a subconscious stereotype that I will be unable to answer the questions they pose. Eventually, they come to the realization that their preconceived notions are not holding true, and they begin to treat me based on my capabilities rather than my appearance. It is at this point that I feel as though the instructors begin to see me as more than a bubbly and energetic cheerleader and accept me as an intelligent and focused student.
I became aware of stereotyping at an early age because it happened frequently to me. Because I am blonde, it has always been easy for others to make assumptions about my intelligence or abilities. When I became a cheerleader, absolute strangers made more assumptions. Based on a stereotype, people assume they know me and do not expect to find anything different. I surprise them when they find out how much I enjoy and excel at math and science. Once people see me complete assignments and do well in class, their opinions change.
Strangers can be confused by the "blonde cheerleader" stereotype when I make a...
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