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Stereotype is typically defined as a simplified generalization about members of a particular group. And, gender stereotype is a widely adopted concept about different gender attributes. The way our society portrays women as inferior to men in toughness, whether it is courage, physical strength, or intelligence expresses a common gender stereotype. Such portrayals are often carried out by propaganda, entertainment, communities, and cultures in general as we experience it or see it around us. And the reasons for the persistence of a belief that women are inferior to men in toughness are due to scientific prejudices based on biological differences, social barriers of domestication, and the influence of multimedia.
According to Buck, white privilege was established in the USA. To explain it, she takes us back to the 16th and the 17th century. Before the construction of race that exists today, there were only two main classes of Europeans and Africans or whites and blacks. And the whites dominated over blacks using them as slaves. The Native Americans were also treated as inferior to the whites. They suffered from the same oppression that the blacks did. To support her rationales, Buck uses examples of historical changes like the Bacon’s Rebellion. “Given the tendency of slaves, servants, and landless free Europeans and Africans to cooperate in rebellion, the elite had to "teach Whites the value of whiteness" in order to divide and rule their labor force.” (P. S. Rothenberg, 32) After that rebellion, the Europeans implemented stricter voting rights that prevented Africans, Native Americans, and sub tribes who did not identify themselves as Europeans from voting. They even increased the punishment for white women who married African men, and black children of white fathers were given the status of slavery rather than 30 years of indenture. Many such punishments were implemented to maintain the status quo of white privilege.
In her poetry, Maya Angelou defines the birdcage as “The caged bird sings with a fearful trill of things unknown but longed for still and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom.” She expresses her early childhood experiences of oppression by discrimination based on prejudices of racism. The birdcage is used as a metaphor by both Maya Angelou in her poetry and Marilyn Frye in her “Oppression” article. In “Defining Racism: “Can We Talk?”” Beverly Tatum analyzed “Internalized Oppression.” She addresses how the members of oppressed groups often believe the distorted messages about their own groups. Oppressed people are like the birds in a cage. They wish for freedom, but they cannot break the cage because of the systematic beliefs. The barriers of those systems or cultures are like the bars of a cage. People can express just how a bird does by singing, but they wait for someone to break those barriers just how a bird would wait for someone to open the cage. Frye’s illustration of the birdcage relates to such groups of oppressed people. Our society puts invisible barriers of beliefs by its actions that can give distorted messages to oppressed groups. While Tatum refers to it as an internalized oppression where you have an option to break free but owned beliefs block you, oppression goes beyond that. It is not only about beliefs, but it is also about systematic actions that favor one group over the other such as the white privilege. The distorted beliefs of oppressed people are strengthened when they face such discrimination. As they say “actions speak louder than words,” people mostly believe the actions that they see. Therefore, it is imperative to stand by our words of equality if we must prevent such distorted messages.