By Dr. Christina Sisti
|Photo by Ian Macharia on Unsplash|
“A stereotype may be negative or positive, but even positive stereotypes present two problems: They are cliches, and they present a human being as far more simple and uniform than any human being actually is.” Nancy Kress
When we are born we do not know that our gender, race or ability will shape how we are viewed. We are unaware of the label we are given and the opportunities we may receive or be denied.
There is a need to recognize the effect discrimination and public policy stemming from stereotypes have had on marginalized social groups while also acknowledging the need for social inclusion. To be effective, political movements within marginalized social groups must encompass the ethical issues faced by both genders. Minorities and disabled people are the victims of stereotypes. Opinions formed in previous centuries have continued into this century.
The effect is those in the minority are placed in danger of having their rights violated because of misconceptions or callousness. Stereotypes have led to the eventual development of an underclass which is defined as a marginalized social group whose social disadvantages and expectations are linked to public policy, especially America’s public policy on sexuality.
Discrimination is rooted in stereotypes. The stereotypes placed upon those of another race or ability have translated into social policy. These ideas once incorporated into society become normative and are used to create a hierarchy in society.
The images created by stereotypes form theories which become entrenched in pathology and psychopathology regardless of the veracity of the stereotype. Concepts held by those who endorse stereotypes may bring comfort to those who believe in differences between race and abilities. Promoting cultural superiority leads to divisive views and causes harm to those who are viewed as inferior. The need to create a sense of self while defining self as superior generates xenophobia.America is witnessing tensions boiling because the country is divided by preconceived beliefs, of race and ability. Left unregulated the eradication of stereotypes will be led by the conscience of the people thus disallowing discrimination yet by leaving discrimination unregulated it only helped those in the majority hide their discriminatory practices in the guise of a colorless, non-disabled facade.
The attempt to create an equal footing for marginalized populations through legislation was noble, but it did not hold people morally accountable for their long-held beliefs regarding race, gender, and ability.
This article is extracted from the Research paper titled 'America's Public Policy on Sexuality: The Repression of Girls in Vulnerable Populations' in Chapter 4 of the Safety Report by SAFIGI Outreach Foundation 'Safety First for Girls'.
The Safety Report by SAFIGI is a two-fold Open research on 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The first part of the Safety Report is a Research Paper. The second part is a detailed Data Analysis.
The Safety Report Research paper is titled: 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The paper starts with an abstract before focusing on subjects in the key regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. A total of 7 Research papers make up the safety Report (sans the introduction and conclusion), including:
- The psychological effect of mass sexual harassment on girls in Egypt (P.24) by Heba Elasiouty.
- Safety concerns in relation to social media: Growing up female in an increasingly digital world (P.45) by Karin Temperley.
- Psychosocial challenges faced by parents raising children with physical disabilities in Oshana region (P.68) by Misumbi Shikaputo.
- Gender-based violence and subsequent safety challenges experienced by Rohingya women (P.119) by Shucheesmita Simonti.
- LGBT policies and overall safety in Brazil (P.141) by Alinne Lopes Gomes.
- Silent voices‘: Violence against the female body as consequence of machismo culture (P.177) by Steffica Warwick.
- America‘s Public Policy on Sexuality: The Repression of Girls in Vulnerable Populations (P.208) by Dr. Christina Sisti.
The Safety Report Data Analysis is titled: 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls. Results and Outcomes based on Zambia, Egypt, USA, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Namibia.'
SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd, a volunteer-based and youth led NGO registered in Zambia, implemented the Safety Report in order to understand the multifaceted concept of safety and how it applies to the female gender in diverse settings. And therefore, further prove safety is intrinsic, and that vices in society stem from an intimate level of the human being before its manifestation. This way, when we create safety solutions, whether it be in a developing nation, conflict zone, refugee camp, or patriarchal society, the problem is resolved from a deeply rooted cause. Such that, we treat the disease itself and not mere symptoms.
This study is as a result of collaborative effort pursued in the spirit of volunteerism via UN Online Volunteers.