Rabble Rouser

Everything you wanted to know about social psychology but were afraid to ask

Stereotypes Have Been Stereotyped!

Many social science perspectives on stereotypes are exaggerated, inaccurate, rigidly resistant to change in the face of relentless disconfirming evidence, and maintain their conclusions by virtue of a very selective focus on studies and findings that confirm the a priori belief in the irrationality and badness of stereotypes. Read More

"All of them are X" - the case of Susan Brownmiller

Hi Lee,
a very interesting and thought-provoking article. I do agree that people who genuinely think in terms of "All of them are X" are most probably quite rare. However, I am aware of one high-profile individual who has made such a statement in print. Susan Brownmiller in her well-known book "Against our will" and on her website boldly states:

"From prehistoric times to the present, I believe, rape has played a critical function. It is nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear."

Yes, she actually says that ALL men are the same and that ALL women are affected the same way! Personally, I find it incredible that someone would think she can make a sensible statement about every single man in the history of the world, but there you have it.

Susan Brownmiller


I rarely reply to posts, but your's was too delicious to resist. What a great counter example! In fact: 1) I may start using this myself as one of the few counter-examples out there; 2) It prompted me to make a slight revision to the original post to include ideological extremists, not just religious or nationalist ones; 3)I wonder why social scientists railing against the evils of stereotypes have never used that example? Hmmm ... if you have not already, you might want to see my post on Liberal Privilege for a possible answer .... http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201209/liberal-privile... and 4) As Jon Haidt has pointed out (his stuff is cited in several of my prior blog entries), strong ideologues often act like "tribal-moral" communities which, among other things, leads them to be blind to their own flaws and circle the wagons protecting their own -- something that is just as true of conservatives as liberals, but it rarely comes up among conservatives in the social sciences because there are so few!


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Lee Jussim, Ph.D., is a social psychologist who has written on social perception, accuracy, self-fulfilling prophecies and stereotypes, and prejudice for more than 30 years.


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