This isn’t really closely related to anything, but I came across the origin of the word stereotype in a reading for another class and I thought it was pretty fascinating. In the 1700s, the stereotype was a solid metal (later plastic or paper) plate used in printing. It was brought as a noun into English from the French adjective. In the 19th century, it meant something without change. The term was not used (or at least not recorded) to mean a fixed and oversimplified belief about a particular type of person or thing until the 1900s (I saw both 1922 and 1953 as dates, so not entirely sure there). I just thought it was interesting how the word has evolved through time. (If this is actually common knowledge, my bad, I’m apparently behind).


One thought on “Stereotype

  • September 11, 2019 at 2:53 am

    I really love this origin story (maybe I’m slightly bias because I’m a French Minor, but anyways.) If we thought about the way the authors we’ve already read and even the works will read are talking about stereotypes as “ones without change,” does it change any of our readings? Personally, for me it makes me think about how unchanging things can be comforting and familiar, so maybe the lives being portrayed are not the “stereotypes” we know to be, but maybe it was the unchanging stead fast nature that the author fell in love with. Mainly I’m thinking about Yuki since Nightingale was written before 1922. This definitely alters my slightly extremist view about the exploitation by Jack. Did Eaton believe she was really writing about a stable, lovable character dynamic? Was it stockholm syndrome? Was it stability? The evolution of words can change the answers to these questions.

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