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The Dumb Blonde Stereotype and Deconstruction

by Robert Sandu

What is a stereotype ?
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a stereotype is a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment - Stereotypes are often confused with prejudices, because, like prejudices, a stereotype is based on a prior assumption. - Stereotypes are often created about people of specific cultures or races

Common Stereotypes
- All Blacks are good at sports; - All Jews are greedy. - All teenagers are rebels. - All Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. - Girls are not good at sports. - All white Americans are obese, lazy, and dim-witted. - All Asians are good at math. - All Mexicans are lazy and came into America illegally. and the list may continue

Stereotyping is not only hurtful, it is also wrong. Even if the stereotype is correct in some cases, constantly putting someone down based on your preconceived perceptions will not encourage them to succeed.

An interesting stereotype which led to many jokes and funny films is the one regarding the dumb blonde. The stereotypical perception of blond-haired women, has two aspects. 1. On one hand, over history, blonde hair in women has been considered attractive and desirable. 2. On the other hand, a blonde woman is often perceived as making little use of intelligence and as a woman who relied on her looks rather than on intelligence

Background and typology


Through medieval history, high-born women, princesses and queens were depicted as being blonde-haired. Blonde hair has been considered attractive for long periods of time in various European cultures, particularly when coupled with blue eyes. This perception is exploited in culture and advertising.

At the same time, people tend to presume that blondes are less serious-minded and less intelligent than brunettes. The origin of this presumption may trace back to ancient times. One of the first examples of blonde beauty is Helen of Troy, or Helen of Sparta in the Greek Mythology. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. In Greek myths she was considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world.

It is believed that she had no less than 31 suitors, when she was to marry.

Helen of troy is depicted as superficial, interested only in her physical aspect and ignorant,

her abduction by Paris leading to the Trojan War.

Another blonde in whose comportament may root the blonde jokes is the french courtesan Rosalie Duthe satirised in a 1775 play Les curiosites de la Foire for her habit of pausing a long time before speaking, appearing not only stupid but literally dumb. Duth became the mistress of wealthy English financier George Windham whom she is said to have ruined In Parisian society Duth developed a certain "reputation by adopting the habit of pausing for extended periods of time before speaking. She appeared not only stupid, but dumb in the literal sense. Although the origin of the stereotype of the dumb blonde is not entirely clear, Rosalie Duth acquired the dubious honour of becoming the first officially recorded dumb blonde.

Blonde jokes There is a category of jokes called "blonde jokes" that


employs the dumb blonde stereotype. It overlaps at times with the jokes that generally portray the subject of the joke as promiscuous and/or stupid. Blonde jokes nearly always take the format of the blond(e) placing himself or herself in an unusual situation, performing a silly act because he or she misconstrued the meaning of how an activity is supposed to play out, or making a comment that serves to highlight his or her supposed lack of intelligence, lack of common sense, or cluelessness, or promiscuity.

Examples:

You should be sure the person blonde when she: - puts lipstick on the forehead because she wants to makeup her mind. - gets stabbed in a shoot-out - gets locked in Furniture Shop and sleeps on the floor. - misses the 44 bus, and takes the 22 twice instead. - sells the car for gas money. - studies for a blood test and fails. - drives to the airport and sees a sign that said, Airport left, she turns around and goes home. - thinks socialism means partying. - sends a fax with a postage stamp on it.

A redhead tells her blonde stepsister, "I slept with a Brazilian...." The blonde replies, "Oh my God! You slut! How many is a brazilian?" Q: How do you get a blonde on the roof? A: Tell her drinks are on the house. Q: Why don't blondes get coffee breaks? A: It takes too long to retrain them. Q: Did you hear about the blonde with a PhD in Psychology? A: She'll blow your mind, too. Q: How do you make a blonde laugh on Saturday? A: Tell her a joke on Wednesday. Q: Why did God create blondes? A: Because sheep can't bring beer from the fridge. Q: Why did God create brunettes? A: Neither could the blondes.

German psychoanalist, film theoretician and Professor of Film Studies Annete Kuhn divides blonde stereotypes in cinema into three categories:

1. The ice-cold blonde: Kuhn defined it as "a blonde who hides a fire beneath an exterior of coldness". As examples she provided Grace Kelly an american actress married Rainer III de Monaco Eve Marie Saint, Veronica an American actress Lake, born in who has starred in New York, the films, on Brodway, actress had a and on television in lot of succes a career spanning in the 40s. seven decades.

Kim Novak
Mae Murray, an actress, dancer, film producer, and screenwriter

The blonde bombshell: Kuhn defined it as "a blonde with explosive sexuality and is available to men at a price. She provided Brigite Bardott, Lara Turner, Joan Blondell, Mae West and Marilyn Monroe as examples.
Brigite Bardott
Lara Turner

Joan Blondell

Marilyn Monroe

Mae West

The dumb blonde: Kuhn defined it as "a blonde with an overt and natural sexuality and a profound manifestation of ignorance". She provided as examples Jayne Mansfield Marion Davies Allice White Marie Wilson

Mamie Van Doren

Folklore
One theory is that the ancient Greeks and Romans so admired their flaxen-haired neighbors to the north, they would bleach their hair to make it blonde. Seeing as they didn't exactly have the health standards we have today, a considerable amount of bleach repeatedly placed on the scalp and being inhaledcould have some effect on one's mental status.

Another theory is that in the Middle Ages, while the lords and ladies pranced around and shaded their delicate features, common people worked outdoors in the fields and became tanned and their hair grew lighter. As the lower classes didn't usually have a formal education, tan skin and blonde hair became associated with unintelligent, lower class people.

Deconstruction
The color of one's hair is determined by either a gene, or a choice to make a chemical alteration to the color. Does that one gene, or whatever gene we have that makes us gravitate toward blonde-ness also affect intellectual capacity? Genetically, it doesn't appear to be that way. And that is because the random spread of the IQ level over the population.

To demonstrate the randomness of an event we can use Shannons formula for calculating the entropy level of an event which is:

entropy (usual symbol S) is a measure of the number of specific ways in which a system may be arranged, often taken to be a measure of disorder, or a measure of progressing towards a state of equilibrium. The entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards equilibrium, which is the state of maximum entropy.

Another way to demonstrate that the blonde stereotype is just a misjudgement based on individual examples is to provide enough examples which to contradict this assumption. This may take some serious time, but I can mention a few contemporary examples..

Madonna Louise Ciccone American singersongwriter, actress, author, director, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Hillary Clinton State secretary in Barrack Obama, former New york senator

Meryl Streep Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing seventeen times

Betty White American actress, comedienne, singer, author, and television personality. With a career spanning over nine separate decades, she is best known to contemporary audiences for her television roles.

J. K. Rowling British novelist, best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies.

Lauren Marbe took the MENSA test for fun with other students from Roding Valley High School in Loughton, scored a161: one point higher than the MENSA scores of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Albert Einstein.

Amy Pascal Shes co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. and Chairman of SPEs Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

Victoria Zdrok Ukranian model, actress and author

Jodie Foster She attended Yale and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in literature. In addition to wiining two Academy Awards, she has won three BAFTA Awards for two films, two Golden Globe Awards

Alexa Von Tobel is the founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, an independent personal finance website for women.
Business Insiders 2010 Silicon Alley 100
Inc. Magazines 30 under 30: The Top Young Entrepreneurs of 2010 Women to Watch by Forbes

Marissa Mayer Since 2012 she is the president and CEO of Yahoo!
Yulia Tymoshenko An Ukrainian politician. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine from 24 January to 8 September 2005, and again from 18 December 2007 to 4 March 2010.

Conclusion
To sum things up, there are all types of smart people and dumb people. Your intelligence is not determined by the fact that you spent too much time outside last summer, felt like trying something new at the hair salon, or were born with a gene that gave you blonde hair. Intelligence is a fluid thing, always changing, always able to be used or neglected.

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