Thank You Candace Parker For Communicating The Un-Stereotype
Today TCS wants to thank WNBA basketball player Candace Parker for communicating an unstereotype. The unstereotype, as I am coining it today, is a message about a group that is counter to the stereotype for that group. Because stereotypes help with information processing, the unstereotype actually makes information processing difficult because it counters your stereotypical assumptions.
The unstereotype shocks you, makes you take a second look, makes you momentarily confused, and bothers you though you don’t know why.
The unstereotype stands out as noticeable, whereas a stereotype is often overlooked because you are so accustomed to using it to process information.
The unstereotype pictured in the photograph above stood out so much that photographers took pictures of it and ESPN used a version of it in an advertisement in Parenting Magazine (October 2012). Why is this picture unstereotypical? Because it shows one of the most tender moments between a mother and her child while also simultaneously showing a strong, aggressive, and competitive woman. These two ideas seem, even as I am writing them, mutually exclusive. Yet, Candace Parker demonstrates they are not. The unstereotype pictured in the photo shows women can have stereotypically feminine traits and stereotypically masculine traits at the same time and still be valued and respected. The double bind be damned!
Ms. Parker was just living her life, showing affection to her daughter. She wasn’t mugging for the camera. She wasn’t photo bombing. She didn’t stage the whole scene. It was natural and perfectly unstereotypical!