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4 Stereotypes We Finally Need To
Get Over

Ster-e-o-type: noun - a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.

We've all heard them, some of us have thought them and others of us have spoken them, but it's about time we give stereotypes the boot and realise that it's the 21st century - they have no place in any of our lives. We're living in a world where we have the ability to try to be whatever we dream to be and almost anything is a possibility. There should be nothing to hold us back in 2018 apart from our own drive and dedication.

Yes there are long held traditions we've held over time but when it comes to restrictive stereotypes, and the pressure, negativity and power they sometimes so subtly hold over our journeys, we must all agree they should swiftly and irreversibly become a thing of the past. 

Over the past few years, I have unfortunately encountered a number of stereotypes, some worse than others but luckily none that have halted my work ethic or determination. If anything they've spurred me on more. They may have frustrated me, but in hindsight it's always been 'sticks 'n' stones'. I hope that by sharing the stereotypes I've had attached to me, and I'm sure attached to some of you guys, it'll encourage more of us to ditch these out of date, harmful and clichéd ideas. 

Being Blonde

I'm pretty sure I've heard them all and if I haven't? I don't want to. The dumb blonde jokes, the insults, it has to be one of the most common stereotypes anyone could come up with if they were asked to think of an example. I've always been a blondie, even underneath the pink and lilac phases, and it's not something I've ever been ashamed of. My hair colour is a part of me and something I love. A part of my Mum and Dad, probably from my Nana, that I carry with me and now tone and bleach to be even brighter these days. I remember when I was 14, I dyed my hair dark brown, as I was tired of feeling judged for being a blonde. Even at that age, I felt the stereotype and I took drastic measures to distance myself. But I learned to look past the ignorance, and it made me crave my achievements even more to prove everyone wrong. So what if I choose to take pride in my appearance and often have my hair done? There is truly no correlation, nor will there ever be, in my ability to be a successful, hard working, business woman just as if anyone chooses to embrace their natural colour and style. Perhaps a simple stereotype to break and the first I'd love to see the back of - blondes are definitely not dumb! 

Being A Northerner

There's a certain stereotype that comes with being from a small Northern town and I've definitely had more than my fair share of jokes aimed at me because I come from Wigan. If you saw my L'Oreal commercial recently on TV, you'll know that underneath my name it mentioned I was from Wigan. That was my choice! I am not from the wonderful city of Manchester, or just from the friendly North of England but the incredible town of Wigan. I am proud to come from Wigan, I'm proud to have been brought up with Northern values and I am proud to call it my home. The North/South divide needs to end already. There's always been a stereotype that someone Northern, with their warm accent, must not have made a name for themselves. I have often been judged on my looks first and then when I open my mouth and a Northern lilt appears, I have been judged for a second time; a true frustration for me but one I hope that us Northerners revel in discarding and proving wrong. Another stereotype I'd love to never hear again, just because we have a working class background doesn't mean we aren't successful nor full of drive to succeed. If anything, we should have more drive.

Being Educated & Passionate About Fashion

At first glance this may seem an odd stereotype but let me explain what I truly mean. I am eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to have a brilliant education. I had great teachers, supportive parents and the ability to be supported financially in the UK, to attend the University of my choice. So many don't have this opportunity or ability and I feel proud of the fact I embraced my education and worked incredibly hard for my qualifications. If I am ever in a conversation with someone regarding our educations and I proudly, and rightly so, mention I have completed my PhD and went on to lecture, I have often seen a look of shock. Sometimes I do admit, it's a lovely feeling to go against the grain but I have also too often had to defend myself both in person and online to those who assume I must have taken a shortcut or must in-fact be stretching the truth.

Others like to think that a Fashion degree and PhD is a Mickey Mouse course and pointless, and those people can take their ignorance elsewhere. A degree or doctorate is just that, regardless of the topic. No one's drive to further their education should be smirked at or shunned - and I've found its only by those who are green with envy that they didn't achieve the same. Regardless of the topic, a degree teaches you social, writing, organisational and career based skills - so why laugh at anyone taking the opportunity to enhance their education. 

Another moment that sticks with me is when I spoke with a male PhD student, who when told that I was studying for a PhD, laughed and said, 'you don't look like you'd be writing a PhD.' As if he felt that those studying a topic they love, shouldn't look after their appearance, or wear heels, or dye their hair or be in any way attractive. Which I found pretty disgusting. Anyone can further their career, regardless of what they look like, and if they do or don't have blonde hair. Take the incredible and beyond beautiful Natalie Portman (she has a degree in psychology, has co-authored multiple scientific papers and was a research assistant at Harvard) and the super model Karlie Kloss (a computer programmer who runs a non-profit to encourage young girls to get into coding). True inspirations in their multiple respective fields, and two women who break the stereotype that you can't balance both your education and other passions too. 

Being The Bread Winner

There's a very outdated tradition, that sometimes morphs into a stereotype, of a female not being capable of being the bread winner. I've quite often realised this goes hand in hand with sexism. I don't come across this stereotype as much as the others anymore, but that's probably because I'm surrounded by a plethora of bread-winning women most days. Also, Alex is more than happy to congratulate and support me for the work I put in and for being the highest earner in the household, but I know that for some men, this would not be the case unfortunately. And that's why this may be the stereotype that frustrates me the most. It's 2018, if we can choose whatever career we dream to have, to love who we want to love and to live our lives not dictated by someone else's rules, surely a woman being the breadwinner in the relationship is really not an issue. I have so many role models who have paved out their own careers and earned much more than their partners, and without them we wouldn't all be able to break through this outdated stereotype with gusto. Think of all of those women who own their own businesses, who are CEO's and at the top of their company hierarchy (although we need a hell of a lot more of them). It's time that relationship roles go in whatever direction life takes us.

I'd love to hear what stereotypes may have affected you - as I'm sure there will be stereotypes specific to regions, area, accents and appearances that I won't have even come across. I'd love to hear how you've overcome them and whether you think they're slowly on their way out.

Images shot in a cosy suite at the Pulitzer Hotel in beautiful Amsterdam, wearing the Enchanted Lotus collection from De Beers.

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