Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Clean Out Your Stereotypes GIVEAWAY!

G'day mate. Wanna throw another shrimp on the barbie?

Um, that's not what we say here in Australia. A shrimp refers to a tiny person. But it's a common misconception that's to an advertising campaigned thirty or so years ago that was aimed at Americans.

Admittedly, this is a pretty innocent misconception. It doesn't harm anyone, really. However, other stereotypes do, and when these are perpetuating into writing, you can end up with harmful representation.

I see a lot of talk about it online, and I know as a cis white female, I'm pretty clueless on what others face and it's my responsibility to research for my writing to try make sure I don't have harmful rep in my writing.

I really don't want to give examples, as I don't want to perpetuate any, so I'll only talk about things I have personally experienced. And the examples aren't particularly harmful, but were at times annoying. They are more to exemplify how stereotyping can get things wrong.

  • White collar workers in Australia vote Liberal: My father was a white collar worker, who was also a member of the labour party at one time. 
  • PR deals with the fluffy stuff: Problem solving is one of my strongest attributes, often because I think outside the square with creative solutions, but also because I see patterns. 
  • Front-row Rugby League players are meat-heads: My eldest son was simultaneously a representative level front-row rugby league player and dux of his primary school (smartest in his grade) and is now studying engineering. 
  • People with OCD are neat-freaks: I am one of the messiest people ever. That's because OCD is way more complex, and present in more ways, than people think.
  • People with epilepsy fall down and thrash around: That's a way to describe someone having a grand mal seizure. My son has complex-partial epilepsy, and his seizure involve him looking vague, having automation, and not comprehending what is happening around him. There are more than 40 different types of epilepsy. 
  • The man is the breadwinner of the house: My husband has been the primary carer for our children for about three-quarters of their lives, while I have been the main income earner for more than half of my husband and my married life. 
So non of these busted stereotypes are particularly harmful, but stereotypes can be. If you want your characters to have depth, write beyond the stereotypes. 

And now for the GIVEAWAY details. 

Lakewater Press was created one year ago by my friend Kate Foster. To celebrate Lakewater Press' birthday they're having a GIANT giveaway! It's HUGE. Amazon gift cards, books, bookmarks swag! You can find out all the details here

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