Thursday, January 15, 2009

Learned my Lesson

I really wanted to post about something I care about. Nothing seemed to click for me this week in all our discussions about stereotypes and even listening to the civil rights panel, I just couldn't quite connect with my inner careness level (I cared, just not enough to blog).

So last night, around 11 I'm watching the new season of The Real World. I love love TV, totally not ashamed mind you, but The Real World has never been on my list of must-sees. However, this season they have this LDS guy named Chet. So I'm like, hey I'm LDS, I'm interested in seeing how this guy represents my "culture".

So as I'm watching the show, all I can think about is what a tool he is. Seriously, I don't think I would ever choose to be friends with him. He doesn't seem to have any tact and half the time sounds like he will be the first one back (to douchebagastan).

And then it hit me. I was totally stereotyping what he would be like. I assumed he would be this clean cut missionary esq down to earth dude. In all honesty, I hoped he would be the "stereotypical" non crazy respectful Mormon guy, but instead...we got Chet. CLEARLY, I was way off base. Totally my bad for assuming anything!

Personally, I hope I never run into anyone that asks if I'm LDS and then stereotypes me as Chet's counterpart. Hopefully in realizing I've made a mistake in stereotyping him, I won't get the icky Karma that will send Chet hating people my way. Cheers to realizing stereotypes are NOT right, and here's to hoping Chet doesn't continue being an idiot.


  1. Don't you just hate it when that happens. You hope that if some one is going to mention that they are LDS, that they will represent to the best of their possibilities, what the Church stands for. Maybe members should just stay off of reality TV. Or maybe they people who picked him figured he would and a different angle to our faith. I haven't watched The Real World for years, and for good reason.

  2. Hey B!

    I don't remember how long ago you started watching RW but there was another member of the church on there. Julie Stoffer is her name and for those of you who have lived in the Provo/Orem area you might know her as the girl who got kicked out of BYU for violating the honor code for being on the show.

    When I had first heard this I was like "yes someone who could be good and stand up for what's right." But as the season evolved I was amazed at how much she didn't follow church standards. I remember her talking to her mom in one episode and her mom had asked something about if Julie had contacted her new bishop. Julie was not impressed. It was so not cool to see how she represented the church. And I do remember her saying she didn't represent our faith...I was like hello your faith is a part of you!!! I just wanted to smash my TV in.

    I do not want to be stereotyped with them and they left a stereotype for us as well: BYU is very strict and we hate gays...well at least in that particular season.

    I am surprised MTV even let on another Mormon. I know it's to create drama. And your first I liked Julie but then she became something more rhyming with "witch."

    But as a side note: Julie does have a website of her own. She has moved on to Univ. of Utah but is now married and sealed! Perhaps she was going through a rebellious phase for all to see on TV?


  3. I am actually happy it is Chet and not someone else. . . Julie. I actually feel like he is a more accurate representation of what LDS young adults are- or the other side of the story. Julie on the left, Chet on the right. Julie I think was typecast because she was a BYU student who grew up in the strict LDS family in small town Wisconsin, and wasn't exposed to much. Chet on the other hand is a former U of U frat boy. At least he has that going for him!

    I think he'll accurately show that as LDS people we are individuals. We are able to think for ourselves, be into different things, drink coke, go out and party, and yes, we do get horny.

    Remember also that the show is edited to tell a story- the story the producers want shown. I bet what we see isn't the whole story or even half of it. Yes, I cringed when he was talking to what's his face about his junk, it did make him look clueless, but seriously- a U frat boy who doesn't know about sex?

    I can totally appreciate the hesitation and initial steretyping though. I too was totally all "great!" just what we need- give it time though, it may actually turn out great.

  4. I liked this post because it made me realize how quickly we can exclude ourselves from those mean people who stereotype others. We probably do it all the time without realizing it. I think maybe we would want this Chet person to represent a more positive stereotype for the general public, but even then it might not be an accurate representation of LDS individuals anywhere. I think it's also a sensitive thing because LDS people are already on the defensive, expecting the media to criticize and ridicule.

  5. I totally understand what you are talking about here. In high school I was one of two mormons. I was the pretty click good girl while the other was commonly referred to as the class bicycle (everyone got a ride...) This was a stereotype I had to live with. When I told people I was mormon it was followed by, " Oh well Rachel is mormon, but she is at parties all the time." They lumped us together even though she was misrepresenting the religion.

    Also when one of my BEST friends found out that Aaron Eckhart who played two face in Batman was mormon she HONESTLY assumed that we knew each other. She felt that because we were both mormon we had some sort of hotline or spidey sense that we used to connect with each other...

    It is something that is hard to deal with. Just like people stereotype me because of my religion or the way I look (people think I am mexican all the time because my skin is a little darker) I do the same. It is how we make a place for ourselves in this very uncomfortable world. Sometimes we even have to stereotype ourselves to decide who we are. If I had to say three things about myself it would be Brunette, Chicago and guitar. Three stereotypes I just made for myself.

  6. Bailey- You know Atlas Shrugged?!?! I rarely find people who even know who Ayn Rand is! Have you read 'We The People'? It is so so good, intense, but awesome!

  7. This was a great post, and is evident by the way people were so passionate in the comments. The thing I think was really interesting is how quickly just about everyone jumped in to stereotyping Latter Day Saints, probably without even realizing it. To assume that all Mormons believe the same things, act the same way, is stereotyping. Like we discussed in class, stereotypes may have positive or negative connotations, but they are stereotypes nonetheless...