Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Attitude and Stereotypes

Today we had a lecture about attitude and stereotypes and it really made me think about myself and the kind of person I am. I tend to think I don't conform to the norm and like to be a bit different. However as a female who is more than "cuddly" I certainly think I conform to the traditional image of a midwife. When my eldest daughter was born, I did tend to dress her in pink clothing; though it has to be said, I partially did that so that people would know she was a girl and this continued as she hadn't much hair until she was 2 years old.

In personality I think I am fairly atypical of female traits. I am sensitive, cry easily and wear my heart on my sleeve. I have a tendency to react first and think later - this can be both a benefit and a fault of course. In general I think I have a "good attitude". I mostly look on the positive side of life and am an optimist. However at other times I have a definite tendency towards a negative, pessimistic attitude. My self-confidence is not great and people don't always know this about me as I put on a face to hide it so I would say that is the more negative side of my personality. However when it comes to situations and life in general I am fairly optimistic. I also tend to try and turn situations around and find the positives in them where I can. I also like to think that I always try to see the best in everyone. This is probably because I don't believe that anyone is all bad and that circumstance, upbringing, finances etc. all contribute to who we are; not to forget that everyone is entitled to a bad day.

When I consider my home life I think I am a little less stereotypical. I have a house husband for example - that's definitely not stereotypical. My husband is responsible for the majority of the childcare, the cooking, the washing, and  the housework. My husband is not the type of man to be concerned with how people view him though.  I had however been a stay at home Mum for 4 years before I started the course. I don't think that is unusual, although it's not unusual for women to return to work either. Perhaps slightly more unusual is the fact that I used cloth nappies and a sling which which to carry them. Whilst these are growing in popularity, they are still the more unusual option.

When I was at school Take That were around for the first time and many of my friends were really into them. Me - nope I didn't like them at all! I was into Guns n' Roses and Pink Floyd. I liked to wear Doctor Martens and a leather jacket. So although I wasn't the stereotypical teenager in some ways, I was still conforming to an image of what a Guns n' Roses fan should look like. Not quite so much of an individual after all. These days I listen to what I like and if it's in the charts then great because they'll be playing it on the radio.

So what benefit is this to me in my training as a midwife? I don't fit into a "box". I am not stereotypical because no-one really is. Everyone is unique and an individual and as such the care provided to them needs to be tailored individually as well. As a midwife being able to see the good in everyone should only advantage me I think? Understanding that attitude can be affected by others is essential as well. If I am positive with a woman, in both my language and demeanour, then that can transfer to her and help her to be more positive too. It's important not to be judgemental as a midwife but we all make snap judgements on a daily basis. We make assumptions about what people are like based on their clothes, their appearance, their job. This shouldn't impact on how I look after women. I am most definitely not a saint or an angel, as midwives are sometimes portrayed,  but I do try my best to treat people equally already.


  1. What sorts of comments were made about attitudes and stereotypes then? I am very curious to know...

  2. Well it was all about what is a bad attitude and what is a negative attitude? How we may describe someone as having a bad attitude but what do we mean by that?

    And the stereotypes was looking at gender, race, age etc. How we still think that a male midwife is abnormal, that baby boys shouldn't wear pink.

    It was a lecture to challenge our thoughts and also to think about how it could impact on care that we give as Health Professionals.

    Does that help?