Monday, March 19, 2012

Transforming Stereotypes

We all use stereotypes. Every single one of us, every single day. For example, someone at a restaurant hands you something in glass that is liquid and perfectly clear, has no aroma and no fizz. You assume that it is water based on your stereotypes of the world. Some stereotypes are useful; some are harmful.
One particular stereotype out there concerns our hobby, my friends. For an example, take a look at this picture:
This is clearly a phenomenal photograph displaying a pipe smoker who has many stories to tell. However, it is also the image that most people get when they imagine pipe smokers. This is the pipe smoker stereotype, specifically a white man over the age of fifty-five (if only he would have had tweed on!). In fact, this stereotype was recently mentioned on a pipe forum that I frequent. Its validity was questioned, along with whether or not it was a helpful stereotype and, if not, what can be done about it.
This stereotype does not actively work towards changing the demographic of pipe smoking, which is a necessity if pipe smoking is to survive. What we need is a stereotype that moves us progressively forward.
To read more, check out my blog's new location here.

1 comment:

  1. A good point Ethan, and I'm sure that people are put off by the thought that this is an old man's pastime. Back in the 50's it was more a college boy thing but I suppose political correctness and all things relating to tobacco use nowadays doesn't help.

    A lot of us have beards though...

    (Including you - almost :-))