Stereotypes don't just apply to people, places, and religions, they also apply to pop-culture references that we have all just accepted as the "norm." But where did these stereotypes even begin, and why exactly are they stereotypes that have continued to exist for decades?
Here are the origins of 9 pop culture stereotypes that we just accept as always having been true.
1. Cops and doughnuts
Before the 1950s, cops used to walk their "beats," then came the advent of the police cruiser. When cops were now allowed to drive around town all night, they were able to find stores that were open late in order to grab a bite to eat or something to drink. At the time, the only places that were open that late were coffee shops, which coincidentally sold doughnuts. Hence, cops like doughnuts. Plus, now that cops have no idea when their next break is going to happen, doughnuts are able to stay edible when sitting in a car for long periods of time.
2. The matador's red cape.
It doesn't matter what color a matador's cape is, bulls are colorblind. So why do we consider the red cape to a be trigger for charging bulls? Matadors use capes of a variety of colors, but it is only towards the end of the fight that the red cape comes into play. The bull is set to be stabbed to death, and the red cape just happens to hide the sight of blood from the spectators.
3. Mice eating cheese.
It turns out that mice don't even like eating cheese, which is why people who set traps are told to use peanut butter instead. Why do all cartoon mice appear willing to risk their lives for a wedge of cheddar? Before the advent of refrigerators (or electricity for that matter) food was stored in a number of different ways. Cheese was kept in a pantry, so when a mouse would go looking for food, they would often come across this dairy product. Even though they don't particularly like cheese, when hungry, they will eat virtually anything.
4. The obese opera singer.
Contrary to popular belief, most opera singers are not massive human beings. It all started with a particular opera, Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, which features a Valkyrie character who would sing for 20 minutes straight to end that particular show. The ladies who portrayed her were often bigger (not obese) and because of the success of that particular opera, the stereotype was born. We also got "it's not over until the fat lady sings," from the same deal.
5. The dumb blonde.
This stereotype has actually been around for hundreds of years. In Paris (200 years ago) there was a blonde debutante named Mademoiselle Rosalie Duthe, who was as beautiful as she was mentally slow. She inspired a playwrite to create a one-act play that depicted a dumb blonde character who was clearly inspired by Duthe. It was because of this play that we still have dumb blonde characters sprinkled throughout pop-culture.