The concept of hegemony, "power or dominance that one social group holds over others" (James Lull), helps me understand how and why people become so accustomed to certain beliefs and concepts that they do not bother to have their own. What I mean is, the way people think is majority of the time based on someone else's beliefs. What people do is... incorporate those beliefs into their own and thus not having their own original beliefs.
Confusing? Ok, I will put it this way: Music videos often time show 'us' what type of fashion is 'in'. If you cut your hair this way, or if you wear these type of pants, and those type of shoes, then you are a part of the group of people on the videos that also wear the wardrobe that you are mimicking. Still confused? Ok, not only does the entertainment industry 'brainwash' us, but religious leaders and politicians pull the same type of tricks if you will.
Ever thought about why you are a part of a certain religious affiliation? How did you realize that those beliefs were what you truly believed. Why do you believe them. It's the same with politics. The leaders of these groups warp our minds into vessels that will hold these beliefs.
If you live in a certain area, you are suppose to act in such a way that is appropriate for that certain community. Why, because the head honchos say so. If you are a man or a woman, you are supposed to behave a certain way. This is how stereotypes are developed. Women wash dishes. Men catch fishes. Women love shoes. Men love booze. Women should have nice hips. Men should drive big whips. Women shed tears. Men hide their fears. But why? Why are women supposed to be sensitive? Why are men suppose to be strong and powerful? Who decided that these were the correct characteristics for the sexes? The media. Leaders. Politicians. Other head honchos.
When we start to shake these roles and become our own characters, that's when chaos develops. Now a days, women can bring home the bacon and men can walk the run-way. We are rapidly making our own decisions, but in the back of our minds we sometimes question whether we are right or wrong, because we are challenging the status quo.