I'm not sure why I've been contemplating this topic so much in the last week or two but I keep examining my own reactions to both people and situations and challenging myself to question my assumptions and whatever stereotypes I have.
Stereotypes and assumptions are natural. I think people have a need to classify things somehow and they will seek to find ways to do so, even when the categories may be inaccurate, incorrect, etc.
I, myself, break a stereotype in that I am a woman working in high tech and (though not anymore) I worked as a software tester, a technical role. Most women in high tech are not in this sort of technical role. I believe there are many reasons for this including cultural stereotypes, but it's the statistical reality.
But just because something is a stereotype, it doesn't mean it's the truth. I try to write heroes that, in some way, break out of a stereotype. I actually don't write manga-based stories because I immediately want to rebel against the generally accepted stereotypes. I really enjoy watching readers be surprised by my heroes - like my very muscular, big and tattooed motorcycle-riding tough guy who happens to be a chocolatier and is owned by two female russian blue cats.
I think breaking out of stereotypes can add a lot of spice and interest to your stories and, in real life, can open your heart to great friendships with fascinating people. Looking beyond the first impressions and your own biases can enrich your life greatly.
What stereotypes in m/m romance do you wish authors would break more often?