The American Stereotypes
My first encounter with American citizens was when I was 1 years old while being carried by my mom. According to my parents, everyone used to smile at me and one sweet girl said: “He is fat but he is happy :)”, a phrase that my parents really liked and kept reminding me of while I was growing up. This blog post is about the Stereotypes of the United States citizens and not the whole American continent, but you know, Canadians are Canadians, Mexicans are Mexicans, Brazilians are Brazilians and US citizens are Americans. So from here on, when I say Americans, what I mean is, United States citizens. The article is written from the perspective of a non US citizen.
Americans are fat but happy!
This is Possibly the most common Stereotype. Are American people really fat? Is it true or Is it just a false reputation? Hold on, let me give you the facts; According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, In 2009-2010, 35.7% of U.S. adults and 16.9% of U.S. children and adolescents were obese. Read the full article here: Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009–2010. So the truth is that 1 out of 3 of the United States’ population is obese, which is a scary percentage. But come on, look at the bright side, 😉 this means that the other two thirds of the population is fit.
Americans are very Friendly
Despite the New-Yorker’s reputation for being rude, most of the Americans I have met are extremely friendly. Americans love socializing and can get along easily with almost everyone and anyone.
The American guns debate
Possibly one of the most debated topics in the United States. I am not sure how these debates will affect the possession of guns in America in the future, but I do know this, here is what we, the non US citizens, think:
Every American household has a gun, and everyone is ready for the zombie apocalypse
The American Football
So in the United States, Soccer is the game where everyone is kicking the ball, voluntarily tripping down and pretending to be injured. To the rest of the world, American football is a wrestling game; team A tries to kill the player carrying the ball and team B tries hard to keep him alive.
The beautiful and sexy cheerleaders
Everyone loves “them” cheerleaders!
The Miami Beach
Everyone has heard of Miami Beach. Americans might have a reputation of being obese, but not those living in Miami. Here is what Miami is to us (the foreigners) :
- Everyone is wearing minimum clothes, just swimsuits, while on the beach, while jogging, while in the mall…
- All the bodies are prefect, beautiful perfect sexy bodies. Basically, everyone is almost naked so everyone is strongly motivated to maintain a good figure.
- Everyone is cool, there are the surfers, the runners, the swimmers, divers…
I do realize that Miami’s population as a city is more than 5 million and Miami Beach is probably a small subset of the whole city. While the points I listed above are probably accurate when describing Maimi Beach, these are probably not applicable to the whole city.
The Clubbing life
As a teenage growing in my own boring village and going to my dull school, each teenage or college-life American movie I have ever watched, represented a dream of the beautiful life I could have if I ever went to study abroad in USA. This never happened and I do realize now that everything in the movies looks much cooler than it is in real life.
Regardless of how my dreams turned out to be or what my perception of life in USA is now, there is undeniable stereotype here. The stereotype being that life in USA is, just as it is portrayed in movies, a magical wonderland of (the night life, the clubbing life, dancing, drinking, dating, the American Pie style of life).
Americans have a great passion for epic events
Comic-con is just one of them. A place where gorgeous girls dress in hot fictional character costumes and smart/geeky/nerdy guys turn into their own super hero for at least one day.
The Cancun Spring Break
American college students love going to Cancun / Mexico during spring break… and that is where all the crazy stuff happens.
Love making fun of their neighbors
Americans love making fun of their neighbors and most jokes involving Canadians or Mexicans are somewhere along the line:
- Mexicans (illegal immigrants / the hardworking labor class)
- Canadians (the funny Canadian accent / Canadians are too polite)
Are Americans stupid?
Are Americans really stupid? Here are some facts (at least according to the US citizens), which you didn’t know before:
- Utah and Utopia do exists and they are two independent nations as per the World Bank and United Nations.
- Israel’s religion is Muslim.
- US might have been involved in the Vietnam war (not certain though), and USA won the war over the Vietnamese.
- A TRIangle has possibly 4 sides, no sides at all, or just one side.
- As a part of its war on terror, United States of American should invade Saudia Arabia, Italy, Cuba, France…
- Iran, North Korea and France are geographically located right on top of Australia.
- Kofi Annan is a drink and Tony Blair is an actor and Fidel Castro is a singer.
You don’t believe me? Watch this video:
Ok, seriously now, these people are very ignorant, but do they really represent the American population? Surely not and here is why:
- Let us talk about the video first: The video creator is very subjective and just picked the wrong answers (possibly out of many questions to many people), with one thing in his mind, trying to make Americans look and sound dumb.
- USA is free and is ahead of the rest of the world in terms of its media coverage, Motion Picture and in the presence of its population over the web. So what does this mean? This means that the American citizens are more exposed to the rest of the world, more exposure from smart people and more exposure from dumb people. Thousands of dumb kids uploading their dumb videos on Youtube for the rest of the world to see them and build on the “Americans are dumb” stereotype.
- Life in the United States is very satisfying when compared to the rest of the world. This causes many of the US citizens not to look further beyond their borders and to ignore what is happening in the rest of the world because they are happy with what they have. This is where the American ignorance stems from.
What I am trying to say is this: the average American population is as dumb as the average population in any other country, however, the difference is that it is more exposed to the media. If you think Americans are dumb, just remember that American people are running the world. I’m talking about the Intelligent people who graduate from the best Universities in the world, Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, MIT… and about those who have defined technology as we know it: Apple, Google, Intel, HP, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter…
So despite the popularity of this stereotype, I don’t think that the “Americans are stupid” stereotype is true. I really do think that USA nurtures and develops the smartest and most creative minds in the world.
The cowboy culture, being popular in Mexico and the southern part of the United States (mainly Texas), was exposed to the rest of the world through country movies/ Western Movies.
Let me describe a Western movie to you (from the perspective of an outsider):
- Everyone is shooting everyone else
- There are just too many men with guns riding horses all over Arizona and Texas’ deserts (that doesn’t seem like fun).
- 90 % of the population (of these deserts) seem to be men, no wonder everyone is so angry.
As a non US citizen, I think country movies and country music are extremely boring. I do realize that these movies are intended to reflect the life in certain parts of the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but still, this stereotype is a sticky one which carries on to our current days.
The Loud American Tourist
Hey, I am an American Tourist, I am here to have fun and to make some noise.
Frankly, that is the way to do it, If you are out to have fun, then you would better make sure you are having fun.
I have met a couple of young/ teens, early twenty’s American tourists and they do make sure everyone notices their presence. This wasn’t exactly the case when I met few older tourists, 30s, 40s 50s. So I guess this stereotype maybe credited to the younger Americans who had decided to explore the world using their first paycheck.
Confident and Creative
Why are Americans confident?
The American culture and society, in general, are much more liberated than the rest of the world. American Schools are much more focused on character development of children than any foreign school. Foreign schools, i.e. outside USA (at least my school), seem to be neglecting character/personality development and gearing all efforts towards academic excellence.
I tend to see that the proper way is the American way, because characteristics such as confidence and charisma are essential in any career; Yet, these characteristics can’t be learned from books or from lectures, you become confident and more charismatic by developing your social and interpersonal skills at younger age, through social school activities, encouragement for public speaking…etc….
Why are Americans creative?
For the same reason as above, American children enjoy more freedom than their non-American peers. Creativity is another characteristic which can’t be learned and results from eliminating all boundaries… or wait… could it just be because Americans smoke more weed?
When I say this, the first names that comes to my mind are Apple and Steve Jobs. I am not an Apple fan boy, I frankly prefer the Android open source platform lead by Google over the monopolistic (use your device the way I want you to use it) approach of Apple. However, I have to admit this, Apple has and will probably always be the cool product. Why? Not only because of superior quality and leading creativity, but also because the Apple products were marketed by geniuses.
Here is a typical example of marketing genius, I am sure you have all watched it before…
Another way to look at it, If you wanna launch a product, start with the United States, If you are successful, this means that you will probably be successful in the rest of the world, if not, you probably shouldn’t’ carry on. What I mean to say is this, all trends start in USA (technology, fashion, media…) Australia and United Kingdom and Canada seem to be around 1 month lagging behind USA and then the rest of the world seems to pick up the pace a couple of months after UK, Canada and Australia.
US External Politics
If you are not a US citizen, then you probably belong to one of the groups below:
Group 1: are usually those who belong or support a political party that has common benefits from an alliance with USA. Group 1 considers USA as a promoter of Freedom; the hero who is protecting the rest of the world from dictatorships and injustices.
Group 2: are usually those whose powers are threatened by external US influence in their country’s affairs. Group 2 views USA as a blind evil power seeking world dominance and unlimited natural resources (such as Oil) and disguising their actions in popular campaigns such as “War on Terror” and “Defending the world’s Freedom”.
Suing everyone for everything
Yes, every now and then, we hear another story about the dude who sued a restaurant for a million dollars after finding a cockroach in his sandwich or the lady who is suing some company for something stupid she has done. (i.e. The reason why American products have instructions such as: Do not put your cat or baby in the microwave).
I honestly can’t imagine a world without the Americans… a world without Hollywood movies, without American songs, without the internet, smartphones, PCs… No Youtube, no Facebook, no Google and no WordPress…
I hope you like this blog post, please leave a comment and let me know, what do you think about these Stereotypes? are they true? What did I miss?