Beyond stereotypes …

My last post was about the French vision of America and Americans. Yet, I hope you’ve understood that this vision was mainly based on stereotypes. Indeed, after 2 years spent in the US I have to confess that I love America and I love Americans even more. Here are the reasons why:

love america

  • Friendly and smiling

Compared to French people Americans are way more friendly and smilling. Back home, it’s hard to get a smile from someone you don’t know whereas here in the US, it’s almost natural. When I first got here I was very surprised to see people that I didn’t know smiling to me and asking how I was doing. I was first kind of suspicious (“what’s wrong with him/her? What does he/she want from me?”) but it didn’t take long for me to realize that Americans or at least people from Louisiana are just naturally very friendly. On the contrary, if you are from Louisiana and want to go to France, you may be surprised, especially in big cities such as Paris, how unfriendly and unsmiling people are. French people are definitely as not friendly as you Americans are, and don’t smile as much as you Americans do.

  • Outgoing and open-minded

I think I didn’t realize how French people were hung-up and inhibited till I came to the US. I personally was and still am shy and reserved but this country and my experience here forced me to change my nature. In a more general way, I can definitely say that Americans are way more outgoing and open minded than French people are. Here you can talk with pretty much everybody about pretty much everything. Back home unless you are with closed friends people are more discreet. For example nobody would talk about his monthly salary to someone that he is not closed to. Money is one of those subject you don’t deal with too much in France. On the contrary, Americans don’t feel any embarrassment talking about it. Plus, Americans are more outgoing in the way they dress, the way they talk, and the way they act in general. I was personally amazed when I first went to US club by the way girls were dancing. You don’t dance that sexy back home. Americans are just funnier and hanging out with them definitely makes your life funnier.

stereotypesTo conclude, I think we should all take distance from stereotypes and think by ourselves before trusting media. Americans are nor arrogant, nor lazy. Yes, a lot of them are fat but they don’t spend their time eating burgers and watching TV as well as French people don’t spend their time eating cheese while drinking wine. If you look beyond stereotypes you’ll realize that Americans are actually more friendly and open-minded than we, French people are.

Last but not least I advice you to travel and go discover by yourself how people are and live outside their frontiers.

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Stereotypes about America and Americans …

  • Fat
  • Lazy
  • Proud
  • Self-centered

Here are the four main adjectives used by French people to describe American people. However, what is striking is that the majority of them have never been to the USA before. How can they have such a bad image of America and Americans? The answer is very simple, because of the Media. Indeed, this negative image of Americans based on stereotypes is spreading through the media (movies, video clips etc.) all over the world. Yet, is this French vision of Americans justified? Not always and this is what I’ve found out after 2 years in the US.

How French people see Americans?

American-Stereotypes-2Physical characteristics:

Here is the basic American for a random French. One fat guy eating a hamburger while drinking a soda with a cow boy hat and an American flag as a shirt. The flag on the tee shirt is an important element in that patriotism is a big deal in the US. If you ask a random French to describe an American he would probably depict one of this kind and maybe add some details by depicting him as laying in a couch while watching the Super bowl.

uncle-samMental characteristics:

French people see Americans as very proud and self-centered. Here what a French person would say about Americans in terms of mentality: Americans think they are the best and act as they are. They believe the world revolves around them. In fact, they have no clue what’s going on outside their frontiers. Neither they  know, nor they care because they country is all what matters. That’s why they are bad in geography. Ask an American to explain where are the Netherlands, where are the Alps located or what is the capital of Mongolia …

Europe according to Americans:

Europe According to the United States of America

Please don’t take this post too seriously and read the next one “Beyond Stereotypes” …