How do Americans see French people?

  • Random Americans depicting French people in three words …

  • Here’s a pretty funny anecdote I experienced during my Freshmen year. Although with hindsight I find this story actually funny, it definitely didn’t make me laugh when this happened, two years ago.

It happened, if I remember well, during the spring semester 2012 and more especially at the beginning of march. I was, as most Wednesdays around 10 a.m., in my psychology 101 class.

That day, Dr Rosenthal (psychology teacher) was dealing with culture and more particularly their incredible variety all around the world. He was explaining that every country has its own culture. I remember him saying that although our world tend to be more and more influenced by globalization, people outside of the US (the reference was obviously the US here) may have some habits very different from theirs.

He finally asked, “Do you guys travel a lot? Do you have some examples of different habits you may have seen or experienced?” Few students raised their hands and alluded to some examples more or less relevant. I remember one guy resorting to the Indian’s habit of eating only with the right hand. I thought it was interesting. Ok, now that the context has been given let’s move on to my point which is the most important part.

While we thought we were done with this little “class time-out” when students were sharing their thoughts and experiences, one girls suddenly raised her hand. Without even waiting for the teacher to give her the floor, she said in a very confident voice something like that, “Oh … this is like the French girls who don’t shave their legs, and not even their underarms!” I couldn’t believe what she just said. Some people started laughing while others seemed surprise. No need to say that few of them, knowing that I was French, turned around and look at me very weird.

This was too much for me. I couldn’t cope with all those eyes on me. Plus, I couldn’t let that girl as well as the rest of the class believe in this. So although I’m not fond of talking in front of people, I raised my hand and said in a very confident voice too, “well, I’m actually French and I can assure you that girls do shave back home.” Then, the girl turned around quickly just to see who I was and then turned back saying to the teacher, “well, I’m not sure about that and that’s not what I heard.” I decided not to say anything back. Oh well, maybe I should have. The teacher finally changed of subject and everything went back on the “normal” track.

  • On average, have a look at what are the main characteristics of French people (according to you guys).

Out of random sample, 28% of American think that the main French’s characteristic is to be small and skinny …

Pie Chart

  • But let’s see what WE think of you! (the data must be outdated in that they are from 2003 but I couldn’t find recent ones.)

Out of a random sample, 53% of French think that the main American’s characteristic is to be fat.

MathWarehouse-pie (2)

  • To finish, here’s the TRUTH about us.


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