12 clichés about countries far from the truthVika
The researchers argue that the closer two countries are to each other, the more stereotypes they have about each other. The fact that we seem to have acquired some kind of expectation for virtually every nation probably speaks to how interconnected the world around us is. We hear these clichés so often that in the end, we stop questioning them.
At Pictolic we decided to reality-check some of the most common national stereotypes to see if they are true.
1. In Mexico, everything is yellow.
This is what we encounter over and over again when watching films set in Mexico. Filmmakers love to use yellow-tinted color grading to dramatize a landscape and make it hot and dry. However, in reality, Mexico is very diverse: in some parts, it is actually a desert, but there are luscious green forests, blue lakes, modern cities, and white sandy beaches.
2. Canadians are overly polite and boring.
To be honest, there seems to be some truth to the famous Canadian politeness, or at least they tend to be optimistic in their speeches. The study analyzed the words that Americans and Canadians used in their Twitter posts and found that in the US, users of the social network preferred emotionally charged negative words, while their northern neighbors' favorites were neutral or positive ones.
3. In Britain, people are crazy about football.
Football is the most popular sport in the world, played by over 250 million people worldwide. That being said, some countries are known for their love of the sport more than others, and the UK is certainly one of the fanatics. Although according to statistics, the UK is far from leading here: the country took 17th place, and slightly more than half of the population is interested in football.
4. Spaniards are lazy.
This unfair stereotype is likely rooted in the Spanish siesta tradition. This nap in the middle of the day is also common in the Middle East, China, and other regions where temperatures are high at this time of day. However, this does not mean that Spaniards work less: their average working hours are longer than in countries such as Germany, Great Britain, etc.
5. Africa is a continuous savanna or desert.
When we think of Africa, most of us immediately imagine the savannah with zebras, lions, and giraffes, which is a beautiful and unique sight. However, this vast continent is much more: from the impressive Victoria Falls to lush rainforests, from the Nile, the longest river in the world, to the Sahara, the largest hot desert on the planet, Africa is diverse.
6. Americans only speak English.
The United States is a huge country with a heterogeneous population: in 2018, more than 67 million Americans (almost 22% of the world's population) spoke non-English at home. Meanwhile, the number of students studying a second language in school or college is declining, which could worsen the situation in the future.
7. Africa is not safe to visit.
The media portrait of Africa is often negative, but there are 54 countries on the planet's second-largest continent, some of which are not really recommended to visit; others are perfectly suited for this. For example, Mauritius is ranked 28th in the Global Peace Index, ahead of countries such as Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and many others.
8. People in Japan are shy and quiet.
To outsiders, Japanese culture often seems strange and difficult to understand, but stereotypes still persist. In fact, people in this country, as elsewhere, are different. The reason the Japanese are reluctant to interact with foreigners may be because few people speak English well: the country is ranked 55th in the global English proficiency rankings.
9. In Australia, you are surrounded by dangerous animals all the time.
Kangaroo country has a bad reputation, but not because of the adorable marsupial. Australia is home to many venomous snakes, jellyfish, spiders, etc. At the same time, experts emphasize that the number of attacks by these animals matters, and where the country lags far behind regions such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In fact, horses seem to be a more serious risk factor than snakes.
10. It is cold in Russia all year round.
It seems that whenever our country appears in films or on television in other countries, you see how Red Square in Moscow is covered with snow, regardless of the season. This stereotype is so old that people seem to get used to it and do not even think about the fact that the largest country in terms of the area has completely different climatic zones: from the steppes in the south to the tundra in the polar north.
11. All Hispanic families have several children.
This myth may have been true decades ago. For example, in 1960, Latin America and the Caribbean, on average, had almost 6 births per woman. However, the situation has changed dramatically, and now the average number of births is slightly more than two.
12. In Asia, all food is spicy.
The cuisine is an integral part of any culture, and it is very interesting to discover it. Asia, being the most populous region, has a wide variety of unique cooking styles and traditions, so limiting its description to the word “spicy” is simply not fair.