As it turns out, stereotypical thinking is actually an adaptation of the human brain that allows us to classify different aspects of the environment faster and easier. Although it is extremely useful, stereotypes also perpetuate different misconceptions about people based on very few actually confirmed facts.
The same rule applies about the citizens of certain countries, who have earned a rather erroneous reputation due to popular anecdotes or ancient historical events. For example, thanks to the Transylvanian ruler Vlad the Impaler, Romanians who live in that part of the country are now viewed as bloodthirsty vampires. Or, because of the high precision of watches manufactured in Switzerland, all Swiss are portrayed as timepiece enthusiasts. Let’s try to debunk 10 of the widespread stereotypes we still believe to be true today.
1. Italy’s citizens are great in the sack, but lousy at work
The exquisite lover reputation of the Italian is most likely associated with the romantic poetry and the charm of the popular actors, but you cannot really say that all men and women in this country are so refined and charming conquerors. Their notoriety as unorganized and inefficient is also a misconception, if you take into account the prolific engineering, chemical and textile industry in Italy, not to mention the quality of their cuisine, the architectural marvels they have erected – no pun intended – and the extensive artistic achievements of the Italians.
2. Canada is the most uneventful place in the world
You have most likely seen the joke about the largest protest in the history of Canada, which comprised of a single man holding a sign that said “I’m a little upset”. Canada represents far more than Celine Dion, maple syrup and igloos. In fact, they have a plethora of extreme snow and water sports thanks to the “cool” climate of the country, numerous highly acclaimed Hollywood comedians – Jim Carrey for instance – and almost as many deadly animals as Australia.
3. The Philippines’s education system is practically non-existent
Poverty might be an issue in certain parts of the country, but Filipinos are definitely not what you could call uneducated. The stereotype is perpetuated by analyzing only the rural part of the Philippines that do not have access to the latest technology, forgetting that this country is the world’s leading texting region and the number of Filipino bloggers is the highest one in Asia.
4. India is the most conservative, bigoted country
In spite of the fact that India was just another British colony for an extended period of its history, they have managed to recover and eradicate banes like slavery and bigotry. Nowadays, India has the potential to become a superpower country alongside with China and the US, as their infrastructure and industry are quickly picking up the pace with the rest of the world’s developed countries. If you count the fact that they live in democracy, your religion – whether you are a Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Islamist – is tolerated and accepted, not to mention the prolific movie industry, then you can safely say this stereotype is outdated.
5. Great Britain is the home of fanatical and violent soccer fans
There is no doubt about the love that Great Britain’s citizens have for soccer and some say that in this country during the football season, your favorite team’s match is more important than your marriage. However, the number of soccer-related violent incidents in Britain is not the highest in the world, as you may have originally though. In fact, judging by statistics, Sweden earns the title of the country with the most violent soccer fans. On other hand, Britain is the country with the most fanatical and overzealous businessmen.
6. Spain is a great place to be lazy
Thanks to the world famous “siesta”, the afternoon nap that is an integral part of Spain’s culture, all the citizens of this country are perceived as lazy. However, in spite of the fact that all Spaniards like to doze off after lunch, the economical output and the industry of the state placed it – until not long ago – on the 4th position in Europe. If laziness were to be measured by this standard, then Germany would take the cake.
7. Everybody in Ireland is an alcoholic
Perhaps it is because Ireland is the home of whiskey and dark beer or maybe it is related to the negative portrayal its residents receive in Hollywood movies, but most of us really seem to believe that everyone (including women) drinks heavily in Ireland. On the other hand, the economical growth rate (7.7%) deem this state the fastest growing economy on the entire European continent. Moreover, surveys from back in 2004 indicate that Hungarians and Luxembourgers “outperform” the Irish in drinking by miles.
8. Liberalism is what defines the US
To disprove the notorious liberalistic conceptions of the US, all you need to do is remember that gay marriage is not legal in most states, nudity is viewed as a taboo, Christianity – although in numerous forms – is the only truly accepted religion and outsiders are viewed as dangerous terrorists or communists. On the other hand, in most regions such as “boring old Canada”, gay marriages are legal.
9. The diet in China consists of everything that moves
Almost every country in the world prefers certain types of aliments that are considered taboo by other cultures. For instance, serving a Muslim the pork sausages would be an insult to his religion, providing he is a fervent adept. This is also the case in China, where the diversity of people – let’s not forget their number exceeds 1 billion – is grounds for a varied diet. But not everyone has the same preference for the taboo foods. For instance, those of Buddhist religion are convinced vegetarians and would never touch meat.
10. France is where the concept of arrogance was invented
French are often erroneously portrayed as cowards (the WW2 surrender), snotty, untrustworthy and cold to outsiders. However, there are no actual explanations for these misconceptions and, in order to debunk the idea of French coldness and arrogance, one needs only to remember their donations to other European states in times of economical impasses.