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Branding Nationality Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Australian identity is an ever-changing concept, arising as subject matter in copious debates, and often leading to speculation as to what it truly means to be an Australian. Stereotypes, defined as, “generalizations about a group of people whereby we attribute a defined set of characteristics to this group” (Lippmann 1922, Allport 1954) are often picked up by outsiders and in turn proliferated through iconic texts; rarely privileging Australian identity and ultimately leading to fallacious and simplified conceptions. Recognised as a prevalent aspect of Australian life, stereotypes are incessantly perpetuated through means of media, leading to prejudice; moreover, silencing the true Australian identity.

The Aussie Bushman stereotype, exploited throughout a range of texts, often results in misleading and inaccurate representations of Australian identity. The typical Bushman is characterised by their easy going and fair go attitude; demonstrating the importance of mateship and the irrefutable need to be resourceful, physically strong, resilient and quick on their feet. This ideology is foregrounded in a plethora of texts, such as; Crocodile Dundee, The Men of The Open Spaces and The Australian Legend, all revering Aussie Bushman traits. It is undeniable that there is an inextricable correlation between identity and culture; as Australia becomes increasingly multicultural, the more prevalent changes in national identity become. Stereotypes often disprove this idea, providing falsified depictions of Australian identity and failing to encompass such cultural diversity. This, in turn, can be detrimental to the nation, resulting in prejudices and; ultimately, serving as a hindrance for globalization.

A stereotype commonplace when looking at Australian identity, is that Aussie’s are equipped for any situation, share a healthy defiance and open disdain towards authority (Webb and Hall 2012), are free of worries and live in the bush. This stereotype was broadcast internationally with the release of Crocodile Dundee (1986), depicting a man who was allegedly born in a cave in the Northern Territory and raised by Aboriginal people; Michael J. ‘Croc’ Dundee possesses a great passion for the outback and the dangers that come with. Encounters with crocodiles have left him many scars and stories to tell, along with his tanned skin, blonde hair, rugged appearance, and have-a-go attitude. This movie prominently features old, worn down trucks, a helicopter as means of transport, a pub full of rugged men drinking foster’s beer and brawls, using slang and emphasising Australia’s pragmatic sense of humour. Sue, a reporter from America, has travelled to Australia to experience life in the bush and publicise Dundee’s story. When Dundee travels to America with Sue, emphasis is put on Dundee’s idiosyncrasies, juxtaposing everyday Americans with, so it seems, a ‘quintessential Aussie’. This part of the film consolidates the Bushman stereotype, eluding the fact that a...

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