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Stereotypes Essay

2185 words - 9 pages

There are 196 countries in the world. That’s a lot, and it’s impossible to fully know them all for what they are – that’s when the stereotypes come in, because ‘they help people systematize their thinking about other groups or individuals by providing them with ready-made images or list of attributes that purportedly reflect "the true essence" of other groups’ (Kubik, n.d). Skoda (2007) suggests that ‘generalizations about cultures or nationalities can be a source of pride, anger or simply bad jokes’, which applies to America, Lithuania and Britain as well: all have stereotypes that fall under the three aforementioned categories, and the aim of this essay is to discuss and compare the existing stereotypes among America, Lithuania and Britain.
To begin with, America – being one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world – has a myriad of stereotypes that are manifested by the media, literature, general public opinions and the like. Normally, people see the typical American as a materialistic, ignorant, gun-loving and Hollywood-obsessed fatty, protectively hugging the bald eagle – a.k.a the national bird of the United States - whilst consuming copious amounts of fast food and Coca-Cola. This is an exaggeration of sorts, of course, but as the saying goes -- in every lie there is a kernel of truth. For example, America had the highest rate of obesity for large countries for a long while, and though now Mexico is the country with the highest obesity rate, it doesn’t change the fact that the “fat American” stereotype is not pulled out of thin air and is, in fact, true for a lot of United States citizens. Then there is the culture of violence: according to Pessoa (2013) ‘Americans have a long historical fondness of guns and this is often portrayed by American media. A considerable percentage of Americans own firearms. The United States has one of the highest death rates caused by firearms in the developed world. The international media often reports American mass shootings, making these incidents well known internationally’. In addition to this, Hollywood doesn’t help America’s case either, producing a number of action movies that promote violence and gun usage and are seen across the world, thus further developing the image that other nations have of America in their minds. Moreover, Hollywood and celebrities are another separate aspect that fuels people’s generalizations about the United States: ‘In the United States, celebrities are on just about every cover of every magazine, every tabloid, and are hired by big companies to advertise their products. There is a certain level of infatuation among Americans when it comes to celebrities’ (CBS Radio). However, there are positive stereotypes of American’s as well, such as generosity (the United States are generally seen as a charitable nation, always eager to aid other countries; as Pessoa ( 2013) writes ‘De Tocqueville first noted, in 1835, the American attitude towards helping others...

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