Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

What are some stereotypes about Americans?

Asked by Dutchess_III (25579 points ) February 22nd, 2013

There are stereotypes people have of folks living in every culture. I’m curious as to what kinds of stereotypes folks in other countries may have about us. Don’t hold back now!

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61 Answers

burntbonez's avatar

Amurrikens is all rich. An dey wearz cowboy hatz. An dey tawk funny.

Note to moderators and others who would flag this post: I spelled this way to indicate an accent, not because I don’t know how to spell.

rebbel's avatar

They think that foreigners think of them in stereotypes? ~

SpatzieLover's avatar

We’re fat, rude and uneducated about their country/culture.

I know when I was looking into adopting from Russia, many of the children believed we’re all rich and every one of us has a swimming pool.

bob_'s avatar

How do you call a person who only speaks one language?
An American.

ragingloli's avatar

Obese, arrogant, ignorant, superficial, greedy, selfish, disgusted by poor people, xenophobic, fake smiles and courtesy, sexually obsessed with guns, sexually repressed about actual sexuality.
@bob_
No, someone that speaks only one language is monolingual. An american speaks half a language.

filmfann's avatar

During the Afghanistan war, it was learned that the Afghanis thought the Americans were long on technology, but would be cowards in physical combat. They were surprised to learn we weren’t.

AshlynM's avatar

Greedy and rude.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@filmfann The Japanese thought the same thing in WWII.
Mods…yeah. Leave @burntbonez alone!
@SpatzieLover Only time I have a swimming pool is when it rains and fills up the back of the pick-em up truck.

Bellatrix's avatar

These are stereotypes I am aware of not my beliefs!

Loud and arrogant.
Lacking self-awareness.
Often unaware of what’s going on outside the US.
Want to be the policemen of the world.
Poor dress sense.
Stupid.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Stuped???

LuckyGuy's avatar

Wear white sneakers.
Loud and obnoxious.
Overweight
Think they know everything.
Only speak one language. Amurikan.

josie's avatar

I have asked your question in many places on Earth, and generally I get a similar response. They are big, they are loud, they are obnoxious, and they are frequently correct.
There you go.

Pachy's avatar

They all have guns. Oh… wait… they do!

Rarebear's avatar

They’re entrepreneurial, good natured, and friendly.

ucme's avatar

Ee-merry-ka™ god’s largest fan base…“gawd bless arm-erri-kaaaaa!”

josie's avatar

I will jump back in here, even though I suppose we are not supposed to do that.
Since this is Fluther, I will assume that there is presumption that there will be a generally negative stereotype about Americans, and the question is posed to encourage typical Fluther style anti American responses.
But I have been blessed (or cursed) to serve American interests all over the world.
The truth is, even in parts of the world that the American media would have you believe are rabidly anti American, there is a great hope that the Americans will pull their shit together and save mankind.
To much of the world, the only problem with Americans, is American moral confusion.
Foreign politicians criticize Americans to appease local passions, but they pray nightly that the Americans will not disappear from the Earth.
I am sure that most of you do not want to hear this, but it is in fact true.
Is it possible that you are your own problem?
Do you know anything about your brethren all over the world? The hope that you represent?
Do you really want to discourage them? Do you think the current political establishment really gives them hope? (Hint, it does not)
The general stereotype about Americans is that they are full of themselves, but perhaps not without reason.
Josie out.

ETpro's avatar

This one happens to be true. The stereotypical American believes strongly that stereotypes about Americans are true. Of course, I’m not person to pay any attention to stereotypes. ~

JLeslie's avatar

Fat and religious.

Actually, so many stereotypes are out there. The two above are opinions many people outside of the country believe, but also I hear Americans are trusting, congenial, helpful, hateful, it runs the gamut.

wundayatta's avatar

They eat dead babies with pitchforks. Their mothers are all fat. They constantly are trying to figure out why chickens cross roads.

They don’t have a sense of humor.

Adagio's avatar

Americans consume a huge amount, and huge portions, of fast food.

“Yanks are all bold typeface and everything there on the page, spelt out in big letters.”
Sue McCauley (NZ author)
This quote expresses best a stereotype that’s been around for a long time.

Shippy's avatar

Not being American I delight in answering this!

I hear all Americans are fat? Well sorry, I disagree. Every American I have met in real life has been very slim. Plus audiences are very attractive, they might choose those for that reason no idea.

They are also known to have very old fashioned morals regards sex. Which I find strange since there is now a very fashionable movement toward atheism. So one wonders why they haven’t adjusted their thinking that way? This last thought is huge and shared world wide currently. On other online communities people say PST they are American keep your top on for example.

ucme's avatar

As @josie proves, they take things out of context & tend to overreact a little, we were asked for stereotypes, not beliefs.

JLeslie's avatar

@Shippy Have you ever been to the states?

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie No. I lived in Canada but not the states and was very small then. I am on huge online communities with tons of USA people so in a way I get feedback regards certain things. Why do you ask?

I have a best friend living there. She has become even more body obsessed than when she lived here.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is making me laugh! Gotta go, tho. Gotta eat 5 Big Macs with a pitchfork now!

wundayatta's avatar

Hey! Save some for me!

Dutchess_III's avatar

No! Yer nekkid. Put yer clothes on and I’ll give you some greasy french fries!

downtide's avatar

The British perception is that generally, Americans are loud, rude and can’t find Britain on a map.

Dutchess_III's avatar

THAT’S BECAUSE BRITAIN ISN’T ON THE MAP! ONLY AMERICA IS!

downtide's avatar

@Dutchess_III I should have added “arrogant” to the list as well ;)

wundayatta's avatar

If I put clothes on, you can’t find any other country. The world is on my ass. But no one gets that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’M NOT ARROGANT, JUST ALWAYS RIGHT!!

LOL @wundayatta! Good one!

JLeslie's avatar

@Shippy I ask because I would think Americans you meet outside of the US are more likely to be thin to average weight. Whether they be working or traveling.

Some American cities are much heavier than others. My husband tod me years ago that when he was little, so about 35 years ago, when they would travel to the US, which usually meant travelling to Texas, they would make fun of or just simply be amazed how fat some people were. They would laugh at how a family of four would have two adults who looked like boxes and their two little box offspring. But, his family tends to dwell on weight in general. If you watch the British TV show Top Gear, they constantly make fun of how fat Americans are.

I don’t know what part of Canada you live in, but I am pretty sure I had read Vancouver is one of the thinnest cities in Canada.

bookish1's avatar

The good: Religious freedom, freedom from class distinctions/limitations, more gender equality and freedom for queer people, more economic opportunity

The bad: Blunt/direct (often to the point of rudeness), ignorant, gun nuts, religious nuts, war mongers, imperialists, predatory capitalists, very mobile, isolated and individualistic, fat and unhealthy, don’t know how to dress

The ugly: Our only culture is the trashiest pop music and Hollywood movies that have the financial resources behind them to be exported worldwide.

mattbrowne's avatar

Americans are too lazy to learn and use the metric system on a daily basis, while expecting the entire non-English-speaking world to learn the accepted world language for international communication.

People in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America are puzzled by this. Just compare the effort.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree. The metric system is a MUCH simpler system. So, all of Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and One Person in Kansas are puzzled.

JLeslie's avatar

And in TN.

bob_'s avatar

I’m not puzzled. Americans are lazy and arrogant. ~

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think it is laziness, it is fear and not wanting all industries to be forced to change over. I don’t think we need to force old products to change, we can just do it for new and transition. The irony is metric is easier, and most Americans worry it will be more difficult. Likely the people worried it is more difficult are the not so great at math people who fear it who don’t understand it is easier because they are not math people and should not be making the decision.

Some countries have a mix of the systems, which is odd in itself. The UK still uses MPH on the road, so they can’t really criticize America for not changing over can they? However, I have no problem with keeping some things in the old system if it is easier mathmatically or makes sense for some reason.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think we should start in Kindergarten with teaching metric and Spanish.

bob_'s avatar

Yeah, good luck with that.

JLeslie's avatar

Yo también.

ragingloli's avatar

Itadakimasu.

JLeslie's avatar

Do other coutries even teach the measurement system America uses?

Americans freak out about metric because they think of it in terms of having to convert measurements, but if you just live in the system you don’t need to convert anything. Or, only on rare occasions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s on a base of 10. SO easy. Just add or take away zeros to get more or less stuff. Much easier than adding fractions and 10ths and 12ths and stuff.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, but when you tell someone who sucks at math it is base 10, just move a decimal place or take off a zero rather than divide and multiply by 8,12, or 16 their eyes glaze over. They still think 2.4 centemeters in an inch and 5/9(f-32) to convert to celsius, or whatever the correct equations are I might remember them incorrectly. They are not functioning in metric, they aren’t thinking that way. Not from what I can tell. In the 70’s when there was a push to move to metric people worried about convering everything over. We had many things with both measurements, it wasn’t a full immersion.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know. Even I avoid metric simply because I can’t think as fast in metric as I can in inches.

JLeslie's avatar

I can for measuring distance or the length of something. In fact small measurements I prefer centemeters and milimeters. Weight I can do some things quickly in my head and others not. Temperature I know more or less, unless we are talking about fevers and people being sick. If everything changed to metric I think it would not take too long for me to be completely changed over in my mind. Or, at least the things I measure often. Science in America is basically in metric, medicine, chemistry, engineering, often use metric. They certainly need to be fully knowledgable about the metric system.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You know, if gays get the right to be married, I’ll bet that will cause everyone in America to lose the right to use the American system and they will be FORCED to use metric. (I’m kind of on a rant here. Been off work for 6 days! Bear with me!)

burntbonez's avatar

It takes a more nimble mind to be able to think in two different measurement systems at the same time. The rest of the world is at a disadvantage to those who can think in feet and inches and meters and centimeters at the same time. Being able to convert between pounds and kilograms in your head is even more challenging.

Adagio's avatar

We use the metric system in NZ but I still use imperial for things like height, weight, especially baby’s birth weight, I can work out my own height in metric easily enough but 5’ 7” rolls off the tongue immediately and I know my daughter weighed 4.5 kg at birth but 9lb 14oz conjures up an image for me whereas metric measurements just don’t do that.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – Well, it’s exactly the other way round. Just yesterday Kerry and Merkel were talking about this in Berlin:

“The Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, put wings today to the free trade agreement between the United States and the EU, as a key factor to enable the economies in the midst of the crisis and strut of a new era in transatlantic relations. Relations between Berlin and Washington are “excellent”, not just be underpinned in “historical” ties of friendship, said the Chancellor, but also because they are based on “shared values”. Germany is, in the European context, “the first commercial partner” U.S. said for his part, Kerry, and is therefore destined to play a key role in the negotiations for the free trade agreement with the EU that both Berlin and Washington expect to open next summer.”

Globalization will continue. Unless you are a carpenter in Kansas, there are almost 7 billion consumers and millions of potential strategic partner industries outside of America. And they all speak metric. And English.

Of course we need an intelligent migration strategy. Many people over 60 will resist. Tea party fanatics of all ages too. We need to reach the open-minded younger generation able to see the global picture. Who realize that American isolation is a recipe for doom.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I am not sure what you meant by the other way around? I would agree we need to get in step with the world on metric.

The information you posted is very interesting. Looks like there will possibly be a new push for metric. I think that is good news for America.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – You said that it is fear and not wanting all industries to be forced to change over. I think it’s new opportunities and wanting many industries to change, so that’s not the reason it’s not happening in my opinion. The real reason keeping the non-metric system is emotional. And the stereotype in Europe is it’s laziness. Or arrogance. Who cares about the UN? Who cares what other countries think? Why would I need a passport? That’s the ultra-conservative world view, i.e. world = America.

ragingloli's avatar

“Who cares about the UN? Who cares what other countries think? Why would I need a passport?”
And that is precisely what I heard conservatives on Sodahead literally say.
Add to that the view that Europe is a socialist hellhole and that we are all “subjects” without rights, also things that they literally say.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne Now I understand where you are coming from. I agree, emotional. When I was aa kid and it seemed like we were on our way to metric I heard adults say they didn’t want to the government dictating to business that they must put metric on everything. It’s the same argument you hear today about government not interfering in business and the free market. If business needs to change it will do it out of necessity, but don’t want to be told what to do via regulations. They spoke of tools needing to be redone, meaning the molds, stamps, and whatever way they were labeled, which would cost money to business, things like that.

Mostly I think it is fear of the metric system and definitely party arrogance for some people.

I actually agree that it could be a burden for some companies and I don’t think the government should require it of any existing products. I do think in schools we should be teaching it from the time a youngster begins learning about measurement. Most of our rulers and measuring tapes and even kitchen measuring cups have metric already.

It will be interesting to see if the Republicans latch onto this statement Kerry said and get riled up.

Shippy's avatar

@JLeslie I do remember my mother remarking on the portion sizes of things. She said plate size and cup size were massive compared to the UK. I hear in France for e.g. Portion size is small they eat what they want in tiny amounts.

mattbrowne's avatar

I can confirm this. For food in Germany extra large portions are roughly medium-size portions in the US. A good example is soft ice cream.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought of this Q yesterday when a salesperson at a store didn’t understand the item I was considering was too tall because it was 32.9 inches. I tried to explain that is 9/10’s of an inch not 9/12’s, but they were not getting it. Metric would not have that problem.

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