All National Stereotypes

Have you ever asked how about the world judges you just because you’re born in some place?

Stereotypes having to do with people of specific nationalities. Some of them are a little bit Truth in Television (certain others more so), due to having some basis in reality. But remember, nations are not Planets Of Hats. If anything, the true face of the country in question is often either not as expected or entirely different. Not all foreigners necessarily speak with a heavy accent, as many films and TV series seem to indicate.

Stereotypes having to do with people of specific nationalities. Some of them are a little bit Truth in Television (certain others more so), due to having some basis in reality. But remember, nations are not Planets Of Hats. If anything, the true face of the country in question is often either not as expected or entirely different. Not all foreigners necessarily speak with a heavy accent, as many films and TV series seem to indicate.
All National Stereotypes

    Africa

General Stereotypes

  • Africa is often depicted as if it’s one big country instead of a continent. In fact: there are a lot of examples of fiction even inventing extra African countries. (See Bulungi.)
  • The continent itself calls images of Darkest Africa with jungles, savanna, diamond mines, undiscovered civilizations or creatures, elephants, giraffes, okapis, gorillas, chimpanzees, baboons, meerkats, makis, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, lions, leopards, cheetahs, panthers, hyenas, jackals, ostriches, crocodiles, pythons, green and black mambas, tortoises, geckos, chameleons, antelopes, wildebeest, gazelles, water buffaloes, wart hogs, vultures, mosquitoes, flesh eating plants, etc. Usually whenever people visit Africa they almost trip over all these omnipresent animals, which they invariably always encounter at a dangerous moment. Luckily, they can always escape by swinging on suprisingly strong vines.
  • Africa is generally assumed to be an entire continent full of black people. If there are whites they are always Great White Hunter or Mighty Whitey: there are no other options. Apparently all the Coloreds, Indians, Asians, and all the rest of them have vanished overnight.
  • In addition, it’s a common stereotype that all black Africans essentially look like West Africans, with none of the variety in phenotypes found in Europe or Asia. This stereotype is especially common in the US, because it’s assumed that all Africans look like African Americans, who are mostly descended from West Africans. As a result, East and Northeast African phenotypes in particular are extremely rare in depictions of black Africans.
  • Similarly: people seem to think that Africa is just jungles and savanna. That North Africa has none of these things is usually forgotten.
  • Also, it’s often thought that most Africans still practice voodoo and/or nature religions, like primitive tribes used to do. In reality Christianity and especially Islam are the largest religions on the continent.
  • Out-of-date, racist images of Africa that crop up a lot in old novels particularly, have their roots in colonial times (Ancient Africa). Black Africans are depicted as primitive, childlike, superstitious people who still worship idols, believe in witchcraft and voodoo and live in huts. They defend themselves with spears and shields. White colonists can easily trick them by selling them worthless junk in exchange for valuable items or scare them with modern technology.
    • Magical Negro: The tribe’s wizard is always a manipulative fraud wearing a huge imposing mask covering his true identity. He will usually be scaring his naïve tribesmen into turning against the Mighty Whitey visiting their town. When The Natives Are Restless some Jungle Drums will start playing.
    • Pygmy tribes are usually small, pathetic little dwarfs who are depicted as if they are actually children.
    • Black African tribes are often portrayed as if they are cannibals. They will catch the Bold Explorer and carry him along with his arms and legs tied to a pole. After arriving in their village they will put him in a large black cauldron for supper. When they escape they will Chased by Angry Natives.
    • Other stereotypical images are the woman with a lip plate in her mouth or a man with a bone sticking through his nose.
    • Stereotypical female black African depictions include the bare-breasted woman with large hanging breasts and enormous buttocks (examples of this stereotype are the 19th century sideshow attraction Saartjie Baartman and Robert Crumb’s comic strip character Angelfood Mcspade) or the woman who wears multiple rings around her giraffe-like neck. . Note this type of neck ornament is also common in Burma with women from the Kayan tribe, but is generally associated with Africa.
    • If they are not hunting wild animals they’ll be eating maniok. Their favorite pastime is playing the djembé while everyone dances and jumps around like crazy. When they cross a lake by pirogue they will be singing in unison while paddling.
      • Sometimes there actually is a white person living in the African woods. He or she is usually Raised by Wolves, apes or just Going Native. He/she will spent their pastime swinging from a vine, living in a Treehouse of Fun and protecting all animals from the evil poachers. If its a woman she will be a Jungle Princess dressed in a Fur Bikini. As always these white jungle people will be called “savage” despite actually being able to speak enough English to be understandable, wearing enough Loin Cloth to avoid the censors and having enough manners not to repulse the audiences. They will rule over the jungle animals and even the local black tribes, who in comparison will still be more primitive than our Mighty Whitey Nature Hero.
  • More modern stereotypical images of black Africans are the starving little child and the mother with multiple starving kids with flies swarming all over them, probably in some sort of refugee camp or hospital. In fact, the words “hunger and drought” have almost become synonymous with Africa.
    • All Africans speak Pidgin English in popular fiction or talk in sentences like: “Me very afraid, bwana!”
    • To this day Africans are still portrayed as being laidback, not to say “lazy”, people. They take their time to do things and prefer sitting down under a palm tree. Especially the men are seen as a Lazy Husband who just sit there will their wives do all the work. Just like the siësta in Southern European countries this behaviour mostly stems from the hot African climate. In Western civilization where “time is money”, African laid back attitudes are seen as something to be ashamed of.
    • This is also where the idea of “backwards Africa” comes from. Most utilities found in the continent are very primitive and out-of-date. Black Africans are often portrayed as being too stupid or lazy to make something better or more useful out of them. Of course, not all Western countries really bother to provide them with better and more modern stuff anyway.
      • A bit Truth in Television is that several African countries are, in fact, not always that aware of modern Western society. The education in many African towns is bad or non-existant and their local governments don’t always provide their civilians with accurate and trustworthy knowledge and information about important issues.
    • This lack of proper public education also explains one of Africa’s largest problems: the spread of various deadly diseases which gave the continent another negative association. It sometimes seems Everything Is Trying to Kill You in Africa: AIDS, Ebola, malaria, yellow fever,…
    • Africa has a reputation for brutal and often crazy dictators who oppress and massacre their own citizens by the score. They will ususally be kept in power by Western governments to support their own benefits in the countries. Yet, just like the clichés about Latin America, most of these dictatorships are very short-term and one tyrant will quickly be replaced by another. If an African dictator is directly referenced it’s usually Idi Amin (Uganda), Bokassa (Central-Afrika) or Mobutu (Congo/Zaïre).
    • All African countries are constantly torn apart by tribal warfare between ill-disciplined thugs wielding machetes and AK-47’s and committing genocide. They will exploit young boys into becoming child soldiers and excess in gruesome murder, torture and rape crimes. This trope is usually thought of as applying specifically to sub-Saharan Africa (except for South Africa).
  • Africans of any nationality are conspicuously absent from beat ’em up videogames, especially as this medium is usually presented as some sort of tournament involving fighters from “all over the world”. This often leads to cries of ignorance and prejudice in fan-forums. Asian, American and European characters make up the lion’s share of characters and in the main beat ’em up series, Street Fighter‘s Elena, a native of Kenya, is one of the few African fighters depicted. Arguably, this might be explained by Hollywood Atlas. Beat ’em ups rely heavily on exploiting well-known National Stereotypes when presenting characters (especially the pioneering Street Fighter series), and for many people, African culture, iconography and the multitude of nationalities therein all blend into one big melange, which Elena, as a Savannah-dwelling, Masaii-inspired Kenyan covers off nicely. It’s far easier to design characters from Japan, China, England and Italy etc, because there are such distinct, iconically familiar, universally recognizable national character/appearance traits that can be referenced and parodied for these countries — put simply, most of the game-buying public could not tell the difference between Kenyan and Tanzanian culture.
  • To conclude with a more joyful, yet very romanticized idea of Africa: archeologists widely see it as the birth place of mankind. Many prehistoric fossils of the first hominids have been found in Central Africa and indeed many tourists are attracted to Africa’s rural atmosphere, almost as if they are coming home. Typical images exploited by safari tourism are the sun rising above the equator, intense heat that makes the horizon appear to vibrate, elephants crossing the savannah and watching lions from the safety of your jeep.

North Africa

  • Mostly many of the same desert clichés and sterotypes found in The Middle East. (See Asia)
    • The people of the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) tend to be lumped together by Eastern Arabs, which is kind of a shame. They are universally stereotyped as The Unintelligible, as their dialect is very hard to understand (foreigners should think of Russian with even more difficult consonants).note  They also get a fair amount of “Berber” stereotype mixed in, which is similar to that of Bedouin, only not Arab.

Algeria

  • Best known for being a former French colony.
  • Legion of Lost Souls: The French Foreign Legion is another legendary phenomenon associated with the country. Expect people with a Mysterious Past to enlist in said army, usually a Heartbroken Badass, political refugees and/or various rogues and scoundrels and the like. They are always depicted wearing white khepis while standing guard at lonely outposts in the Sahara. In real life, the Legion operates in a variety of environments and conflicts (such as French Indochina) and wears camouflage as needed.

Egypt:

  • Ancient Egypt: If Egypt is shown in fiction, usually references are made Ancient Egypt: pyramids, mummies, sphinxes (like the one in Gizeh), ancient tombs, hieroglyphs, obelisks, sarcophaguses, pharaohs (expect references to Cleopatra VII, Cheops, Ramses II, Nefertete, Tutankhamun or Amon), and characters “walking like an Egyptian”.
    • Pyramid Power: Characters will usually discover an ancient yet undiscovered tomb built in honor of some pharaoh. The entire treasure will be present, but when they try to leave they are threatened by the “Curse of the Mummy”. Either a mummy rises from its grave or they all fall ill or die in mysterious circumstances.
    • Egyptians are also frequently portrayed as hypnotists.
  • The Nile and the Suez Canal might get referenced too.
  • In Arabic countries themselves Egyptians are seen as laid-back. They are always cracking very lowbrow, overstated jokes about everything; Pungeon Master also comes into play, as does Boisterous Bruiser (without the alcohol, most of the time). They are often considered Book Dumb, but also quick-witted when it comes to solving practical problems. Nevertheless proud—if sometimes vaguely—of Egypt’s ancient heritage, as evidenced by the phrase Masr omm ad-dunya (“Egypt [is] the mother of the world”); this has occasionally given others in the Arab world indigestion. Historically also seen as kind of submissive; this was proven wrong in the most epic way imaginable.
  • Egyptian women have a reputation as Belly Dancers; Egyptians kind of brought this one on themselves, as Egyptian movies (the most popular ones in the Arab world) always have one.
    • To give you an idea about how Egyptians view themselves and their pervasive film industry, these are some commercials from an Egyptian movie channel (based for whatever reason in Canada), featuring a wannabe auteur, a sex-obsessed and lowbrow film executive, and the scripts of several top-notch American films. Enjoy.

Libya

  • From 1969 tot 2011 the country was most famous for dictator Muammar Gaddafi and support of terrorism. Expect references to Libya from that period to be mostly references to Gaddafi. For instance: a Libyan character will be wearing the same Cool Shades he did.

Morocco

  • Morocco, with its deserts and many bazaars, is used as a template for “Middle Eastern” settings, and almost any Arab country (or generically “Middle Eastern” country) depicted in a live-action movie will almost always be filmed in Morocco. It has a big enough desert to build sets in (far away enough from major cities), while being secular enough that nobody will come and arrest you for having alcohol and girls in Ms. Fanservice outfits. This is even referenced in films like Casablanca and Naked Lunch, where Morocco is depicted as a place where you can enjoy the excitement of participating in illegal activities.

Sudan

  • Only known in the West for genocide and arresting people who give teddy bears Muslim names. It is now divided by the Muslim Sudan and the Christian South Sudan.

Central Africa Congo

  • A war-torn country where all sorts of atrocities happen every day.
  • Literature lovers know it for being the setting to Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness.
  • Today it’s best known for being a former Belgian colony, former dictator Seko Seko Mobutu (and his leopard skin hat) and the country Tintin visited in Tintin in the Congo.

Ethiopia

  • Ethiopia‘s pretty much only known in the West now for its horrific famines, thanks to that particularly brutal one it suffered through in the 1970s and ’80s that led to Live Aid, Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, etc. Otherwise it’s lumped in with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of being thought of as a heavily pagan, juju spirit-believing culture, although Orthodox Christianity was introduced in the 4th century, Judaism even earlier, and there is a decently large Muslim population.

Kenya

  • Kenyans are known for being exceptionally fast runners and for the massive abundance of stereotypical African wildlife (Lions, Elephants, and Giraffes, oh my!) that live in the Masai Mara, a nature reserve that crosses the border between Kenya and Tanzania, where it is known as the Serengeti. Oh and, speaking of Masai, every Kenyan who isn’t dressed for a marathon at the moment, is dressed in red cloth and carries a spear.

Nigeria

  • Nigerians/West Africans in general, are known across Africa as Internet scammers and people involved in Black Magic or Voodoo., whom you better not to mess with.
  • Music fans known it solely for being the birth place of Fela Kuti.

Ruanda & Burundi

  • Best known for the 1994 genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi population, which inspired Hotel Rwanda.

Sierra Leone

  • In a constant state of civil war for control over the diamond mines, with rebels hacking peoples limbs off.

Somalia

  • The country is known for having the most territory in East Africa (the states are kind of divided).
  • Somalian people are usually portrayed as being very tall and very skinny. In the rest of Africa they are stereotyped as being not real “Africans”, nor not looking black enough, under the assumption that they descend from Arabians and other multiracial invaders. In reality most people in Somalia have lived in the Horn for Africa for thousands of years. And surprisingly given their location on a major trade route (between the Middle East and North Africa on one hand and southern Africa, India, and East Asia on the other), they do show surprisingly little genetic admixture
  • Historically Somalia is known being the first people to domesticate the camel, and spread it all round the Middle East and Africa.
  • In more recent times the country is mostly known for the twenty year old civil war that ravaged everything and created an absence of a functioning central government during that time.Somalia is often said to be a real-life example of anarchism. Depending on the writer’s political views, this situation will be heavily romanticized or unbelievably grim.
  • Somalis are mostly depicted as being Muslims with many children. Four children is a small family to them. So many Somalis have fled the problems in their country and migrated to Europe that they’re seen as a problem by some people there.
  • Since the 2000s Somalia is seen as an increasingly poor, backwards and primitive country in the West. Women are still forced to undergo inhuman circumcisions at a young age and when you travel by sea pirates will attack your ship.
  • On a more positive note: Somalia has also produced many famous and beautiful female models.

Southern Africa Uganda

  • During the 1970s it was most famous for dictator Idi Amin.

South Africa

  • From 1948 until 1994 Apartheid used to be this country’s most notorious aspect, see for instance the Spitting Image song I Never Met A Nice South African. Even though that system has been abolished it remains associated with the country.
    • Amoral Afrikaner: White upper class South Africans are either “Rooineks” (British white South Africans) or “Afrikaners” (die-hard Nationalists and apartheid supporters). Usually they will wear khaki shirts and live in a big mansion or a hovel, lamenting the good old days when apartheid was still in effect. They are all viciously racist and bluntly call their servants “boys” and all black people “kaffirs”. Middle class apparently doesn’t exist, even though in reality South Africa is the most middle-class African country. There also seem to exist no white South Africans of anything other than British or Dutch descent in popular culture, despite the fact that there are also a lot of people with Portuguese, Greek, Italian, Jewish and Lebanese ancestry.
    • South African TV characters in non-South African programmes are disproportionately white. This has a partial justification because of apartheid — whites are more likely to be able to afford to leave the country. Still, said justification is getting pretty dated by now, given the size of the non-white middle class these days (a recent news story claimed that more black than white folks were emigrating, make of that what you will). White South Africans will always be racist; also, stinking rich. This is probably because of The Law of Conservation of Detail. South Africa is where most white sub-Saharan Africans are from; if writers were looking for a black African character they would pick some other African country.
    • In post-Apartheid media, white South African men will almost always be mercenaries. This has a degree of truth to it, as the first PMC, Executive Outcomes, was founded by a former South African special forces officer and most of its personnel came from the apartheid-era military, which downsized significantly after 1994. This is a large part of the Amoral Afrikaner trope.
  • South Africans will always speak Afrikaans or speak mangled English where they swallow certain syllables, over-emphasise the rolled “r”, or flatten vowel sounds. It’s always important to drop the word “wildebeest” at one point.

Zimbabwe

  • In the years when it was still called “Rhodesia” it was best known for being Cecil Rhodes’ former colony and as an apartheid state not too different from South Africa.

North America

The Arctic

  • Often depicted as if it’s one large continent, similar to Antarctica, while in reality the Arctic, or “North Pole” is the name for several regions comprised of Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, and even Scandinavia and Northern Russia.
  • Eskimo Land: The Arctic will mostly be inhabitated by the Inuit people, still nicknamed by the politically incorrect name “Eskimo” in many countries. Usually they will still be portrayed as if modern age and technology never set in. They will all wear parkas, carve trinkets, and permanently live in igloos, while in reality igloos were temporary shelters, not actual houses. When they travel they use a sled, pulled by huskies, and go fishing in a canoe while trying to harpoon every animal in their vicinity. When not eating fish, they will consume whale blubber or cod-liver oil.
    • Several outdated traditions or already debunked, but permissive urban legends about these people will also be shown. For instance, they will be kissing/greeting one another by rubbing their noses against each other. They supposedly have Wikipedia: Eskimo words for snow an unusually large number of words for snow, which is simply untrue. Whenever one of their people is terminally ill or very old they will put him or her in a canoe and sent him off unto the wild ocean to die on ice floes.
    • The men will usually have names like “Nuk Nuk” or “Nanook”, in reference to the famous documentary Nanook of the North. The documentary was heavily fictionalized and the name an invention: the man was actually called Allakariallak. Nanook/nanuq means “polar bear”
  • The Arctic itself will often be simply one blank white landscape, full of ice and snow. No plant life is to be seen, while in reality the Arctic has lots of vegetation.
  • Various polar animals will have a cameo: huskies, polar bears, polar foxes, lemmings, seals, walruses, whales, orcas, belugas, narwhals,… and inaccurately, penguins. Penguins only live on the South Pole and not on the North Pole. Sometimes Eskimos themselves are depicted living on the South Pole, which is again wrong for the same reason.
  • Expect a reference to the fact that there is no sun for months, yet “aurora borealis” (“northern lights”) can be seen in the sky, no matter what time of the year it is. As a result, the Inuit will go to sleep “for several months” in their igloo, as if they are physically able to have a winter sleep like animals do.
  • And, of course, the Arctic is Santa Claus’ permanent residence!

Canada

  • See Canada, Eh? for the main page about stereotypical portrayals of Canada.
  • Outside North America, people often confuse Canadians with Americans, or when they speak French, with Frenchmen. To be fair, even Americans sometimes forget that Canada also has a large French-speaking population.
  • Canadians are often depicted as Mounties, hockey and/or curling players, lumberjacks, or wildlife hunters.
  • The country is full of snow, pine woods, moose, bears, and beavers.
  • Some architectural monuments that need to be shown whenever Canada is mentioned are the CN Tower and the Skydome. The only other locations that exist in popular culture are Toronto, Quebec, Winnipeg, Nova Scotia, British Colombia, Vancouver, and Montréal.
    • Ontario is best known for the Niagara Falls, which also covers a part of New York, USA. The waterfall is famous in popular culture for having daredevils crawl inside barrels and jump off the falls afterwards.
  • Canadians are obsessed with maple leaves and maple syrup. They all eat Kraft dinner (macaroni and cheese).
  • All Canadian men listen to Neil Young, Rush, and Nickelback, while all Canadian women listen to Joni Mitchell, Céline Dion, and/or Justin Bieber.
  • Canada, Eh?: The Bob & Doug Mckenzie sketches from SCTV cemented the idea that all Canadians say “eh?” as a Verbal Tic. Another Canadian linguistic stereotype is the word “aboot” instead of “about”.
  • Canadians are often portrayed as being exceptionally polite. The phrase “Welcome to Canada. It’s nice up here, eh?” pretty much defines this stereotype.
    • In many countries frequented by American tourists, the advice “pretend you’re Canadian” is often given.
    • Canadians also tend to be portrayed as a lot less jingoistic than Americans. Quebec separatism may be mentioned, but Western separatism might as well not exist.
  • Québécois, on the other hand, tend to be portrayed by English speakers as being a bunch of separatist French Jerks, and are portrayed in France as being backward colonialists that aren’t True Frenchmen. That is, of course, when English-speaking foreigners remember that Canada also has a large French-speaking population.
  • Almost inevitably, the Canadian will be white, and if they aren’t French will have English or Scottish family name.
  • Interestingly enough, Canada is often portrayed as being more primitive and close to nature than the “modern” United States. Yet, most of their laws (secularism, gay marriage, universal healthcare, mosaic culture, etc.) are far more progressive and liberal than those of the United States.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, Canada was also known for harboring many young Americans who dodged the draft.

The United States See also Acceptable Political Targets, America Takes Over the World, Eagleland, and Only In America. The United States in general

  • To many people (and not only Americans themselves), the United States are seen as the most important place in the world. Whenever the continent “America” is mentioned, people are usually solely referring to the United States. If you can become rich and famous in the U.S., then you have really made it. For many Americans, the idea of becoming rich, famous, and successful is almost an obsession. From becoming the “prom king and queen”, to making it big in Hollywood, over becoming a billionaire to even entering the White House. Americans always see everything “big!”, are in constant competition with others, and feel that “time is money”. It comes to no surprise that fast food was invented in the U.S.A.
    • Everything Is Big in Texas might as well generally be called Everything Is Big in America: houses, cars, steaks, hamburgers, beers, guns, movies, parades, advertising boards, skyscrapers, movies, religious devotion, celebrities, the presidential elections… it all has to be huge, grand and larger than life. To foreigners this often comes across as having no sense of humility or moderation. Everything, from the wage slips to the food servings to the ferocity with which people defend their ideals and views, seems much more exaggerated in America than it needs to be. Though, there is a geographical explanation for this: after Russia, Canada, and China, the U.S.A. is the largest country in the world in terms of geographic area. This is already something that’s difficult to imagine when you’re living in a smaller country. Americans think “big” because they can! There is so much space in the U.S.A., compared to the more crowded and suburbanized countries in, for instance, Europe. Taking a plane to visit another town or state within the same country is very normal.
    • A well-known European joke has a European guide show some American tourists around in the city. One American isn’t particularly impressed, though. He keeps complaining about the small size of all the monuments compared to those in the U.S.A. Near the end of the tour, the European guide really gets fed up with this. Then the American notices another building and once again boasts: “Look at that! In the U.S.A., that pathetic small building would be much bigger!” To which the guide replies: “That wouldn’t surprise me, because that’s a mental institution.”
    • Patriotic Fervor: American patriotism is also something that raises eyebrows in other countries: school children being forced to salute the American flag every morning and memorize the pledge of allegiance, people rising in unison to sing along with the national anthem whenever it’s played, controversy over burning flags,… Though other countries are not immune to nationalistic pride, American patriotism feels very creepy in foreign eyes.
      • Self-deprecating comedy also doesn’t seem as common in the USA as in other countries. Whenever someone pokes fun at the good ol’ USA he always has to reassure the audience that he really likes the country in the end. Similarly many foreigners have had situations where they make a joke at their own (country’s) expense and Americans in their company take pity on them rather than laugh along. Almost as if they assume the person lacks confidence. Most American comedy, both stand-up as well as sitcoms and comedies, seem more at ease insulting others, usually targeting physical features. This goes from the Your Momma jokes to the traditional roasting events. Laughing with America or criticizing the core idea of the American Dream is a touchy subject in the USA. A majority can still feel very offended, even if the satire or criticism was done by an American.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Americans are generally painted as completely ignorant of the rest of the world. American tourists may visit other countries, but are more interested in shopping and souvenirs than authentic culture, and are always rude and condescending to “the natives”.
  • Positive stereotypes about the United States are generally that people see it as a “land of opportunities”. The pioneer spirit is still strong and people have the feeling that even “an average guy or gal” can make it there. Foreigners also have the impression that, because of this, everybody in the U.S.A. is incredibly wealthy. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
    • This also explains why white Americans are often depicted as filthy rich, cigar-smoking businessmen with too much money to spend. If you have to believe a lot of foreign fiction, all American business people work in skyscrapers. Stories about Hollywood stars living in mansions with a swimming pool and a private jet also contribute to this idea. As do American TV soaps, sitcoms, and films where the characters usually live in very spacious houses with many modern vicinities.
  • Another positive image about the U.S.A. is that other countries (used to) look up to it. The United States was the first colony to become independent and introduce the first foundation of a modern democratic constitution. This was an inspiration for many other countries who became independent in the centuries after. The American constitution guarantees liberties and freedom of speech that go further than most other countries, even democratic ones. Thus, the U.S.A. became “the land of the free”, symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, which welcomed all immigrants who fled from persecution in their home country.
    • Americans are often seen as people who vocally try to defend their own rights, according to what they claim is in the Constitution. Usually in combination with some Badass Boast, Precision F-Strike and/or degrading comment: “Hey listen up, pal…!” This is also in part where the idea of both their stereotypical cocksure machoism and arrogance hail from.
      • America is infamous for its many frivolous lawsuits. A common stereotype is that Americans will seize every opportunity to sue a company or other person for a ridiculous amount of money, because “the law is the law”.
      • The Grim Reaper complains in Monty Python’s: The Meaning of Life: “Shut up! Shut up, you American. You always talk, you Americans, you talk and you talk and say ‘Let me tell you something’ and ‘I just wanna say this'”.
    • Divided States of America: Still, many foreigners have the impression that Americans don’t care enough about their national politics, mostly because — in contrast to other modern democracies — they only have two significant parties to vote into presidency. As a result, most Americans don’t bother to vote, which wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the fact that the entire world is affected by their voting decisions. Since World War II, America’s influence on world politics and economy has been so dominant that many people across the world always hope that the American people vote wisely instead of going for the most superficial or politically extreme candidate.
  • Another image many foreigners have of Americans is that they are extremely extroverted, yet appear to be very genteel. They will act very friendly and enthusiastic, smile, say hello and goodbye (“Oh, hiiiiiii!”, “Have a nice day!”,…), show involvement in what you say (“Oh rrrrrreallly?”, “Oh my goooooood!”), but it comes across as if they don’t mean it half of the time.
  • A stereotype about Americans that has gotten under a lot of strain since the second half of the 20th century is that of the “heroic American”. During the 19th and early 20th century, Americans were depicted as cowboys who save the day, a stereotype fed by Buffalo Bill, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Clint Eastwood. Powerful comic book superheroes like Superman, Batman, Popeye, and Spider-man also fueled this image, fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way.” Especially older generations tend to see Americans as noble, self-reliant individuals who take no nonsense, grab matters into their own hands, act quick and efficient, and save everyone. This is also the idea most Americans (like to) have about themselves. Even some of their politicians, who see the world as a place divided in good (our side) and evil (the other side).
    • Americans helped Europe win two world wars, but people usually forget that the U.S collaborated with other countries to defeat the Axis. Many war movies and documentaries paint the wrong impression that America won these wars singlehandedly. After World War II, the United States were generally seen as liberators by all the countries that had been suppressed by the Nazis or Japanese: America Saves the Day. This led to an internationally positive view of the U.S. where many people across the world gladly embraced American products like Coca Cola, chewing gum, large cars, and Hollywood films. As the Truman doctrine was introduced, the American government started sending troops to every major international conflict, thus coining the nickname “the policeman of the world.” However, during the 1960s at the height of the Vietnam War, American’s foreign policy was criticized by other countries. In later decades, America’s involvement in many wars, rebellions, and other conflicts became controversial, usually because it seemed to be a greater benefit to their own government and multinationals than the actual countries themselves. To this day, America’s heroic image has remained polarized. A considerable quantity people across the globe hate the U.S.A. solely based on the actions of their government, their powerful multinationals, and their aggressive marketing campaigns. (See America Saves the Day, America Takes Over the World, Yanks with Tanks and America Wins the War), though at the same time they still use American products and enjoy American films and TV series. Also, the USA isn’t the only (Western) country with internationally powerful multinationals and governments who sponsor dictatorships and engage in wars.
    • Thanks to the numerous The Wild West legends and movie westerns, the country is still seen as Americans Are Cowboys. If a character in foreign fiction is depicted as being American, he is either a cowboy or at least wearing a cowboy hat.
    • American Gun Politics: Even though the U.S. isn’t the only country where carrying firearms is legal, the image of the “gun-obsessed American” is more common than with other nationalities. Many American citizens appear to be extensions of cowboys and will proudly and sometimes paranoidly carry a gun everywhere they go, even if there is no danger about. This “gun obsession” may have also been popularized by numerous westerns and violent Hollywood action movies where the cool ones always have large guns. Similar to a typical Hollywood scenario, American real life crime fighting is often presented as if you just have to hunt and shoot down “the bad guy” and every problem is solved.
      • Foreign media sometimes gives the wrong impression that all American gun owners are mostly conservative Republican rednecks, while in reality even liberal-minded and otherwise not-that-macho people may own a gun or more for self-defense.
  • In other countries, Americans are often seen as people who are scared out of proportion of anything. Historically, they have been frightened of religious persecution, Native Americans, Afro-Americans, communists, hippies, and terrorists. In order to protect themselves, they will carry a gun everywhere they go and arm their homes into small fortresses. As the documentary Bowling for Columbine suggested, many American TV shows and films scare their viewers so much that they will buy and do anything to feel safe. Some of the stuff American citizens are frightened about are fears you would associate with a primitive Third World country, not a Western industrialized democracy: Satan, going to Hell, socialism, atheism, sex, and human nudity.
    • American Churches: Outside the USA, many people have the impression that all Americans are devoutly obsessed with God and Jesus and will do anything to force their conservative ideals on others. The amount of cults and/or spin-offs of Christianity in the USA is amazing, from Mormonism over Scientology to Christian Science. Even the national pledge of allegiance is held to “one nation under God” and the US president will frequently conclude his speeches with the phrase “May God bless America.” Compared to other Western countries, a large amount of Americans frequently visit their local religious community, pray, believe every word in their religious books literally, and get scared or angry when confronted with someone who merely suggests that Church and State should remain separate. Despite having some Truth in Television, many foreign news casts and documentaries have a tendency to focus on the most extreme pious, intolerant, corrupt, money grabbing, near insane God fearing fundamentalists instead of the average, moderate, non-judgemental church goers. Historically, the United States didn’t have a health care system like other democratic Western nations have, so being part of a religious community often used to be the only way to get aid from your local neighborhood during sour times.
    • Only In America: In foreign eyes, Americans seem to have very odd, almost contradictive repressive attitudes towards children, adolescents, and even adults. Owning guns is O.K. Praising the military is wonderful. Watching extremely violent, bloody, and gory films is an innocent pastime. But the mere sight of a bare breast or genitalia is a gigantic Berserk Button, despite the fact that gun violence is more harmful than human nudity. Countless American films, series, and public broadcasts try to discourage people from having premarital sex. Yet, at the same time, American media desperately tries to suggest nudity and sex, but always just shy away from actually showing it. It’s almost tempting fate. The subject is so often censored and avoided in the USA that whenever a glimpse of nudity or sex does appear in a film or TV series, it immediately causes excitement and/or controversy. A lot of it hardly bats an eye in Europe, where violence is the most common subject for censorship, especially regarding minors.
      • Another example is the legal drinking age in the U.S.A. of 21 years old compared to the age of 16 in European countries. And again while being one of the biggest beer drinkers in the world who promote ‘having a beer with your buddies’ constantly in the media!
      • From the South Park episode “I’m A Little Bit Country”: “Imagine an entire country founded on saying one thing and then doing the other.”
  • Outside the U.S., a stereotypical image of the dumb, fat, lazy, ignorant, self-important, decadent, prudish, and clueless white American exists. Most of these images are based on American fast food culture which has spawned a lot of morbidly obese people. Of course, in foreign countries sitcom characters like Archie Bunker, Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, and Peter Griffin are often seen as representative of the typical American.
    • Americans only guzzle down unhealthy food, including (but not limited to) hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, burritos, deep pan pizzas, barbecue ribs, potato chips and similar crunchy snacks, fried chicken, turkey, chilli, chocolate bars, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, apple pie and drink either soda, cola, or beer. They only visit snack bars, all night dining restaurants and fast food chains.
    • It really doesn’t help that Adam Richman’s Man v. Food is widely screened outside the USA and serves to confirm the widely-held notion that a majority of Americans are obese, waddling gutbuckets. Even the standard portion of whatever foodstuff Adam is sampling is vastly spilling-off-the-plate larger than a comparable eatery in, say, Britain, would serve. And Adam himself visibly gains a lot of weight over the course of the series…
  • American Accents and Stock American Phrases: In foreign fiction all Americans speak with a Texan accent and in a nasal brawl. They will use slang expressions like: “hi”, “hey”, “yeah”, “O.K.”, “howdy”, “cool”, “wow”, “awesome”, “gross”,… and I’m like…”, “goddamn”, “oh my god”, “jesus!”, … and words like “buddy”, “pal” and “dude”. Afro-Americans will speak in jive.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Outside the US, particularly from a UK/AUS point of view, there are names that are thought of as being quintessentially American-esque. Suitably macho, jock names likes “Chad”, “Todd”, “Brad”, etc. for boys, and cutesy names like “Tiffany”, “Candy”, or “Britney” for girls are great examples, and if Americans are spoofed in media produced outside the US, you can bet a name like the above will be selected. If you tell someone from outside of America that your name is ‘Randy’, expect raised eyebrows (especially in Britain). Americans are also known for sometimes having rather an ”interesting” taste in names, often striving for something “unique” rather than traditional — one only has to watch American talk-shows to see guests with names like “Jaxxon”, “Sharpay”, and “Sharadiant”. Even dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist conservatives like Sarah Palin exhibit a penchant for rather strange names, with her children — Bristol, Piper, Track, Willow, and Trig
    • The Pot Hole above links to Awesome McCoolname, but they also sometimes come across abroad more like Who Names Their Kid “Dude”?.
    • In foreign fiction, all American men will be called Joe, Hank, Al, Barney, Chuck, Lou, Jim, Bob, Tex, Donald, or Jack. They will preferably be The All-American Boy.
      • American women generally come in four flavors: A Fat Slob like their male counterpart, a young Dumb Blonde who’s extremely slutty, bossy and always wanting attention, a soccer mom (which usually overlaps with the first), or a docile 1950’s House Wife.
  • America Takes Over the World: Thanks to Hollywood, American TV shows and the Internet virtually everybody in the world with access to modern media is familiar with many aspects of American culture, even those who never visited the country in their entire life. To name an example: the USA is the only nation in the world where foreigners may be able to name some of the states, solely because they have heard them mention so often in films and TV series (try to do the same for Australia, Canada, France, England or China and all you get is a blank stare.) Naturally the global dominance of America’s aggressive marketing has also caused criticism in other countries. Numerous foreigners fear that American corporations destroy all the authentic and picturesque traditions of their own cultures. Many children and teenagers across the world have picked up American slang expressions like “O.K.”, “yeah”, “oh my god!” and “cool” in their own everyday speech. Even if they don’t speak English! They all gladly embrace American popular culture, merchandising and consumerism and dismiss their own country’s traditions as uncool or uninteresting. In some countries like France and Germany there is even a tendency to protect their own language by dubbing all American series and films on TV and forcing radio stations to play a majority of music in their own native tongue. To snobbish people the USA seems to lack any actual art or sophistication and imps centuries behind the cultural traditions of other continents. But how could it be otherwise, they say, if more government spending is used for the military and college sports than the American public school system?. Everything made in U.S.A. seems to be campy, decadent, unoriginal, dumbed down, overcommercialized kitsch only created to serve the ”almighty American dollar”. This image is particularly influenced by the power of huge multinationals like Disney, Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, General Motors, MTV, Microsoft and Apple who appear to be everywhere. Hollywood and Beverly Hills dominate movie and TV screens and give us dumb and shallow blockbuster movies, campy soap operas and sitcoms with laugh tracks. All American pop music is bland, watered down and appeals to cheap emotions only, without any authentic appeal or artistic vision. The USA seems to have no philosopical or literary tradition of any note, except infantile superhero comics. Literature fans still wait for the Great American Novel to be written. Their culinary tradition is downgraded by their tendency for fast food and soft drinks. If snobbish foreigners really want to point out what makes America’s idea of culture so different they tend to point at stuff like Disneyland, Las Vegas, the Playboy mansion, pink limousines, shallow beauty contests and phony award shows. In reality, of course, not all Americans enjoy this stuff. The USA is not even the only country with multinationals or shoddy unsophisticated stuff. And there are enough Americans who have made and endorsed art, education and technology of a more sophisticated and less commercialized nature. Many American film classics are internationally respected for being great works of art. Jazz is widely seen as the truest and most unique American art form and one could argue that even country, blues, rock, soul and hiphop have something authentic and original in their roots. The Great American Novel may not have been written yet, but there have been some strong contenders for that title up to this point.
    • From the Simpsons episode “30 Minutes Over Tokyo”, when the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan
    Waiter:: Don’t ask me; I don’t know anything! I’m product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.
    Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!
    • Foreign audiences associate American media with big budget spectacle. Consider the fact that Hollywood is the only place in the world where millions of dollars are used to make films and TV shows about sensational topics. And mostly because they can export it to the rest of the world, even if fails to make a profit in the U.S. During the first half of the 20th century, westerns were their most succesful international export product. Since the second half of that century, it’s mostly blockbuster action movies with long fight sequences, spectacular explosions, and gratuitous bullet rains.
    • American Television Stations: Though most people in the world watch a lot of television, Americans tend to be stereotyped as obsessive TV watchers more often than other countries. Possibly because so many films and TV series are made in the U.S.A., but also because there are so many different channels. It seems as if there’s so many airtime to fill that producers just throw in any soap opera, drama series, comedy program, talk show, movie, TV movie, reality show, animated cartoon series, or religious show they can cobble together. Only to have them interrupted by long commercial breaks every seven minutes. The amount of re-runs is staggering and has caused many Americans to know a lot of films and TV episodes by heart.
    • American news programs also come across as very biased and sensationalistic propaganda tools for either the government or the political party in the opposition.
    • Similarly, the tendency towards Americanization also irks many people across the world. Stories of foreign origin are often changed to appeal to an American audience. This in itself isn’t that strange — other countries may do it, too — but when the United States does it it usually goes too far. The setting of a foreign story is completely changed to a typical American town so that American audiences won’t feel too alienated. Characters will be replaced by typical American everyday men and women who speak in hip slang. If some of the foreign elements are kept they are often reduced to being stereotypes, like, for instance, a Funny Foreigner whose English and strange, exotic manners are obviously out of place compared to our all-American protagonists. In general, the entire tone of the adaptation feels very dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Subtle touches, authentic atmosphere, meaningful dialogue, controversial elements, political, cultural, and historical references are all removed, because producers assume that most Americans will be unable to understand or handle it. A complex plot will be simplified and the trailers for American audiences will focus more on low-brow comedy, explosions and violent action sequences. What non-Americans tend to oversee is that not all American audiences are in favor of these “Americanized” watered down versions.
      • This is actually done to appeal to overseas audiences as much as domestic ones, as in recent years blockbuster films have done tremendous business in foreign countries, in some cases blockbuster films actually do better overseas then in the U.S. The line of thought seems to be that generalizing something to be based in the USA rather than elsewhere may appeal to everybody, rather than alienate others. Of course, this often backfires too.
    • America and especially Los Angeles are also infamous for loving and celebrating pop culture beyond belief. Theme parks, midnight movies, drive-ins, TV marathons based on a particular film genre, fan clubs, cult classics, geeky fan conventions,… all originated in the US. Americans really enjoy everything that’s campy and bizarre, no matter how dumb, shallow, bad, or lousy it might be. People gather around with friends to watch their favorite films or TV episodes for the zillionth time. They will dress up as their favorite fictional characters for Halloween. Hosts of horror movie themed TV shows will present the film of the week in costume. Fans will buy or trade issues or rare bootlegs to add to their proud collection. T-shirts and posters are created around certain artists, characters or quotes. Other countries have started following this phenomenon in recent times, but still the sheer fun and excitement built around celebrating certain franchises, films, TV series, cartoons, comic strips, video games, Internet series, or musical artists can only be experienced full in the US. The only downside of this behaviour is that some people have the impression that Americans live too much in these fake made in Hollywood fantasies and base their entire world view on that.
    • The USA also has a close association with comic strips and animated cartoons. Despite not being the inventor of these media they did popularize and commercialize it globally. The USA has a broad variety in comic book genres, but still Superhero comics are often regarded as the most typical American. Typical in the sense that these superheroes are well known across the globe, but more thanks to movie adaptations than the actual comics, and thus only seem extremely popular in the USA itself. Foreigners will often mock superhero stories for being nothing more than naïve, childish and formulaic tales about some caped crusader with omnious Stock Super Powers, gained from some absurd incident during his youth. The character will typically be running or flying around in a Paper-Thin Disguise and beating up ridiculous supervillains, while shouting badass lines. As usual he will triumph in the end, because, after all, he has super powers, so how could he be beaten? Especially in Europe readers can’t relate to these heroic characters and prefer their own, more down to earth comic strips series about everyday people. This also explains why American comic strips and cartoons about identifiable ordinary pitiful losers, such as Peanuts, Donald Duck and The Simpsons have always been far more succesful in Europe.
  • In (beat ’em up) videogames, American fighters (generally) come in one of two flavours, adhering to the distinct types presented by the Eagleland trope: Type 1 examples will often positively portray the all-American hero, and include patriotic, military powerhouse Guile of Street Fighter Fame, who has the Stars & Stripes tattooed to both shoulders, as well as the Hot-Blooded, cheerfully friendly Terry Bogard from The King of Fighters. Felicia from Darkstalkers also (arguably) represents Type 1, being a friendly, caring sort who wants nothing more than to make it big on Broadway.
    • Type 2 examples are more numerous, the most obvious being Rufus of Street Fighter fame, who is morbidly obese, arrogant, very dim, chats absolute crap and has moves with sci-fi names (Galactic Tornado, Space Opera Symphony). Poison, also of Street Fighter (originally Final Fight) fame is very much Type 2, and is presented as overtly sexual, sleazy, sassy, and obsessed with money. In Rival Schools, one of the teams is made up of three American exchange students who sum up Type 2 almost completely; There’s Roy, an arrogant, xenophobic Jerkass, Tiffany an outrageously costumed, ditzy cheerleader complete with Valley Girl expressions and pneumatic boobs, and finally Boman — a preacher in training. A good Mixed Flavour Type example is Ken Masters of Street Fighter fame, who is definitely cocky and brash, but is also an honourable person and shown to deeply care about his friends and family.
  • When playing sports: all Americans will be playing baseball, American football, or basketball, usually with some cheerleaders jumping on the side. All these sports originated in the United States and remain far more popular than soccer, which is universally beloved in every country, except in the U.S, where many of the worlds’ most iconic soccer players are almost obscure.
  • If you have to emphasize that you’re in the United States, don’t forget to reference the following clichés: the bald eagle, apple pie, baseball, basketball, American football, a ticker-tape parade, corn, (Thanksgiving) turkeys, skyscrapers, prairies, coyotes, canyons, the Star Spangled Banner, Mount Rushmore, The White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel, Country Music, Frank Sinatra, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, Hip Hop, a fast food chain (preferably McDonald’s), Coca Cola, large cars driving over deserted roads, hamburgers, hot dogs, cowboys, Native Americans, and Mickey Mouse.

African-Americans

  • Old stereotypes show them as slaves, working in cotton fields and singing bluesy songs. If they are a bit better off they are portrayed as servants, butlers, cooks, shoe shiners, or ”Mammy” maids. They enjoy eating watermelons and/or chickens or playing dice games. Typical for those times they are depicted as being lazy, dumb, superstitious, primitive, or overly submissive (“Yes suh, no ma’m”) to their white superiors and scared of ghosts. If a black character is joyful, he is usually an Uncle Tom or Uncle Remus type of character.
  • Modern stereotypes depict them as either being jazz musicians, gospel choir singers, baptists with loud and punctuated speech, basketball players, dancers, stand-up comics, rappers, soul singers with large Afro-hair, gang members, pimps, and prostitutes. They always talk in jive and are usually cool and sassy.
  • Throughout most of the 19th and 20th century, the USA was depicted in foreign popular culture as a place where all white men were racists and/or members of the Ku Klux Klan who oppressed or lynched black people. Often the American president himself would be depicted as a white “nigger-hating” asshole. In more recent times, this idea has died out, save for occassional news stories about white Police Brutality against black people and getting away with it without legally being persecuted. Foreigners still have the impression it’s tough to be black in the USA, but it doesn’t seem as awful as it was before 1964.
    • A more surprising notion for people outside the USA is that Afro-Americans are still a minority in the USA. They only take up about 12% of the general population! From watching American films and TV series one gets the wrong impression that there are about as much Afro-Americans as white people in the USA.

Native Americans

  • Historically, they have been called “Indians”, a word that is still used outside the U.S.A. In the United States themselves, the word is no longer considered politically correct and they are referred to as “Native Americans or American Indians.”
  • In previous centuries, The Savage Indian was a common stereotype, fed by the 18th and 19th century Western idea that they were basically violent and primitive savages who just needed to be wiped from the country they lived in for centuries. Buffalo Bill ‘s Wild West shows and countless westerns have also cemented this image inside people’s heads. The standard script depicts them as follows. When The Natives Are Restless, they will start pounding a large drum and dig up their tomahawks. After mounting their mustangs, they attack every stagecoach, covered wagon, or fortress in the neighborhood. They shoot arrows or throw tomahawks at their victims all while ululating by putting one hand in front of their mouth (something real life Native American tribes never did, but was introduced by Buffalo Bill’s shows). When they capture “palefaces”, they either scalp them right away or take them to their Tipis And Totempoles village first. There they will tie them up against their totem pole and dance around the pole afterwards. When that is over and done with, they will take turns in throwing tomahawks at their tied up prisoner to test his courage. After that, they will scalp him of flay him alive.
    • However, most of the time they are shown being far more incompetent. They have a tendency to drive to close to the white settlers only to be easily shot off their horses or fortress walls to die in dramatic poses. Even when they sneak up an unsuspecting victim, they will still blow it by ululating loudly before they can actually kill him. Usually, the white men will hand them some “firewater”, which the Natives will consume in great quantities, rendering them drunk afterwards.
    • Brown Face: Another racist stereotype is the image of the “redskin”. In comics, cartoons, and illustrations, Native Americans will all have a dark red skin. In the years before political correctness came in, even Caucasian actors have portrayed Native Americans by painting their own skin red.
  • All Native Americans speak Tonto Talk in a deep voice, while mentioning words and phrases like “How”, “Ugh”, “Um”, “white men”, “pale face”, “brother”, “ancestors”, “many moons ago”, “Big Chief”, “pale face speak double talk”,…at least once a sentence. They all have names where a state of character is combined with the name of an animal, plant, or something other nature-related. For instance: Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse,… The only tribes that seem to exist in popular culture are Apache, Cherokee, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Blackfoot, and Sioux.
  • A more positive depiction of Native Americans that became the norm since the 1960s is the Noble Savage or Magical Native American, all of them badass. They will be Perfect Pacifist People who prefer smoking the Peace Pipe and signing peace treaties with white men. Unfortunately, they are usually the victim of the white man’s greed and colonialism. Often they live in such harmony with nature that they only kill as many buffaloes they need and not a single one more. Usually will provide the foolish white man with a Green Aesop about nature and the danger of destroying the environment. This image has become so strong that they are often used in environmental messages, like the Crying Indian.
  • Other stereotypical images are Indian women carrying their papoose (“child”) in a bag on their back, indian maidens and The Chief’s Daughter falling in love with a white prisoner, thus saving his life. When Native Americans make friends, they perform a Blood Brothers act. All communication is done by sending smoke signals to one another. When they travel, it’s usually by horse or canoe.
  • In popular culture, Native Americans are virtually a historical artifact. Stories set in the modern age hardly show them, except as proprietors of Native American Casinos. Those who aren’t are poor, live in reservations, and are either alcoholics, diabetics, or both.
    • In horror movies, the Twist Ending explanation why the house was haunted is usually because it was built on an ancient Indian Burial Ground.
  • Native American characters also show up a good deal in beat ’em ups, and are almost without exception presented as being nature-loving, spiritual, calm, and dressed in the archetypal attire. Examples include the towering Thunder Hawk of Street Fighter, Michelle and Julia from Tekken, and Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat.

American West

  • Hawaii: Pretty girls with long black hair, coconut bras, and grass skirts who enjoy hula dancing and put flower garlands (“leis”) over every tourist’s shoulders. The island has a very relaxed atmosphere with parties (“luaus”) and people drinking soft drinks while wearing Hawaiian shirts, surfing, and playing the ukelele. There are also a lot of pineapples, Tiki statues, and pigs roasted at the beaches. And, of course, the word “Aloha” most be mentioned or sung at least once!.
  • California: A state where liberal-thinking people live in the sun, near the beach. California also has a strange universal attraction for people outside the state to either visit or move to the place. In the 19th century, the “gold rush” motivated many fortune seekers to move here. During the 1960s, all hippies wanted to travel to San Francisco. Every child in the world wants to visit Anaheim because of Disneyland and every aspiring actor of director dreams of making it big in Hollywood.
    • San Francisco is best known for its streetcars, Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica pyramid, Star Fleet Headquarters, wineries, Silicon Valley, earthquakes, homosexuals, and hippies.
    • Horrible Hollywood and It Came from Beverly Hills: Los Angeles is universally famous for Hollywood, palm trees on both sides of the road, Beverly Hills and its Silicon Valley. In popular culture, it will always seem as if everyone is busy making movies there. Indeed, many film crews just make their pictures in Los Angeles, with the result that even if it’s not explicitly stated as being in Hollywood the anytown USA will still be recognizably L.A. You have the succesful A-movie stars who are just as rich as they are arrogant and narcissistic. They all live in huge secluded mansions with a private chauffeur, jet, tennis court, and swimming pool. There they lead a decadent lifestyle full of expensive parties with drug-induced orgies. Either they have a Happy Marriage Charade for the press and public or add their umpteenth divorce on the list. Their only genuine ambition is winning an(other) Oscar and getting even richer. Especially those who have been in show business too long seem to have lost all sense of realism or normality. When they appear in public they wear sunglasses and try to put on a charade by keeping a fixated fake smile at all times and laugh in an equally fake way about the most mondane things. Older actors and actresses will reminsce about their glory days, yet are lucky if they get a bit part in a new movie nowadays because they are old, ugly, and almost forgotten. Virtually all of them have had some Magic Plastic Surgery at one point, which may lead to an Uncanny Valley Nightmare Face. The rest of the city is populated with aspiring unknowns who dream of becoming a Hollywood star, yet are still obscure losers who struggle to make ends meet. At best they will end up in a low-budget porn movie or B-movie with bad special effects. A sleazy Corrupt Corporate Executive will exploit naïve actresses by showing them his Casting Couch. He won’t have a dime for a creative, original script, but is happy to pump millions of dollars into a bland, dumb,unrealistic blockbuster full of clichés and platitudes that nevertheless provide audiences with lots of A-list celebrity stars and a satisfying happy end. If someone’s script is accepted, it will still be victim of Executive Meddling.
    • The San Fernando Valley is best known as a heaven for surfers. It’s full of dumb bikini-clad blondes (Valley Girl) or equally brainless surfer dudes who all speak a specific slang (“Whoa, that’s like, totally radical, dude!”) made universally popular by MTV’s Spring Breaks.
    • Apart from that Los Angeles is also infamous for police helicopters flying everywhere, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and huge riots that put whole neighbourhoods on fire. The irony that the fake illusions of Hollywood are made here is not lost on foreigners.
  • Oregon has an Unknown Rival relationship with California. Apart from the standard Californian stereotypes, Oregonians stereotype Californians as rich, snobby carpetbaggers who can’t drive properly and raise property taxes. Interestingly, the two states have roughly the same values politically, both being reliable blue states in any presidential election. Oregon would probably argue that it has the real environmentalists while California only has the slick poseur versions. Splitters!
  • When the rest of the country remembers the Pacific Northwest, they they usually associate it with never-ending rainfall, hippies, environmentalism, hipsters, and (in the case of Seattle) grunge.
  • New Mexico is lucky to be considered part of the Union at all, most of the time it’s kind of off to the side and gets awkward looks from everyone else.
    • Truth in Television: The state’s tourist magazine runs a monthly column called “One of Our Fifty Is Missing,” for readers to report real-world encounters with others who honestly don’t know that New Mexico is a state, leading for example to requests to show a New Mexico passport, etc. One of these was an experience recounted by a former governor of New Mexico.
    • New Mexico is further known for being a former testing ground for atomic bombs and a military top secret base where the government hides extraterrestrial aliens ever since the 1947 Roswell incident. In reality, the only aliens the local authorities fight are illegal immigrants from over the Mexican border.
    • Also well known for Albuquerque, where Bugs Bunny should have made a left turn.
  • Arizona is The Wild West. It’s extremely hot here, enough to melt a snow cone in Phoenix. All rural and the population consists of outlaws, Cowboy Cops, and bartenders. Anybody who tries to enter from the south will be shot on sight.
  • Utah: See Mormonism, because nobody knows or mentions anything else about this state besides its Salt Lake or, for older people, the The Osmonds. Basically, Utah is stereotyped as some kind of weird Mormon theocracy and a de facto foreign country on U.S. soil. Polygamy, which the Mormon church endorsed until 1890, is a case of Never Live It Down.
    30 Rock‘s Jack Donaghy: “I thought by now you’d be someplace that U.S. law couldn’t touch you, like Bali or Utah.”
  • Colorado has something of a duality. On the one hand, there’s Colorado Springs, aka the Vatican City of Protestant fundamentalism where everyone owns a gun and lives in the mountains. On the other, there’s Boulder and the ski towns, home of the Granola Girl, the New-Age Retro Hippie and, for the latter, rich celebrities making a second home, all of them snowboarding and getting high. And if you’re from Denver or (especially) its suburbs, you’re either a Badass Longcoat who’s thinking about shooting up the school or the movie theater, or ducking and covering to get away. Eastern Colorado, of course, does not exist.
    • Post-2012, when marijuana was legalized for retail sale, everyone smokes it freely and openly.
  • Nevada: Best known for Las Vegas and all the degenerate and decadent stuff that can be found there. Stuff that is illegal elsewhere in the USA is legal here, including gambling and prostitution note . In popular culture the place is both portrayed as a place of fun, as well as a shallow and degrading hangover afterwards. It’s known for cheap and quick weddings, Elvis impersonators, and washed-up former stars who perform kitschy shows there for nostalgic audiences before they finally croak. Since it was founded by mobsters expect some shady businesspeople, mafiosi, drug dealers, drug users, pimps and prostitutes to appear here too. The rest of Nevada, apart from the Poor Man’s Vegas in Reno and hundreds of hotels and motels, may as well be labeled “Here There Be Aliens.”
  • Everyone in Idaho lives in a potato field, Boise, or Deliverance country (where everyone is part of the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nation).
  • Montana is generally portrayed as having nothing but vegetarians/vegans, survivalists, libertarian psychos, and militia nuts. Geography includes nothing but mountains, forests, and national parks, with towns and cities all isolated as a result. Within Montana, people from Missoula are pot-smoking pansexual hippies, people from Bozeman just moved there from California/Colorado/Washington and are trying to subvert Montana’s tradition of Rugged Individualism, and eastern Montana is a frozen wasteland full of Norwegian Lutherans (in other words, North Dakota). Oh yeah, and Hannah Montana lives here, as well.
    • Another popular stereotype is Montana having an extremely low population density; except for a few cities here and there, it’s miles and miles and miles of empty rolling plains.
  • There are, of course, no stereotypes of people from Wyoming since no one lives there. Well, maybe there are cowboys in the mountains but that’s about it. The only reference in popular culture will be Yellowstone National Park where geisers, bears, rangers, redwoods and forest fires are everywhere.

American Midwest

  • Apparently, a lot of people think that North Dakota is a frozen wasteland with less than five people and not one of them has seen an ATM before. At least our banks aren’t failing. North Dakotans also have a reputation as heavy drinkers, which is largely Truth in Television (as of this edit, we have the highest per capita alcohol consumption rate in the nation). Rowdy oil roustabouts who couldn’t find work back home live here. Many of the stereotypes traditionally associated with Minnesota also apply to North Dakota.
  • South Dakota is famous for Mount Rushmore… and features nothing else. It doesn’t matter how you drive into the state; it’ll always be the first thing you come across. The rest of it is pine trees, highways, and wasteland. In truth, eastern South Dakota has the overflow crowd of Norwegian Lutherans, for a lot of it.
  • Kansas is apparently where rationality, science, and fun are all burned alive for witchcraft. It used to be just that big flat area people hurried through to get to the Rockies. The rest of the world knows it for the song Kansas City and the black-and-white scenes of The Wizard of Oz. Comic book fans know it as the residence of Clark Kent.
  • Arkansas is commonly confused with Kansas due to the name’s similarity. Home of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African American students who were initially unable to attend the city’s central high school due to their colour.
  • Missouri… actually, no one cares about Missouri. Except for every few years in October. Or if you’re a meth addict. Frowning is a state sport and no one ever wants to come back here. It’s mostly remembered for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. If you live in an adjacent state (other than possibly Arkansas), you think the southern part (south of I-44 if you’re generous, south of I-70 if you’re not) is populated mainly by hillbillies; if you’re from further away, you probably think that about the whole state.
  • Minnesota: Minnesotans are seen either as hicks with snow instead of rusted-out cars, or pleasant, blonde suburbanites always willing to help you, if you don’t want to (see Minnesota Nice). Either way, likely to be depicted as socially conservative but politically liberal, closer to earth Good Old Boy types, all of whom are Lutheran and Swedish. See Ole and Lena.
  • Iowans like corn! Because corn is nice.
    • Des Moines, Iowa: the reason why Bill Bryson left town and came to England, making a rep as a famous travel writer, journalist, and occassional TV presenter. Without actually saying so, he implies the cloying crushing boredom of his home town and native state was the biggest single prompt to him to get up and go as far away as possible.
  • Nebraskans still drive covered wagons, live on farms, and raise corn and cows. They are also rabid Cornhusker fans, loving the team even more than their own families.
  • Depending on what part of Michigan you’re from, you’re either a crazy black mugger (Detroit/Flint/Pontiac area), a tree hugger (Grand Rapids), a rich snobby Jew (West Bloomfield), a rich snobby WASP (the rest of Oakland County, save Pontiac, which see above, plus Grosse Pointe), a rich snobby foodie tree hugger (Ann Arbor), a stern Calvinist fundamentalist (Holland and the rest of West Michigan), an Archie Bunker-type white Ronald Reagan Democrat who lost your job on the line (Monroe County, Downriver, much of Lansing area), or a hick who does nothing other than hunt (anywhere north of the Saginaw-Muskegon line). And don’t forget da Yoopers: still a hunting hick, but with a cool accent and pasties, ya?
    • Detroit is best known as the Motor City.
  • Illinois: People are apparently either stuck-up, hypocritical, politically corrupt snobs with a Chicaaagaa drawl, or they’re murderous gangsters (’20s or modern, take your pick). During the heydays of Michael Jordan it was internationally known for the Chicago Bulls basketball team. And they’ll advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield, Illinois before his presidency constantly…
  • “Hi, we’re visiting Ohio!” “…Why?” This especially applies to Cleveland.
  • Indiana: The Three Kinds of Indiana: hicks who could’ve been from Alabama if they weren’t wearing snowboots and a winter coat; whitebread Everytown, America-ish suburbanites (particularly around Indianapolis and the Chicagoland region); and Inner City Indiana, for which the exemplar is Gary, Indiana, AKA the Armpit of America, where the chemical factories and steel mills release a putrid perfume for all to smell and where the cops will beat the crap out of you, cite you for marijuana possession… and proceed to smoke it right in your face. But to the rest of the world, Indiana is associated with Indiana Jones’ first name and the Indianapolis 500 race.
  • Wisconsin: Beer, cheese, beer cheese, bratwursts, cows, beer, cranberries, beer, the Brewers, the Badgers, the Packers (treated as a publicly-owned state religion), and (if you’re really with it) Summerfestnote . That’s it. Oh, and Germans. LOTS of Germans. And beer. Oh yaaah, and all dose women who come from Wisconsin in the media will always be a middle-aged housewife who speaks with a Scandahoovian accent, don’chaknow? Oh You’betcha!

American South

  • Deep South: The American South is often depicted as the most rural part of the USA. There are supposedly no cities with modern facilities, just miles of farmland or steep, backwoods, forested mountainsides with here and there a tiny rural town. Either that or cotton fields. The Mississippi River is usually not very far off too and a river boat may pass by, if you’re not attacked by an alligator or surprised by The Great Flood. Typical animals in these regions are skunks and opossums. Everybody here either lives on a farm, in a trailer or in a wooden house with a front porch. All people live In Harmony with Nature and enjoy the simple life, still stuck in the days of The American Civil War and/or The Great Depression.
  • If the American South is portrayed in a positive light it will be because of a Call to Agriculture. The region will be portrayed as a romanticized area where you can enjoy the simple life in and on a farm or a mansion with a plantation. There are lots of opportunities go out fishing, walk in the woods or drive in a pick-up truck past the cotton fields and listen to local Jazz, Blues, Cajun, Zydeco, Bluegrass, Folk Music and/or Country Music artists. These images are cultivated in stories like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Uncle Remus stories, Gone with the Wind, Lil Abner, Pogo, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dukes of Hazzard, Forrest Gump, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and virtually all Americana folk music from the 19th century until halfway the 1950s. You may even encounter an intelligent redneck here.
  • The Savage South, Southern Gothic and Lovecraft Country: If the South is portrayed in a negative light it will be a setting for crime and horror stories. There may be an abandoned Haunted House (The Amityville Horror) where some axe and/or chainsaw murder took place (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, In Cold Blood). Something may be lurking in the swamp (Creature from the Black Lagoon) or local villagers are out to get you in some other way (Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes). Even in the less fantastical works the South is the place where people will have to use all their wits, faith and will power to fight against a hostile population or the entire local legal system for that matter (To Kill A Mocking Bird, Inherit the Wind, The Crucible, In the Heat of the Night,Cool Hand Luke,…). It’s also popularly associated with bankrobbers, con-artists or escaped chain gang criminals on the run (Bonnie and Clyde, Paper Moon, Dillinger, The Defiant Ones, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang,…)
  • Typically, all white people are stereotyped as primitive, slow-witted and uneducated gap toothed slack-jawed yokel rednecks and hillbillies. They all have double names (Billy Bob, Mary Lou) or biblical names (Ezechiel, Jebediah) and are very religious. All of them are Republican voting good ol’ boys who don’t believe in the evolution theory, yet see UFOs everywhere. Everybody is still frustrated that they lost the Civil War, yet confident that The South Will Rise Again. They hang out the Confederate Flag, deny the Afro-American Civil Rights Movement ever happened and wish slavery was still in effect. Some of them are ugly and stupid as a result of inbreeding and fancy their cousins.
  • There are several types of Southern white stereotypes:
    • 1) The dirt poor farmer (Pa) who lives together with a disciplinary Apron Matron (Ma), a Southern Belle daughter whom he’ll protect at all times and only give away in a Shotgun Wedding. He might have a grandmother who smokes a corncob pipe and has a shotgun. Inbreeding is rampant with Kissing Cousins and all, which has contributed to their ugly looks and stupidity. They will do nothing besides sit around in a rocking chair all day, chew and spit tobacco, drink Hillbilly Moonshiner liquor from a jug, play banjo and stare menacingly at every stranger passing by with the words: “We don’t like what y’r doin’ here, strangyur”. Whenever they feel threatened- or if something moves in their vicinity – they will reach out for their handgun and shoot. Or they just call out for an old-fashioned lynching. Sometimes they may have a centuries old feud with some other family. If they enlist in the army they’ll be a Southern-Fried Private.
    • 2) The corrupt, racist, xenophobic, pot bellied sherrif in Sinister Shades who supposedly obeys the law, yet informs everybody: We do things our own way here. This typically involves having no trials or one where a Simple Country Lawyer and/or a Hanging Judge who will invariably chose the side of the sherrif and sentence you to heavy fines or a lynching by hanging. All his prisoners are typically Working on the Chain Gang alongside the road.
    • 3) The even more Corrupt Hick Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit who lives on a plantation. He is constantly dabbing himself with a handkerchief or uses a fan for the same purpose. Typically he smokes a cigar, uses a cane and/or controls the local town. He has put all his brothers and cousins in high governmental positions. At night he is a closet Ku Klux Klan member. Can be a charming and sophisticated, yet arrogant and untrustworthy Southern Gentleman too.
    • 4) A fire-and-brimstone preacher who is staunchly conservative, judgemental and intolerant. He believes every word in the Bible literally, denounces the evolution theory and will engage in exorcisms, magical healings, river baptisms and stuff that is a mix between fraud and superstition. Is either Baptist or Pentecostal and will be supported by Moral Guardians and frightened locals.
  • Of course, there are black people in the South too. In outdated popular culture they are still treated as second-rate citizens, work in conditions that are supisciously close to slavery and will frequently be lynched by Ku Klux Klan members. Stereotypes still in fashion to this day portray black Southerners as loud preachers who punctuate their speech and engage in gospel singing. Or they’ll be blues guitarists who went to the crossroads to sell their soul to the devil in exchange for their talent. Or jazz artists playing in a local brass band.
  • Louisiana is a subset of the Georgia/Alabama/Mississippi Deliverance country, except everybody speaks French patois and may be a Ragin’ Cajun. And there’s New Orleans. New Orleans is drunk and debauched (or was destroyed by hurricane Katrina) and will mostly be filled with jazz bands and sleazy people. Occasionally, a traditional Mississippi river boat will pass by. Expect hurricanes or floods to regularly destroy everything in its vicinity. Alligators inhabit every lake.
  • People from Tennessee are either hillbillies who play banjos and sleep with their cousins, typical fat Deep South rednecks, or murderous inner-city thugs who will beat you up, steal your wallet, and shank you with a knife if they think you might have more than $5 on you. The hillbillies are all on meth, the rednecks are all drunk, and the gangstas guzzle codeine cough syrup by the quart. The exceptions are Nashville, which is populated entirely with country musicians, and Graceland, which is filled with Elvis freaks.
  • West Virginia is considered an acceptable target even by the most politically correct people out there. According to the rest of America, West Virginians are all uneducated, white trash, racist, dirt poor, toothless, shoeless, gun-toting hillbillies who eat raccoons and have moonshine running through their veins. The state pastimes include hunting squirrels and having sex with their cousins, then letting their inbred offspring drive when they’re two-years-old.
  • Texas: Howdy Y’all! Everyone in Texas is a gun-toting, horse-riding cowboy who eats nothing but gigantic steaks and huge bowls of chilli, drinks nothing but gigantic servings of beer (Shiner, Lone Star, or Budweiser if you have it), whiskey, and tequila, and drives a gigantic pickup truck. They all wear big cowboy hats, carry lassos, and attend rodeos every evening. Houston is home to the Space Center, [[Film/Apollo13 where a problem might be informed]] and San Antonio is historically remembered for the Alamo. TV watchers world wide also know it for oil-bearing ranches, as depicted in Dallas, the same city where John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
    • Everything Is Big in Texas: Texas is associated with gigantic beers, steaks, pickup trucks, cowboy hats and guns. Even the stories that people tell here are so exaggarated that they have earned a special name: tall tales. The most famous tall tale character Paul Bunyan is even a giant!
  • Mississippi: Everyone who lives in Mississippi is poor, morbidly obese with a heart condition, and lives in an old-fashioned one-floor house next to the Mississippi River.
  • Oklahoma!: Everyone who lives in Oklahoma is either a proud Native American living in a teepee, or a dumb-as-rocks hillbilly living in a trailer wondering why the “ternaders” always blow his house away. The rest of the world knows it for the eponymous musical Oklahoma!.
  • Florida. 98% of Americans think Florida’s history began with the invention of air conditioning, the Panhandle is the only part of the state that is possibly south of the Mason-Dixon line, Miami-Dade is part of Cuba, not the United States, and the state’s population doubles the day the first snowflake falls north of the Mason-Dixon line. Also, ask more than 99% of Americans what the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in North America is, and the answer will not be St. Augustine. In fact, the only things Florida is known for worldwide are Disney World, Cape Canaveral, MTV Spring Breaks, drunk & half nude college students, beach babes in bikini, Palm Beach, The Everglades, frequent hurricanes and alligators. And admit it: we’ve all noticed porn movies from companies like Brazzers, Bang Bros., Reality Kings, and Girls Gone Wild are all based in Miami, Florida (what else would you be watching in these films?)
    • Only in Florida and Only In Miami: Also a popular location for action packed stories involving cops, detectives, drug dealers, illegals, terrorists and aliens. Even in Real Life the most weird news stories all seem to hail from this state, if it’s not from the American South in general.
  • Kentucky is known for bluegrass musicians, tobacco, horse racing, bourbon, college basketball, Fort Knox, the annual Kentucky horse race and of course, its famous fried chicken.
  • Virginia overall is seen (by those who are even aware that Virginia and West Virginia are separate states) as the reddest of the red states, inhabited solely by Pat Robertson, George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli, and Eugene Delgaudio. This also plays into the divide between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
  • Delaware: (in monotone) “Hi. We’re from… Delaware.”
    • “Delaware. That’s a state, but most Americans don’t even know that, unless they live there.”
    • Delaware is best known as America’s First State. They were the first ones to sign the constitution that made them part of the USA.
  • Depending on what show you’re watching, Washington, DC is populated entirely by either (1) high-ranking administration officials and corrupt national politicians or, (2) military service members and federal government workers, or (3) shameless corporate lobbyists on K Street and various corrupt defense contractors or, (4) the News Media (5) MPD officers, drug kingpins, and corrupt municipal politicians. Either way, it is obligatory for depictions of local geography to be horribly wrong, and everything is the exact opposite of whatever the writer considers to be good and just. Also, version (i) of D.C. has absolutely no long-term residents.
    • No matter where you go, you can always see the Capitol, TheWhiteHouse, UsefulNotes/ThePentagon, or the Washington Monument. And the Lincoln Monument will make a cameo as well. Other architectural cameos will be made by the Smithsonian Institute.
      • The American President is a stereotype in itself. When actual presidents aren’t directly referenced themselves a standard version of the American President will be used. Democratic Presidents will be portrayed as an Expy of John F. Kennedy. Republican Presidents are usually portrayed as an Expy of Richard Nixon and/or Ronald Reagan. Invariably they all look up to Abraham Lincoln. In American fiction the President will always be a good, decent man who cares about his people. He may have some flaws, but they only make him human and don’t diminish his heroic stature. In foreign fiction the portrayals tend to be more cynical and show him as either a bumbling imbecilic fool, a closet racist or a corrupt, war mongering lunatic. Or he is just a puppet in hands of his Vice President, the Minister of Defense, the CIA or the FBI. In either way he will be involved in all kinds of shady conspiracy theories which plan the overthrowal of foreign regimes that disobey Washington’s orders by organizing new wars to please the American gun lobby. All the President wants to do is push the red button and nuke the world to smithereens. Typically all his government meetings take place in the Oval Office or the Pentagon and without any interference or approval from the House of Congress. Apart from political and economical mayhem he may also have extra-marital affairs with his secretaries or other women. In America itself negative portrayals of the American President occur more in direct satirical attacks of a specific real life president, usually from the viewpoint of people from the opposite political ideology.
    • Seattle, Washington is known for computers, the Space Needle and the grunge movement.
  • Georgia will always be treated as a backwards hicktown that is extremely white and extremely intolerant (see the 30 Rock episode “Stone Mountain”). This is despite the fact that its capital, Atlanta, is 54% black, home to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and some of the most high-tech medical/biohazard facilities in the world, and actually has the 3rd highest population of LGBT people in the U.S. (behind San Francisco and Seattle). It’s known as the home town of Coca Cola and the Atlanta Airport. But at least since Ray Charles, it is “always on our mind”.
  • Alabama is best known for being the state where cowboys ride “with a banjo on their knee”, the song “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the homeplace of Forrest Gump. On a more negative note, it’s also the home state of the Ku Klux Klan and many furious race riots in the past. Also famous for the city of Montgomery, where Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her bus seat to a racist white man notably set off the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

American Northeast

  • New Jersey is full of corrupt politicians, organized crime, industrial pollution, ill-behaved Italians, Stepford Suburbia, and emo teens.
  • New Yorkers: Rude, loud, thieves, gangsters, snobbish, empty headed, any stereotype you can fit with Italians/Jews/*enter other classic New York immigrant here*, and at worst, liberal demons. And yes, this accounts for those who live in Upstate New York as well. Even the Amish.
    • Don’t go to Harlem either, ’cause Afro-American gangs will either threaten you, mug you, shoot you, or just show off their rapping and break dancing skills.
    • In Hollywood films and TV series, New York City is always the most prominent target for giant monster attacks, Brooklyn Rage, ghosts that need to be busted, turtles living in sewers, alien invasions, environmental disasters, or science fiction wars. In fact: if a story has to take place somewhere other than Everytown, America, it will always be New York City. Despite being something of The Big Rotten Apple in popular culture…
    • When in New York, make sure that you show the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Broadway, Wall Street, The New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, the UN Headquarters, Brooklyn Bridge, King Kong or Woody Allen. Play “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra on the soundtrack. Mention at least once it’s “the city that never sleeps.” Whenever the Statue of Liberty is shown, it’s often in a historical setting with immigrants arriving by ship in the harbour. And of course skyscrapers can be seen everywhere.
    • New York City has five boroughs, namely the Bronx (where Hip Hop was born and the Bronx Zoo can be visited), Brooklyn (historically an immigrant neighbourhood, full of Brooklyn Rage), Manhattan (cultural and economic heart of town, exemplified by Times Square, Wall Street and cultural icons like Broadway and several museums.), Queens and Staten Island.
    • Irish-Americans are also thought of with much suspicion in Great Britain as a bunch of ignorant dolts with a chip on their shoulder about The Irish Question whose dollars in donation to Northern Irish “charities” subsidized the most murderous Irish terrorist groups for nearly thirty years and kept them in bombs and bullets.
    • Although after 9/11, when the USA was itself the victim of a terrorist attack, donations to Irish terrorists from North American sources dried up overnight — the penny had finally dropped about what terrorism does and people were less willing to inflict this on others, even on the Brits.
  • Rhode Island has the worst drivers in America, coffee addicts (Dunkin’ Donuts to be exact), cannot give directions, think a 45-minute drive is a daylong trip, and have the most corrupt government that you’d ever see… it’d make Tony Soprano stand in awe. They also have an inferiority complex with Massachusetts, especially pertaining to their big colleges (RI’s Brown and MA’s Harvard). Too bad Massachusetts already has its own inferiority complex for New York and hasn’t really noticed.
  • Pennsylvania has three, and only three types of people. In Pittsburgh, everyone is a dopey and unemployed Pole that worships the Steelers like a religion. In Philadelphia, everyone is a perpetually-raging meathead (thanks to a constant diet of cheesesteaks) who will kill Santa Claus just to make your child cry (and worships the Eagles like a religion). Everyone else lives in “Pennsyltucky”, and worships Penn State like a religion. For their stereotypes, see Kentucky directly above. Oh, and there’s the Amish. Lots and lots of Amish. Philadelphia is also historically known for the Liberty Bell, which has a crack in it since the American War Of Independence.
  • Maine: We have lobsters, moose, lighthouses, and beaches, some of which are more rock than sand. For the most part, Maine exists as one big tourist attraction, and the idea that it still exists in the winter is an idea limited solely to skiers and natives. For the rest of New England, Maine is Yankee redneck country. And if you see even the slightest thing out of the ordinary… run. Run as far away as quickly as your legs can take you.
    • There’s also trees. Lots and lots and lots of trees. It’s called the “Pine Tree State” for a reason. The state flower is even the pine cone, which isn’t even a flower.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts: full of rich, pretentious WASP Harvard graduates who hate Yale University, or loud, obnoxious, drunken Irish-Americans… and sometimes both. Have a bit of an inferiority complex with New York, especially pertaining to sports teams. Dislikes EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE LIST (except the Irish or British, depending on social class), occasionally giving an exception to other New Englanders. The MIT nerd is sometimes seen. The Boston Brahmins are often seen as being socially liberal, as they crusaded against slavery, drinking, and segregation, in addition to being the first state to legalize gay marriage. This is seen as genuine care, while California is thought of holding these views superficially (along with everything else).
    • Massachusetts is also well-known for its historical events. From the Mayflower landing near Plymouth Rock in 1620, to the Salem witch burnings and the 1776 Boston Tea Party.
  • Vermont: Either ice cream and maple syrup or the Oregon of the east. Take your pick. Also, apparently the “moonlight in/on Vermont” is quite a sight, according to some songs.
  • Connecticut: Had you actually bothered to learn that Connecticut is a real place on the map, you would probably think of its people as rich, snobby Rockefeller Republican Yalies who hate Harvard. Preppy style clothing is frighteningly common, especially among the baby boomer generation. The only entertainment available here is the local library and college sports.
  • New Hampshire: Libertarians who sell alcohol at highway rest stops (in stores operated by the state, no less) and don’t require you to wear your seat belt while in a car. Live free or die note , indeed. Traditionally also the first state to held primary elections every four years in the process of choosing the delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions which choose the party nominees for the presidential elections. They also used to be known for a rock formation that appeared to be the jagged profile of a human face when viewed from the north: The Old Man of the Mountain, but it collapsed in 2003 due to centuries of freezing and thawing.

    Middle and South America, aka Latin America

  • Generally referred to as Latin America, because so many countries in this continent either speak Spanish, Portuguese or French (French Guyana). As a result, many Hispanic stereotypes about Spain and Portugal will also be used for Latin-Americans: people prefer having siësta’s, sing serenades while playing the guitar, women are Spicy Latina and men are latin lovers,… Despite this, not all countries in Middle and South America have a Latin language based native tongue. There are also some Dutch speaking states (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustachius, Suriname,…) and English ones (Guyana, Jamaica, The Falklands,…). And, of course, indigenous people also have their own languages.
    • Latino Is Brown: All Latin Americans will be portrayed as people with a comparatively dark skin, hair and eyes, usually being markedly mestizo or of indigenous origin, even if they come from countries with a white majority like Argentina or Uruguay.
  • Latin Americans, particularly in Spanish speaking countries are stereotyped as servile towards Spain in many aspects, mainly in the norms and rules regarding the Spanish Language and their general attitude towards the Spanish Monarchs; the latter in particular is rather confusing, as the King Juan Carlos is still referred to in the media as “His Majesty” even when the countries gained their independence hundreds of years before.
    • Other King and Queens are referred to as “His/Her Majesty” by Latin America media, and The Pope is referred to as “His Holiness” as well. (Specially the media that politically leans towards the right-wing) It’s just out of common etiquette, which others aren’t necessarily bound by.
  • Banana Republic: Latin America as a whole is generally associated with short-term military dictatorships who are either Fascist or Communist. Victims of the regime will traditionally be tortured in cellars and executed by fire squad. Or they just… disappear. Guerilleros will be hiding in the jungle to overthrow the government, only to become just as tyrannic afterwards.
  • The Cartel: Another negative stereotypical image are drug barons who traffic hard drugs, usually cocain, to other parts of the world. They will murder everyone who gets in their way.
  • Yet another negative stereotype is luckily an urban legend so far: the Chupacabra.
  • Geographically Latin America is best known for the Andes mountains, which gave us the following clichés: llamas, condors and people playing a pan flute at the side of a mountain.
  • Historically the continent is most famous for several native peoples like the Maya, the Aztecs, the Olmecs, the Incas,… These cultures built large temples, pyramids and cities, most famously Macchu Pichu in Perú, though some people would rather give extraterrestrial aliens credit for this. Since they ritually sacrificed many of their own people to the sun and were slaughtered by Spanish-Portugese conquistadores as well there aren’t many of these people left.
  • Another famous location is the thick and unpenetrable Amazone rain forest, best known as a popular location in adventure stories. Travellers might seek legendary cities of gold, unknown archeological sites, Mayincatec mummies, huge monsters, primitive tribes unaware of modern society or ancestors of the Mayan, Aztec, Olmec, Inca culture who managed to survive in secret after all those centuries. Usually all kinds of Raiders of the Lost Ark booby-traps prevent explorers from taking these long lost treasures along with them. Or the Temple of Doom just collapses. Hollywood Natives might try to kill them as a Human Sacrifice as well. Or they encounter a famous explorer lost for decades whom they presumed was dead, but actually went native. While on expedition they will also inevitably come across several South American jungle clichés. First and foremost: Amazonian Indians. Like all tribal societies in Western popular culture they are depicted as being dumb, primitive and always head-hunting. They use blowguns to fire off poisoned arrows or make shrunken heads out of their victims. Or they just eat them. Other obstacles are dangerous animals like jaguars, pumas, leopards and black panthers leaping from trees. Anacondas and boa constrictors will strangle you, huge bats and mosquitoes suck your blood, poisonous tarantulas the size of dinner plates crawl everywhere and when you fall in the river piranhas or caimans will rip you to shreds. Some less threatening jungle animals might also have a cameo: anteaters, chinchillas, armadillos, howler monkeys, sloths, humming birds, parrots, toucans, flamingos,…
  • Other images about Latin America are soccer players and their enthusiastic fans, sexy and catchy dance music and exotic and juicy drinks.
  • All novels written in Latin America are written in Magic Realism. All adaptations of those novels have a minimalist and endlessly weepy soundtrack by Philip Glass.

Middle America The Caribbean

  • The sun always shines. Calypso, mento, reggae, dancehall, soca, rhumba and steelband are constantly being played. There’s free fruit everywhere. Everyone is drunk and/or high, and may have a pet parrot. Nobody does any work, they just sit on the beach sipping fruity little drinks or coconut milk. At night, the careless or unlucky might see a voodoo ceremony, especially if they are in Haiti (see Pat Robertson after the earthquake there). The only serious activities are theft, drug trafficking and even worse crimes. Expect everyone to have a Jamaican accent, regardless of where they are. Also, the only countries that seem to exist there are Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica (maybe the Bahamas).
    • Another association with many of the Caribbean isles are slaves imported from Africa, pirates and strong reminders of still quite recent colonial times.

The Bahamas

  • Best known for tropical fishes, sharks, marlins, flamingos, coral riffs and mangrove forests.
  • In the past it was a pirates’ nest. The infamous buccaneer Blackbeard hid himself here.

Cuba

  • Cubans are often depicted as heavy smokers of Havana cigars.
  • Within Spanish-speaking countries there’s the stereotype that Cubans end all their phrases with the word “Chico”, and generally mangle Spanish grammar and/or pronunciation. There is a saying that “the Spanish language was born in Castille and died in Cuba”.
  • Cubans are often lampooned for their self-given impression that they are more closely related to the Spaniards than the rest of Latin America and don’t like to be reminded that there are Tainos and Blacks in their country; truth is, almost everyone and their mothers in Latin America are descendants of the Spanish with varying degrees of generational removal and it’s just a fact of life, not particularly noteworthy.
    • Inside Cuba people from the province of Pinar Del Rio are seen as somewhat dumb and terrible planners.
  • Before 1959 Cuba had a reputation for being a safe haven for maffiosi (famously depicted in The Godfather II). After the Cuban Revolution the world knows it solely for being one of the few Communist countries left in the world, embodied by president Fidel Castro. Under his regime Cuba gained a strong reputation for harboring the best doctors and hospitals in the world. The education system also reached high levels compared to other Third World countries. Yet, despite all that, the country still remains a dictatorship and since the fall of the Soviet Union they lost one of their major financial backers.
    • Many people have fled Cuba by boat and went to Florida, where they express firm anti-Castro and anti-communist opinions and vote Republican. Castro-hating Cubans are often cast as villains in JFK conspiracy theories because of his debacles with the American intervention on the island. Expatriates from other countries in the USA tend to see Cubans as extremely loud and entitled freeloaders. It doesn’t help that they get green cards faster than any other nationality in an apparent American move to spite Castro.
    • One of Cuba’s most notorious aspects since Castro took over are the numerous old-timer cars that can be seen everywhere. Due to the American boycot of the country they cannot import newer models from there and thus rely on using and repairing the ones that were left there after the revolution.
  • Musically Cuba is best known for producing several catchy band leaders, singers and dancers, such as Pérez Prado, Benny Moré, Celia Cruz and the Buena Vista Social Club.
  • One of the most prevalent stereotypes of the Cubans in the United States is associated with the 1980 initiative that Fidel Castro pushed to have most of the inmates in Cuba’s jails and mental health facilities, plus their fringe poor to be sent to South Florida in a mass emigration known as the Mariel Boatlift. The Cubans that emigrated were known as the Marielitos, which left a pervasive image of lawlessness among the Cuban population in Florida, prompting the plots of films like Scarface (1983) and TV shows like Miami Vice where Marielitos were portrayed as frequent villains.

Haiti

  • Haitians, aside from the voodoo things, are seen as pity seekers in search of constant support and help. Even though they are considered to be French speakers, there is a great amount of the population that does not speak an ounce of French; it does not help that most of the contact they have with the world is with the Americas, which are largely English, Spanish and Portuguese speakers, having a language barrier by default. In the USA, Haitians are known to be dutiful, yet extremely conflictive workers who pull the Race Card more often than not.

Jamaica

  • Before the late 1960s Jamaica was mostly known for being a pirates’ hideout. From the 18th and 19th century onward it was world famous for the export of sugar.
  • Since the 1950s, 1960s and especially the 1970s the island has become internationally famous for their highly unique musical styles: calypso, bluebeat, mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, ragga, dancehall,… In popular culture Jamaicans will always be playing steeldrum or listening to Harry Belafonte or Bob Marley on their transistor radio.
    • Reggae in particular has popularized the image of Jamaica as a country where everyone is black, wears dreadlocks, smokes marijuana (ganja) and speaks in the the local dialect (“patois”) with a deep voice.
      • A Jamaican will always use the following words and stock phrases: “I and I”, “brethren”, “riddims”, “Babylon”, “Jah live”, “Jah rastafari”, “Zion”, “dread natty dread”, “hey mon”, “smoke da herb”, “smoke a spliff”,… They will refer to any woman as “woman”
      • All Jamaicans will be portrayed as being Rastafarians. This despite the fact that Rastafarianism is still nothing more than a cult on Jamaica and not even close to being the largest religion on the island.
      • For decades people had the impression that marijuana was legal in Jamaica, while in reality it wasn’t. Its use was nevertheless so widespread that people were rarely prosecuted unless they were high (pun not intended) profile. Only recently, in May/June 2014, has it been decriminalized.
  • Don’t try to start an argument between a Jamaican and a Colombian about who has the best coffee. It doesn’t end well.
  • Jamaica is notorious for being dirt poor, corrupt and full of crime. Even reggae stars aren’t safe from assassinations. Peter Tosh, Don Drummond, King Tubby, Prince Far I, Junior Braithwaite and Carlton Barrett (from Bob Marley & The Wailers),… have all been murdered over the years. Even Bob Marley was targeted, but survived the murder attempt.
  • Another negative reputation associated with the island is its homophobia. Many Jamaicans hate or fear “batty boys” (gays) and will resort to violence against them. Homosexuality is still a punishable offense on the island and local musicians even boast about murdering gays in their lyrics.

Mexico

  • Mexico is usually reduced to 19th century stereotypes. All men wear large sombreros, colorful ponchos or serapes and have long thick black moustaches. They may be gauchos, Desperados or Banditos riding around on horses who will refer to you as either a “gringo” (“stranger”), “amigo” (“friend”) or “señor/señorita” (“sir, “lady”). Every few minutes there’s a “revolución” or an execution by firesquad going on. While one dictator is replaced by another tyrant groups of guerrilleros prepare the local defenseless villagers for the next military coup. To round it all off all the gunslingers will have a Mexican Standoff. Much of this imagery is derived from Zorro, Speedy Gonzales and dozens of Western movies.
  • Spexico: Some stereotypes about Mexicans are similar to those about Spaniards. They all enjoy singing and dancing, eat foods comprised of beans and hardened corn and peppers too spicy for foreigners to handle, drink tequila and watch bull fights. Most of their time is spent taking a siesta in hammocks, against a wall or even against a cactus, if neccessary. The lazy hispanic stereotype is also in vogue in Mexico.
  • Typical Mexican dishes are tamales, tacos, pineapple, avocado, guava, mangos, enchiladas, tabasco, tequila and burritos.
  • Masked Luchador: Apart from bull fighting Mexico is also known for a particular type of wrestling, named “Lucha Libre”. One wrestler, El Santo, has pratically become a Folk Hero larger than life and has starred in countless local B-movies.
  • Mexicans are often shown playing guitar serenades underneath a balcony, while singing and dancing jarabes, corridos or mariachi to the melodies of La Cucaracha and/or The Mexican Hat Dance. Or they engage in piñata smashing.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Another stereotype is that Mexicans will spent the night around a campfire enjoying the hallucinogenic effects of peyote. Often in presence of some Magical Native American, nearby an ancient temple. A Spirit Advisor may appear.
  • In the United States Mexicans are mostly seen as illegals who try to sneak over the border and move to the U.S.
    • Especially in American media, Mexicans will always be depicted as mestizo, even in some of the more northern areas of Mexico where whites are just as common.
    • Mexican characters are common in (beat ’em up) video-games and are prevalently depicted as masked luchadors in all of the main series, likely because Lucha Libre is the nation’s most iconic national sport. Examples come in two distinct flavours: There’s the stacked, heroic, mysteriously faceless, Friend to All Children type, which includes King from the Tekken series and the Aztec inspired, eagle-masked Tizoc from Fatal Fury – both fight to help fund and support local orphanages. The other type is far closer to real life and almost the exact opposite, being depicted as very short in stature, loud, gobby and Hot-Blooded, with examples including El Fuerte from Street Fighter (who’s voiced like a pitched-down Speedy Gonzales), El Stingray from Saturday Night Slam Masters and El Blaze from Virtua Fighter. Angel, from The King of Fighters (whose favourite foods are “tequila and raw cactus slices”, according to her offical bio), represents a female Mexican luchadora, albeit without the usual mask.
  • All Mexicans either ride donkeys or eat them.
  • Every Mexican owns a chihuahua as a pet dog. In Chihuahua, of course!
  • Mexico City is the only place that exists in fiction. Acapulco might get a mention and Tijuana, but more as a Wretched Hive, where whorehouses, cheap tequila and donkeys are the main attractions.

Nicaragua

  • Very prominent in the 1980s, because the Reagan administration tried to back the overthrowing of a socialist government there.
  • Nicaragua has a hundred-year-long standing dispute with Colombia for the sovereignty of the San Andres Archipelago (which is incidentally closer to Nicaragua), though it has remained largely diplomatic.

Panama

  • It has a famous canal.
  • Also seen as a sort-of cheap and still majorly untouched beach resort.

Trinidad

  • Trinidadian people are often confused with those of other Caribbean countries, when it is a much richer and more modern country.
  • Trinis also see Jamaicans as poor, western tourists as patronising (redirecting them to Tobago), and also see Tobagans as rural and backward. Conversely Tobagans see Trinis as stuck up.

South America Argentina

  • The most enduring Argentinean stereotype is the tango dancer, a popular image since spicy women will be dancing, while brawling, moustached macho men strung their guitars in some ill-lit bar. The most universally famous and acclaimed Argentine musician, Ástor Piazzolla, was a tango composer.
    • The stereotypic tango danced in movies is American Ballroom Tango, which has nothing to do with the tango usually danced in the Argentinian “tanguerías” or “milongas”. Cringeworthy for Argentinians with even a cursory knowledge of how the real tango is danced.
  • Argentina has the most Caucasian civilians of any Latin American country, along with Uruguay. This makes it somewhat less exotic for North Americans and Europeans, who feel more at home; this is also played by the Argentine Bureau of Tourism, which made Buenos Aires the most visited city in Latin America, with heavy contribution of North American and European visitors.
    • Argentina’s “white” reputation and magnetic attraction for European visitors and immigrants might also explain why Argentina Is Naziland. Since the end of the Second World War, many former Nazis fled to the country. Given that Argentina had its share of fascist dictators in the past it may not come as a surprise that these war criminals were able to live there without fear of deportation, untill the return of democracy for good, back in the 80’s, since then every single one of them ever found has been deported to whatever country wanted them to be judged for the war crimes they committed. Now that most of them are finally dead this stereotype might die out as well.
  • Politically and economically, Argentina has suffered the same bad reputation many other Latin-American countries did. It’s a never-ending Wretched Hive of dictators (not anymore), corrupt politicians, economic crisis, extreme inflation, streets blocked with picketers and trade union militants.
  • Yet, along with other Latin American countries Argentina also has a reputation for producing excellent soccer players, with Alfredo Di Stéfano, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi as the most iconic examples.
    • There’s also something unique about Argentine audiences. Their soccer supporters have a special name,hinchas, but whether it be a sport match or a musical concert they will always react with tremendous enthusiasm and great gratitude. They even sing entire songs (not just verses!) in the stadiums and change the lyrics into actual chants fit for the occasion. Even when their team is losing they will keep on singing. Other countries started copying this trend.
    • Megadeth went to say that they always enjoyed playing in Argentina because of the audience reception there, they even recorded a DVD to show it to the rest of their fans, and the world. AC/DC recorded an entire DVD in the River Plate stadium, and Ramones were chased around in the streets of Buenos Aires by obsessive fans. The band even choose the country for their final international concert.
      • There’s a local proverb that says “Hinchada hay una sola: hinchada de Argentina, las demás no tienen bola”.
  • Apart from soccer icons Argentinia also had its fair share of other universally admired, yet controversial heroes, like Che Guevara and Evita Peron.
  • Argentine men will be seductive, yet melancholic cynics.
    • In the countryside, all men are brave gauchos, generally noble, proud and stoic, who can even sew silk on horseback and tend to answer to the smallest provocation with a knife. They mostly eat read meat and drink gallons of wine and the mate beverage.
  • Argentine women have a reputation for being beautiful spicy women, an image mostly created by famous supermodels like Valeria Mazza (that is actually blond) and Carolina “Pampita” Ardoahín.
  • In Latin America Argentines in general have a reputation for being vain, arrogant, sarcastically cynic know-it-alls, who talk way too much. They fancy themselves some kind of European exiles in Latin America, who shouldn’t be considered “Latinos” at all.
    • This specific reputation is, inside the country and even in near countries as Uruguay and Paraguay, atributted to the “porteños”, that is people born and living in the city of Buenos Aires, rather than the whole country. The people from the northern provinces usually are depicted similary to bolivians or paraguayans (depends on the provinces).
      • In an interesting inversion, the bad reputation of the “porteños” has made that more than a few uruguayans call “porteños” to all argentinians, even if they don’t belong to the port of Buenos Aires.
    • In Spain and Latin America Argentines are stereotyped as cunning, treacherous people who enjoy taking advantage from others.
      • The most popular Argentine card game, Truco does not help to get rid of the reputation, as it is the art of the deceiving, the lie and the redoubling of bets.
  • Argentinia is often stereotyped for having a hot, tropical climate, while it also harbors glaciers and ski centers.
  • Out of all Latin American countries the Argentines have the most civilians of Italian descent: almost 60%! As such, many Italian tropes are applicable, from the food, strong Roman Catholicism , emphasis on family activities, hammy and melodramatic hand-waving behaviour, crazy driving to the never ending arguments about even the smallest issues.
    • Even the Argentine accent sounds similar to Italian accents. The pronunciation and grammar notations are also very distinctive, with the use of “vos” instead of “tú”, the pronunciation of “y” and “ll” as “sh” (which is closer to the pronunciation of Spain’s Andalucía region) and the distinctive conjugation and intonation patterns. They also use distinctive interjections and modisms, like the word “che” which are similar to the Verbal Tic “hey”.
    • Argentines are also infamous for swearing a lot, and in a creative way. In argentinian depictions over the hispanic world, they use the word boludo (“asshole”note ) to satiety, usually althogether with the quintessential “che”, resulting in the “che, boludo”. .
      • The Drives Like Crazy reputation might not be surprising, seeing that legendary Formula 1 car racing champion Juan Manuel Fangio was an Argentine.

Bolivia

  • The only South American country where the founder is immediately memorable: Simon Bolivar.
  • A stereotypical Bolivian image is that all women there wear bowler hats and have long black pigtails.
    • Also, they like to fight in lucha rings while wearing traditional clothes. Bowler hats included.

Brazil

  • Many foreigners think Brazilians speak Spanish, while in fact it’s the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world! It’s also the only Portuguese speaking country in Latin America. In foreign films and TV shows people will always talk with a Spanish accent whenever they impersonate a Brazilian.
  • Another common mistake is that The Capital Of Brazil Is Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentinia. An equally large mistake is that people assume Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Brazil, while in reality it’s Brasília.
  • Whenever Brazil is depicted in foreign fiction all action will always take place in Rio de Janeiro. Expect the favelas, Christ the Redeemer Statue and Copacabana Beach to make a cameo.
    • And, oh yes, regardless of what time of year it is: it will always be carnival there!!
      • The carnival in Rio also fed Brazil’s reputation for late night parties in the streets that never seem to end. The country as a whole has a strong association with catchy and sexy dances, especially the samba, choro, conga, bossa nova, tropicalia and lambada. Some of the most famous South American musicians were Brazilians: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil, João Gilberto, Ary Barroso, Sergio Mendes,… Carmen Miranda (with her tutti frutti hat) was born in Portugal, but raised in Brazil and closely associated with the country.
      • Which also brings us to the idea that every Brazilian woman is a young, sexy, scantily clad Spicy Latina with big busoms and really nice hips/butts. They are all keen to dance and very open to sex.
  • The favelas are perhaps the most negative association the country has to offer. These local slums are full with criminals, drug addicts, gang wars, con artists, pick pockets and corrupt police officers. See also the movie City of God.
  • Brazil is also famous for soccer, having won The World Cup a record breaking five times. Pelé is the most famous Brazilian soccer player, even iconic in the United States, where the sport isn’t popular at all.
  • Brazilians are often stereotyped as wisecracking fast-talking always-cheerful guys. Every single Brazilian loves soccer and samba more than anything else.
    • In (beat ’em up) videogames, Brazilian characters are prevalent, and generally come in one of two flavours. Firstly, there is the Ambiguously Brown, exuberant, grinning Dance Battler type, a depiction no-doubt deriving from the native Capoeira martial art. Examples include Ricardo Maia (owner of the Pao Pao cafe, no less) and Bob Wilson from Fatal Fury and also Tekken’s Eddy Gordo and his unbelievably fanservicey student Christie Monteiro, who evokes the classic Brazilian carnival queen. The other type is the jungle-dwelling, Beast Man from the Amazon, most famously realized with Blanka, the first Brazilian character from the Street Fighter series (who’s actually quite well-loved in his native land), as well as Tam Tam & Cham Cham from Samurai Shodown and Rikuo from Darkstalkers, who’s a straight-up Creature from the Black Lagoon shout-out.
    • In (free) games played online, especially multiplayer shooters, Brazilians are considered notorious for a range of usually negative traits (a range of cheating techniques, farming, lack of skill and/or being a threat to their team, etc. Beyond the stereotypes, there are multiple reasons for their large presence in such games, including prohibitive import taxes on console games and regulations getting in the way of setting up a unique version of the game for them (as is done often in the industry, usually between Europe, Asia, and the Americas.)

Chile

  • Chile: A country where old people, young people and even kids are always ready to say something sarcastic. Their characters can be stereotypically described as being snobbish, passive-aggressive, pessimistic, quite Holier Than Thou (though this one is becoming discredited ever since The Nineties), and incredibly classist. Their speech patterns also tend to be mocked (even by other Chilean people) since they talk ridiculously fast and pepper their conversations with all the “F bombs” they can put in. But mostly, they are seen by their neighbors as having an incredibly big Inferiority Superiority Complex. Always trying, but almost never quite managing, to equal the achievements of their neighbors’ citizens.
    • In regards to their neighbors, Chileans are either very Tsundere or totally hate them. (Specially polemic in the case of Peruvians and Bolivians, a bit of a Discredited Trope with Argentines as they tend to be more of Vitriolic Best Buds now… though some Chileans may team-up with Brazilians to make fun of them. And please don’t mention the deals with the Falklands, okay?.)
    • Within Chile, there are several other stereotypes of their own:
      • People from the Far North aka Norte Grande (Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, Caldera, etc.) are seen as more Peruvian than Chilean. Specially if they’re from Arica or Iquique. If not, they live in the desert or regularly go hunting UFO’s in the desert.
      • People from the Nearest North aka Norte Chico (Coquimbo, La Serena) are stereotyped as lazy bums that live at the beach rather than at home and have a steady diet of fruits and Chilean pisco.
      • Valparaíso and Viña people really love to party. They also sneer at tourists and whine because everyone but them Drives Like Crazy. Oh, and they will scream at you if you call crust bread “marraqueta” instead of “pan francés”. Valparaíso people also live in the hills, in poor but very colorful wooden houses.
      • Santiago people (Santiaguinos) are seen as bitchy, spoiled, smug and specially as self-centered.
      • People from Concepción (“Penquistas”) are sometimes seen as The Rivals to Santiaguinos. This one comes from the 1800’s, when the high-class people from Santiago and Concepción fought for the leadership of the recently decolonized Chile. The rest of the Nearest South is seen as still being made more of countryside than anything else.
      • The South of Chile is made of lakes, greenery and, from Coyhaique onwards, covered in snow. People from the Island of Chiloé live all in palafito houses over the sea, and interact with all kinds of local mythical beings on a daily basis.
      • People with Mapuche heritage are seen as very Hot-Blooded, proud and stubborn.
  • The country is also known for the chili pepper. In reality, Chileans don’t mind the spices that much, compared to say, Mexicans.

Colombia

  • Colombia is a druglord haven full of corrupt politicians, leftist guerrillas, and right-wing death squads. Colombian expats in Venezuelan works tend to be depicted as people with Hair-Trigger Temper and a love for the Colombian folk music style Vallenato with the volume amped to max. Thanks to its export of TV soaps, Colombian Bogotanians have earned the stereotype of being simultaneously polite and smug. Also, there’s the perception that Colombians are undeservedly happy and cheery, when they should be as miserable as everybody else, or at least as miserable as they are shown on TV.
  • There is also the White T-Shirt Protests, or the tendency of Colombian people protesting against the violence of the guerrillas and/or the paramilitary forces to join massive manifestations while wearing white t-shirts.
  • Regarding soccer in particular, opponents of the sport often dismiss fans because there is an increasing tendency towards hooliganism since the mid-1990’s. Truth in Television also, because derbies between Millonarios, Santa Fe, Atletico Nacional, DIM, Deportivo Cali and America de Cali are all closely guarded by the police and anti-riot forces. There is enforced segregation between the fans of each team or preventing the visiting team’s fans from entering the stadium altogether to keep everyone safe; this, of course goes as well as is expected… not.
  • Among other Spanish language nations Colombians are known for being uniquely adept at swearing. If a Colombian swears at you, they will do so with such an angry inflection and punch that you’ll never forget it. Somehow, rude and taboo words sound even worse when a Colombian uses them; even so, if a Colombian already has a potty mouth, you will definitely notice the difference when he/she is mad at you.
  • Inside Colombia itself, there’s an impressive amount of stereotypes for each different province, with Colombians themselves being practically the only ones that can keep track of all of them. The mayor stereotypical groups consist of Rolos, Paisas, Vallunos and Costeños. Other groups exist, but the main rivalries between regions come from the four mentioned. The difficulties in land communication between cities have historically made these regions notoriously isolated from one another note . The four groups have grown an intense regionalism exacerbated by the media (which is known to be extremely Bogota-centrist) and more importantly by Soccer rivalries.
  • Rolos or Cachacosnote  are known to be extremely smug and like to look down on everyone else. They dismiss outsiders as “people from the Provinces” note  and pride themselves for having the best Spanish dialect in the world.
  • Paisas note  are proud to a fault and seem to exalt their region with an air of superiority (Antioquians in particular), which people from other regions tend to take offense to because they make it seem that they do it just to spite everyone else note . They are also known to unsuccessfully dabble in seceding from the rest of the country. Paisas are often dismissed as Montañeros or De La Loma (Mountain People) and there’s the perception that they never got past their bucolic nature note .
    • Curiously, there is a well known stereotype regarding the women of the Coffee Axis city of Pereira in Risaralda, especially their penchant for plastic surgery and being notoriously easy to approach, to the point of being prostitutes. This stereotype has spawned many popular TV shows like “Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso”.
    • Model Natalia París also popularized a stereotype of Paisa women being notoriously dim.
  • Vallunos note  are mostly criticized due to their particular accent, sleazy women and listening to nothing but Salsa all day.
  • Costeños note  are in a nutshell subjects of every stereotype from the Caribbean; in other words, lazy, good-for-nothing party-animals. They are also lampooned for their butchering of the Spanish language. To a Costeño, everyone else in Colombia is a Cachaco, even when they’re not from Bogota.
    • Guajiros are included in the Costeños‘ stereotype, also they are what One Hundred Years of Solitude is all about; this is not a compliment. Where everyone else in the Atlantic coast progressed, Guajira remained stagnant. Also, if a person is from Guajira and he/she has money, that means that they’re involved in something shady.
    • Cesareños, also included in the Costeño’s stereotypes, live, breath, eat, digest, pee and shit Vallenato music. Don’t ask for a picture of a Cesareño without his accordion, because such a thing just doesn’t exist.
    • Although it’s a prevalent general stereotype of the Costeños (and an extremely offensive one, for that matter), people from Barranquilla in particular are depicted as Comeburras (“donkey-fuckers”). A stereotype even evoked in the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.
    • The Costeño dancer (male or female) generally will be almost dancing in the nude, with the most frenzy-driven body seizing and jerking you’ll ever witness. Other noteworthy groups include the Pastusos, the Boyacos and the Llaneros, among others.
  • Pastusos note  are the butt of everyone’s jokes (even among themselves); their particular accent has a tone that makes them sound somewhat dim, which makes them ideal subjects of mockery. Fortunately, they take the slaps with a full face and do not shy from the jokes.
  • Boyacos are the farm people of Colombia note ; no matter what profession one might have, a Boyaco will be first and foremost regarded as a farmer note . Boyacá is a very cold region and local people will unequivocally wear a “Ruana” to fend off the cold. Due to the altitude in Boyacá, the levels of oxygen are very low, causing a very characteristic appearance to Boyacos: there is a popular saying that say that Boyacos are “de caché e hijos de papi… digo, cachetirrojos e hijos de papicultoresnote . Also, they’re born with a bicycle on their cribs (Truth in Television, since most of the great bicycle racers in Colombia are from Boyacá due to their lung capacity caused also by the low oxygen in Boyacá).
  • Llaneros note  do nothing all day but dance to the harp, organize blood sports involving cows and chickens, and dabble in witchcraft and blood magic (tied to the blood sports). A number of regions on the plains are under the control of the guerrillas and the paramilitary forces, making them effectively no-man’s-lands… not that anyone else in the country remembers that the plains exist!
  • Chocoanos live off their dear Atrato River, even though it floods every now and then, taking all of their few possessions. Unlike the Llaneros, everyone knows about the Chocoano’s poverty and isolation and just choose to ignore them. Chocoanos are essentially the Haitians of Colombia. To make things worse, more than 90% of Chocoanos are black, adding a touch of racism to the rest of Colombia’s attitude towards them.
  • People of Los Dos Santanderes are just mad with everyone.
    • People from the cities of Cucuta and San Cristobal in Venezuela are interchangeable.
  • People from Cauca and Putumayo just might as well not exist at all.
  • People from Tolima and Huila do nothing but eat tamales, have beauty pageants and dance Bambuco all day note .
    • The Opita peoples of Tolima and Huila are often parodied in television for being notoriously lazy.
  • People from the Caribbean islands of San Andres and Providencia are basically Jamaicans. San Andres is the most exotic place a bare-bones Colombian vacation can aspire to. The basic policy of the Colombian government is to ignore the islands; in recent years, a diplomatic crisis has led Nicaragua to claim parts of the seas surrounding the islands, but the islanders are just too stubborn to declare themselves Central Americans… not that they’re very far from doing it.
  • People of the Amazonian region are mostly seen as stone-age indigenous people. If they are in Leticia (which lies by the Amazon River) people assume that they travel everywhere by canoe.
  • Demographically in general, the indigenous people in Colombia suffer a great degree of discrimination from all strata of society. To be called an Indio in Colombia has unfair derogatory overtones, as it’s linked to unwarranted propensity for violence and savagery, lack of general manners, poor taste and untidiness. Indigenous communities in Colombia were nowhere as big and developed as the great ancestral empires in Mexico, Central America and Peru, though they left a great cultural watermark for the ages (such as the Tayronas, the Caribs and the Muiscas). However, formerly small indigenous communities like the Nukak-Maku are getting greater recognition and respect regarding the uniqueness of their cultural idiosyncracies (Nukak-Maku have their own distinct language).

Galápagos Islands

  • A volcanic archipelago, best known for its rich animal wild life: albatrosses, crabs, sea turtles, iguanas, penguins, flamingos, pelicans, seals, …
  • Historically famous as the location where Charles Darwin developed his evolution theory.

Guyana

  • If Guyana is mentioned at all, people will often mistakenly assume it’s Latin American just because it’s on the Caribbean coast of South America. In fact, Guyana is the sole English-speaking country in South America, and its border with the Caribbean coast and shared culture with other former British colonies in the Caribbean Sea results in the nation having a Caribbean-based culture.
  • Since the Jonestown Massacre in 1978 it’s synonymous with religious cults and mass suicides.

Juan Fernández Islands

  • A small group of islands, best known as the home of marooned 18th century sailor Alexander Selkirk who lived there for four years. His story inspired Robinson Crusoe and as a tribute one of the islands was actually called “Robinson Crusoe Island” in 1966.

Paraguay

  • Paraguay: Everyone is either from Asunción or from the jungle. They do nothing but smuggle goods and steal cars from neighboring countries; also, thanks to Jose Luis Chilavert, they were considered to have Hair-Trigger Temper.
    • Also, everyone is bilingual in Spanish and Guarani, and will often speak in the latter language to confuse and troll foreigners.
    • Every Paraguayan can play the harp.

Peru

  • Perú is mostly associated with the Inca culture, Andes and ancient city Macchú Picchú. The only more-or-less modern city to appear in popular culture will be Lima or Cuzco.
    • Peruvians will be stereotyped as people who speak in helium-infused squeaky voices while wearing colorful robes and funny bonnets with ear flaps. Llamas, alpacas and vicunas will wander around everywhere, pulling weird antics and spitting on tourists’s faces. They all worship the Sun.
    • During the mid-90’s, Peruvian television was exported to Colombia due to the rising demand of cable television and private parabolic antennae. As such, Colombians are very well versed in Peruvian media due to the phenomenon they refer to as Perubólica (Peru-bolic). Colombia and Peru share a frontier through the Amazon (which is sparsely populated and not particularly media-savvy), so very few people in Peru are aware of why Colombians are so good at making fun of them…?

Uruguay

  • Uruguay tends to be considered just a very small and quiet Argentina, Luxembourg style. They are not thrilled with this. However, they are generally exempt from the negative Argentinean stereotyping, considered polite, open minded, friendly… and really obsessed with mate.
    • Uruguayan soccer is known in South America for the perceived tendency for rough playing, which has led their national team to be nicknamed “La Garra Charrúa”. Though well versed and world-famous, some players have had considerable trouble for taking it too far. A national team that has to play the Uruguayans has to acknowledge that they are going to leave the pitch really sore, even if they defeat the “Charrúas”.

Venezuela

  • Venezuela is known for its former president Hugo Chavez and his “Chavistas”. Also known for its nationalized oil industry, for having a whole industry dedicated to winning the Miss Universe pageant, and for looooong and melodramaaaaatic Soap Operas.
    • Don’t ever bring out the topic of arepas if you happen to be talking with a Colombian and a Venezuelan; it doesn’t end well.

    Oceania

  • Oceania is usually the “overlooked” continent. While other continents are continuously in the news for various reasons Oceania barely makes the headlines overseas. This leads to the impression that it is essentially nothing more than a quiet, peaceful holiday destination.
    • It doesn’t help that by various definitions, Oceania isn’t a “real” continent.
  • Australia and New Zealand are usually the only Oceanic countries foreigners can summarize. The other 12 are rarely ever mentioned in fiction, save for Papua New Guinea (see below).
  • Australia and New Zealand claim the other country is having sex with sheep. All we know is that the sheep are sluts.
  • Australia and New Zealand may appear to argue a lot but mess with one, you’ve got two very PO’ed countries to deal with. The ANZACs – it’s Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, not one or the other.

Australia

  • See Land Down Under for the primary page on stereotypes of Australia.
  • For starters, you can’t talk about Australia before mentioning at least once that Kangaroos Represent Australia. These animals are practically synonymous with the entire country.
    • Australia may be own the few countries where the animal population is more famous than the citizens. Since they have a very unique fauna: expect these animals to make a cameo appearance whenever the country is depicted. So, watch out for kangaroos and wallabies, koalas, kookaburras, Tasmanian devils, emus, echidnas, dingoes, platypuses, funnel-web spiders, black widow spiders,… Jokes about invasive species such as rabbits, cane toads and ostriches are also very popular and unfortunately have been Truth in Television.
      • In the early 2010’s Australian wildlife became meme-worthy. Australian wildlife is all huge and savage and poisonous and will kill you in a heartbeat. It outnumbers the humans and actively hunts them. While it’s true that a variety of deadly creatures do inhabit Australia, most of them live in the outback, in largely untamed wilderness. Roughly 90% of Australia’s population lives within 15 miles of the coast, well away from said wildlife. However the funnel-web spider does live in Sydney, and has cause injuries and even death to humans.
  • One of the most persistent stereotypical ideas about Australia is that its capital is thought to be Sydney. It’s actually Canberra.
    • When in Sydney, always make sure that Australia’s most famous monument, the Opera House, is in frame. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is also essential.
    • Expect references made to the fact that the center of the country is literally and figure of speech deserted. You can travel for miles without meeting a human being. No wonder the car crashes and chases in Mad Max were so easy to make without police interfering. This also makes the country ideal for road movies, like the earlier mentioned “Mad Max”, The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, …
    • Some scenes taking place at a beach with surfers, blonde bathing suit wearing babes and sharks making a cameo appearance are not uncommon.
    • And, of course, a visit to Ayers Rock is also mandatory.
  • Awesome Aussie: Australians are always stereotyped as white, blond, six feet tall, rough, unsophisticated, wildlife experts, bushwackers and obsessive beer drinkers. They wear a khaki shirt, short pants and a large cowboy-style hat with corks hanging from it. Their most priceless possession is a boomerang and/or a large knife. If not trying to catch crocodiles they will be barbecueing, surfing or playing the didgeridoo.
    • Stock expressions are “Crikey”, “G’day, mate”, “Pommie bastard”, “That’s bonzer, mate”, “Crack a tinnie” and “Put another shrimp on the barbie” (despite the term prawn being used for shrimp in Australia).
    • Most of these stereotypes are based on images reflected in Crocodile Dundee, Crocodile Hunter, Mad Max and the Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch “Bruces”, where where all Australians are named Bruce.
    • Australian accents are often imitated badly in popular culture, being a weird Kiwi/Pom cross or something closer to a stereotypical South African accent.
  • Australian Aborigines are stereotyped as nomadic tribesman who live off the land. They are generally portrayed as hospitable. In popular culture the men will always have beards and have a nasal bone stuck thru their nose. Also expect them to walk around in tribal dress, while most Aborigines nowadays wear the same casual clothing their fellow white Australians do.
  • In the 19th century the United Kingdom sent some of their convicts to Australia to work in forced labor in penal colonies. This has lead to the idea that Australians are all convicts, or have at least inherited the worst aspects of their convict ancestors.
  • New Zealanders seem to think of Australians as good-hearted but lazy. Public holidays are serious business.
  • An unfortunate sporting stereotype developed in recent years is of Australians as very sore losers who can dish out banter when they’re on top, but can’t take it when it comes back on them – from a Kiwi or British POV. In context, all three nations share a good deal of banter regarding sporting achievement, and for years Australia always shone in most events that the countries compete in together. This resulted in “pommy/kiwi-bashing”, crowing and arrogant chat about the opposition’s poor performance. However, as the tide has turned, with England as current holders of The Ashes and an uncharacteristically shocking performance by Aussies at the 2012 Olympics versus both rivals, rather than accepting the banter that they are now on the receiving end of, Aussies stand accused of a highly un-sporting lack of humility and much self-pity.
    • Some Australia media at the 2012 Olympics decided to claim New Zealand’s medals (like everything else) by lumping them together with Australia’s and publishing the count as “Oceania” or “Aus Zealand”.
  • In (beat em’ up) videogames, Australians are mostly depicted as hulking bruisers, with examples including Graig Marduk from Tekken, Raiden/Big Bear from The King of Fighters (complete with Ayer’s Rock/Uluru home-stage) and shark-wrestling fisherman Jeffry McWild from Virtua Fighter. Rocker zombie Lord Raptor, of Darkstalkers fame, provides a variation, and is perhaps inspired by home-grown supergroup AC/DC. Then, there’s also Saxton Hale…
  • Stereotypes within Australia:
    • Northern Territorians are troppo.
    • Tasmanian is not considered to be part of Australia and all its citizens are inbred.
    • Queenslanders are redneck banana-benders.
    • South Australians are all gay.
    • Adelaide is boring and its citizens eat crows.
    • Sydney’s the gay capital and/or “the city of brides”.
    • Perth is 10 years and 3 hours behind Sydney.
  • Thanks to “Neighbours” and “Home & Away” Australia has also a reputation for soap operas.
  • And thanks to Ozploitation Australian movies are often thought to be explicitly violent action movies sent in deserted Australian backlands with lots of Gratuitous Nudity.

New Zealand

  • New Zealanders are usually portrayed as being Maori. Usually the Maori sticks out his tongue or makes ugly faces.
  • White New Zealanders are rural farmers, rugby players, horse racers or workmen who have a gift for solving every kind of problem. Supposedly a Kiwi man can do anything with Number 8 wire.
  • Characters who visit the country will always encounter New Zealand’s national birds, the kiwi. The animal has become a national symbol in New Zealand and New Zealanders are often nicknamed “kiwis” as a result. This is despite the fact that many New Zealanders have never seen a kiwi, especially not in the wild—they are both very shy and very rare.
  • New Zealanders are often depicted (mostly in either New Zealand or other Commonwealth nations) as obsessive world travelers and backpackers, getting absolutely anywhere armed with backpack and travel guide. This comes from the New Zealandian trend of going abroad for a year or two after finishing university. They’re also champion mountain climbers/trampers (aka hikers).
  • They are supposedly interested solely in the three Rs: Rugby, Racing, and beeR. Rugby and beer are still popular, but racing has declined in popularity.
  • New Zealand women are depicted as being more independent and somewhat ugly (epitomized in former Prime Minister Helen Clark). New Zealand was the first nation to permanently give women the vote, and at one point all high-level government positions were filled by women.
  • Very few people will recognise a New Zealander unless told; some jokes will probably be made about the bizarre-sounding (to foreigners) accent, including pronouncing short E’s (as in dress) as short I’s (as in kit) and short I’s as schwas (the A in comma), and attempts at guessing their background will vary from British to Australian.
  • Invariably, a joke will be made about the number of sheep in the country being greater than the number of people. Sheep in New Zealand outnumber humans by seven-to-one.note 
  • Their alleged fondness for sheep tends to be the most common point of mockery.
  • More recently, New Zealand has become famous through its association with the The Lord of the Rings movie, making people think of it as being one big film set.
    • Foreigners also think New Zealand has a sizable population of 3ft 6in (1.07 cm) tall people. This is partially true, but New Zealanders call them five-year-olds.
  • Due to their performance in various 20th and 21st century wars (especially WWI and Vietnam), ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand forces) are typically depicted as badass soldiers.
  • Within New Zealand:
    • Aucklanders see the rest of New Zealand as rural, unsophisticated, and backwards. Meanwhile, the rest of New Zealand sees Aucklanders are brash, arrogant, latte-sipping people, living in houses with million-dollar price tags.
    • Dunedin is seen as full of poor students (who are always partying and “getting on the piss”) and Scots.
    • Wellington is thought to be populated by hipsters. Not to mention that the city is constantly in the grip of a gale north-westerly.
    • Cantabrians are stereotyped as conservative – religious (at least compared to the rest of the country) and slightly racist. They take rugby seriously, even by New Zealand standards. They also earned the status of Iron Woobie after the Christchurch earthquakes.
    • When Aucklanders aren’t the butt of the joke, Hamiltonians fill the role as residents of a (supposedly) hopelessly boring city where nothing exciting happens, except maybe outbreaks of STDs.

Papua New Guinea

  • Despite being one of the most heterogenous nations in the world with hundreds of ethnic groups present in the country most people see it as a country full of black Papuans living in tribes. They all wear grass skirts, feathers and leaves and rejoice in cannibalism. Another pastime is body painting and/or tattooing.
  • The entire country consists of nothing more than a bunch of volcanoes, coral reefs, beaches and unpenetrable tropical rainforests.
  • A negative association with Papua New Guinea is its sexual violence towards women and children. Rape, gang rape and sexual abuse of minors are rampant.
  • Foreigners will often confuse it with New Guinea, which is part of Asia.

Polynesia

  • A bunch of tropical islands full with primitive tribal communities who are a mix of Maoris and Papua stereotypes. Palm trees are present with coconuts falling on your head. Tattoos are popular. All women have long black hair and wear a flower in it. Local people will be dancing Hula and Luaus. Despite being a subregion of Oceania many of the individual isles are (former) colonies, part of other continents in Asia, South America, North America or Europe.
  • Some isles you might have heard from: Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tahiti, the Solomon Isles, the Cook Isles and the Easter Island. Apart from the Easter Island, best known for its huge Moai statues, most people wouldn’t be able to name one specifically unique thing about these isles.
  • Mostly associated with tranquility and a trouble free atmosphere. Everyone who lives there enjoys living a simple life, close to nature, goes swimming or sailing by pirogue in the ocean and enjoys the fact that the world doesn’t seem bigger than the isle itself. Yet it’s not always that peaceful: hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and earth quakes are not uncommon problems. Also, the atols are a frequent target for nuclear tests.
  • Apart from that it’s best known for famous Americans and Europeans who paid a visit to the region or lived there for several years: explorers (Jacob Roggeveen, James Cook and Thor Heyerdahl), anthropologists (Margaret Mead) and cultural icons (Paul Gauguin, Jacques Brel, Marlon Brando,…).

    Antarctica

Antarctica

  • Best known for harboring a lot of penguins. Other polar animals like orcas, whales, colossal squids, albatrosses and seals live there too. Mind you, there are no Eskimos or polar bears here.
  • The only continent that is officially a nature resort. It’s basically nothing more than ice with here and there a bit of tundra vegetation. The climate is extremely harsh. The coldest temperature on Earth has been recorded here. There are also heavy winds, especially along the coastlines.
    • This also explains why the country lacks an indigenous population. No humans live there, except for scientists in polar stations who do research. And even they only stay there for a few months at the time, before being replaced or alternated by other colleagues. It’s almost a punishment to be there (Reassigned to Antarctica).
      • The continent is perhaps most infamous for the failed expedition of Robert Falcon Scott, who tried to become the first man reaching the South Pole, but was beaten by Roald Amundsen. As Scott tried to return he and his entire crew died along the way. See also the film Scott Of The Antarctic (not to be confused with the similarly titled Monty Python sketch, by the way.)
  • Also known for showing the Aurora Australis (“southern light”) in the sky.
  • Since the 1980s it is also infamous for the hole in the ozone layer.
  • In popular culture Mysterious Antarctica is often used for harboring unknown viruses (Who Goes There?, At the Mountains of Madness), civilizations (Green Antarctica) and/or monsters under the ice (Godzilla in Godzilla Final Wars, Gorath, The Thing (1982)”, …)

 

Asia
What a stereotypical continent!

The largest continent on Earth. Famous for their rich cultural traditions and the first civilizations in history. Also the birth place of the major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, … Roughly Asia can be divided in three large parts: the Middle East (Arabic countries), South Asia (best known for Hindu countries like India) and the Far East/East Asia. Of course, this is a very narrow summarization. For starters: Russia, which is considered to be a European country, stretches out over most of the northern part of Asia. Despite not being an Asian country it still takes up the biggest chunk of the continent and is in fact even the largest country on Earth. Still, to most people Asia is mostly associated with the Far East. The Middle East (North Africa excluded)

  • To most people the Middle East is just one large desert. Not entirely true, as Lebanon, Turkey and Iran have jungles and mountains.
    • This also brings up many desert clichés. Characters will be Crossing the Desert by camel or dromedary under the hot scorching sun. Typical obstacles when crossing the Impassable Desert are heat strokes, intense thirst, sand storms, whirl winds, robbers and fata morganas of oasis that are simply not there. You might faint from hyperthermia, step on some Scary Scorpions, rattle snakes or a Giant Spider, feel Squick from seeing skeletons from previous unlucky travellers, sink into quicksand or lose all hope when Circling Vultures appear. If they are lucky they’ll find a real oasis, a city or are rescued by a Bedouin Rescue Service. When they are really lucky they might also discover oil sources or hidden treasures beneath the sand. But this too can turn out to be a Hollywood Mirage in the end…
    • Contrary to what popular culture wants you to believe it’s not always sunny in the Middle East: reports of rain and even snow are not uncommon.
  • All Middle Eastern countries are of course Qurac cities, ruled by sheikhs, sultans, shahs, califs, vizirs or evil wizards. The names of the fictional countries in this region all end in “-stan”. Even though all of the real countries with such names are in Central and South Asia. (Stan is an Urdu word, Urdu being an Indo-Aryan language from Pakistan.) It may be mentioned that this Qurac’s place is “between Persia and Iran”.
  • Popular Middle Eastern city images are temples, mosques and minarets. No image of the Middle East is complete without a scene where a muezzin is calling/chanting the ritual morning prayer.
  • Most people know the Middle East as the setting for The Bible, The Talmud and The Qur’an. It was the breeding ground for the founders of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam,…, yet to most people it seems to be just a region full of Muslims.
  • In Ancient Mesopotamia, Assyria, Persia, Babylon and Phoenicia there were cities, art and a justice system centuries before much of the rest of the world had such luxuries. During the Middle Ages muslim scholars preserved many ancient texts and enhanced them with numerous important discoveries in the fields of math, astronomy and medicine. Various Western words are of Arabic origin and the positional base-10 numeral system had its origins in India but was transmitted to the western world through Muslim travelers and merchants. For this reason it is quite inaccurate and simple minded to describe the Middle East as an inherently primitive and backwards region.
  • The oldest traditional stereotypes associated with the Middle East are derived from 8th to 18th century history and feature sultans, caliphs, grand viziers, shahs and sheiks dressed in turbans and long robes, typical of these centuries. Most common are images borrowed from Arabian Nights, including a Flying Carpet, dreamy palaces, story telling princesses, waterpipes, harems full of sexy belly dancing women, eunuch guards, thieving gangs with daggers and/or scimitars , people hiding inside giant jars, caves full of treasure, the giant bird Roc, people climbing on an erect rope and djinns fulfilling wishes. (See also Arabian Nights Days).
  • The films of Rudolph Valentino like The Sheik also provided the image of the young, sexy Arab prince abducting Western women into his tent.
  • Another popular image is the Bazaar of the Bizarre. An exotic street bazaar and flea market will feature all kinds of strange, forbidden Black Market or fantastic items. A typical Arabic stock character is the cunning merchant who will welcome you in his store, haggle over the prices and afterwards sent you away with more useless junk than you originally intended to buy. If you want to register a complaint the bazaar will have vanished.
    • Just like Indian or Pakistani people, Arabic people are frequently depicted as being shopkeepers or supermarket managers. In certain parts of the United States, Arabic-speakers are specifically stereotyped as owners of gas stations, with the ethnicity varying based on location. In Michigan, they tend to be Lebanese or Iraqi; in New Jersey, they tend to be Egyptian Copts.
    • In Venezuela (and some Caribbean countries) there were a lot of street peddlers and shopkeepers of Arabic origin, all under the generic label of “turco” (Turkish) despite most of them being Lebanese or Syrian. There is a phrase, “con el turco atrás” (“with the Turkish man behind”) which means that a person is pursued by their creditors, based in the real phenomenon of these sellers literally staking the ones in debt.
  • Negative stereotypes about Arabs are that they are all supposedly agressive fanatical assassins. A typical image found in old books, films, comics and cartoons is that Arabs out of nowhere will pull out a dagger, sabre or scimitar. When they attack they will ululate, praise Allah or shout gibberish with many “ch”-sounds and heavy emphasis on the letter “r”.
    • The Middle East has become synonymous with bloodshed over the centuries. Especially since the second half of the 20th century Arabs are stereotyped as fanatical Muslims still stuck in religious traditions. They will be slaughtering sheep in the kitchen, beat and force their women into submission, have many children and will have sex with goats or camels on occasion. They are easily agitated and will haggle, shout, demand respect while not showing it to others, fight, kill, call out for jihads, suicide attacks, plane hijackings, terrorist bomb attacks and/or a Middle Eastern Coalition. Specific berserk buttons are infidels, Jews, scantily clad women, Westerners (especially Americans) and blasphemous remarks. When victorious they will ululate, yell “Allah Akbar” (“Allah is great”) and shoot in the air. These images are frequently exploited in racist, extreme right wing Western propaganda, as if moderate, calm, religiously tolerant or peaceful Arabs are non-existant.
    • Arabs will often be Mistaken for Terrorist, solely based on their looks.
  • Positive stereotypes about Arabs are that they produce beautiful carpets, exquisite calligraphy and mysterious mesmerizing music that can last from one to three hours in length. Adding to the Oriental atmosphere are lutes, an oboe, tambourines, rhythmic percussion and sometimes a singer who sounds hypnotized himself.
  • Another stereotypical image is the rich Arab Oil Sheikh. He will have a huge beard, sunglasses, a turban (often mocked by Western comedians as being a towel or a diaper). Usually he is sitting in a tent and smoking a water pipe. He will take great pride in owning several cars, horses and a harem.
  • All Arabs will praise or mention Allah in almost every sentence they speak. Other popular stock phrases are: “Salaam”, “Peace be upon him”, “May Allah be with you, my friend”, …
  • All Arabs are named Ali, Muhammad (after the Prophet), Mustafa, Ghassim, Jafar, Akbar, Abu, Ottoman, Hakim, Amin, Adel, Sinbad, Hussain, Ahmed, Achmed, Tariq or Murad.
  • Arab women are either overdressed to the point of being nothing more than a burka ((which are Pakistani in origin, not from Afghanistan and certainly not Arab) or will be scantily clad and sexy belly dancers. They carry vases on their heads, wear henna or special piercings. They will be named Aïcha, Farah, Naima, Yasmine or Fatima.
  • Arabs have their own set of stereotypes about one another:
    • Bedouins have two stereotypes, one old, one new:
      • The old stereotype is of the Bedouins as noble desert nomads, living in tents and tending their goats/sheep/other livestock, proud and tough but honorable, and willing to help travelers who come their way and show them some kindness. They are also seen as the reserve of the ancient Arab culture; particular emphasis is given to the supposed closeness of their speech to the speech of the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
      • The new stereotype is of the Bedouins as marginal, uncivilized merchants in guns and drugs (particularly hashish and other forms of cannabis), who are all-too-fond of using their products (both kinds). They are sometimes also seen as traitors for working with Israel in one way or another (most often, dealing in Israeli weed).
    • In the Arabic countries themselves people from the Gulf States are typically portrayed as being filthy-rich lecherous drunks and drug addicts, who hide behind religion to justify their sinning. The guy from Saudi Arabia or the UAE or Kuwait who goes to Egypt or Morocco to marry another woman on the sly is practically a trope in itself.
  • In (beat ’em up) videogames, for whatever reason, there are a number of ambiguously Middle Eastern characters. That is, their design evokes the look of the region, and a few cultural clues may be mentioned, but mention of actual nationality is outright avoided. Examples include Zafina, from Tekken, who’s background and cut-scenes hint at an Egyptian origin, but who has “unknown” listed against birthplace on her official bio. Word of God states that she is of “Middle Eastern” origin, but no more information has been provided. Algol from the Soul Series is another example – his name is clearly Arabic (literally “the ghoul”), as well as his move-list, and his story is an homage to the Sumerian (modern day Iraq) Gilgamesh epic, but his origin is never confirmed outright. Zasalamel, also from the Soul Series, is similarly ambiguous, with a look that references Egypt (his ibis-head scythe especially) and a movelist named after several Babylonian gods. The incongruently name Sinclair from Art of Fighting has an unmistakably Arabic look, complete with harem-pants, head scarf and a scimitar, although her country of origin remains unknown. Why the country of origin of these “Middle Eastern” characters remains unknown isn’t clear, but it could be to avoid Unfortunate Implications in a sensitive global region, or simply to enhance the mystery of certain characters.
    • Pullum Purna of the Street Fighter series, who hails from Saudi Arabia, is one of the few Middle Eastern characters with an actual nationality, and of course they gave her a stereotypical background (belly dancers and Oil Sheikhs and all of that)…

Afghanistan

  • War, war, and more war. Everyone is either a terrorist, a victim of terrorism, a victim of a foreign army, or an oppressed woman. The Taliban’s draconian rules will have been in place for untold centuries, never mind that the Taliban have only existed since the 1990s. Every great empire in history feels the need to invade, only to get burned by Afghanistan’s sheer unconquerableness. Invading armies range from Alexander’s Greeks, to Mongols, to Victorian Brits, to Russian commies, to the present-day NATO forces.

Iran

  • Back when the country was named Persia it was known for the Shah, Persians with Pistols, Persian cats and Persian carpets.
  • Iranians are seen by the West as religious fanatics. Ayatollah Khomeini did a lot to create this image. Another stereotype is that Iranians are terrorists who want to do nothing more then blow up America.
  • Iranians are commonly mistaken for Arabs and receive the same treatment. When someone does bother to note the difference, Persians (the men, anyway) will be stereotyped similarly to the so-called Guidos. Think tacky “club” outfits with lots of gold chains, hair gel, cheap cologne, over-priced designer sunglasses, etc. South Park did a version of this in their 300 spoof. The track-suit “jock” variant of Guidos isn’t usually associated with Persians quite as often, however. There’s also the over-zealous Shi’a Muslim guy in the street, whipping himself until he draws blood (although it’s actually illegal in Iran)” stereotype, but that tends to overlap with Arab stereotypes.
  • Iran’s western neighbors—particularly the Arabs—regard them as stuck-up know-it-alls who aren’t willing to give credit where credit is due. The Iranians, for their part, tend to regard the Arabs and the Turkic peoples as somewhat barbaric fools, who were still nomadic nobodies at the time that Persia ruled everywhere.
  • Many stereotypes about Persia/Iran originated in Ancient Greece and proved to be remarkably enduring, being the Trope Maker or Trope Codifier for Orientalism in general.

Iraq

  • Back when the country was still called Babylon it was mostly known for its Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven World Wonders. Iraqis still feel proud about their ancient history (Iraq being Mesopotamia, i.e. the oldest civilization in the world).
  • Since 1990 the West knows Iraq primarily for the Gulf Wars and Saddam Hussein.
  • Within the Arabic countries themselves the Iraqis are seen as the poor buggers. Naturally, seen as badass, and a bit tribal, but that’s about all that can be said about them. Their dialect is noted for being difficult to understand, but also very cool, or at least intimidating (kind of like a Scottish accent in English).

Israel

  • Most clichés about the country are derived from The Bible or the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even though Israel has a large Christian and Muslim community the Jewish community is always remembered foremostly.
    • Most locations Israel (and Palestine) are known for are in essence temples or holy sites, like Bethlehem, Mount Zion, Masada, Al-Asqa Mosque, The Lions’ Gate, King David’s Tomb, the Armenian Quarter, The Wailing Wall, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, The Damascus Gate, and the Dome of the Rock. Only the West Bank and Gaza Strip are more famous now as conflict zones than for their historical merit.
    • The one location that exists without a strong holy or violent association attached to it is the Dead Sea, which is actually a lake, by the way. It’s famous for its high salt level which makes people able to float on it without being able to sink. And even this location is actually not just Israelian or Palestinian, but also bordering Jordan.
  • All Israelis are Jewish in ethnicity and religion.
    • All Jews Are Ashkenazi, All Jews Are Cheapskates… just see all the tropes listed at A Nice Jewish Index.
    • Israelis are are seen as a Proud Warrior Race who know five different ways to kill you before you can take a breath. See Badass Israeli and Israelis with Infrared Missiles
    • Israeli men are either young and athletic, or old men with long beards.
    • Israeli women are all deadly beautiful, bisexual, violent, Action Girl. At least until they get married, at which point they mysteriously transform into a haggish Jewish Mother.
    • Israelis themselves have some stereotypes of Israelis, namely that they are honest—even blunt—to the point of rudeness, loudmouthed, are overly opinionated (to the point where they say “two Israelis, three opinions”), and are quick to argue about anything.
  • Palestinians are all Muslims who wear Yasser Arafat scarfs.
    • Within the Arabic countries themselves the Palestinians are seen…well… again as poor buggers. Also known as being crazy-tough and very proud.note  Also noted for being crazy-smart; Palestinians who were expelled from their land but managed to get out of the country tended to take advantage of educational opportunities to get ahead, leading to a disproportionate number of Palestinian doctors and teachers in much of the Arab world. The similarity to the Jews—who similarly scattered (under duress if not direct threat of force) out of more or less the same territory and took up education as a means to counteract the effects of discrimination in the lands in which they found themselves—has not been lost on Palestinians, who have a particularly strong appreciation for irony.
  • Regarding the Arab-Israeli Conflict:
    • Team Israel’s view: Israel is a plucky little freedom-loving democracy constantly under threat from evil Palestinian terrorists who love throwing rocks and bombs around. If not being threatened from within the country will have to strike back against non-freedom-loving dictatorships ten times its size.
    • Team Palestine’s view: Israel is a Nazi apartheid state where evil, racist imperialists mow down innocent Palestinians who were actually living in this country centuries before the Jewish population got their own state.
    • Actual Israelis’ view: Israel has a lot of problems, of which the Palestinian issue is just one. Heck, a lot of these Palestinians are decent guys, and excellent employees, as long as they stay on their side of the line. Anyone who can keep things stable while we figure out what to do in the future will get our support.
    • Actual Palestinians’ view: Israel is the occupier, yes, and they kill our people, but we’re not about to deny we have some bad eggs who go out and kill their innocents. A lot of these Israelis are just ordinary folks, and truth be told they can be pretty nice employers as long as they stay on their side of the line (sure, it’d be nice if it wasn’t always them employing us, but one step at a time, guys). Heck, we’ve even learned to like matzo. We’d just like a little dignity. Can we have a deal now?

Jordan

  • Best known for the historical city Petra.

Lebanon

  • Within the Arabic countries themselves they are seen as being tough and resilient, loving life despite the crappy hand they’ve been dealt. Known as the leaders in the Arab world for good old-fashioned drunken debauchery (without the taint of hypocrisy that goes with Gulf revelers—Lebanon is 1/3-1/2 Christian and many self-identified Muslims are pretty much secular); despite this, also known for Hezbollah, (yes, Beirut is a conflicted city)—whose members are reputed for also being able to have a good time without alcohol (although, as is common in the Arab world, that doesn’t include hashish…). Also noted as shrewd traders and businessmen, with contacts everywhere (quite true; there are four times as many Lebanese outside Lebanon than in it). Lebanese women, according to stereotype, are good-looking, uncovered, and kind of loose.
    • For a while in Australia, Lebanese men (especially Muslim ones) were stereotyped as criminals and gang rapists. This was especially common during the Cronulla riots, though it seems to have died down.

Saudi Arabia

  • Usually stereotyped as a country full of oil sheiks.
  • Otherwise best known for Mecca.

Syria

  • Within the Arabic countries themselves they are seen as the more serious cousins of the Lebanese, sharing the same quasi-Camp accent that belies their inherent Badassery, but without the fondness for just having a good time. They are also known for being intensely proud. Syrian women, according to stereotype, are even better-looking than the Lebanese, but more conservative.

Turkey

  • Turkey forms the border between Europe and Asia, symbolized by the Bosporus. To this day there are ongoing discussions whether it should be considered part of Europe or not? The same argument is made about Israel. Both Turkey and Israel compete along with the Eurovision song contest, yet none of them are part of the European Union. Usually Turkey is considered to be part of the European continent, while Israel is already the Middle East.
    • Turkey is also seen as a Muslim country not too different from other Middle Eastern nations. While most of the population are Muslims the county is in fact a democratic, secular state with no official state religion and even freedom of religion and conscience, specifically stated in their constitution.
  • The reputation of the Turks is kind of history-dependent.
    • During most of the Antiquity it was known for Anatolia and its Anatolian civilization.
    • After the fall of the Roman Empire it was known for the Byzantine Empire.
    • The Ottoman Empire was the most famous and powerful Turkish empire in history.
    • People familiar with World War One know Turkey for Gallipoli and the Dardanelles.
    • Since the 1920s the world knows at least one historically important Turk: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey and also modernizer of its culture and society. He is still seen as a hero by the Turkish population and an someone who should not be criticized at all.
  • Today Turkey is mostly famous for Istanbul, which used to be called Byzantium first and later Constantinople. The city is well known for the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace (made famous by the film Topkapi) and the Basilica Cisterne, which is a famous underground water reservoir. Foreigners often think it’s the capital, which is actually Ankara, the only other well known location in Turkey. Ankara in itself is best known for animals like the Angora cat, Angora rabbit, Angora goat and Anatolian shepherd.
  • Turkey also has one of the most recognizable flags in the world: a white moon and a small star seen against a red background.
  • In popular culture Turks are often portrayed wearing a fez. In reality this hatwear has been banned since Ataturk modernized the country in 1924. If they are worn it will be part of a traditional ceremony, not everyday life.
  • Romanians and other Eastern Europeans tend to see Turks as shrewd merchants, food shop keepers and peddlers of all fakes imaginable in the world. But this is based strictly on Istanbul, Ankara and other few modern Europeanized cities and the migration of Turk businessmen towards Europe after The Eighties.
  • Turks are often portrayed as being very proud of their country, history and heritage. The negative end of this stereotype caricatures them as people who have a supreme genocidal hatred for Armenians, Greeks and Kurds.
    • Turkish women tend to be depicted as bellydancers.
  • Since a “soft-Islamist” government took power in Turkey, the image in the Middle East has been influenced by their primary cultural export: Soap Operas featuring rich settings, convoluted family-related melodrama (just like they like it!), and fanservice beyond imagining (the star of Gümüsh, Kivanc Tatliug is so hot several women in the Arab world were Driven to Suicide when they heard he was getting married). Turkey has since become a soft-power powerhouse in the Arab world.
  • A very old but very enduring stereotype of Turkey is that of a land of hedonistic pleasures: hookahs, strong coffee, Turkish delights (very sweet and tough to chew candy), veiled belly-dancers and the infamous Turkish baths, where you can take a sauna. In popular culture the Turkish massage will always be given by a huge moustached Turk who beats heavily with his fists on the back of his relaxing customer.
  • The country is also famous for Sufi whirling, a specific dance style practiced by dervishes of the Sufi Islam. It’s typified by men wearing a felt cap a, a sikke and a white dress, the dhikr. While they dance around in circles the dhikr whirls along.
    • Another typical musical phenomenon are the Ottoman military bands mehterân, whose music has been famous for so many centuries that even Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven have tried to imitate the sounds, especially the Turkish stop, in their own compositions.
  • Since the film Midnight Express” (1978) Turkish prisons do not have a very good reputation…
  • Another negative reputation associated with the country are frequent reports of disregard for human rights, with people being arrested, tortured and executed for protesting against the government.
  • Turkey has also gained a reputation for plagiarizing films and comic strips from other countries and putting them into a weird amateurish context. Though sometimes titles like “Turkish Star Wars” or “Turkish Rambo” are just slapped on the movies by Western salesmen, it cannot be denied that the similarities in plot, characters, soundtrack,… are sometimes perplexing. These movies are usually cheap, badly edited and have soundtracks that often jumpcut to another track when a scene abruptly changes. You’ll also often notice instrumental music for which no copyright permission was paid. This would probably not be that notable, if it weren’t for the fact that the makers often use very famous and recognizable melodies that you can immediately identify.
  • And, to conclude, in the English language Turkey cannot be mentioned without making an Incredibly Lame Pun about turkey birds.

South Asia

  • South Asia and South-East Asia are known for their wildlife: The mountainous areas of Mongolia, Tibet and Southern Russia will be full of yaks. The jungles will be chuck full with macaques, gibbons, lemurs, langurs, proboscis monkeys (famous for their noses), orang-utans, tigers, civet cats, black bears, cranes, salamanders, catfish, komodo dragons, tapirs, gharials (crocodiles with small snouts) and the kantjil (mousedeer or chevrotain). The rest is brimful with archipelagoes, volcanoes and bamboo. Cycloons, tornadoes, floods, monsoon rains and earth quakes will frequently ravage the country.
  • Economically, the area has been known internationally for centuries for the trade of spices like pepper, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Rice, tea and rubber are also prominent export products.

India and Pakistan

  • Indians are often confused with Native Americans as a pun.
  • Both countries are often depicted as if they’re more or less the same. With one important stereotypical distinction: All Indians are Hindu, all Pakistanis are Muslim. Sometimes Indian Muslims are acknowledged (although mostly in works dealing specifically about Hindu-Muslim tension), but Sikhs rarely are, despite one of the most stereotypical depictions of Indians (guys with turbans and big beards) being very much based around Sikhs—to say nothing of the Prime Minister being Sikh. Jains, Buddhists, and Christians are almost never mentioned (this despite there actually being more Indian Christians than Sikhs).
  • India and Pakistan are also known for being horribly poor. People live in slums or rural backwaters, where they farm with oxen. They will all travel by train since they can’t afford it any other way. And even then most train passengers will simply climb or hold on to themselves on top or on side of the train. Essentially, it’s still The Raj but without so many upper-class British people.
  • Sim Sim Salabim: The countries also bring up images of very devout gurus, yogis, swamis, fakirs, snake charmers and other people who seem to be a cross between a philosopher, a Messiah, a cult leader, an illusionist or just someone who’s difficult to understand from a Western perspective. Usually these people spent their time chanting mantras or spouting off wise aphorisms, in search of enlightment. They will be able to do all sorts of magical tricks like hypnotizing people, fly on a carpet, levitate, meditate, walk barefoot on burning coals, climb on an erect rope (Indian rope trick), stick knives inside their body, make cobras “dance” to the sound of their flutes or go without food for months! Sometimes they bury themselves underground with only their head or hands sticking out- or- in even more bizarre antics: with just their head stuck underground while the rest of their body remains above the ground in a stiff and upright position. They’re able to twist their arms and legs in all kinds of seemingly uncomfortable positions. When they sit down or lie down they’ll use a bed of nails.
    • Indian and Pakistani religions and cults are usually hardly distinguished from each other (and often mixed in with New Age stuff). In the end they all worship the most well known Hindu deities in the Western World: Shiva, Brahma, Kali, Vishnu or Ganesha. They all practice yoga and veganism, believe in reincarnation and worship holy cows. They’re usually two perspectives in Western popular culture. Either it’s treated as being more deep, meaningful, spiritual and philosophical than other religions, or it’s just dismissed as mindless scary brainwashing.
  • Many images of India are derived from the ancient mysterious exotic days, usually overlapping with Middle Eastern Arabian Nights imagery.
  • Other stereotypes are derived from 19th and 20th century British colonial times, for example: people going tiger hunting while riding an elephant. Jungle Book also did a lot to create the Western idea about India: jungles, bamboo, tigers, Indian elephants and rhinoceroses, cobras, wolves, feral children,…
  • Indian or Pakistani men all wear turbans. A long thick beard may be mandatory, but a moustache will do too.
    • Indian or Pakistani women are all young, slim, long black haired women with a gopi dot on the forehead, dressed in saris. Expect a big deal to be made of their innocent/virginity; if they have a romantic partner, chances are it will be forbidden. And if they marry they will be child brides.
      • When Indian couples have sex it’s all kinds of Anatomically Impossible Sex positions learned from the Kama Sutra.
      • There are also a few very offensive stereotypes of Pakistani men as a whole, particularly in the UK following media coverage of incidents where several large gangs of Pakistani men have groomed and sexually abused young white girls. The high profile nature of these cases, and the fact that the media mentions statistics like “Asian men make up 3% of the British population and 25% of all sex crimes”, encourages belief that Pakistani men are all paedophile rapists.
  • All Indians and Pakistanis eat rice, hot spices and curry which will burn your throat.. No miracle they sometimes go without food for months or simply starve to death.
  • Modern stereotypical images of Indians and Pakistani depict them as shopkeepers, taxi drivers, workers in the “Indian” food industry (generally but not always Bangladeshi) or supermarket store clerks.
  • Another modern image is the Bollywood Nerd or Operator from India.
  • All Indian movies are, of course, Bollywood movies. They will all be made in Bombay and feature a lot of young Indian men and women singing and dancing to a catchy and hypnotizing beat. The stories are usually romances, but the musical numbers are more important. In fact: the couples hardly every kiss each other! Usually the woman will sing in a very high pitched voice. Everything always has a bad acoustic echo to it and seems to be recorded on a scratchy soundtrack.
    • Apart from Bollywood soundtracks most music in India will be sitar music, usually by Ravi Shankar. It will usually drone on for hours and bring the listener into a spiritual trance.
  • No visit to India is complete without showing the Taj Mahal!
  • The Ganges river will also be shown, but only when Hindus are washing themselves in the “holy” river.
  • The monsoon seasons are also a point of reference, with either not enough rain or too much of it for months!

East Asia

  • People from this part of Asia often suffer from Interchangeable Asian Cultures and Identical-Looking Asians. Non-Asians often refer to all people of South East Asian descent as being “Chinese”, even if they weren’t born there. The same applies to other Oriental phenomena.
  • Historically, and especially during the 19th and 20th century, Westerners saw East Asia as the Yellow Peril. A group of people who had strange and frightening traditions and could not be trusted in any way. The Japanese involvement in World War II and China becoming a Communist country in 1949 hardly diminished this fear. The oldest threat however, remains the Japanese and Chinese economic growth. Western colonials surpressed it for most of the centuries, but since the second half of the 20th century it became very current again.
  • Yellow Face: Racial stereotypes associated with South East Asians are:
    • Jokes about their typical eye shape. People from a different race will often mock it by stretching their own eyes with both index fingers and take on a goofy, cross-eyed expression, complete with imbecilic grin. Derigatory terms like “slant eyes” and “slitty eyes” are also derived from this.
      • Another stereotype derived from this is their supposed lack of peripheral vision (which attributes to yet another stereotype: their ””bad driving””).
    • Another racist image is the East Asian with buck teeth, long fingernails and coke bottle glasses. The “very bad teeth” thing is still very much in play. Not only has orthodontics only recently started to catch on, but females with crooked teeth are actually considered kawaii for supposedly having the crooked teeth of a grade school kid. Braces, as a result, are not nearly as prevalent as they are in North America.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: They often speak Engrish, replacing the letters “l” and “r” with each other. Or gibberish with many words that rhyme with “-ng”-sounds, like Ching Chong.
  • Asian Rudeness: To westerners Asians may come across as being impolite, impatient and always talking loudly and sharply to everyone. This is usually stereotyped by having an Asian shout untranslated gibberish while Westerns stand by bewildered. This stereotype is mostly derived from the fact Chinese culture in particular values bluntness and that many Asian languages apply different tone and meter to articulate certain words and sentences.
  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: Expect every Asian to wear a conical straw hat on his head.
  • When they travel it will be by boat, either a sampan, junk, catamaran or a maru. They will be fishing and use the ship as a house too.
  • Inscrutable Oriental: Asians are often portrayed as mysterious people who don’t express their emotions or opinions and just seem to stand by and observe. This causes distress or nervousness with people from other races who are unable to tell what these mysterious people are up to? When they speak, they will always mumble seemingly deep and confusing aphorisms and Ice-cream koans.
    • A subtrope of this stereotype is the Magical Asian, a doctor or physician who conducts strange rituals and brews weird medicines and poisons.
    • The most negative subtrope of this stereotype is the Asian executioner, who sadistically torments his victims for hours and days, while remaining unnerved by the pain he causes unto others.
    • In high contrast with their “emotionless” image Asians are also often seen as a bunch of imbecilic grinning and giggling people. See also Asian Airhead.
    • All Asians showcase tremendous respect to their ancestors.
    • All Asians are submissive and bow a lot, especially women and especially Japanese. Unless you insult them, because then they will showcase Asian Rudeness or martial skills.
    • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Whenever an Asian appears in popular culture he or she is always an expert in martial arts. (S)he will jump, kick and hit others at break neck speed while making Funny Bruce Lee Noises. Not only that, but when (s)he encounters other Asians in the streets they too join in the fight, leading to Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting. May overlap with Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy.
      • Also, different martial arts traditions from different Asian countries will often be confused with each other. For the record: Judo, Aikido, Sumo, Jiujitsu, Ninjutsu, Kenpo and Karate are Japanese. Kung fu, Jeet kune do, and Tai chi are Chinese. Taekwondo, Hapkido and Taekkyeon are Korean.
  • Asian men have their own set of stereotypes:
    • Asian and Nerdy: Asian men are often stereotyped as small, weak and pathetic nerds. They will usually be math or computer experts. If they are first-generation immigrants, they are also bound to be extremely demanding to their children and having absurdly high expectations, especially regarding education. Found, for example, in Wayne’s World and made popular by this meme. They will also be ridiculed for having small genitals.
    • Whenever a strong and actually sexy Asian man is portrayed he will usually be a martial arts expert.
    • Old Asian people are usually wise, bearded men who, again speak in aphorisms, teach martial arts and are forever trying to calm down their young, enthusiastic students. They will be a Magical Asian or a medical expert. When they are not teaching they’ll be meditating or singing an Asian Rune Chant.
    • Asian Store-Owner: Asians will be owners of grocery stores.
  • Asian women also have their set of stereotypes:
    • Young East Asian women are usually portrayed as mysterious attractive and exotic dancers, masseuses, manicurists, geishas or prostitutes. They are often depicted as being very submissive, yet delicate flowers. Of course, they will be experts in unusual or exotic sexual techniques.
      • Dragon Lady: Somewhat a subtrope of the exotic and erotic young Asian female, only this stereotype is not to be trusted at all. She will use her beauty and sexual techniques to exploit or manipulate men.
      • AsianHooker: Another subtrope, where stock expressions like ””me love you long time”” will be uttered.
      • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: What makes these submissive Asian female stereotypes especially simplistic is the ignorance of the Westerners who use them. For instance: geishas will be pigeonholed as prostitutes, while their actual activities are far more complex than simply giving men sexual pleasure. Also, they forget that you can’t be a proper East Asian woman without a spine of your own. It’s apparent that people who still use this stereotype today are unaware of ‘Raise The Red Lantern” or any novel written by any female Chinese novelist in the past thirty years.
      • Still, the “submissive East Asian woman” stereotype is not simply a Western idea. They can also be seen and heard in many East Asian films and animated cartoons, where these girls tend to talk and moan in a very high pitched squeaking voice, always accentuating their own weaknesses and reservations. Especially during erotic scenes.
    • Asian Baby Mama: An out-dated stereotype, mostly associated with Westerners having an affair with Asian women, resulting in pregnancy afterwards and the man fleeing back to the West.
    • Asian Airhead: Young Asian girls will be stereotyped as giggling idiots.
  • Asian cuisine is also subject to stereotypical ideas. Most of the time they will eat nothing but rice, noodles and soja sauce and preferably use sticks instead of knife and fork. Apart from that they will enjoy sea food, such as sushi, fish eggs and whales. Chinese delicacies like thousand-year-old egg and bird nest soup are well-known among Westerners, and Koreans are said to favour kimchi and dog meat.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang is often used to portray an Oriental atmosphere. Some Asian string instruments will do the trick too.
  • Every cheap and dangerous product will always be made in Eastern Asia, usually by slave laborers, before being sent to the Western World: “Made in Korea”, “Made in Hong Kong”, “Made in Taiwan”,…

China

  • The Chinese have been stereotyped as if they still live in the days of Imperial China. They wear douli on their head, long pigtails and keep their hands hidden in long robes. They enjoy walking in queus behind each other, sometimes dressed up as a Chinese dragon. The men have long beards and moustaches, while the women suffer terrible pain because of the foot binding tradition. A reference to mandarins and their Emperor will be made, despite the fact that The Last Emperor was forced into abdication in 1911. Many of these images are influenced by Dream of the Red Chamber, The Nightingale, Turandot and countless Wuxia movies.
    • Other stereotypes from this time period are throwing babies in the river, extreme animal abuse, lighting fireworks during Chinese new year, Chinese dragons, Chinese opera, Chinese acrobatics and the games ping pong, go, mah-jong and Chinese chess and checkers.
    • The Chinese are also pioneers of invention: paper, ink, gun powder, fireworks, the compass, the wheel barrow, the printing press, windmills, paper money,… and were pioneers in clock making, hydraulica, astronomy, shipping, farming, music theory, military science,… Throughout history they were famous for making silk, vases and porcelain.
    • Chinese philosophy is famous too: Confucianism, Taoism, Feng Shui, Yin and Yang, the I-Ching,… This again leads to the idea that Chinese mainly speak in aphorisms.
  • The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, the Tian An Men Square and the Shaolin Temple will be shown or visited at one point. And don’t try to show Beijing without bringing bicyclists in view. Visiting Shanghai without being shanghaied is less difficult.
  • A popular stereotype is the insanely intelligent and evil Chinese villain with a beard or long Fu Manchu style moustache. He often practices Ancient Chinese torture methods like slow slicing and the Chinese water torture. (Examples: Fu Manchu, Li Shoon, Dr.No.) The female counterpart is the Dragon Lady, who will always wear a Qipao dress.
    • Chinese also form secret societies (The Triads and the Tongs).
      • All Chinese organisations, temples, societies,… have the word “lotus”, “jade” or “snow flower” in them.
  • A more gentle stereotype is the Chinese doctor or pharmacist who uses strange rituals, drinks and techniques to cure his patient. Often he is a practitioner of acupuncture. See Magical Asian.
  • In westerns and comic strips Chinese people were often depicted as proprietors of laundries, opium dens or simply cheap workers.
  • More modern stereotypes about China are basically referencing Red China. During the 1960s and 1970s the Chinese were portrayed as sexless, androgynous, personality-free Mao freaks who dress in the same blue uniforms and whose lives are centered on The Little Red Book and overly complicated bureaucracy. They will ban a lot of Western stuff (There’s a reason why the TV tropes article about censorship in universal countries is called Banned in China.). Tibet will remain occupied as far as they are concerned.
    • Chinese with Chopper Support: The Chinese military is basically people in helicopters.
    • Another stereotype derived from Red China is the overpopulation. Ever since Mao told all Chinese parents to produce as many children as they could the population quickly rose out of hand. Today a billion (!) people live in China. That’s right, one billion of the seven billion people on Earth reside in China. To get things back under control the Chinese government then issued a “one family, one child” policy, which unfortunately lead to parents killing their infant if it was a girl. So, the government tried to campaign daughters in a more positive light since then.
  • In the rest of the world the Chinese are mainly seen as restaurant owners, cooking several rice products and handing out fortune cookies.
    • The Chinese also eat a lot more different animals than in other cultures. This has lead to the stereotype that the Chinese will eat anything.
  • When attempting to demonstrate Chinese might/threat, there is always this giant dragon with big, fat “CHINA” written on its body which design shows absolutely no attempt to note that Chinese dragons and Western ones are not the same at all. Then again, it’s all propaganda…
  • All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu: When you’re Chinese: you know kung fu and tai chi.
  • In (beat ’em up) videogames, Chinese characters are unsurprisingly numerous. Both sexes are nearly always clad in period costume – Mao collars, Qipao (for the women) and Odango – double for females, single for males. Chinese female characters are nearly always portrayed as heroic, alluring, either very sexy or very cute and highly proficient at the more acrobatic, elegant forms of Kung Fu, a depiction no doubt inspired by the original, pioneering video games Action Girl, Chun Li of Street Fighter fame. Other female examples who follow this theme include Xianghua and her daughter Leixia from the Soul Series, qipao-clad Leifang from Dead or Alive, Li Xiangfei from The King of Fighters (who’s a little “wackier” than previous examples but still fits), Litchi Faye-Ling from BlazBlue and kung fu movie actress Pai Chan from Virtua Fighter.
    • Chinese male beat ’em up characters generally come in one of two flavours. There’s the wise, bearded Old Master type, who’s ancient age hides his incredible skill, with examples including Gen of Street Fighter fame, drunken fighters Shun Di and Chin Gentsai from Virtua Fighter and The King of Fighters respectively, Tung Fu Rue from Fatal Fury and Wang Jinrei from Tekken. The other popular Chinese male depiction is the straight up Bruce Lee Clone, as seen with Fei Long of Street Fighter fame, Marshall Law from Tekken, Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat, a medieval version with Li Long from the Soul Series and Jann Lee from Dead or Alive.
  • More recent portrayals seem to indicate that the Chinese might be taking over the ruthless businessman role from the Japanese in Hollywood films. In fact, a growing number of modern works have the Corrupt Corporate Executive or the villain pulling the strings to be a gaunt, middle-aged Chinese man with high cheekbones who cares more about money than human life. This may be due to American fear and resentment over China’s growing importance in the world and economic power, and all the debt the US owes them. “China still cool! You pay later!” Actually Chinese seen the first part of the sentence as Truth in Television; in The New Tens they started to wonder if have been too much of a Combat Pragmatist…
  • Between the Special Administrative Regions and the Mainland China there is also stereotyping between both sides, Mainland China views the average SAR citizens (Hong Kong for example) as impatient, unpatriotic, classist, brash and complete workaholics, while Mainlanders are seen as moody and spoiled due to several policies in China (namely the one child policy), as well as extremely rude (thanks to a dog-eat-dog culture in certain areas of China stemming from government overhauls)
  • All cheap products are “made in China.”
  • Animals able to provide a specific Chinese atmosphere are panda bears and cranes. And a Chinese dragon as well, of course.
  • Chinese music consists mostly of people playing an erhu.
  • And who could forget the ancient urban legend that if you would dig a hole in the Northern hemisphere and continue digging you would eventually end up in China?

Hong Kong

  • A big, modernized city full of tourists.
  • In the years when Hong Kong was a British colony the Kowloon Walled City had an infamous reputation for being an overpopulated den of lawfulness with brothels, opium dens and bad or unlicensed doctors and dentists. The Triads and the Tongs ruled the place up until 1993, when everything was demolished.
  • Martial Arts Movie: Since the 1960s and 1970s Hong Kong is best known for their large film industry based on martial arts pictures. All these films will have a Bruce Lee Clone fighting off other people in long, intense and sometimes gravity defying choreographed scenes that take up several minutes of screen time. When shown in the USA these pictures will have bad English dubbing (Hong Kong Dub).
  • Hong Kong is likely to be filled with masseusses who will step on your back and give “happy endings” if you pay them enough.
  • Lots of dead chickens hanging in the windows and lots of old ladies willing to behead any live chickens they get.
  • A hot-spot for wealthy business men (both Asian and White) to visit and “relax”.
  • Extremely brash and impatient by Asian standards, filled with shopkeepers and passerby who will kick your ass for trying to ask for help. This is somewhat true, as shopkeepers in China are less picky about their customers than in America.
  • Cheap products will all be “Made in Hong Kong”.

Japan

  • Japanese people are often represented as extremely polite (Japanese Politeness), intelligent, and obedient but dislike foreigners. They bow extensively and are ruthless, stoic business people wearing glasses and black suits. Their stock expressions are: “hai!”, “sayanora!”, “banzai!”, “honorable”, “regrettable”, “ooooh so sorry, me so sorry” and “please” (usually spoken in an Engrish or Japanese Ranguage accent).
  • The Japanese are often seen as extreme workaholics who never take time off and always try to be as good as they possibly can. Either at school, at work or at home. This comes into sharp contrast with their Real Life custom of spending for luxury and Conspicuous Consumption, mostly because unlike NewRussians or Arabs, Japanese don’t brag.
    • Might also be part of Japan Takes Over the World.
  • The cheerful Japanese Tourist who films and photographs everything in sight. This has waned since the Japanese economic bubble burst, but still visible in works from the 80s and early 90s.
  • The overweight sumo wrestler.
  • The cute and sexy girl in school uniform. (See Joshikousei and Asian Airhead)
  • The Yakuza is the Japanese equivalent of The Mafia and will thus be seen in many gangster stories.
  • Japanese also have a reputation for honorable suicides, ranging from hara-kiri, seppuku to kamikaze pilots.
  • Imperial Japan: Certain Japanese stereotypes are still derived from this time period with the Samurai, Ronin, Geisha and the Ninja as the most iconic examples. Activities like calligraphy, Japanese water painting, origami, flower arranging, haiku writing, tea ceremonies, kabuki plays, playing the gong, gardening… are also associated with this time period, though still in vogue today. The Emperor of Japan is also a stock character here. The image is mostly fed from countless stories and films in these settings, including the films of Akira Kurosawa.
  • All Japanese houses are either pagodes or shojis with paper thin walls, tatami floor mats and fusuma doors that you can slide open.
    • Some essential locations to bring in viewpoint when visiting Japan: the Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Gardens, the Itsukushima shrine and the Meiji shrine.
  • Japan’s involvement in WorldWarTwo also lead to a number of stereotypes: the stern and merciless Japanese officer, the sadistic soldiers, gruesome medical experiments in death camps, kamikaze pilots flying to their death, … For many older British and American people this is the cultural referent. Ask a member of the Burma Star Association (war veteran) for his opinion of the Japanese as a people, and the reference points will be savagery, fanaticism, vicious cruelty to prisoners, racial superiority, and so on. Although this wholly negative perception is fading with the generation that fought WW2 or were prisoners in Japanese death camps.
    • Since Japan was victim of two atomic bomb attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki expect many of their drama stories to be directly or indirectly referencing these tragic events. It remains a heavy subject there.
  • Japanese popular culture often baffles other countries:
    • Japanese comic strips (manga), animated cartoons (anime), computer games, horror and action films are often criticized for being disturbingly dark, complex, bizarre and violent. Often there is a strange contrast between cutesy sing-a-long themes, fluffy happy characters (think Hello Kitty) and incredibly painful violence. Frequently a scene will be interrupted for a long musical number, sang by twin fairies. Characters will also morph into new omni-powerful lifeforms for reasons that are difficult to grasp, but nevertheless awesome to look at.
    • Their gameshows are notoriously surreal and sadistic.
    • Their anime is often ridiculed. Non-anime fans seem to think Japanese cartoons are still at the quality of Speed Racer and full of giant robots flying around. Characters simply freeze in one position while a vague background goes by. You seldom see a realistic Asian in their cartoons: always white people with very wide eyes. Also, many will simply be thinly veiled toy commercials and have so many flashy scenes that they cause epileptic seizures.
      • Also, All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles or disturbing rape and/or pedophilia induced hentai.
    • The kaiju films are ridiculed for their bad special effects: men wearing rubber monster suits. The plots are surreal and consist of nothing more than Godzilla fighting other monsters for no particular reason.
    • Their instruction videos and commercials are equally weird. Many famous Hollywood actors make TV commercials in Japan (Japandering) and these videos have become notorious because they often put celebrities in a weird context that doesn’t have anything to do with their public image. For decades these commercials remained mostly unknown to Western audiences, but since the arrival of Internet their notability has increased, often to the shame of the actors themselves.
    • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Much like New-York and Los Angeles in Hollywood films Tokio will be the most prominent location in Japanese popular culture.
  • In (beat ’em up) video games, Japanese characters run the full gamut of character types (unsusprisingly, seeing as how most series have multiple Japanese characters), but the most popular depictions include the stoic, brooding hero type (often wrestling with some sort of inner turmoil) — as seen with Street Fighter‘s Ryu and Tekken‘s Jin; various boisterous bruisers (often Sumo wrestlers), as seen with Street Fighter‘s E.Honda, Tekken‘s Ganryu and Virtua Fighter‘s Taka-arashi; and finally the archetypal spirited, plucky school girl type, as seen with Sakura of Street Fighter fame, Hinata from Rival Schools, Asuka Kazama of Tekken fame and school-girl turned Magic Idol Singer Athena Asamiya from The King of Fighters.
  • Japanese people are engineering geniuses, but they use this to create giant robots and very odd inventions, like square melons and toilets that produce fountains and play music.
    • Japan also managed to provide some universally famous products like Nintendo, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hello Kitty. Expect a Japanese character in popular culture to do a shout out to any of these products at one point.
  • Specific Japanese dishes that will be referenced are octopus (usually alive), whale meat, sushi, fugu, sukiyaki, saké and wasabi.
  • A more negative stereotype is the perverted Japanese man who is a Nightmare Fetishist and possible pedophile. And also completely unwilling to reproduce or sexually regressive.
  • Japanese people add “-u” to the end of every word. (This, of course, comes from katakana.)
  • Oddly, the Ainu get more press in America than in Japan.
  • In Japan itself, there’s the stereotype of The Idiot from Osaka. It takes several different “shapes”: an Osakanite can be seen as either an obnoxious prankster who never takes anything seriously, a Boisterous Bruiser who will punch first and ask what’s going on next, a money-grubbing workaholic, or as a person who’s somewhat… odd
  • Among the Asians themselves, Japan is often viewed as an Asian version of the Confederate South in the USA. They have a similar “The South Will Rise Again” mentality as the American Southern States, with an unhealthy longing to the good old days of an absolute ruler.
  • Since Japan has a very recognizable flag expect references to the “Rising Sun” to be made whenever the country is mentioned in fiction.

South Korea

  • South Koreans are fanatical video game nerds who will kick your ass at any Blizzard game or Counter-Strike.
    • Marriage culture: You want to marry a S. Korean girl, you have to defeat her father in StarCraft II
  • Also, dry cleaning. More than a few Korean immigrants have had dry cleaning as their first job in the United States. Several catalogs even have a specialized Korean-language line to dial.
  • Koreans are not generally seen as distinct from Chinese or Japanese (see Interchangeable Asian Cultures); when they are, they get a similar treatment to the Japanese as stereotypical businessmen who are reserved and extremely polite. Korean women will probably be war brides or prostitutes. Most North Americans know of The Korean War from Mash and may forget that Western involvement ended over half a century ago; especially dumb Americans may confuse it with The Vietnam War and assume it happened in the 1970s or later. Despite its strong economic growth, there is no equivalent to Japan Takes Over the World although certain elements of Korean pop culture (music, soap operas etc.) have become popular overseas. There may be some reference to North Korean belligerence making everyone tense.
  • Koreans are the only East Asian ethnicity to generally be portrayed as Christian, although other Asian countries (the Philippines, East Timor, Georgia and Armenia) also have people of this religion. Not exactly helped by the fame of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, nor by how South Korea is among the few countries in their geopolitical sphere to have a significant Christian minority (with Presbiterian and Roman Catholic former Presidents, too.)
  • Korean food consists of rice, dog meat and kimchi. No exceptions.
    • Though nicer works tend to play up the gogigui, or Korean barbecue. Some even say it’s equal to, if not better than the (stereotypical) capital of barbeque itself, the United States of America.
  • It’s a bit of a stereotype in the Asian-American community that Koreans, especially the women, are really into plastic surgery. This is a stereotype inside the country itself – thanks to the uptick of more and more prosperity, there is a trend of materialism and an obsession with beauty, to the point of makeup being marketed toward men and teenagers getting surgery.
  • The internet front has Netizen, which are often treated as a South Korean exclusive thing that puts most internet activists to shame in terms of a Internet Counterattack. Think of them as the exact opposite of a Reddit social justice warrior, extremely conservative beliefs as they spend most of their time in internet cafes espousing on their beliefs and vicious use of the upvote/downvote system.

North Korea

  • North Koreans are Dirty Communists who have been brainwashed to talk about how great their Dear Leader is and view him as a Physical God. Everything foreign is banned there and the people live in complete oblivion of the rest of the world. See People’s Republic of Tyranny.
  • North Koreans with Nodongs: For Hollywood’s purposes, North Korea seems to have replaced the Soviet Union as the default enemy country of the U.S. This often involves North Korea being portrayed as vastly more powerful and technologically advanced than it really is, in a manner similar to the Soviet Superscience trope.
  • South Koreans stereotype North Korean defectors the way many countries stereotype poor unwanted immigrants, i.e. as an uneducated criminal class. Yes, discrimination is a problem. Many North Koreans living in South Korea try to lose their northern accents.
  • North Korean women are considered to be more submissive and traditional than their South Korean counterparts. Feminism, of course, never made it across the DMZ. Some South Korean men seek out Northern women for this reason, viewing Southern women as too spoiled and judgemental.

Taiwan

  • The Taiwanese really only have two stereotypes; they are either rage-filled bad drivers who are obsessed with betel nuts or otakus who write way too many doujins.
  • Also, every Taiwanese person on the internet seems to know every other Taiwanese person. This is somewhat true, as the internet community on Taiwan is somewhat tight-knit, a consequence of being tiny.
  • Although most Taiwanese are of Han Chinese ethnicity, they are treated as essentially Japanese in culture (probably stemming from being ruled by Japan for about 50 years until the end of World War Two and having the least bad overall attitude about the country in Asia, as well as having taken on some Japanese culture from the occupation).
  • Taiwan may be confused with Hong Kong; there will be taxis, 24-hour laundries and teahouses where old men sit playing mah jong all day long. Traditional Chinese music will be heard.
  • And every cheap product is of course “made in Taiwan”.
  • Many Americans don’t differentiate Taiwanese people from the Chinese in terms of perception.

Macau

  • Described as Las Vegas in Asia. This isn’t far off the mark.
  • Hong Kongers deride Macanese for being poorer than them.

Mongolia

  • Bring up Mongolia and come up with Genghis Khan and The Horde.
  • Chinese see Mongols as poor wretches deserving Chinese annexation.
  • Russians—and to a lesser extent, other nationalities in the CIS—often see Mongolians as Asian Russians, since some minorities (like the Buryat people) are a Mongol subgroup and share some language and culture.

Tibet

  • The Shangri-La to the extremes. Most people are Buddhist monks. Oppressed and spiritual, and peaceful, never mind that the Tibetans had a martial tradition as well. The Himalaya will be seen as well, so mountain climbers will also appear at one point. Also expect the Dalai Lama and/or The Abominable Snowman to make a cameo.
  • In more politically motivated works, Tibet may be portrayed as a Commie Land. Tibetan Buddhism will be the Good Old Ways, and its suppression under modern communism may be portrayed with a touch of The Magic Goes Away.

Southeast Asia In popular culture, Southeast Asia is that place where the Vietnam War happened. It did not exist before then, nor did it have a culture except for mysterious statues of Buddhas and ruined temples half-hidden by jungle overgrowth. Everyone wears those conical hats and is a peasant, drug trafficker or ex-guerrilla. All Western tourists who go there will be caught up in some sort of scam or civil war or be imprisoned on trumped-up charges (usually drug trafficking). See: Holiday in Cambodia. Vietnam

  • Vietnam is “the country where that war happened”. Period. They are Dirty Commies who wield AK-47s and live in underground tunnels from which they shoot at American soldiers. If captured, expect the white heroes to be subjected to all sorts of cruel tortures. Alternatively, there will be a Den of Iniquity where a short, stocky Vietnamese man shouts and forces captives to play Russian roulette. Vietnamese people are either farmers or draftsmen when they are not mercenaries, and the women are all prostitutes without exception.
  • In popular culture Vietnam will only be used to show Vietnamese or American soldiers. That the country used to be a French colony is almost never mentioned.
  • Vietnamese cuisine is one of the few positive images the world knows about the country.

Thailand

  • In the past it was known as Siam and some of those historical time era clichés are still associated with the country, like the King of Siam and his multiple children, the city Angkor, Siamese twins and Siamese cats.
  • Since being renamed as Thailand it is predominantly known for the capital city Bangkok, which is universally portrayed as a Wretched Hive full of seedy bars, strip clubs and brothels. There will be some mention of kathoey (“ladyboys”), possibly leading to Viewer Gender Confusion. If some other part of Thailand is shown, it will probably be a rubber plantation with elephants and palm trees everywhere, or a beach where Westerners go to live in wooden houses on stilts and surf. There will still be drugs and prostitutes, though.
  • Expect Thai massage, Thai dancing and/or Thai boxing (Muay Thai)to be depicted as if they are general activities every Thai does.
  • If Thai characters do turn up in Fighting Games, then they are almost universally portrayed as boastful, morally dubious (if not downright evil) Muay Thai boxers. Examples include Sagat and Adon, both Street Fighter veterans, Hwa Jai from Fatal Fury (complete with snake oil booze power-up moves) and Shura from World Heroes. This may stem from the fact that Muay Thai is brutal.

Laos

  • When it exists, is identical to Thailand despite being landlocked. The Souphanousinphones from King of the Hill are one of the few realistic portrayals of a Lao family that will be familiar to Western viewers.

Cambodia

  • Is the place where the Khmer Rouge took over. Virtually everything about Cambodia is known from the film The Killing Fields, which means it is a poor jungle country overrun by Communist guerillas and anti-Western fanatics who force their captives to do hard labour at gunpoint and starve. Phnom Penh is a fairly modern French-style city, but everything else is wilderness.
  • See also: Holiday in Cambodia.

Burma

  • Similar stereotypes to Cambodia (see The Bridge on the River Kwai for a major example) with the exception of being more devoutly Buddhist. The Burmese are either saffron-robed monks, armed revolutionaries or oppressed city folk. Unfortunately, this one is closer to Truth in Television.

The Philippines

  • Best known in popular culture for its capital Manila.
  • Filipinos tend to be constantly confused with Hispanics, because not all of the population is of Asian race. Filipino women tend to be seen as sluts or mail-order brides. Then there are all the jokes about Filipino foreign workers caricatured as being practically everywhere.
    • One thing the country will never live down is Imelda Marcos’ obsession with shoes.
  • Negative perceptions of Filipinos characterize them as lazy, gluttonous, and heavy drinkers, who has the most number of holidays in the world. They tend to leave their jobs undone ( while uttering “bahala na sa diyos” meaning “leave it all to God”) and instead prefer to drink alcohol and eat roasted pig. The positive side of this stereotype portrays them as pleasure lovers with an optimistic outlook on life.
  • Whenever American media shows a white gay male with a “foreign” lover, it’s almost always a Filipino man. Also, like Thailand, many of the prostitutes are thought to be MtF transsexuals.
  • Either a lot of nurses are Filipino women, or a lot of Filipino women are nurses. Stand up comedian Jo Koy:
    Jo koy: how many Filipinos are here?
    (crowd cheering)
    Jo koy: that’s a lot of Filipinos. somewhere in L.A there’s an empty hospital.
  • The Philippines are also known for being more fluent in English than other Asian countries. Probably because of the history of the country being colonized by both Spain and U.S.A. This led to many foreign students from many parts of the world (specifically from Europe and other Asian countries) to study in the Philippines (all just to learn proper English without the Engrish accent).
  • Filipinos are violent knife / stick fighters, an example of Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting. In modern views, they tend to be seen as deadly boxers (seen with Manny Pacquiao and Thrilla in Manila) and powerful fist fighters. In the army they are Filipinos with Firearms.
    • In (beat ’em up) videogames, Filipino characters are described as above. Example is Talim in Soul Calibur
  • Also most Filipinos are very, very, very Catholic. But a lot of them are also Muslims.
  • For Malaysian and Singaporean eyes, Filipinos are nothing more than maids. In many films from Singapore there’s a Filipino maid stereotype depicted as young and often uneducated. This hasn’t gone without criticism. Just ask Devina Devida.

Indonesia

  • Stereotyped in the West as fanatical Muslims, even though Indonesian Islam is rather relatively moderate until recently.
  • If the maids in Hong Kong and Singapore are not Filipinos, then they must be Indonesian.
  • All Indonesian men wear a songkok hat or a blangkon headgear. The cloth will be batik, ikat or songket.
  • All houses are built on stilts.
  • Historically, Indonesia is best remembered for its Dutch colonial history, exemplified in the Dutch literary classic Max Havelaar.
  • Indonesian culture is famous for its dances and shadow puppet theatre.
  • The martial art “silat” is also something unique to the country.
  • Indonesia is also known for its volcanic islands, like the most infamous one: Krakatoa.
  • The most famous Indonesian isle is Java, best known for the “Java Man”, Javan coffee and tea and various unique animal species.
  • Another famous isle is Bali, best known for its percussion orchestra gamelan music, dances and, recently, as the location for the “love” part of the book Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Some Komodo dragons and the Javan hawk-eagle will make a cameo too.

Malaysia

  • In the West, they are a more refined version of the Indonesians, and richer.
  • Also in works concerning Malaysia, expect the Petronas Towers to crop up.

Brunei

  • Basically they are an even more refined version of Malaysian stereotypes.
  • Being an oil-producing Islamic monarchy, the stereotypes of Gulf Arab states are also put into Brunei.

East Timor

  • East Timor’s portrayal in fiction is rare and if does crop up, expect poverty, gang violence, and ethnic violence as common cliches.

Singapore

  • Stereotypes of Chinese people apply to Singapore, being a majority-Chinese nation.
  • Singaporeans are stereotyped by other Asians as arrogant know-it-alls and would punish anyone who chews chewing gum or smokes in public.
  • Singapore is also known for being a pirate’s nest.
Western Europe
What a stereotypical place, especially the Western half!

Western Europe

  • With Northern Europe, seen as the home of advanced technology, sophisticated culture, and loose (or modern, depending on your perspective) morals. Within the region, there’s a definite split between the northern part (Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, and northern France) and the southern part (Italy, Spain, Portugal, and southern France) about which part is emphasized, with the north being seen as more businesslike and the south as more laid-back. Germany straddles the line with Central Europe, with the old East Germany being in many ways similar to its eastern neighbors. The same is true of Austria.
  • United Europe: The European Union is a specific European phenomenon. Even since its creation in 1957 more countries have joined it and thus provided stable peace in most of Europe ever since the end of World War Two. It also provides economic collaboration and a unity needed to compete with The United States, Japan and China. However, the E.U. is also seen as a bureaucratic monster unable to give its member states one “European” identity, because every country desperately clings on to their own centuries old nationalistic traditions and identity. There are also fears that all the youngest member states (mostly former Eastern Bloc countries) will financially hurt the richer member states.
  • In the U.S., there are essentially two sets of stereotypes about Europe:
    • The older stereotypes are all about quaint old monarchies, castles, and sparkly princesses. See: Medieval European Fantasy.
    • The newer stereotypes suggest that every European government is run by a bunch of leftists and socialists who hate war too much and are probably kinky atheists too. This adds up to the American right-wing viewing Europeans as degenerate, godless commies. The American left sometimes buys into these stereotypes too, but views them more positively and have developed their own stereotype of Europe as a political wonderland free from people resembling Republican Party politicians.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Especially continental Europe has a reputation for being far more liberated and open-minded about sex and nudity, compared to the United States of America and Asia. Many erotic exotic foreigner stereotypes are from European descent such as Scandinavia (Sexy Scandinavian), the Netherlands (Free State Amsterdam, thanks to legalized prostitution), France (Everyone Looks Sexier If French, Everything Sounds Sexier in French), Germany (Brawn Hilda), Spain, Italy (Latin Lover, Spicy Latina), Eastern Europe, the Baltic Countries and Russia (Sensual Slavs). There’s some Truth in Television to this: a lot of works depicting sex and nudity causing excitement or controversy in other continents hardly bat an eye in Europe. But, of course, this doesn’t mean all Europeans are like that. The United Kingdom and Ireland, two islands separate from Continental Europe, are far more prudent and, speaking of Ireland, many predominantly Catholic countries in Europe like Spain, Poland or Italy tend to be less easygoing on the topic than others. Also, even in other European countries you’re liable to find people who are more reserved about the matter.

Andorra

  • Best known as mini state and tax haven. And they have good sky resorts.

Austria

  • Yodel Land: Since Austria and Switzerland have a similar landscape the countries are both associated with mountaineering, alpine horns, yodeling,… And, of course, often confused with each other.
  • Austrians are often confused with Germans and Swiss people.
  • Just like the Germans, people from the Austrian county Tyrol will be portrayed wearing Tyrolean hats and lederhosen and their women having dirndls. All Tyroleans will be drinking beer, eating sausages and playing tuba.
    • Tyroleans will also be seen performing the “Schuhplattler” (knee slapping) dance.
    • In the 1970s, a whole bunch of cheap sex comedies were made in Tyrol. The genre was even nicknamed “Tyrolian comedy”, despite the fact that they were actually filmed in Bavaria, thus also coining the term “Bavarian porn” in other countries.
  • Historically the country brings up images of the once very powerful Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The most famous royal of this time period in popular culture is Empress Sissi, made famous by the film franchise with Romy Schneider. The annual New Year’s Concerts in Vienna still bring the popular image of impeccably dressed noblemen and noble women dancing the Waltz in the Royal Vienna Palace to mind.
    • Musically the Waltz is Austria’s most famous cultural contribution to the world, exemplified by the music of Johann Strauss Sr. and Jr.
    • Another famous Austrian composer is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who still brings a large part of tourism to Salzburg, including the Salzburger Festspiele: large classical music festival. For this reason Austrians will sometimes be depicted wearing a curly 18th century style wig and costume. He even appears on Mozartkugeln, a chocolate and marzipan confection bearing his picture. Never mind the fact that he didn’t consider himself to be an Austrian at all. His fame still eclipses other well known Austrian composers such as Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schönberg.
      • Yet another musical association with the country is The Sound of Music, about the real life musical family von Trapp. Some tourists even believe that the song Edelweiss is the country’s national anthem. In reality the movie isn’t that popular in Austria, compared to other countries.
    • Since the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th Austria is also famous as the birth place of psychology and psychotherapy. Sigmund Freud, Viktor Frankl and Alfred Adler were all born here.
    • A far more negative association with Austria is Adolf Hitler, who was born there. Luckily for the Austrians most foreigners still think Hitler was a German, but apart from that Austria hasn’t quite managed to shake off its far right reputation. The fame of other far-right politicians like Kurt Waldheim (former Nazi elected as president of Austria in 1986) and Jörg Haider (in 1999-2000 the first far right politician since the end of World War II to be elected into the government of a democratic European country) didn’t help either. Nor did the fact that in 1938, 99% of Austrians voted for unity with Germany — ex. in that time and place and even allowing for that 99% probably being a Nazi exaggeration, the vast majority of Austrians WANTED to become German.
  • In the late 2000s Austria also became notorious for two horrible crimes where people were kept in captivity for many years without anybody noticing anything strange: the kidnapping of Natasha Kampusch case and the Jozef Fritzl scandal.
  • Early 20th century Austrian painters like Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt are also world renowned.
  • Thanks to the fame of the muscular movie stars Johnny Weissmuller note  and Arnold Schwarzenegger muscular foreigners will sometimes be born in Austria.
  • One tourist card sarcastically stereotypes Austrians as being an impatient or easily agitated people.
  • Historically, the Austrians had the reputation of being the second-worst army in Europe, somewhat alleviated by having Hungarian reserves available.
  • In Romania and the Balkans, Austrians had been seen until not long ago as haughty and aristocratic. Romania and the Balkan countries don’t exactly have good memories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, after all.
  • Vienna is the only location that exists in foreign eyes. The city is home to the Waltz, Viennese coffee and tea, Vienna sausages and the Wiener oboe. Apart from that Tyrol and the Vienna Woods (Wienerwald) are worth mentioning.

Belgium

  • The bilingual communities and eternal troubles between Flemings and Walloons often mystify foreigners. The complexity of Belgium’s government often leads to confused ideas about their political situation. In fiction, Belgium is sometimes portrayed as a French-speaking country, even though a majority in the country speaks Dutch and there is even a small German speaking community. This also explains why foreigners often confuse Belgians with Frenchmen, Dutchmen, or Germans. No wonder this surreal country is the birth place of painter René Magritte!
  • Belgians have a reputation for being easily oppressed and taken advantage of. The country has been conquered several times in history, even receiving the nickname “Europe’s battlefield.” History buffs may know it mostly for decisive battles like Waterloo, the Flanders Fields of World War One and the exhausting battle of the Ardennes near the end of World War II. Strange enough it’s still the center of international politics today with Brussels being the de facto capital of the European Union and the location of the NATO and European Parliament.
    • Even today, many Belgians distrust politicians, the police, and the judiciary, yet don’t openly voice their opinions except when they are absolutely sure that the object of their criticism isn’t around in the same room. They don’t have a strong nationalistic identity (apart from Flemish nationalists) and thus suffer from an inferiority complex about their status in the world. Even when the country does something positive on an international scale, most Belgians still act cynical, dismissive or, at best, jokingly about it. Patriotic pride is almost nonexistent. All these aspects and the small size of the country has caused other countries to not take them very seriously. Something Belgians don’t appreciate, either. Especially in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and France, the dumb, insignificant Belgian is a common stereotype in jokes. In French, these jokes even have a special name (les histoires Belges, “Belgian stories”).
  • “Name ten famous Belgians” is a well-known question, assuming that there are no Belgian celebrities. Hilarity Ensues when a foreigner is only able to name two characters, both fictional: Tintin and Hercule Poirot. The facts are different, especially since the lack of being able to name ten Belgian celebrities says more about the summarizing person’s own general knowledge.
    • And a third world-famous Belgian often invoked when this game is mentioned is one who most Belgian people wish was fictional — infamous child-molester Marc Dutroux. During the late 1990s, the huge scandal surrounding Dutroux led to the stereotypical idea that all Belgians are paedophiles. (Dutroux himself ignited the scandal, by claiming repeatedly he was part of a network which included most major politicians, judges, and police chiefs of the country.)
    “What’s Belgium famous for? Chocolates and child abuse, and they only invented the chocolates to get to the kids.”
    Ray, In Bruges
  • Belgium has produced many internationally famous painters, most notably in Flanders, like the Flemish Primitives (Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling, Rogier Van Der Weyden,…), Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens and James Ensor to name the most iconic. The most famous Walloon painter is René Magritte.
  • The country is also known for having a strong comic book tradition, exemplified by international successes like Tintin, Lucky Luke, The Smurfs, and Suske en Wiske. In fact: Hergé of Tintin fame is even the most influential and revered European comic book artist.
  • Belgians are often shown eating French fries (“French” doesn’t refer to France, but the verb “to french”). This is more or less Truth in Television, fast-food joints selling French fries (and also cooked mussels and other sea food) abound in the entire country.
    • In reference to the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, some cultivated foreigners still have the impression that all Belgians are jolly and petulant peasants who do nothing more than party, drink, and eat. Belgian bars and cafés tend to close much, much later at night compared to other countries and Belgium also has a lot more national, local, official, and non-official holidays, carnivals, and parties in comparison to other countries (though it must be said that not all of them are automatically a day off for the entire working population).
    • Other national dishes like chocolate, beer, mussels, waterzooi and Belgian waffles contribute to the Belgians’ reputation as “pleasure lovers” and jolly people who enjoy eating and drinking extremely tasty stuff. (Brussels sprouts are usually not associated with tastiness).
    • Jacques Brel’s universally translated songs also kept this image intact.
  • British people often assume Belgium is boring. This mostly stems from the country’s notoriously bad bureaucratism, the dreary weather, and the ugly, monotonous urban landscape.
  • Cycling is the most romanticized sport in Belgium. Men cycling through mud, bad weather, and over steep hills and stony roads only to return home for a cool beer and some French fries is part of the national culture. One of the greatest cyclists ever was Belgian: Eddy Merckx.
  • Two essential monuments that always need to be in frame whenever Belgium is shown in popular culture are the Atomium and the statue of Manneken Pis, both located in Brussels.

France

  • Especially in the U.S.A and England. French people are often ridiculed for being cowards who surrender immediately when confronted with danger. This idea is based on their rather quick capitulation during the Nazi invasion of France during World War II and has led to the term Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys. This image only became commonly expressed in the United States after French and American clashes over foreign policy during the Cold War. Actually, the French surrendered in order to prevent the destruction of Paris. This stereotype of cowardice also completely ignores the work of the French resistance, who assassinated Nazi officers, attacked their supply lines, and helped smuggle out POWs.
    • Thanks to the French Revolution and all the uprisings that followed ever since (from the Communards in the 19th century to the May 1968 student demonstrations), the French also have a reputation for being revolutionaries, active in La Résistance, spilling their blood on the barricades. Of course, they will still put everyone on the guillotine, even though this was abolished by law in 1981.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French, Everyone Sounds Sexier In French and Gay Paree: France also has an association with love, romance, and sex. Candlelit dinners by moonlight in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background are not uncommon in romantic films. French men and women are often portrayed as sexy or even oversexed. There are a lot of erotic terms associated with France, among others: a “ménage à trois”, “soixante neuf”, lingerie, liasons, Femme Fatale, voyeurism, French kissing, a French tickler…
    • Also, All Women Are Lustful in France, a stereotype fed prostitues dancing the can-can in the Moulin Rouge and by actresses like Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Deneuve. Even the French national symbol, Marianne, is a bare breasted woman on the barricades.
  • The archetypal Frenchmen is usually caricatured as a dirty, lazy, unshaven, curly moustached man wearing a beret, striped sweaters, smoking a cigarette, and carrying a baguette under the arm. “Being as dirty as a Frenchman” is actually an English proverb. French squat toilets also promote this image.
    • Ironically, Frenchmen also have a reputation for being “très chic” and sophisticated. Whoever speaks French must be cultivated, so Gratuitous French is often spoken by aristocratic, posh, snobbish, or very dignified people. This stems from the Middle Ages when most European nobles and royals (even in England) spoke French. Later, during the Versailles era of Louis XIV and later Napoleon Bonaparte, a lot of French sophistication clichés began to blossom, including haute couture, parfum, eau de cologne, a monocle, corsettes, small handkerchiefs, a pince-nez, and a lorgnette.
    • Pepe Le Pew is an almost perfect parody of a Frenchman, and amalgamates ALL of the above stereotypes — he’s romantic, lecherous, and sophisticated, but is also repellently stinky and an Abhorrent Admirer in his capacity as a skunk.
  • French are often called “rude or arrogant” by foreigners. They are not afraid of swearing and using bad language (See also: French Jerk). Especially when they are driving. Parisians in particular are considered to be very rude to tourists and foreigners (although not as much the latter as the former). It is not uncommon for travel guides to tell tourists not to look at people in the Metro in the eye, since they will think you have a problem with them.
    • The English expression “Pardon my French” also stems from the stereotype that the French language is full of insults and/or swearing.
    • The “arrogant Frenchman” stereotype was also fed by Charles De Gaulle, who both during World War II and later as President (1958-1969) expressed a very non-cooperative and independent view on world politics. During World War II, de Gaulle refused to cooperate in the Allies’ plans to free France. He, unlike all the other leaders, in his public speech right after D-Day stated that this invasion was the real invasion, this had the potential to ruin the Allied deceptions that Normandy was just a feint, with Calais the real invasion point. That was just one of his many, many, many actions whereby it seemed he was more of a problem for his friends than enemies.
    • Frenchmen will also be portrayed as being too lazy or too arrogant to actually help anybody.
    • French heads of state also have a reputation for being full of “grandeur”. From the French royals, over Napoleon to the presidents.
  • French accents are also enormously popular in comedies, Western Animation, and even dramatic films and TV series, often to the point of overkill. French people will always speak with a Maurice Chevalier Accent, usually complete with a “hon hon hon” laugh. All these French characters talk in the same way: “the” and “this” are pronounced “zee” and “zis”, the words “mais oui”, “sacre bleu”, “zut alors”, “mon ami”, or “mon chéri” are used non-stop and the “w” is pronounced “ooweee”. Famous examples are Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther, Lumière in Beauty and the Beast, all the French characters in ‘Allo ‘Allo!, and Pepe Le Pew. Sometimes, like in the movie Shrek (where the British character Robin Hood inexplicably speaks English with a French accent), people are depicted as being French for no apparent reason other than evoking laughs while using the accent. In reality, as with any language, how heavy a native accent is while speaking a foreign language usually has more to do with 1) when in their lives they learned the foreign language, 2) how long they’ve been speaking it and to whom, and 3) how good they are at imitating accents. It’s common for a French student of English living in France to talk this way, for example, but it would be very rare for a Frenchman who’s lived for many years in, say, Midwestern America, to not say ‘the’ more or less like a Midwestern American.
    • Non-French speakers also assume that you can just put “le” in front of every subject and it’s grammatically correct French! The articles “la”, “un”, “une”, or “l'” don’t seem to exist.
  • In (beat ’em up) videogames, French characters are often depicted as elegant, fatalistic, and angsty, with a penchant for fencing. Examples include Charlotte from Samurai Shodown, Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear, Elisabeth Blanctorche (who uses a riding crop) from The King of Fighters, and French Jerk Raphael and his ward Amy from the Soul Series. Other examples also filled with Gallic ennui include Remy from Street Fighter, who fits the cynical, Nietzsche Wannabe type perfectly and Abel, also from Street Fighter, with his brooding, emo-ish personality (although he is atypical in that he exhibits none of the usual associated elegance, and is a hulking, rugby player type). All of the examples mentioned probably derive from the deep, sullen French philosopher archetype, inspired perhaps by the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre and Jacques Derrida.
  • French painters are also a popular stereotype. Truth in Television thanks to the great 19th century impressionistic artists like Pierre-August Renoir, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustave Courbet, Jean-François Millet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin,… Whenever a scene takes place in a large French city, there will be a painter in the background working on an easle.
    • A mime is also essential. He will always be based on Marcel Marceau and pretending to be stuck in a box.
    • As are fashion designers like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint-Laurent.
  • Whenever arthouse movies or independent movies are spoofed they are often French (spoofing Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut or any other “Nouvelle Vague” film). (See also: Le Film Artistique).
    • And if a French intellectual is depicted, he will always be a caricature of Jean-Paul Sartre and ponder over existential questions.
  • Frenchmen are often cast as cooks, onion sellers, proprietors of restaurants and/or cafés. They will enjoy eating baguettes, croissants, tarts, cheese, and drink wine. Sometimes they are also depicted as having an eccentric taste: eating snails (escargots) and frog legs. This is also why the French are often nicknamed “frogs” in the English language. See also French Cuisine Is Haughty. Examples of French cooks in fiction: Louis in The Little Mermaid and the cooks in Ratatouille.
  • Gay Paree: Paris equals France in popular culture, no other locations. On the same token the Eiffel Tower ”must” be present in the background, even if the action takes place in just a random French town. The monument will also be used for the big climax of the story. Another stock location in Paris is the Louvre, so that the characters can go and watch the Mona Lisa. You might get a reference to the Moulin Rouge, Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Pont Neuf, the Sorbonne, Place Concorde, Versailles, Place Vendôme, Père Lachaise and the Notre Dame in there too. Paris in general is a popular choice for travel stories set in Europe (which usually equals Paris in American and English popular culture) and romantic tales. If not one of those the city will be used for a historical story about The French Revolution, late 19th century Gay Paree (expect cameos of impressionist painters and the Moulin Rouge here) and/or during the Nazi occupation in World War II.
    • The rest of France will usually be the Provence, though Bretagne (to show some cliffs), Reims (for the cathedral), Bordeaux (for the wine), Bayeux (for the wall carpet), the Mont Saint Michel (to have a castle), Arles (because of Vincent van Gogh), Dijon (for the mustard), Cannes (for the Film Festival), Avignon (because of the song Sur Le Pont d’ Avignon), Roland Garros (for the tennis tournament), Rouen (made famous by Joan of Arc), Marseille and Nice could get a small reference if you’re lucky.
  • If the French play sport, it will be pétanque/jeux de boules or cycling in the Tour de France, which is the most famous European cycling contest world wide.
    • Since the sport got popular in the 2000s, French characters in (American) action movies are often depicted as Parkour professionals.
  • If a Frenchman sings, it’s always “Alouette”, “Frère Jacques”, or “La Marseillaise”. If he plays an instrument, it will be an accordion. When he listens to a French singer, it’s usually Édith Piaf.

Corsica

  • Most people across the world know Corsica solely for being an island which is part of France and the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Lazy Bum: In the French speaking world Corsicans are stereotyped as lazy people, an image that, just like other South European isles, stems from the siestas people take because of the hot climate.
  • Fans of Astérix will be able to name more stereotypes, thanks to the album Asterix in Corsica:
    • The island is famous for chestnuts, very smelly cheese, unpenetrable maquis bushes and forests, wild pigs and old men sitting on benches. Everyone wears a black bandana or headscarf, in reference to their flag [1]
      • Apparently all Corsicans are proud, Hot-Blooded and anger will be the only emotion they ever show. They will demand respect from everybody and put on a Death Glare when they have the impression someone offended them. The men are all Knife Nuts who will pull out a blade anywhere, anytime and no particular reason at all. In reality, many Corsicans carry folding-blade knives, but are more likely to use them for eating or whittling than fighting. Though, there is also some Truth in Television to this violent image. Just like other Italian isles Corsica has a centuries old bloody history of countlesss vendettas and family feuds. In the 17th and 18th century the island was notorious for highway men and robbers attacking stage coaches who hid in the thick and unpenetrable Corsican forests and bushes (“maquis”). From the 20th century on Corsican separatists bombing civilians and homes made sure the nation’s reputation for bloodshed wasn’t going away soon.
  • Older Frenchmen also associate Corsica with singer Tino Rossi.

Germany

  • All Germans Are Nazis: Thanks to both the Prussian Army of Otto Von Bismarck, the Franco German War, and the First World War and Second World War, Germans are often cast as villains or strict militaristic people, wearing pickelhaube, goosestepping from one place to another, and obeying orders at all cost. The German reputation for belligerence has fluctuated a great deal through the ages. The ancient Germani were considered very war-like by the Romans, but by the Victorian period, the typical German was considered to be sentimental and romantic and musical —Gemütlichkeit and Träumerei were the clichés. Then along came Otto Von Bismarck and the Franco-German War, and all Germans became Prussians… During the First World War, British propaganda even compared the Germans even to the Huns. Especially World War II did a lot of damage to Germany’s public image. The strange thing is that other Axis Powers, like Italy and Japan, managed to escape the assocation with Nazism and Fascism, while Germany is still solely typecast as a country that was morally wrong during those years. For many people, Germans are seen as people who are evil by nature, ignoring the fact that there were quite some notable Germans who opposed their military leaders. There was even a large German resistance movement. Also, ever since 1945, many German politicians and activists have held a pacifist stance.
    • Thanks to numerous war movies, certain German military officers have become a popular stereotype themselves. They will preferably wear an Erich von Stroheim type monocle, a pickelhaube helmet, and goosestep around the place. All while remaining deadly serious and expressionless.
    • German women are depicted as strict, dominant, bitchy females with their hair in a tight bun hairstyle. They tend to shout orders in a shrill, abrasive tone, like for instance Dr. Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers, Private Helga Geerhart from ‘Allo ‘Allo!, and Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS.
    • There are a lot of German inventions still associated with warfare like zeppelins, Panzer tanks, and U-boats. Not to mention their Messerschmitt airplanes.
  • In more recent times, especially in British comedy, the conscientious post-World War II German has become a popular character. He is incredibly polite and respectful, and grows nervous whenever the war is mentioned (“Don’t mention The War!”) or very pissed off, if he is called a Nazi.
  • Germanic Efficiency and Germanic Depressives: Germans have a reputation for being highly organized, ruthlessly efficient, bureaucratic, and deadly serious to the point that foreigners assume they lack a sense of humor. The image of the strict, efficient, and hard-working German is based on the Wirtschaftswunder after World War II, when Germany quickly revived economically. The joyless German stereotype may be derived from their depiction as brutal enemy or seriously devoted bureaucratic worker.
    • Herr Doktor: And, of course, from the fact that a lot of “serious” professions have been fulfilled by Germans in previous centuries, such as Mad Scientists, psychologists, philosophers, composers, conductors, and psychiatrists. Even in popular culture, people in these professions speak with thick German accents. This image is probably based on real-life examples like the German physicist Albert Einstein and the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. Examples of these German scientists in fiction are Ludwig von Drake, Dr. Strangelove,Dr. Otto Scratchandsniff, and… Josef Heiter.
    • Germany is also the birth place of Lutheranism and Protestantism in general.
    • 18th and 19th century style German romanticism also did a lot to associate Germans with seriousness. Poets, painters, and composers wandering in forests or not far from lakes, especially during the fall, committing suicide over tragic relationships or utter despair about life. May be reflected in “Trauermusik”, “Träumerei”, “schlager music”, or “Sturm und Drang”.
    • The archetypical German philosopher will always be based on Friedrich Nietzsche. Probably because he literally went mad later in life. Or because the Nazis used his ideas for their own propaganda purposes. Still, Germany has a rich philosophical tradition thanks to names like Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Arthur Schopenhauer, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich von Schlegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, …
    • German Expressionism, paintings, and films with a lot of shadows and distorted backgrounds, has also become infamous.
    • Even their gothic architecture has something static and deadly serious about it.
  • If Germans are depicted having fun, they are usually wearing Tyrolean hats, lederhosen, drinking beer, playing the tuba, and celebrating Oktoberfest. The women are robust, large-breasted characters with blonde hair in pigtails or braids, wearing dirndls and carrying dozens of steins of beer at once. These partying Germans are often seen eating schnitzel, sausages, sauerkraut, and sauerbraten while dancing to oom-pah music or performing the “Schuhplattler” (knee slapping) dance. This folklore image isn’t entirely German, since it’s especially associated with Bavarian culture in southern Germany as well as Austria.
    • IF Germans are depicted as being humorous, the comedy is often based on making others suffer. Bringen sie mir Fegelein! FEGELEIN! Fegelein! Fegelein!
    • Another “joyful German stereotype” is the female Berlin cabaret singer performing in male costume, usually referencing Marlene Dietrich or the film Cabaret.
    • Beer drinking is also the oldest and most enduring German stereotype — it can be found in Tacitus’ Germania, in Dante’s Divine Comedy, in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, etc., etc.
    • Sausages may be considered the German national dish, exemplified by Frankfurter weiners and other meat products like the hamburger, which originated from Hamburg.
    • All this eating and drinking also created another stereotype: that all Germans are obese.
  • Germany, just like Russia, is also a popular setting for fairy tales. This mostly stems from The Pied Piper of Hamelin and the collected folk tales from The Brothers Grimm, with Rumpelstiltskin, The Bremen Town Musicians, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel as the most German examples. A trademark of many of these fairy tales is that they are very dark, bloody, and filled with nightmare fuel. Of course, many foreigners immediately make the narrow minded connection that this has something to do with Germany’s reputation for evilness and/or depressing stories. This is also exemplified by the 19th century Scare ‘Em Straight children’s classic Der Struwwelpeter.
  • German music comes in several variations: deeply serious and sentimental romantic classical music (Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn,…), obnoxiously loud and pompous Teutonic noise (Richard Wagner), experimental and unenjoyable classical music (Karlheinz Stockhausen, Kurt Weill,…), Krautrock (Kraftwerk, Can, Neu!, Amon Duul II,…), militaristic rock (Rammstein), jolly oom-pah music, or sappy schlager tunes.
    • The operas of Richard Wagner have also created several stereotypes associated with Germany, like the large blonde Teutonic woman wearing a Viking helmet, spear, and shield like Brynhildr in Der Ring des Nibelungen.
  • Gratuitous German will be used to describe abstract concepts like Weltschmerz, Schadenfreude, Wanderlust, Zeitgeist, or Gemütlichkeit. In print it will be typed in gothic lettertype. Non-German speakers often add “Das”, “Die”, and “Der” randomly in front of every single German word. Or add unnecessary umlauts or capital letters.
    • Another stereotype about the German language is that it only sounds impressive when it’s shouted, not spoken or sang.
  • All Germans are named Fritz, Franz, Otto, Gunther, Hermann, Adolf, Wilhelm, Ernst, or Hans. Women are named Helga, Olga, Gretel, Brunhilda, or Nina. (Needless to say, many of these names are not that popular in Germany nowadays.) Their surnames will often have a “von” or a suffix starting with the letters “Sch-“.
  • Germany is also the birthplace of cars. Since their invention the country has become closely associated with highly polished but efficient cars driving over the “Autobahn”. Several famous international car brands are German: Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Opel, Porsche, Volkswagen,…
  • In (beat ’em up) videogames, Germans are often depicted as stoic and serious, verging on melancholic — good examples from the Soul Series include Siegfried Schtauffen, whose back-story is angsty in the extreme and Hildegard von Krone, who typifies the efficient, serious German.
    • Some beat ’em up characters are also ambiguously German — that is, they have German-sounding names, but it is never specified they are German natives. Examples are to be found in The King of Fighters, with Heidern and Rugal Bernstein (and his children, Adelheid and Rose). In Heidern’s case, this is perhaps because his design inescapably evokes a Nazi officer and so his nationality was hand-waved as “unknown”. M.Bison of Street Fighter fame also evokes this look, and has a similarly “unknown” background. Brocken, (specified as German) from World Heroes shows no such compunction, and is blatantly presented as a “Nazi super-cyborg”. Von Kaiser of Punch-Out!! fame is similarly blatant, and even quips “Surrender! Or I will conquer you!”, taking the All Germans Are Nazis trope to the limit.
  • Germans also have an unfortunate reputation for producing the most eye-wateringly depraved pornography, catering to the most deviant (or just plain weird) fetishes.
    • Spoof travelogue show Eurotrash — made in Britain and presented by Frenchmen — played heavily for laughs on German sexuality, partly its porn, and mainly the observed fact that large, beefy, unattractive Germans of both genders tend to insist on their absolute right to go naked at every conceivable opportunity. If the Germans were not overweight and bovine, they were skinny and scrawny — a regular feature involved a German cleaning company, whose selling point was that two unpreposessingly thin guys would clean your house while naked. Eurotrash ran on national stereotypes Europeans had about each other. (The French were God’s anointed, Germans were fat, hearty, and earthy, Swedes sexy, Belgians boring, the British emotionally repressed, Italians sexy and temperamental, and so on.)
  • Germany consists of Berlin, which is only famous as a grey and depressing location in spy thrillers and because of a a wall that is no longer there. The only other memorable location are the Brandenburger Tor and the Berlin cabaret. Other German cities that foreigners might remember are Münich (only during Oktoberfest. It may ring a bell to sport fans, because during the 1972 Olympic Games, a bunch of competitors were murdered.), Hamburg (birth place of the hamburger), Frankfurt (Frankfurter weiners), Cologne (for its perfume) and Bremen (The Bremen Town Musicians).

Ireland

  • ScotIreland: Irishmen are often mistaken by foreigners for being English, Scottish, or Welsh. The confusion is understandable, seeing that the accents can be difficult to differentiate for people unfamiliar with them. Also, the Fighting Irish and Violent Glaswegian are basically the same stereotype with the same unintelligible accent. What further adds to the confusion is the fact that several celebrities and other historical characters who are usually called “British” were in fact born in Ireland: The Duke of Wellington, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Spike Milligan, soccer player George Best,…
  • The Irish are usually portrayed as heavy drinkers, usually whiskey. Their alcoholism either leads to violence (see Fighting Irish) or being a self-pitying drunk.
    • Irishmen beating their wives is a popular American stereotype.
    • Since St. Patrick’s Day is a good occasion to drink and celebrate, the drunk Irishman stereotype will often be brought in association with this holiday. This also brings up the Irish association with the color “green”.
  • Oireland: (Whether or not because they are drunk) the sentimental Irishman is also a popular stereotype. They are generally presented as a canny and friendly folk (the word ‘quaint’ tends to pop up a lot) with a cheerful song in their hearts and a mischievous twinkle in their eyes, expressing their simple-yet-wise philosophy that’s as old as the hills and informed with the magic and mystery of the ages and the Fair Folk, just waiting for some poor outsider who’s lost sight of the really important things in life that they can educate, and other such horribly trite cliches.
    • In popular culture, Irishmen will often wear green clothes and have a clover stitched on their chest. Men will have a red beard, sideburns, and are a Fiery Redhead. They’ll smoke a pipe and consume a lot of alcohol. Their name will always be of the “O'” variety: O’ Brien, O’ Ginney, O’ Hara, O’ Flaherty, O’ Donnell,… and have surnames like Patrick, Sean, or Kelly. Expect stock expressions to be used like “Ayyy, ‘t is true…”, “Ah to be shoor, to be shoor and begoraah”, and “Top o’ the moornin’ to ye.” and semi-medieval words like “ye”. Instead of saying “my”, they will use “me”, for instance: “This is me house.”
    • Irish women will evoke the classic “Colleen” — that is, they’ll have tumbling locks of red or auburn hair pinned up quite high on the crown of their heads so the ringlets cascade down their shoulders. They will be very fair-skinned, possibly freckled, and in flattering depictions, pretty hot in an ethereal sort of way. Bonus points if they also wear an ornately embroidered céilí dress.
  • The most ancient stereotypes about Ireland show a country stuck in Celtic tradition. There are no major cities, only small farms and villages in green landscapes with lots of hills. All walls are made from stones simply stacked upon each other. Celtic crosses will be seen everywhere. A horse-drawn caravan or covered wagon will be the only means of travel.
  • The 19th century also brought several enduring stereotypes about Irishmen. They are all poor farmers with lots of sheep. Bad potato harvests made many of them migrate to the U.S.A. during The Irish Diaspora (this is why potatoes are often associated with Ireland as well). In the U.S.A., Irish immigrants were stereotyped as uneducated peasants who marry their cousins. The fact that the Irish are more tied with their families than Americans or British may have created this stereotype.
  • Irish cuisine will consist of nothing but bacon, corned beef with cabbage, and potatoes. Corned beef and cabbage in particular is a cultural trait of Irish-Americans, learned from their Ashkenazi Jewish neighbors.
  • Irish Priest: Irish people are often depicted as being devoutly Raised Catholic (even though a large part of the population is also Protestant). Priests in popular culture may speak with an Irish accent as a result.
    • The Troubles between Catholics, Protestants, and their respective terrorist organisations I.R.A./I.N.L.A. and the U.D.A./U.F.F. are perhaps the most negative image Ireland has cast upon the world. This was especially true in the late half of the 20th century. Images of bomb attacks, protesters, and British soldiers patrolling through the streets were not uncommon.
    • The Irish Question: Some foreigners have trouble understanding that Northern Ireland is actually not part of Ireland but of the United Kingdom. The eternal battle for independence has led to a lot of violence and bloodshed in the country over the years and the image that all Irish and Northern Irish hate the English.
  • The Fair Folk: Ireland has a strong association with mythological folklore characters: leprechauns, dwarves, elves, pixies, fairies, goblins, and gnomes will often have an Irish accent. When characters visit Ireland, these little fairy tale characters will usually make a cameo appearance, despite disbelief from the people who see them. Leprechauns in particular will hide a pot of gold near the end of a rainbow.
    • This also tends to be represented when it comes to Irish (and Irish American) superheroes and supervillains; either their power will be explicitly magical in nature or if a mutation will still have a supernatural theme.
  • Irish folk music is world famous as well. Expect people playing the fiddle, dancing Riverdance or Lord of the Dance moves, and singing “Danny Boy”, “The Old Irish Washer Woman’s Song”, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”, or “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary”.
    • A reference to U2 isn’t uncommon, too. If not them, it’s to either The Dubliners, The Chieftains, The Cranberries, or Enya.
  • Irish literature is also internationally renowned. Expect a reference to Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, or W. B. Yeats to be made.
  • Ireland is also the ideal location to make a limerick (in Limerick, of course) or to notice “It’s a Long Way To Tipperary”.
  • Other dominant Irish stereotypes involve cops and mobsters

Italy

  • Italy is synonymous with style and for having beautiful countryside filled with picturesque villages, ancient Roman ruins, and olive groves. The same goes for their equally stylish paintings, sculptures, architecture, poetry, novels, music, fashion, hair dressing, violins (Stradivari), motors (Vespa), and cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia,…). Two of the most refined and admired Golden Ages of Culture took place in Italy: The Roman Empire and The Renaissance.
    • Hairdressers will often be Italians. Bonus points if they are effeminate and sing the “Figaro” chorus from The Barber of Seville while working.
    • Italy is one of the leading countries in fashion: “Armani”, “Versace”, “Benetton”, “Gucci”, “Dolce & Gabbana”, “Prada”,… It’s awful to say but even mafiosi dress well in Italy.
    • Italian cuisine is also renowned. Whenever a cook is depicted in popular culture, he’s usually French or Italian. Italian cooks will usually be making food with lots of olives, tomatoes and pasta (spaghetti, vermicelli, gnocchi, fettucine, linguine, macaroni, ravioli, tortellini, lasagna), salami, scampi, cannelloni, pesto, carbonara, pizza, tiramisu, chipolata, marzipan, pepperoni, panini, muscat, pistachio, tagliatelle, cannoli, risotto, minestrone, carpaccio, gelatine,… One of their famous cheeses (gorgonzola, mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta, parmigiano,…) will be thrown in the mix as well. Of course, every meal will be served with wine (chianti), grappa, martini, amaretto or some coffee (capuccino, espresso,…).
      • The homely mother or grandmother (the “nonna”) who enjoys cooking for her family is often used in advertising.
      • Italian ice cream vendors are also a popular image. They will be selling fruity ice cream (“gelato”, “tartufo”, “tutti frutti”) in the street.
    • Latin Lover: Just like France, the country is often associated with love and sex.
      • The Casanova: An Italian man will often be presented as an arrogant, virile, cool, thuggish, macho Italian stallion who walks around with his shirt open to show his pectoral muscles and chest hair. He is a smooth talker, open to flirtation, and an excellent lover, but generally unfaithful or uninterested in the needs of his female partner. These types of Italian men often drive around in large and beautiful cars. This is an especially popular stock character in romantic stories targeted at women. Not surprisingly: Giacomo Casanova was Italian.
    • The female counterpart of this character is the Italian bombshell, exemplified by actresses as Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Anna Magnani, Monica Bellucci, Isabelle Adjani, Isabelle Rossellini,… Italian women in modern works are always hot.
      • Note that this stereotype comes from The Sixties, when the aforementioned actresses started taking roles in movies that made it to America and everything Italian was fashionable (it was in the 60s that Italian film and Italian haute couture caught up with France). In older American works, Italian women are often stereotyped as hairy and nauseatingly unclean.
      • See also: this Flash animation (made by an Italian).
    • The Italian language lends itself perfectly for singing. Countless musical terms are of Italian origin.
      • Opera: Since Italy is the birthplace of opera: expect Italian characters either going to an opera, star in one or just sing some famous opera arias. It gets to the point that every scene taking place in Italy or with Italians will have opera arias as background music, usually by Giuseppe Verdi (Il Trovatore, La Traviata,…), Gioachino Rossini (The Barber of Seville, “William Tell”), Giacomo Puccini (Turandot, Madame Butterfly, Tosca) or Ruggero Leoncavallo (Pagliacci). If not opera, it will be traditional Napolitan songs like Funiculì, Funiculà, O Sole Mio and Santa Lucia. At worst, the background music will consist of mandolin sonatas… during scenes set in Northern or Central Italy (to give you an idea, this is as incongruous as lions living in Antarctica).
      • Street musicians with an organ and a little monkey performing tricks are always Italians with curly black moustaches.
    • Italian theatre is best known for the Commedia dell’Arte and all the clown archetypes thereof. Italy’s reputation for clowns and the circus is not so strange since both words are Italian in origin. Other Italian festivity images are the carnival (for instance, the famous one in Venice), confetti and masquerades.
  • In huge contrast with it’s reputation for beauty and sophistication Italy also has its fair share of negative stereotypes.
    • Italians Talk With Hands: The world of Opera has led to Italy’s association with melodramatic behaviour. They will usually talk loud, very fast, gesticulate a lot and start intense discussions about the most trivial topics. They will either cry and crave for their “mamma” or lose their temper and start a fight. Their fanaticism is so proverbial that Italian hooligans even have a special name: “tifosi”.
      • A common trait in media is that Italians just don’t shut the hell up. For example, in the “Family Guy episode “Spies Reminiscent Of Us”, the Trigger Phrase for a KGB sleeper agent is one nobody would say in a regular conversation: “Gosh, that Italian family across the table sure is quiet.”
    • Italians are often stereotyped as foolish and scary drivers. Advice given during WWII to Allied soldiers occupying Italy said at certain point: “Never race an Italian by any means and with any kind of motor vehicle”. Probably false, but the stereotype endures, and, as Italian Tropers will confirm, true.
    • Italians have the stereotype that any nation not having a bidet in every bathroom is horribly unclean. But for instance, no Italian restaurants (except some luxury ones) have the bidet in their facilities, and many Italian males simply never use theirs but pretend that’s impossible to live without.
      • Italy still has a reputation for being chaotic and disorganized. It took until the 19th century before Giuseppe Garibaldi and Camillo Benso di Cavour finally united all the different regions and city-states into one nation. Ironically enough The Mafia seems to be the only well-organized thing in Italy.
    • Italy also has a centuries old reputation for bloodshed, corruption, political intrigues and decadence.
      • Feuding Families: Numerous families have murdered people for some Honor-Related Abuse in an endless Cycle of Revenge for stuff that happened centuries ago. Especially Sicily is notorious for this. Unsurprisingly, the most famous Feuding Families story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, is set in Verona, Italy.
      • Bread and Circuses and Gladiator Games: During the Roman Empire gladiators fought and killed each other in arenas for amusement of the common people. Prisoners would be thrown for the lions too.
      • Political intrigues have been a staple of Italian politics since The Roman mpire. Ax-Crazy, power hungry and decadent emperors massacred and tortured their opponents by the score, before being murdered themselves. During The City State Era powerful families like the Medicis and The Borgias also liquidated everyone who stood in their way. No wonder that the most famous book about political scheming, Il Principe, was written by an Italian: Niccolò Machiavelli. Since 1945 Italian politics have been a disorganized cess pool of corruptness, conspiracies, unsolved murders, Mafia intrigues, sex scandals, secret organizations, schemes and governments falling as a result of that. But the CIA also helped things stay that way in their international fight against socialist/communist governments. (See Operation Gladio)
      • Fascist Italy: Contrary to Germany, Italy managed to avoid being forever associated with World War II, but it’s association with fascism endures. Benito Mussolini is also yet another example of an almost cartoony Italian despot.
      • The Mafia: The most infamous negative association Italy has to offer. Criminal gangs existed for centuries, but really started to blossom and evolve in the organized crime networks we know today during the 19th and 20th century. The Mafia is so engrained in Italian society, especially in Sicily, that it’s difficult to entangle and destroy them without making some powerful enemies. In popular culture Italians will often be stereotyped as maffiosi.
      • Ironically, despite their bloody history, Italians have a reputation to suck at warfare.note  If Austria is said to have the second-most useless armed forces in European history Italy may as well be the number one. Their only great military victories have been The Roman Empire, being part of the Allied Forces during World War One and the Italian Resistance giving invaluable help to the Allied Forces during World War II. Italian tanks are popularly supposed to have three forward gears and seventeen reverse gears; the slimmest book in the world is apparently ‘The Italian book of War Heroes; and British people in particular will point to newsreel film of Italian soldiers surrendering by the tens of thousand as proof that whatever they’re good at, it’s not fighting. This stereotype is most mercilessly realized in the manga Axis Powers Hetalia with the Anthropomorphic Personification of Italy, who is portrayed as utterly useless to his fellow Axis members, Germany and Japan — the very word “Hetalia” being a contraction for “Useless Italy”.
  • Italians are often depicted speaking with a heavy accent in which the schwa is inserted after consonant-final words into their speech, leading to sentences like “I ain’t-a gonna make-a pasta no more!” while illustrating his speech with exaggerated gesticulations. Examples are the Mario Bros., Luigi in The Simpsons, Tony & Joe in Lady and the Tramp and the character portrayed by Chico Marx. Also add some stock phrases like “Mamma mia”, “Vaffanculo!”, “Arrivederci”, “Ciao!”, “Fantastico”, “Bellissima”, “Niente”,…
  • When Italian men aren’t depicted as young sex symbols they will be middle aged men with curly black hair and equally curly moustaches. In American media, all Italians are Sicilians, and all Sicilians have black hair, brown eyes, and olive skin. Very much not Truth in Television, at least when it comes to the real Sicily (or Italy, for that matter). This trope is so pervasive that when Turner Media colorized a bunch of old black-and-white movies featuring Frank Sinatra, they gave him brown eyes. (For those wondering, Sinatra’s best-known nickname was “Ol’ Blue Eyes”.)
  • Raised Catholic: Another enduring stereotype is that all Italians are Roman Catholics. Any street scene in Italy will show nuns, priests or The Pope at one point.
  • If a scene takes place in Italy, it will be either Rome (to visit the Colosseum or the Trevi fountain), Venice (so that characters can take a boat ride or join the Carnival), Pompeii (for the Roman ruins) or Pisa (just to see the Leaning Tower) or a small pictoresque Italian village (usually in Tuscany) complete with an Olive Garden and vineyards. When a scene takes place in Sicily some maffia members will turn up.
    • A balcony with a veranda in a villa, near a piazza with some frescoes will also provide an Italian atmosphere.
  • In (beat ’em up) videogames, Italians are mostly depicted as sexy and suave, with examples including Robert Garcia from Art of Fighting, Rose from Street Fighter and Brad Burns from Virtua Fighter. The exception is definitely the brilliantly freaky bondage-fiend Voldo from the Soul Series, a native of Palermo, who provides a rather excellent subversion.
  • Italians do strongly believe that everybody envies their easy life, good weather, low cost of living, sea and snowy mountains by the step. So when Italians fail at something on a international scale (sports, war,…), all foreigners are blamed for “conspiring together against poor Italy, which never is given the time to rise on its feet before some other big country bashes it down again”.
  • Italian cinema has four variations: neo-realistic dramas (Vittorio de Sica, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini), spaghetti westerns (Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci), blood splattering giallo horror films (Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Mario Bava, Ruggero Deodato) and an eccentric, decadent bizarre Grotesque Gallery (Federico Fellini).
  • Chekhov’s Volcano: Much like Iceland, Italy is also known for its volcanoes, with Vesuvius, notable for the Pompeï disaster, and Etna as the most famous examples.

Sardinia

  • Presumably full of sardines.
  • To Italians they are generally Badass mountain men who are impossible to understand. Both are somewhat Truth in Television:
    • During World War I, the Sassari brigade (raised completely in Sardinia) was nicknamed devils by the enemy. They took it in stride, with their anthem Dimonios (meaning “Devils” in Sardinian) being a long Badass Boast.
    • Sardinian language is not a dialect of Italian but a similar separate language, and during World War I the Italians used Sardinian radio operators speaking in their first language because few other people on their own side and nobody on the other side could understand them, so having the enemy listening on the radio didn’t matter.

Sicily

  • The most famous- infamous we might add- Italian island, mostly notorious for the dominating presence of The Mafia. Apart from the capital Palermo everyone who read of saw The Godfather knows that Don Corleone was born in the Sicilian village Corleone.
    • The island is also well known for its volcanoes with Mount Etna and Mount Stromboli as the most recognizable ones.
    • The beaches of Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Ragusa are favourite tourist destinations.
    • Historically it’s also known for the Sicilian Vespers (1282), a revolt against the French occupation.

Vatican City

  • Somewhat of a subtrope of Italy — there can be some substantial overlap, especially in historical works (even though the last three popes — and, of course, the first — were not Italian).
  • Internationally, the Vatican is known for only two things: Useful Notes:The Pope and the Sistine Chapel, where the ceiling was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti.
  • Corrupt Church: In popular culture, The Vatican will be depicted as a Wretched Hive of political and criminal intrigues. For being the smallest state in the world, it holds more power than one would expect. It is adept at operating behind the scenes by providing spies, assassins, and Mafia accomplices and diplomats that will manipulate governments across the entire globe. Its members will be more interested in temporal power and luxury than true spiritual well-being. Also huge supporters of Nazi and Fascist dictatorships. They also hide ancient manuscripts full of secrets that could harm their reputation.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Since the Vatican is notoriously secretive about their bureaucracy, treasury, and especially their archives, this has led to many fantastical speculations about what actually isn’t permitted to see daylight? In popular culture, the palace will be shown as a hotbed of sexual deviancy. Despite the proclaimed chastity of its members, there will be papal mistresses, closet homosexuals, orgies of priests and nuns, bastard children rising to high office. Especially in works set before the 20th century, this is a popular trope. In more modern works, the deviancy tends to be restricted to pedophilia.
  • There are generally a few truly noble priests who take their spiritual responsibilities seriously and work to fight the overall atmosphere of corruption. They can be lowly functionaries, or they can be as high up as the pope, but they are always in the minority. In the end they will usually be persecuted or poisoned. A hundred years after their death, they are named saints.

Liechtenstein

  • A mini state mostly known as tax haven and for the export of false teeth.

Luxembourg

  • The most common stereotype associated with this country is that it’s almost never stereotyped, due to the fact that is so small and easily overlooked or forgotten. If it is shown, it will presented as nothing more than a boring village full of bored-looking people surrounded by empty fields.
  • The unique fact that it’s a Grand Duchy is the only thing it’s internationally famous for.
  • Yet, just like the Swiss, Luxembourgers are known to be the bankers of Europe.
  • During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s European radio listeners knew it for Radio Luxembourg, one of the few radio stations that played rock music in a time none of the other European stations did. Its signal was so strong that it reached many other European countries, including the United Kingdom.

Malta

  • Best known for its knights.

Monaco

  • Since Monaco has a Prince and is featured in many tabloid stories about the royals, people seem to assume that it’s a glamorous place, which it can be, but generally only for the supremely rich. It’s actually incredibly built-up and crowded.
  • Micro Monarchy: The ruling Grimaldi family in general are probably the 2nd best known royal family in the world after the British Royal Family, due to cinema icon Grace Kelly marrying Prince Rainier in 1956.
  • If Monaco is depicted in popular culture, characters are always in a casino, on a yacht, or on the racetrack.
  • The native Monégasque make up just over 20% of the 30,000 inhabitants of the tiny principality and are stereotyped as keeping themselves to themselves and being fabulously wealthy by the far more numerous French and Italian residents.
  • As a warm, sunny tax haven, it’s frequently home to the Corrupt Corporate Executive, Rich Idiot with No Day Job, and plenty of Rich Bitches.

The Netherlands

  • The Netherlands is often referred to as “Holland”, while this is actually only two of the country’s twelve provinces. Note that even some Dutch people will refer to it this way in English, mostly because it’s easier to say and more recognizable.
  • Dutchmen and women are often depicted wearing clogs, carrying cheese and walking around in tulip fields with many wind mills, “grachten“, and cows in the background. All women are blond milk maids with pigtails. Huge dikes protect the Dutch from floods, as depicted in the popular story about Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates which is in fact an American story and not a real-life Dutch incident.
    • All Dutch people eat nothing but ham, cheese or chocolate spread sandwiches, and drink nothing but milk or fruit juice. They will also consume soused herring by tilting their head backwards and slowly lowering the fish into their mouths.
    • Water is perhaps the Netherlands’ most prominent trademark. For centuries this completely flat country is in many places lower than the sea level, thus causing major flood disasters up until 1953. It also explains its name (“Nederland”: “neder” is an archaic word for something that’s low or down to the ground). Since the Delta Works project the Netherlands has managed to put a stop to most of these continuous floods.
    • Water is so much a part of the landscape in the Netherlands that even tourists notice it. Rivers, brooks, “grachten” and the sea itself made it necessary for Dutchmen to make boats. Just like the English there is a tradition of being sailors and marineers. There have been many historically famous Dutch admirals, sea captains, discoverers, pirates and colonists.
  • Free State Amsterdam: A more modern view of the Netherlands depicts the people as drug addicts who smoke marijuana while the streets are full of brothels and prostitutes. This stereotype is based on the more liberal attitudes towards soft drugs, sexuality, LGBTQ rights and prostitution, compared to other countries.
    • Dutch TV shows, films, advertisements and culture in general also have a reputation for being sometimes borderline obscene, vulgar, scatological and risqué. Even kids’ shows!
  • For centuries, the Netherlands was called a “tolerant nation”. Indeed, since the 17th century, many foreign refugees have fled to the Netherlands, because in Dutch society people didn’t mind about other people’s beliefs. However, during World War II, more people were persecuted in the Netherlands than in any other Nazi occupied country. After the war, the country successfully managed to restore its reputation and for decades it tolerated many things that are considered illegal or controversial in other countries. Still feeling ashamed about the Netherlands’ huge contribution to the Holocaust, it made talking about problems with immigrants a taboo subject. This changed in 2002, when far-right politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated because of his controversial ideas for a stricter immigration policy. The first political murder in the Netherlands since the 17th century came as a huge shock to the Dutch people and caused them to re-evaluate the policy towards tolerance, especially in the field of immigration. Since Fortuyn’s murder and the murder of controversial film director Theo van Gogh in 2004 by a muslim extremist, more radical (and sometimes racist) opinions about immigration, prohibition, and the freedom of speech have become more outspoken in the Netherlands. In recent years, the Dutch even started to question their stance for decriminalization of soft drugs.
  • In Europe, Dutch people are often depicted as being arrogant and bluntly direct know-it-alls. They talk loud and are very opinionated about every topic. A Dutchman/woman always knows what others do wrong and how they should correct their behaviour. Instead of remaining discreet about it, to spare other people’s feelings, or at least discuss it in a polite, tactful manner, they simply shout out what’s on their mind, insulting everybody. Their preachiness is usually attributed to their mostly Protestant/Calvinist heritage. So it comes to no surprise that the International Court of Justice is located in The Hague.
  • Just like the Scottish, they are known to be thrifty about money (“Hollandse zuinigheid”, meaning “Dutch frugality”). All Belgian jokes about Dutchmen target their thriftiness.
    • In the English language “dutch treat” means splitting the bill—as does “going dutch” on a date.
    • However, the term “dutch treat”, as well as many other terms, were invented by the English during the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th century. The term “dutch treat” owes less to “Dutch people are thrifty” and more to “Dutch people are scum.” This is clearer in certain other expressions, like “dutch courage” (liquor).
    • Ironically enough, for being so infamously thrifty, Dutchmen do know how to conduct business. For centuries, Dutch merchants were among the shrewdest and richest businessmen in the world. During the 17th century (nicknamed “De Gouden Eeuw” (“The Golden Age”) in the Netherlands), they were the only country in the world where most of the population led a wealthy, prosperous, and peaceful life, without being occupied by other countries. Historians even see it as the first modern capitalist state. Even in later centuries, Dutch people remained well-known for being merciless and tough marketing geniuses, able to exploit anything for a huge price. Colonel Parker, manager of Elvis Presley, was Dutch and literally embodies this stereotype!
  • Dutch art is world famous and has produced some iconic and instantly recognizable artists. Painters like Hieronymus Bosch, M. C. Escher and Piet Mondriaan, for instance. However, the Dutch painters of the 17th century like Rembrandt Van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals are far more admired because of their amazingly realistic depictions of people, still lives and landscapes. Especially the way they portrayed light, nicknamed Hollands licht (Dutch light), has been analyzed countless times. The only other equally iconic Dutch painter is Vincent van Gogh: the archetypical unappreciated suffering artist. Dutch architecture and typography has also been influential, especially the 20th century movement De Stijl.
  • Dutchmen are also known for being ubiquitous tourists, and have a penchant for caravans.
  • They also enjoy to go somewhere by bike. Bicycle tourism is very common, compared to other European countries where there’s hardly enough place to go cycling.
    • Up to and including members of the Royal Family. A recent queen was frequently seen riding her bicycle from the palace to her office.
    • Another sport closely associated with the Netherlands is ice skating. Dutchmen have won countless gold medals in this discipline.
  • The Belgian singer Jacques Brel once said that: “Dutch isn’t a language, it’s a throat disease”. Dutch does indeed involve a lot of noises from the back of the throat, therefore a popular stereotype is that Dutch consists of nothing but these sounds. The word “ja, ja, ja” (“yes, yes, yes”) will be uttered non-stop as well.
  • The Dutch are stereotypically tall. Throughout the 20th century in most so-called advanced countries, due to better nutrition and medical care, the average height increased; about in the 1970s, in most of these countries people stopped getting taller and started to get wider, to the extent that most of these countries have serious obesity problems; the Dutch, however, keep getting taller.

Portugal

  • Often confused with Spaniards and thus a lot of the Spanish stereotypes will also be applied to them. Which is something they don’t like.
  • Portuguese are generally known as explorers, thanks to Vasco da Gama, Henry the Navigator, Bartolomeo Diaz, Pedro Alvares Cabral, and Ferdinand Magellan, among others.
  • References to their wine (“porto”), Fado music, or sardines are also typical, as are their beaches.
  • Portugal suffered under a dictatorship from 1932 to 1974. The conservative regime of Presidents Antonio De Oliveira Salazar and Marcelo Caetano held back many technical and modern innovations that other European countries did adapt. By the time the country became a democracy again, it had so many technical stuff to catch up with that for a long time it caused the Portuguese to be viewed as primitive and hopelessly stuck in dated traditions.
  • Brazilian people seem to think that the Portuguese are either dumb or close-minded.
  • More rarely, Portuguese people are considered more taciturn and fatalistic than other southern European populations, in part because of Fado music (fado means “fate”), mentioned above, and because of their Vestigial Empire status.
  • In terms of regions:
    • People from Lisbon usually think of themselves as being cosmopolitan. They’ll also constantly praise their city, even if the transportation companies are on strike or some buildings are in decay.
    • People from Alentejo (one of the most rural and underdeveloped regions in the country) live life at a snail’s pace, are lazy, and mostly old. They’re probably communists, too.
  • A Venezuelan stereotypical depiction of Portuguese people is that they are all industrious people who run small businesses, usually Mom & Pop stores and bakeries, and every food store in the country is managed by them (in real life, most of the food distribution chain is indeed managed by people of Portuguese descent).
    • “El portu del abasto” is an stereotype by itself, a middle-aged mustached man in white butcher clothes. The Portuguese always have a unibrow, even the women.

San Marino

  • Best known as mini state and tax haven.

Spain

  • Foreigners often confuse Spaniards with Latin-Americans (Spexico and even the Portuguese or Brazilians…)
  • Spaniards are often caricatured as being Hot-Blooded and proud to the point of being idle.
  • The most enduring image about Spain is the bull. According to many stereotypes, Spaniards are all bullfighters and/or love to watch these fights in a huge arena. They may also participate in the “encierro” (“Running of the Bulls”) in Pamplona and get horribly wounded in the process. This stereotype has become a bit outdated since the second half of the 20th century. Nowadays not all Spaniards are that fond anymore of massacring an innocent animal in front of hundreds of spectators. On the Canary Islands and in Catalonia the sport is even forbidden.
    • Dashing Hispanic, Toros y Flamenco and Badass Spaniard: Bullfighting is one of the things that lead to the idea that all Spaniards are prideful, flashy, and dashing matadors, fencers, conquistadores, knights, swashbucklers, masked outlaws, pirates,… who elegantly swish their swords, rapiers, knives, or banderillas at their opponents. The men all have black moustaches and wear a bandana or another type of headscarf.
      • In (beat ’em up) videogames, Spanish males are almost universally depicted as prideful, flashy matadors of some sort, with examples including Vega from Street Fighter, Laurence Blood from Fatal Fury, and Miguel Caballero Rojo from the Tekken series.
    • If Spaniards are not dancing and prancing around with weapons, they are doing the same activities while singing and playing flamenco music. The man will play acoustic guitar and sing serenades under balconies, while tapping one foot on the ground to the beat of the music. He is usually accompanied by a beautiful black-haired young woman who carries a rose between her teeth, hides her face with a fan, or uses castagnettes or a tambourine to keep rhythm. The songs are usually catchy songs about sad topics while the singers wails “ay ay ay”. Or just music from Carmen.
      • Just like the French and Italians Spaniards are frequently typecast as a Latin Lover or a Spicy Latina.
      • Spaniards are often depicted as dark-haired people with a suntanned skin.
  • The Spanish language has also lead to some stereotypes. Whenever a Spaniard speaks it will so rapid that non-Spanish speakers will be unable to make sense out of it. Every Spaniard will shout ””Olé!”, “Arriba!”, “Caramba!”” or ””Ayayayayayay”” in unison whenever the occasion is ripe. When a question mark is used be sure to write it upside down, like is common in their language.
  • Spain is also often stereotyped as being a Catholic nation. Even though for most of the Middle Ages it was a Muslim country (See Moorish Spain).
  • Many stereotypes about Spain date back to the 16th and 17th century when the Spanish Empire was the most powerful country in the world. Except references to the Spanish Armada, The Spanish Inquisition, and their famous explorers and conquistadores to be made.
    • All Spaniards, of course, secretly (or not so secretly) long to bring back The Spanish Inquisition.
    • Or suffer from a Don Quixote complex…
  • Modern stereotypes about Spain depict the country as a sunny beach holiday destination, where people have fiëstas and siëstas all day and night long.
    • Spanish people are also frequently stereotyped as being lazy, an impression derived from their daily siëstas.
    • Spain also brings up images of hot desert lands with bad roads.
  • Another negative stereotype are the terrorist attacks by the Basque separatist movement E.T.A.
  • Whenever Spanish people are cooking or eating, it will be one of the following dishes: olives, oranges, tortillas, sangría, ham, tapas, or paella.
  • The old Latin-American stereotype for Spaniards, at least in comedy, tends to be “El Gallego” (the Galician guy), a middle-aged man of thick accent and little intelligence, always dressed with a white shirt, a vest, and a black beret, who peppers his conversation with “¡Jolines!”.
    • Another Latin American stereotype about Spaniards is that they are all very foul-mouthed, who can’t speak two phrases without inserting f-bombs and assorted swearwords front, back, and sideways. Even grannies and small children.
  • Also, they really, really don’t like South Americans (or Sudacas). Sarcastically pointed out in this song (by a Chilean group).
  • Spanish painting has also produced some iconic artists, like Diego Velazquez, Francisco De Goya, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Salvador Dali.
  • In the Netherlands Spain is traditionally seen as the home of Sinterklaas.

Switzerland

  • Team Switzerland: The Swiss have been a neutral country since 1850 and this resulted in the idea that the people themselves always refuse to take sides, even in emergency situations or if one of the two options is obviously wrong or evil. This image is also influenced by The Red Cross, an organization founded by a Swiss, Henri Dunant.
  • The Swiss are seen as very punctual and orderly, thanks to their stable government, ability to maintain neutral during foreign conflicts, and reputation for quality watchmaking, both with cuckoo clocks and wrist watches. The famous Swiss pocket knives are also an example of Swiss precision and punctuality.
  • Thanks to their famously secretive banking system, the Swiss are also caricatured as filthy rich bankers who guard money from dubious origins. Many millionaires or rich people live in Switzerland.
  • In Europe, the Swiss are thought to be dim-witted, slow people who really like to take their time. This is in great contrast with the precision of their famous watches and cuckoo clocks.
  • Neat Freak: Another image is the cleanliness of the average Swiss person, famously spoofed in Asterix in Switzerland”. A bit Truth in Television since many Swiss cities have relatively clean streets and crystal clear lakes you can swim in.
  • The Swiss eat nothing but Swiss cheese, fondue, and chocolate, and all their dogs are Saint Bernards.
    • Another stereotype: they only export said cheese and chocolate. In reality, their main export is machines that make molds.
  • Yodel Land: Since Switzerland’s borders are close to another snowy, mountain-filled country, Austria, both countries share the same Alpine clichés: mountaineering, skiing, chalets, yodeling, alpenhorns, Saint Bernards,… Its inhabitants will be depicted wearing lederhosen and caps with feathers. And, of course, foreigners will frequently confuse both countries with each other.
    • Switzerland is a multilingual community with four official languages (French, German, Italian, and Romansh — a descendant of Latin). As a result, the Swiss are often mistaken by foreigners for being either Frenchmen, Germans, or Italians. Some very ignorant people sometimes confuse The Swiss with Swedish people and vice versa, although their countries are not even geographically close together.
  • The only Swiss cities that exist in the public consciousness are Zürich and Geneva. The latter city is famous for being the birthplace of Calvinism and the center of the World Health Organization and World Council of Churches, among other institutions. The Geneva Conventions were also signed here, concerning the treatment of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war. Usually one of these two cities is thought to be the capital, instead of Bern.
  • William Telling: Expect a William Tell reference at some point.
  • The Swiss have excellent trademark mercenaries. The only guy they are willing to fight for without certain monetary expectations is the Pope.
    • The situation differs today. Basically, Swiss citizens cannot be mercenaries anymore but when the treaty was written, the country was still largely Catholic and the Papal Guard was — and still is — allowed.

United Kingdom

  • A particular confusing country for foreigners, because they are never quite sure which countries/regions belong to it and under which of the many names it should be addressed? Usually, England and the English are the point of reference and Scotland and Wales are seen as separate countries, which will be adressed as individual nations when necessary, despite the fact that none of them are officially independent from England. To set things straight: the United Kingdom as a whole is England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. When referring to Great Britain, it’s just England, Wales, and Scotland.
  • Britons have a reputation for being polite, proper, sophisticated, decent, clean, stately, reticent, dignified, and for having a talent for standing patiently in queues, as well as a genuine sense of fair-play. The negative end of this stereotype portrays them as being stiff, stuck up, snobbish, prudent, easily embarrassed, pompous, unemotional, bombastic, imperialistic, self-important, phlegmatic, and obsessed with class and social status. Partly true, in the sense that they may not be as instantly outgoing or comfortable with expressing emotion as some other nationalities.
    • Pink Floyd: “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.”
    • In League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. II, Alan Quartermain tells Nemo that “pretending everything is tickety-boo is the English national pastime.”
    • From Doctor Who: “Well, she’s British and moneyed. That’s what they do. They carry on.”
    • “The British spirit is an indomitable spirit!” — Dudley, Street Fighter.
    • The Grim Reaper in Monty Python’s: The Meaning of Life complains: “Be quiet! You Englishmen… You’re all so fucking pompous and none of you have got any balls.”
    • “I’m British; I know how to queue.” — Douglas Adams makes several references to no one being better at queuing than the British.
  • Keep Calm and Carry On…The British are known for their equanimity, and many works reference the British Stiff Upper Lip, a national character trait that ranges from a general “mustn’t grumble” attitude in mild examples, to an extreme level of ambivalent disregard for the inherent danger in volatile situations. The stiff upper lip is underpinned by understatement, a very British way of speaking, which resolutely refuses to succumb to drama, excitement, or high emotion. Examples generally either play this straight or employ the trope for comedic effect. Straight examples are to be found in films like Master and Commander, which cranks this Up to Eleven throughout, The Bridge on the River Kwai and perhaps most famously in Zulu, which depicts the victorious Last Stand battle of 139 British soldiers against 5000 Zulu warriors. Comedic examples are equally prevalent, most famously seen in Carry On Up The Khyber, where the British rulers in India discover that bloodthirsty Afghan hordes are approaching fast, intending to slaughter them all, but proceed to have a dinner-party under heavy fire (the dining room eventually loses a wall, all the windows, and most of the ceiling) — no one bats an eye-lid throughout.
    • British characters are usually cast as aviators, sailors, nannies, military commanders, colonials, gardeners, judges, headmasters, butlers, servants, or someone from the upper class.. They will always be dignified, dutiful, and snobbish and look back nostalgically at the “good old days, when discipline was a thing that built character.”
    • Thanks to The British Empire and their naval traditions, the British have a reputation for being excellent marineers and sailors. During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the British Empire had more colonies overseas than any other nation, covering a quarter of the global landmass. “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves”, one of the most well known patriotic British songs, sums it up best. By the way, whenever a scene cuts to an English location, the soundtrack must quote the refrain from this song for a few notes. Especially in comedy and animation, this is almost a golden rule.
  • The Stiff Upper Lip stereotype is turned on its head in Australia, where “Whinging Poms” describes a stereotype that British people, particularly the English, are hopelessly stuck-up complainers.
  • British Accents are used to provide the speaker with a witty, sophisticated outlook (see I Am Very British, Smart People Speak The Queen’s English and Deadpan Snarkers) This can be the charming, witty, intellectual male Brit (James Bond, John Steed, Sherlock Holmes) or the young and sexy English Rose type woman (Emma Peel and various Bond Girls). Characters in historical costume dramas often have British accents, even if the setting has nothing to do with England. Upper-class characters and movie villains are usually represented as The Mean Brit or Evil Brit. Too often they are depicted as eloquent snobs who are in the end humiliated by someone who is more egalitarian.
    • There are several UK actresses who carved out successful careers (mainly in The Eighties) portraying the sexy, RP-accented, haughty, Brit villainess type character, especially in American works. Examples include Joan Collins (as infamous mega-bitch Alexis Carrington of Dynasty fame), Stephanie Beacham (also Dynasty), Sarah Douglas, Kate O’Mara and Sian Philips.
    • Outside of the UK, the perceived “posh” accents of the Anglophonic nations (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA) tend to sound more “English” the more upper-class a character is — that is, their accent is close to English RP (e.g less rhotic, pronunciations are more precise, long “a” sounds – “plahnt”, not “plant” etc). Think Frasier and Niles from Frasier, who are often mistakenly thought to have “British” accents, Stewie Griffin (who is actually supposedly meant to have a Boston Brahmin accent) and Helen Daniels and Harold Bishop (especially) from Neighbours for an Oceania example. Essentially, the posher the character, the more “English” they sound.
    • A Touch of Class, Ethnicity and Religion: Compared to other European countries, the class system has remained far more prominent and dominant in the United Kingdom than elsewhere. Despite not mattering as much as it did before the 1960s, it can still inspire a lot of venom, depending from which class system you’re (pretending to be) from. Generally, the Upper-Class Twit has become a common Butt Monkey in many British comedies, with usually their servants being a lot smarter and sympathetic than they are (see The Jeeves). People from middle class trying to intermingle with upper class and making a fool of themselves in the process have also been a staple in British comedy for decades. However, there is still a good deal of fascination with the intricacies of the class system, as evidenced by the huge popularity of British period dramas, both at home and abroad — Downton Abbey, Parade’s End, and Upstairs Downstairs offer a guilty pleasure; a compelling glimpse into the regimented lives of both master and servant. In some instances though, a privileged background can be a hindrance; for instance, a British rock band is only “authentic” when they are working-class.
  • In videogames, English female characters are often amongst the most fanservicey and portrayed as steely, no-nonsense femme fatales sporting form-fitting outfits and cut-glass RP accents. Examples include Cammy White from Street Fighter, Isabella “Ivy” Valentine from the Soul Series, Christie from Dead or Alive, Leanne Neville from The King of Fighters and of course, arguably the number one all-time videogame Ms. Fanservice, Lara Croft. This depiction undoubtedly derives from the various sexy Brit Bond Girls, as well as pioneering 1960’s British Spy Drama series The Avengers, which singlehandedly started the Spy Catsuit and TV Action Girl tropes.
    • English male video game characters however come in one of two distinct flavours. There’s the classically sophisticated Quintessential British Gentleman type, as seen with both Dudley and Eagle of Street Fighter fame, who sport a bowtie and cravat respectively, braces and formal trousers — and of course, both prioritize good manners and taking time to enjoy a cup of tea. The other type is the UK’s exact cultural opposite and derived from the nation’s Punk counter-culture, as seen with various rock and roll, British Rock Star-inspired examples, including Axl from Guilty Gear, Birdie from Street Fighter and Billy Kane of The King of Fighters fame.
    • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The above characters provide a great example of the polarized way in which British males are often presented in culture generally —that is, they are designed and depicted as being from either the very top (upper class gentleman, the epitome of Western sophistication) OR very bottom (rough and ready, punkish Cockney rogues) of the British social-class scale — all else in between is far less often depicted.
  • Stock British Characters: The Quintessential British Gentleman has blonde, mousey or shiny black hair, a bushy moustache, is dressed in a bowler hat and black suit, carries an umbrella and interrupts everything for the sake of having his tea (see Spot of Tea). In American movies he usually speaks Cockney slang like “‘Ello, gov’na!” or other random Stock British Phrases like “Cheerio”, “Right-ee-o”, “Hello chaps”, “Innit, eh?”, “Cor blimey”, “I say!”, “I say “what”?”, “Hear Hear”, “Bloody…”, “Tally-ho!”, “Bob’s your uncle”, “It’s a fair cop”, “Shocking”, “Yes. Quite!”, “…and all that”, “What’s all this then?” or “Jolly good show!”. Foreign comedians also have a tendency to portray an Englishman by using the words “bastard”, “wanker”, “tosser” or “bollocks”, which are all considered to be rude words in Great Britain and are always avoided in public, especially on radio or television.
    • The British Rock Star provides an interesting cultural contrast to the gentleman archetype above, and the UK is equally famous for its Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk heritage, having arguably produced the most famous, recognizable and iconic bands on the planet; The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols (and more). This aspect of British culture is most famously (and lovingly) parodied in the film This Is Spinal Tap, a mockumentary about a hapless, fictional English Heavy Metal band struggling to remain credible in the early 80’s.
    • The English Rose is a uniquely English type of female beauty, and most often appears in period settings, though examples from modern works are also possible. Her beauty will be natural and classic; tumbling locks of auburn or light brown hair, porcelain-white skin and bee-stung lips are usual visual cues. Impeccable manners and good breeding are essential characteristics. She will be demure, and whilst generally being above offering any kind of gratuitous Fanservice, she will always be alluringly beautiful in an ethereal sort of way. English actresses like Julie Andrews, Vivien Leigh, Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz and Jessica Brown Findlay have the appropriate looks, and are often accorded this accolade.
  • The British are also well known for founding clubs, specifically gentlemen’s clubs. They will frequently come together and have dignified, sometimes elitarian meetings, followed by group activities in which they share their common interests (sports, hunting, playing cards, reading,…). Expect members to smoke a pipe and wear tweed jackets.
    • “Get three Englishmen together and they’ll start a club. Get three Welshmen together and they’ll start a choir. Get three Scotsmen together and they’ll start a fight.”
  • Boarding School: Independent, prestigious educational institutions and the associated uniforms worn therein are most commonly associated with Great Britain, and a huge amount of home-grown and international works are dedicated to this setting. The tone of these works generally comes in one of two flavours, although there is a good deal of overlap:
    • The first is the Boarding School of Horrors, often used in conjunction with the Off to Boarding School trope, an intimidating place filled with stuffy, repressed pupils and sadist teachers. This version is presented in Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, the song “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd, Never Let Me Go, the darkly anarchic If…, Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Danny, the Champion of the World and his autobiographical work “Boy: Tales of Childhood”, Greyfriars, St Trinians, Molesworth, Horrible Histories and in videogames with Rule of Rose, a particularly chilling example.
    • The alternative flavour presents British boarding school life as a far more enjoyable, even magical experience, with hi-jinks aplenty, midnight feasts, pillow fights, and life-long friendships formed. Examples of works from this setting include Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Jennings and of course, possibly the most famous example, Harry Potter.
    • If characters go to university, Oxford and Cambridge will be at one point referred to as “the best universities in the world”. College students will be wearing a student beret (a tradition that doesn’t exist in non-English speaking universities). Typical pastime activities are rugby, cricket, and the famous annual boat race between these two august institutions.
  • Stock British Characters, especially in American media (if they are at the higher end of the social-class spectrum), will of course have one of the quintessentially British stock names — “Nigel”, “Rupert”, or “Charles” are all popular choices, usually complemented with surnames such as “Belvedere”, “Kensington”, or “Buckingham”, which reference affluent UK locations. Upper-class British characters will also have (often for comedic effect) highly elaborate double, or even triple-barrelled surnames — “Sir Nigel Featherstonehaugh-Smythe” (incidently, to muddle les autrés, the first part of this surname is pronounced Fan-shaw). There’s definitely some Truth in Television to this stereotype, as certain names (like Nigel) are far more common in the UK than in the US, and there are Brits (mainly aristocrats) with extraordinarily rambling names — Jacobi Richard Penn Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe provides a rather lovely real life example.
  • When Britons are playing sport they will be playing cricket, rugby, or darts to make absolutely clear that they are British. Soccer and tennis are popular as well, but generally not British enough in foreign fiction, unless the tennis is at Wimbledon, of course.
  • Despite being generally portrayed as polite and sophisticated, Britons can sometimes be depicted as more degrading or less classy characters:
    • Oddly, despite their stuffy stereotype, in Europe the English are sometimes thought of as sexually sadomasochistic, as demonstrated by the French idiom meaning “to spank”: “Le Vice Anglais” — The English Vice. Benny Hill, Carry On and the saucy greeting cards of Donald McGill also contribute to this image.
    • Rude, violent, and drunken soccer hooligans can be found in other countries as well, but England is tarnished more with this reputation than others. Of course, they all shout in Cockney accents.
    • British News Papers: Despite the fact that many countries have tabloid magazines and sensational journalists, these trashy, sleazy, and unconscionable newspapers are generally associated with the “Red Tops” of Great Britain.
    • Mean Brit: The Britons also have a reputation for producing arrogantly opinionated know-it-alls who will cause commotion in countries where expressing your thoughts that bluntly is considered not done. Examples are Christopher Hitchens, John Lydon, Margaret Thatcher, Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Farage, Anne Robinson, Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay, … Some of them can be considered being a charming Magnificent Bastard too though, especially in countries (like the USA) where their blunt, honest attitude helps to cut through a saccharine quagmire of “good-for-you!” schmaltz.
    • In the U.S.A., the English and their bad teeth have been a staple of comedy for centuries. (for instance in The Simpsons episode “Last Exit to Springfield,” the Family Guy episode “One If by Clam, Two If by Sea” and the Austin Powers series. With real life examples like Johnny Rotten, Susan Boyle, Margaret Thatcher, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Thom Yorke… it’s not hard to understand where this image came from. “A staple of American humor about the UK is the population’s bad teeth.”
    • British Accents are nevertheless ubiquitously portrayed as very attractive in the US.
    OMG, I loooooove your accent!™ – very much Truth in Television.
  • In many countries, especially on the European continent, the British cuisine is seen as particularly awful, tasteless, and sometimes downright disgusting, something that has been spoofed in Asterixin Britain. The 1990s, mad cow disease harmed this reputation even more. Expect the following British dishes to make a cameo whenever foreign characters in fiction visit the United Kingdom: buttered scones, Worcester sauce, plum pudding, fish ‘n’ chips, spotted dick (for Double Entendre purposes), Yorkshire pudding, peas, shepherd’s pie, English breakfast,…
    • In fact, the only food that the English seem to excel in are sweets and candy.
      • Roald Dahl praises his country’s sweets in his autobiographical novel Boy}}.
      • Bart and Lisa become addicted to English sweets in the Simpsons travel episode “The Regina Monologues”.
    • Spot of Tea is also a quintessential element of British cuisine. In Britain, tea is seen as a universal panacea for all ills, and the British love nothing better than ‘putting their feet up’ and enjoying a ‘cuppa’. The quiet gentility of the English tea ceremony is seen as a reflection of the reserved national character. In popular culture, they will usually drop everything they were doing at four o’ clock in the afternoon because it’s “tea time”.
  • The English are often called “eccentric”. This is partly caused by their driving on the left side of the road and the use of imperial measurements, which no other country in Europe (still) has. They are also the only European country to have a unique version of Christianity as the official state religion: Anglicanism. The usual explanation for the “British eccentric behaviour” is that they have lived for centuries on an isolated island, separated from the rest of the European continent, which caused them to act different from other Europeans. They haven’t been invaded since 1066, which might also explain why so many historic traditions have remained intact and unchanged. For instance, judges and lawyers are still required to wear wigs in court, which stems from the 17th century. (See also British Courts).
    • With Europe But Not Of It: Their stubbornness to join or support initiatives of the European Union has also been associated with their eccentricity or desire to be “different from the others for the sake of being different.”
      • To the above point, the UK government is often criticised by the rest of Europe for siding with and supporting its former territory, the USA, over its European brethren. They have been political, economical and military partners ever since the two world wars and the UK is still America’s closest ally. It has often been said that, apart from their historical friendship, the USA trusts the UK more than other European governments, first and foremost because they share a common language. Apart from that other European countries have in the past dared to oppose America’s military plans. The UK government is usually more loyal and/or obedient, with Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair as famous examples. Naturally not all British citizens are supporters of the UK’s loyal relationship with the USA, but nevertheless the UK’s nickname America’s 51st State has stuck to this day.
    • English aristocrats in particular have a centuries old reputation for eccentricity. You can seriously fill a book with all the mad royals, lords, dukes, earls, and barons that seem(ed) to flourish in the English countryside and their colonies.
    • Which brings us to the world-famous British comedy: the British are not afraid of laughing at themselves, and a good deal of British comedy pokes fun at the class system and the typical eccentric Englishman. Many British sitcoms and sketch shows have strange, daft characters whose behaviour is very unusual. Other, more “normal” characters will react with calm, dry humor and/or witty remarks about their behaviour. René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo claimed that when they satirized other nationalities in Astérix, each country would always complain about the way they were portrayed in the comic strip, usually because they didn’t understand their depictions. According to them, the only people that never made any trouble about the way they were spoofed were the Britons.
      • Another stereotype among foreigners about the United Kingdom is that many assume that all British comedy is more high-brow than comedy from other countries. Usually, such people are referring to intellectual, satirical stuff like The Goon Show, Monty Python, Blackadder, and The Office (UK). They don’t realise that the country also makes more low-brow and/or conventional comedy series.
  • Culturally, Britain is world famous for producing literary classics in the fields of novels, poetry, and plays. London’s West End is viewed as a revered theatrical Mecca, and Hollywood actors will often appear on the London stage (with much fanfare) to increase their credibility. William Shakespeare is still a national institution and usually the foremost British author referenced in popular culture. Other notables are Charles Dickens and his huge volume of Victorian Britain works, Jane Austen and her pioneering depictions of female heroines during the Regency, the vast fantasy works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series to name the most iconic.
  • The British film industry also seems to consist of seven types of movies, practically their own genre: 1) costume dramas set in previous centuries, usually about the differences between the higher and lower classes 2) socially conscious tragicomedies set in Thatcherite Britain, often in a working-class environment 3) detective films 4) Shakespearean adaptations 5) films set in World War Two glorifying Winston Churchill and the British Army 6) films nostalgically looking back on the marvels of The British Empire 7) James Bond. Between the 1940s and 1970s the country was also known for Hammer Horror, Carry On, The Pink Panther and quirky comedies in the style of the Ealing Studios.
  • Medieval Britain, with its associated imagery of castles, princesses and chivalrous knights, is frequently used as a template to provide the Standard Fantasy Setting in a huge variety of works – from films, TV series, table-top games and videogames. Characters in these works will of course have the applicable accents, albeit with varying degrees of quality, based on the actors involved. The association is understandable, particularly as Britain is the pre-colonial cultural origin for many who live in the modern Anglosphere. In fact, there have been instances where fantasy universes that weren’t inexplicably Anglo-Saxon, were viewed with hostility — they just weren’t right.
    • All British castles and manors are either haunted or a location for murder mysteries.
    • If there’s one thing the British excel at above all other nations, it’s pomp and ceremony. This is most evident every year during the Last Night of the Proms concert in the Royal Albert Hall, where the most famous patriotic classical chant is even called “Pomp & Circumstance”! It’s also visible in many other traditional ceremonies, such as the Changing of the Guards and the Royal Weddings, which include all the pageantry and fanfare of a classic fairytale wedding. Even though other European royal houses also conduct similar ceremonies, these tend to be far more low-key and lack the international press interest.
  • In some fiction like The Simpsons’ episode “The Regina Monologues”, Great Britain is depicted as if it still has the death penalty, which is of course carried out in medieval style by beheading someone in the Tower of London. The irony of it all is that Great Britain has abolished the death penalty while the United States still has it!
  • Britain Is Only London: Only one British location exists in foreign fiction: London. Whenever the city is depicted in popular culture expect Big Ben and Tower Bridge to appear in view. The Westminster Chimes will resonate throughout the city. The Tower, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Madame Tussauds, the London Underground, Royal Albert Hall, Trafalgar Square, … may have a cameo, too.
    • When Buckingham Palace is depicted in popular culture, it’s usually to have a scene with British Royal Guards being tricked into laughing and/or dropping their granite-like facade. The British Royal Family is easily the world’s most famous monarchy, so expect the various members to turn up, usually for comedic or dramatic effect, in a variety of works — from TV to films, books, and even videogames. Since Queen Elizabeth is the best-known monarch in the world, she’s turned up quite a lot in fiction, usually as an Anonymous Ringer or Invisible President, in part due to her function as a constitutional monarch.
    • British streets are full of double decker buses, red telephone booths, bumbling bobbies, black London cabs, pubs, inns,…
    • The only non-London British location interesting enough in popular culture is Stonehenge.
  • The Union Flag (Union Jack) itself is something of a fashion icon, and due to it’s highly recognisable star-burst pattern, the flag is frequently used to brand the clothing, accessories, and home decor of British characters in popular culture.
  • British Weather and A Foggy Day in London Town: In popular culture it’s always raining in the United Kingdom. Or when in London, expect some smog, Ominous Fog or Mysterious Mist to show up.
    • It’s VERY much Truth in Television that Brits are obsessed with talking about the weather, probably stemming from — a) Having a highly erratic climate that goes from blazing sunshine to torrential downpours in the space of an afternoon, and b) A cultural need to fill in conversational silences and awkwardness with universally acceptable chit-chat.
  • If an animal is depicted as being British, it will be an English bulldog.
  • Stereotypes within England:
    • Londoners/South Easterners are stuck up, always in a rush, and see themselves as living in the only important part of the nation. Usually sub-divided into the wealthy, glamorous, champagne-swilling elite or rough and ready, possibly criminal cockney working-classes. Southerners view Northerners as backward and stupid — “Northern Monkeys” sums up the Southerner view of anyone living north of the M25.
    • The Home Counties (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, etc) — wealthy, expensive, and very upper-middle class. Filled with men called Nigel who work in The City and attractive yummy mummies taking children called Crispin and Henrietta to private schools in enormous, unnecessary 4x4s.
    • Essex — the UK equivalent of Joisey or The Valley. A county of perma-tanned, slutty dolly-birds and aggressive, vain, flashy geezer-blokes driving around in ghastly, souped-up Escort XR 3is.
    • West Country dwellers are completely backwards, rustic (in a charming way), and rural — everyone talks like a pirate. East Anglians, despite living on the opposite side of the country, receive the same treatment. The UK equivalent of Sweet Home Alabama, or The Deep South in unflattering examples.
    • The Midlands — the UK equivalent of Flyover Country. Often depicted as a grim industrial hell-hole in parts. The Birmingham accent is particularly vilified for sounding whiny and slightly stupid.
    • Yorkshiremen are doughty, thrifty, plain-speaking, and no-nonsense. The men work down mines, wear flat-caps, and race whippets, whilst the women are all Apron Matrons. Often seen as a nostalgic, “trust-worthy” folk. Yorkshiremen (and all other Northerners) view Southerners as “ponces” (or occasionally something slightly less savoury). The South is also seen as being where all the money, jobs and passable weather is in the country, while the North (according to Northeners) has all the down-to-earth honest toil where they just make do with whatever circumstances they land in, however bad they may be.
      • The huge success of long-running British soap Coronation Street compounds the effect, being set in a fictional Yorkshire town populated by a huge variety of Oop North clichés.
    • Liverpudlians are vilified as loud, abrasive, work-shy, and chavvy (not helped by the accent), with a passion for permed-hair and shell-suits. They are often presented as criminally inclined, but very family-orientated. The Beatles, the most successful rock band in history, put the city on the map internationally, and such, all Liverpudlians are expected to be huge, nostalgic fans.
    • Geordies are good-humoured, tough and likely to work in fishing or down the dockyards. They possess an unintelligible accent.
    • Manchester — the epicentre of Brit Pop in the mid 90s. Full of young males in their early 20’s getting “mad for it”. Seen as quite a “cool” city (2nd to London nationally), and viewed as the style, fashion, and cultural capital of The North.

Scotland

  • ScotIreland: Foreigners outside the UK frequently mix and confuse Irish and Scottish stereotypes with each other. Many Scottish celebrities are frequently thought to be either Irish or British. The only one nobody mistakes for being anything other than Scottish is Sean Connery.
  • Man in a Kilt: All Scottish men walk around in traditional Scottish clothing, which includes the tam o’ shanter (a hat), the sporran (a pouch worn on a loose belt), a Sgian Dubh (ceremonial knife), but especially the kilt. Expect jokes to be based on the idea that it is actually a skirt and/or that he doesn’t wear undergarments beneath it. Never mind the fact that nobody in Scotland wears this outfit, except perhaps during national or local festivities or sports competitions.
    • The English language has a phrase, “going Scottish”, which means walking around with nothing below your skirt or dress.
  • The Clan: All Scots are part of a clan and take pride in being a part of that family.
  • Brave Scot and Violent Glaswegian: A positive stereotype about Scots is that they are supposedly all brave and fierce “real” men, toughened by the harsh climate. They don’t mind cold, rain, wind, or fog and will fight their clan or country’s honor at all cost. The negative end of this stereotype depicts them as dour, grouchy, and mean sourpusses with a trigger temper. They will criticize any Scot who doesn’t share their tough ways of living for being No True Scotsman. Sometimes they are even depicted as being ugly, usually in combination with what can be seen beneath their kilts.
    • “Get three Englishmen together and they’ll start a club. Get three Welshmen together and they’ll start a choir. Get three Scotsmen together and they’ll start a fight.”
    • All Scots hate the English for more or less colonizing them and long for independence.
    • In combination with the Brave Scot archetype, the strong men will be participating in the Highland Games, where they throw long poles, stones, weights, and hammers as far away as possible. Another contest is tug o’ war (two teams pulling a rope).
    • The only other famous Scottish sport all foreigners know is golf, which isn’t part of the Highland Games at all.
    • As stated on a Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch: “Scots folk don’t know how to play tennis to save their lives.” (Since the men’s singles victories of Glasgow native Andy Murray in the Olympics and US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013, this stereotype has become less prominent.)
  • Thrifty Scot: One of the most enduring stereotypes is that all Scots are thrifty and stingy misers who can’t bear the thought of spending a simple penny. Foreigners have created a lot of jokes around this idea.
    BRIAN BLESSED, Have I Got News for You: You know, there really is a petrol crisis when motorists in Scotland start panic-buying, with some putting in as much as five pounds’ worth at a time.
    • The German word “Schottenpreise” (“Scotsmen price”) actually means a “cheap, low price”.
  • Everything’s Louder With Bagpipes: If you’re Scottish, you’re able to play the bagpipes, specifically the tunes “Amazing Grace”, “Auld Lang Syne”, or “Scotland the Brave”. In popular culture, non-Scottish people, particularly patriotic stuck-up Englishmen, will dismiss these musical sounds as being horrible noise.
  • All Scots have red or yellow brown hair. Men wear sideburns and/or a beard.
  • Every Scot has a last name starting with the word “Mac” or “Mc”. Typical first names are Gordon, Donald, Duncan, Hamish, or Angus.
  • Much like the English, Scottish cuisine is not held in high regard in other countries. In fact: even the English seem disgusted about some of the Scottish national dishes, most notably haggis.
    • Scots deep-fry everything.
      • From Doctor Who: “You’re Scottish, fry something!”.
      • Mock the Week, “Weird Things to See on a Road Sign”: “You are entering Scotland. No salad for 200 miles.”
  • Scottish liquor on the other hand is universally popular. Whisky (spelled as “whiskey” in Ireland, making the distinction) and especially “scotch” are their most universal export product.
  • Whenever you’re in Scotland, expect to see some thistles (their national flower), green grassy hills, huge lakes, a variety of sheep, castles, and walls made out of stone cobbles. Only two cities will be mentioned in popular culture: Glasgow and Edinburgh. The only other location worth mentioning is Loch Ness, so that the Monster Of Loch Ness can have a cameo.
  • The Scottish legal system has also gained some notoriety, with a third verdict apart from “Guilty or “Innocent”, named “Not Proven”.
  • The Scottish accent is also distinctive and has been imitated — poorly— by many foreigners. Typical Stock Phrases are “aye”, “laddie”, “bonnie”, “wee”, “shiite”, and “mate”, always spoken with a strong emphasis on the letter “r”. Certain syllables will be swallowed, such as “call” which becomes “ca'” and “never” which becomes “ne’er”.
  • Scots are frequently typecast as poets. This may stem from historical examples such as Robert Burns (a national icon), Walter Scott and William Topaz Mcgonagall (considered to be the worst-ever poet in the English language).
  • In Great Britain, Scotland is also frequently associated with The Scottish Play.
  • Scots are also dismissed as being nothing else but a bunch of drunk and violent savages living close to nature. In reality, Scotland has produced quite some notable scientists and inventors who had a positive effect on human history, including Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), Kirkpatrick Macmillan (inventor of the bicycle), James Clerk Maxwell (discoverer of electromagnetic radiation), Joseph Lister (introduced antiseptic surgery), Alexander Fleming (discoverer of penicilline), James Watt (inventor of the steam engine), and John Logie Baird (inventor of tv). Some of the world’s most famous British authors were Scottish: Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.M. Barrie,… Also, historically England has been ruled by monarchs or Prime Ministers born in Scotland a couple of times, including James I, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown.

Wales

  • Welsh people are often regarded as stoic, somewhat dull people. In fiction, they will even be stereotyped as being stupid and backward, mainly because they all live on farms and supposedly know nothing about modern technology. Foreign writers are prone to forget that in Real Life Wales is more than just a small village. (A small village just outside Rotherham, to be exact…)
    • In fact, Wales’ image as a primitive nation also stems from the fact that it is frequently used as a Standard Fantasy Setting in medieval sword and sorcery stories. Its craggy mountains and rugged terrain make it excellent for tales where King Arthur, knights, druids, castles,… are needed. The fact that Wales’ national symbol is a dragon doesn’t help matters much.
    • The Welsh language is also one of the most ancient in Europe and still spoken today, which may again explain why so many Englishmen have the feeling history stood still in Wales. Welsh is unlike other languages and has odd conventions (many double letters, strange diacritics,…) that are a frequent source of amusement for those unfamiliar with them. Yet again, not all Welshmen are that familiar with this ancient Celtic language.
    • All Welsh villages have long and unpronouncable names.
  • Welshmen are often typecast as being unusually talented at singing.
    • “Get three Englishmen together and they’ll start a club. Get three Welshmen together and they’ll start a choir. Get three Scotsmen together and they’ll start a fight.”
  • They are also depicted being obsessed with rugby and own so many sheep that some foreigners have very naughty ideas about what the Welsh do with these animals in their spare time.
  • A more modern image about Wales is that the country has a lot of coal mines.

Northern Ireland

  • The Northern Irish, aside from being terrorists, are chain-smokers and The Unintelligible. Nobody likes their accents (on men, at least).
    • The accent is particularly rhotic and quite harsh-sounding, at least compared to the lilting Southern Irish accents — a classic shibboleth is “an hour in the power-shower”, which comes out as “an arr in the par shar”, when said by a native Northern Irishman.
  • Before the sectarian conflicts broke the economy, Northern Ireland was known for being very industrialized compared to the rest of the island.
  • Since the second half of the 20th century, it’s mostly known for The Troubles between Catholics, Protestants, and their respective terrorist organisations I.R.A./I.N.L.A. and the U.D.A./U.F.F. Common images are British soldiers patrolling the streets, bomb attacks and people crowding together to either protest against or indulge in violence.
  • On a more positive note, a trip to Northern Ireland in fiction is not complete without a visit to the amazing Giant’s Causeway, or the Bushmills whiskey distillery.

Northern Europe

  • Northern Europe is considered to have more modern morals than the rest of the continent, but has less industrial production.
  • Horny Vikings: The oldest and most enduring stereotype about Northern Europe goes back to the Viking Age. All Danes, Norwegians, and Swedish are depicted as Vikings or at least wear a stereotypical horned helmet.
  • Their languages sound very funny in foreigners’ ears. They also have some letters different from the usual Western alphabet. Whenever mock Scandinavian is written the letter “o” will always be an “Ø” and the “a” an “Å”, despite not being that easily replaceable without changing the pronunciation or sound of a word.
  • A typical phenomenon is the weather. Most of the year the days will be short and the nights long. The “aurora borealis” (northern lights) will appear in the sky at night. The midnight sun will rise, too. Foreigners assume it’s always snowing in Northern Europe, though sunny weather is not uncommon, too.
  • Up in the northern regions of Norway and Sweden live the Lapp people (now considered a derogatory term and preferably named the Sami people). They will always be seen in the company of reindeers.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Another stereotype is the very attractive blond Scandinavian white man or woman, usually hailing from Sweden.
  • And, you guessed it: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland will always be confused with each other. Usually, all countries in Northern Europe are called “Scandinavia”, while technically only Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are part of it.

Denmark

  • Danes are either hot blondes, or boring. They aren’t called “The Canada of Europe” for nothing.
  • Also stereotyped as heavy drinkers and party animals who love to go to clubs.
  • And they might be Dutch, depending on who you ask.
  • Danes also have a reputation for being very open-minded about sex. In 1968, Denmark was the first country to legalize porn. During the late 1960s, many pornographic and/or sex education movies seen in international cinemas were made in Denmark.
    • Naturally, all Danish films are porn or Dogme95films. Or both.
  • According to other Scandinavians, Danes don’t speak; they merely mumble.
  • According to Scandinavia and the World (written by a Dane), Danish people are also known for being accidentally racist.
  • Most foreigners know of only three things about Denmark: It’s the land of Vikings, LEGO, and Hans Christian Andersen.
    • In the English speaking world, Denmark’s association with Hamlet is very strong, since the play takes place there.
    • Following the highly successful importation of serials Borgen and Forbrydelsen to the UK/US, the Danish are becoming known for their incredibly bleak, gritty (but dangerously gripping) drama serials, populated by icy female leads and dour (but hot) male side-kicks.
  • Denmark also has a reputation for making small snacks, like the “Danish” butter cookies and smørrebrød.
    • In Great Britain, they are known for exporting bacon and cheese.
  • And, of course, every Dane has a Danish dog for a pet.

Finland

  • The Finnish are portrayed as drunken and aggressive (like the Scottish stereotype), and portray Swedes as gays (like the British stereotype).
  • All Finns go to the sauna.
  • They all have knives. Or so the Scandinavians say.
    • Also, shy, self-possessed, never foolish, prone to depression and suicide.
  • In Russia, they are seen as slow-witted and slow-talking, emotionless, and unable to hold their alcohol. Very frequently lumped together with their kindred Estonians.
    • The drunk Finn on a bicycle is a common stereotype in Sweden.
  • Were capable of giving the Russians an extremely nasty surprise in WW2 — in the Winter War of 1939-40 and what is known as the Continuation War of 1941-44. Practically the only nation defeated by Stalin in WW2 not to be turned into a communist puppet state — the Russians knew trying to hold this crazy country down would be more trouble than it was worth. Finland was allowed genuine independence provided it remained strictly neutral. In fact, it even became a word: “finlandisation”.
  • Finns are often depicted as culturally identical to the other Nordic countries, although the Finnish language is unrelated to theirs and Finland technically isn’t even part of Scandinavia.
  • Like the British, Finland has a reputation for terrible food. Reindeer meat is seen as something of a joke in other countries that don’t eat it.
    • Then there is salmiakki, sometimes called “salty liquorice”. A popular candy in Finland, a terror to anyone not from Northern Europe. It’s an acquired taste.
  • On a lighter note, Finland is also home to The Moomins.
  • Some Finns can also be die-hard metalheads since Finland is home to many famous heavy-metal bands. Metal also tends to rank high on pop charts even today.
    • Finns are also notable racecar drivers.
    • And known for producing mobile phones. (Nokia is Finnish). Many IT innovations — social media, MySQL, mobile technology — originate in Finland.

Iceland

  • Icelanders are often stereotyped by the other Nordic nations as being Closer to Earth, well-meaning but naïve, and generally more exotic. Also seen as a nation of Cloud Cuckoo Lander s, which probably has something to do with Björk.
  • Apparently, they are also very pretty, and they like extreme sports.
  • Reykjavik is seen as a party city by some, although it’s extremely small by the standards of other European capitals.
  • Icelanders all like fishing, eat shark routinely, and like to visit hot springs and volcanoes. They are friendly and all know each other because the island has such a small population. They may actually still be Vikings, although the Viking age ended at least eight centuries ago.
  • Their foul tasting and even dangerous traditional cuisine.
  • Some mention will invariably be made about Iceland being “beyond the tree-line”, in reference to its polar location.

Norway

  • Just like the other Scandinavian countries Norwegians will be stereotyped as modern-day Horny Vikings.
  • Another stereotype is that all Norwegians are leather and spikes-wearing black metal fans. They will be seen as pagans with a disturbing interest in Viking mythology and a penchant for church-burning.
    • Foreigners assume the country to be extremely liberal, multicultural, soft on crime and drugs, and obsessed with tolerance and fairness. These same stereotypes may apply to other Scandinavian countries as well. Ironically, the atheist and church-going population are both equally large in Norway.
  • No image of Norway is complete without a scene taking place nearby some fjords. Edvard Grieg’s music for Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt is very popular as a soundtrack to these scenes.
  • Norway is known for its fishing industry and particularly its violent maelstroms. It is very likely that a ship will pass through one off the Norwegian coast and the crew will end up in a hut in a small fishing village, tended to by friendly locals. Today, this stereotype is extremely outdated since most of Norway’s income comes from oil and natural gas, but at one time it was popular.
  • Because of their huge fishing and petroleum industry, Norway is supposed to be a very rich country, but everything is super-expensive. Especially alcohol.
  • Traditionally, Norway has been the Scandinavian country with the strictest morality codes, because of a strong layman-movement. Expect this to be shown in some productions, or at least spoofed.
  • Norwegians all enjoy skiing and langlaufing, of course.
  • A general stereotype associated with Norwegians is that they are very moody, inward-looking, and quiet. This may have something to do with the weather. It may come as no surprise that painter Edvard Munch, famous for “The Scream”, was born there.
    • Norwegians also prefer to stay neutral and prefer to mind their own business. Since the 19th century, they were only invaded once, during the Second World War, despite not wanting anything to do with the war. Together with Switzerland, they are the only Western European country who are not part of the European Union and together with Japan are one of the very few in the world that still practice whaling.
    • In the rest of Scandinavia, the typical Norwegian is seen as a barbaric Noble Savage who prefers to live alone in the forests and who will defend his house, family, and farm from all authority.
  • The country is also known for petroleum and organizing the annual Nobel Peace Prizes in Oslo, which are handed out by the Swedish monarch. (Because Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel wanted to give his neighbouring country the honor of organizing the event.)
  • And the woods are full of trolls, according to folklore.

Sweden

  • Of all Scandinavian or countries in Northern Europe, Sweden is the most prominent stereotyping target.
    • Swedes may be mistaken for Swiss people and vice versa, although their countries are not even geographically close together.
  • The Swedish singsong way speaking is often spoofed making use of phonetic accents, like for instance the Swedish Chef on The Muppets.
    • Similar to Canada, Eh? the verbal tic “Ja” (“Yes”) is used to drive the point home that a character in popular culture is Swedish.
    • The accent aside, almost all Swedes speak fluent English.
  • Swedish men are often depicted as blonde, dumb, well-built boytoys. Usually they are ski instructors or handymen. They will always be named Sven or Lars.
    • Except in other Scandinavian countries, where the Swedish man will be Ambiguously Gay, fond of fashion in general and tight trousers in particular. He is also tech-savvy to the point of nerdiness.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Swedish women are usually portrayed as tall, slender, blonde and blue-eyed sex bombs, inspired by real-life blonde Swedes like Victoria Silvstedt, Ulrika Jonsson, Britt Ekland and Agnetha Fältskog from ABBA.
    • Ice Queen: Another Swedish female stereotype is the icy, cool woman, inspired by Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman.
    • All women are also Straw Feminist. This is Truth in Television to some degree, as Sweden is one of the world’s most progressive and experimental country in terms of gender politics and approaches to how people coexist.
    • Swedish women have a reputation for not wearing bras and for sunbathing in the nude, or at least topless (this was Truth in Television in the 1980’s but isn’t anymore).
  • Sweden also seems to be known for having little to no sexual or nudity taboos, as seen on The Simpsons. Swedes in general tend to be more comfortable and open about sex and nudity than Americans, but some of the stereotype stems from the fact that the Swedish words for “sex” and “six” are homonyms. In short, if Europeans Are Kinky, then the Swedes are the Norse gods of kink.
    • In Russia, there is a stereotype of a Swedish family — that is, a threesome (at least) of adult lovers of both sexes who live together and engage in steamy sex all day long.
    • This used to be Truth in Television to some degree: the sexual revolution of the sixties was adopted early in Sweden, leading to quite liberal censorship and morality laws for the time. However, other parts of the world soon caught up.
    • Today, due to the emphasis on women’s rights and an opposition against gender discrimination, many instances of using nudity in advertising that are considered OK in other countries are frowned upon, or even outlawed, in Sweden.
  • Swedish cultural fixtures figure into stereotypes such as IKEA, the cradle-to-grave socialist welfare state (and its attendant taxation), Volvo, etc. They are also commonly portrayed in propaganda works as a utopian society as a result of whatever the propaganda authors are advocating, as an example of the virtues of socialism (deconstructed here), atheism (played straight here), etc. Leo Tolstoy did this with alcohol suppression way back in 1894 in The Young Tzar, making this one Older Than Radio.
    • Whenever arthouse cinema is parodied the movies will always be in black or white, surrealistic, too intellectual, and made in either France or Sweden. If a Swedish arthouse movie is targeted, it will always be referencing Ingmar Bergman.
    • There’s only two genres of music: The grimiest of metal and annoyingly upbeat bubblegum pop. The metal stereotype is applied to pretty much all Nordic countries (except Iceland), while the reputation of Sweden having overly cutesy pop music probably came from ABBA, Roxette, and Ace Of Base.
    • Due to the huge popularity of books by Astrid Lindgren in the USSR, many Russians associate Sweden with quirky characters such as Karlsson on the Roof and Pippi Longstocking. The country has an excellent reputation for great children’s novels and equally fantastic youth films.
      • In recent years, Swedish literature and TV have gained a reputation for dark thrillers like Wallander, Van Veeteren, and the The Millennium Trilogy”, where uncomfortably raw and brutal rape and torture scenes are frequent.
  • This European postcard sarcastically depicts the Swedes as being inflexible.
  • Apart from humans, Sweden is home to thousands of moose.
  • Sweden also shares the dubious distinction of inspiring expressions in other languages:
    • The Spanish word “Hacerse el sueco” (Literally “Playing Swede”, meaning “intentionally playing dumb”).
    • The German word “Schwedentrunk” (literally “Swedish drink”) is a torture method where the victim is forced to drink foul manure water.
      • Then again, the German term “Schwedenstahl” (“Swedish steel”) is occasionally used to designate high-quality Swedish metals.
    • Stockholm Syndrome is a syndrome where kidnapping victims start to feel sympathy towards their kidnappers.
    • Since the film Be Kind Rewind, acting out scenes from actual big budget films on a low budget level is nicknamed “sweding”, because the characters act to the customers as if their amateur versions are in fact Swedish versions.
      Eastern Europe
      What a stereotypical place, especially the Eastern half!

      Baltic Countries Despite the many linguistic and cultural differences between Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, the three tend to be lumped together in Soviet/Russian pop culture. Some of the common stereotypes of Balts include:

      • They are cold-blooded, emotionless, reserved, and brooding. The only thing that flares them up is national issues (see below).
      • Their women are uniformly tall, blonde, and either quite pudgy (if not outright Brawn Hilda material) or lithe and skinny. The men are Aryan athletic hunks not unlike Swedes (see above).
      • In the USSR, the three republics were viewed as “our very own Europe”, with marvellous Gothic and Baroque architecture, easily available imported goods, a lot of hip and cool design and pop culture of their own, and much more laid-back, tolerant, and liberal than the rest of the country.
      • In Soviet movies, Baltic actors tended to be typecast as villains, Westerners, aristocrats, or any combination thereof. Their lines were almost always overdubbed due to their heavy accent. Cities like Riga and Tallinn were (over)used as stand-ins for Western European capitals.
      • In much of Russian media of the last 20 years, Baltic countries are portrayed as being run by ultra-nationalists who seek to weed out the vestiges of Russian presence (banning Soviet symbols, harassing the Russian-speaking population, etc.) and glorify surviving Waffen-SS members as “fighters against Bolshevism” while persecuting Communist resistance and Red Army vets.

      Latvia

      • Latvians are mostly depicted as potato- and fish eating numbheads with poor grammar. Also seen as the resort of Russia.
      • Estonians have a lot of jokes about Latvians supposedly having six toes on each feet.

      Estonia

      • Most Estonian stereotypes in Russia are almost completely interchangeable with Finns (see the Western Europe section).
      • Latvians and Lithuanians depict Estonians as being slow.
      • Though they did create one thing of international fame: the Skype software. It’s true that a Dane and a Swede contributed along, but the other developers were all Estonians.
      • And you might also known them for composer Arvo Pärt, whose composition “Spiegel im Spiegel” has been used in many films, most recently Gravity.

      Lithuania

      • Very few stereotypes of note exist about Lithuania specifically. Most have trouble telling it apart from Latvia, and the two countries tend to be confused a lot.
      • In the 19th century Lithuanians were apparently seen by Russia as troublemakers and the most dangerous out of the Baltics due to the old association with Poland.
      • They’re talented at basketball.
      • They hate the Polish, though they hate the Russians much, much more.

      Central Europe

      • Very insistent that they are not Eastern European, preferring instead to link themselves to German Catholic culture (all countries in this region are majority-Catholic). Still they’ll often be categorized as the Balkan or the former Eastern Bloc. To most foreigners they are interchangeable with Russians, the most well known Eastern European country.
      • The most general image of Central Europe is that of a romanticized Ruritania with an Überwald, based on many ancient legends and several gothic horror novels and films, most notably Dracula. This evokes images of large forests, dark castles and people still living very close to nature. All Eastern Europeans are poor, miserable peasants who live in fear of foreigners, vampires, bears, (were)wolves and their own government.
      • All Central Europeans will be depicted wearing traditional peasant clothing. The one thing that sets them apart from Russia is their jumpy, catchy, dizzy making folk dance music, which always sounds as if it’s twirling around.
      • All Eastern European countries and regions will have names ending in “-sylvania”, “-davia”, “-akia” or “-gary” .
      • Despite the Cold War being over since 1991 many stereotypes about Eastern Europe are still based on imagery from this time period, especially the idea that everyone there is a spy or a member of the local military.
      • Eastern European Animation is also famous, though sometimes ridiculed as being nothing more than surrealistic, colorful, cut-and-paste forest animal stories full of heavily distorted imagery with scratchy lines and scribbles like “Worker and Parasite” on The Simpsons. Also expect some hidden anti-Soviet messages in them.
      • Central Europe also has an association with Roma culture. Cue to all the stereotypes associated with these people. They are proud, but poor nomads who live in mobile homes and just travel from one region to another before being chased away by local authorities. They spent their time with stealing money, babies and other belongings, or rip you off with con-games, Tarot card reading and fortune telling. Yet they will also enjoy playing guitar and violin by moonlight around the camp fire while everybody dances. They all wear ear rings.
      • Since the end of the Cold War Central Europe has a bad reputation for being a criminal walhalla. The Russian mafia is strong and human trafficking of young beautiful women to be forced to work as prostitutes in Western Europe is a huge problem.

      Czech Republic

      • To this day you’ll find people still referring to it as “Czechoslovakia”, despite being split in two countries since 1993. Czechs are seen as essentially identical to Germans and not Slavs, and rarely distinguished from Slovaks either.
      • Czechs have a strong cultural heritage, exemplified by their numerous castles, marionette theatres, puppet films and literary classics like The Golem, The Good Soldier Svejk and the novels of Franz Kafka.
        • Kafka in particular is the most famous Czech of all time. Expect people visiting the Czech Republic to get lost in kafkaesque bureaucracy or other odd situations.
        • The Czechs also produced author Karel Čapek, whose play “R.U.R.” gave us the word Robot.
        • Musically the country also produced very popular folk music, which has often been used as the basis for the work of many famous Czech composers like Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, Gustav Mahler and Leoš Janáček. The polka, despite being associated with Poland, is actually a Czech word.
      • The capital, Prague, is usually thought of as being fairly glamourous for the region of Europe in which it is located. Prague is also often featured as the template East European city in a wide variety of media, and the Barrandov Studios are a popular filming location for Hollywood movies such as xXx, Blade II, Mission: Impossible and The Bourne Identity, where the city is either used in name, or where an ambiguously generic “Euro” location is required. If a film/videogame/book carelessly suggests a location as being somewhere in Eastern Europe, you can bet Prague is the template city.
      • The most famous Czech region is Bohemia, which gave us the setting to the French opera La Bohème and “The Bohemian Girl”, the word “bohemian” and Queen ‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Interestingly enough all these associations were not thought up by the Czechs themselves.
        • The meaning of word “Bohemian”, as in “unconventional lifestyle”, is of French origin. Apparently, one of their term for Gipsies was “bohémiens”, because they came to France via Bohemia. This lifestyle is not quite standard for the Czech people, considered by many Slavic neighbours as cold “half-Germans”.
        • One famous Bohemian thing that the Czechs did create is Bohemian crystal and art glass.
      • The most enduring Czech stereotype is that they are crazy beer drinkers. The “Pilsner” and “Budweiser” beers being their international greeting card.
        • As the country holds the title of highest beer consumption per capita in the world, it is more Truth in Television than stereotype.
      • Their northern neighbours perceive them as a nation of good-natured simpletons, perhaps due to the influence of the novel The Good Soldier Svejk and their language (which sounds to Poles as if it’s made from lisp and diminutives).
      • Czech girls and women are generally portrayed as beautiful (inspired probably by Czech supermodels like Karolina Kurkova or Eva Herzigova), often combined with kinky and loose attitude towards sex life.
      • Czech taxi drivers are often thought to be tricksters of foreign tourists. Sadly, this has been proved to be Truth in Television several times, but if such cases are reported, measures against it are taken.
      • Historically the 15th century priest Jan Hus (burned at the stake for heresy) laid the foundations for making the Czech Republic the quite irreligious country that it is today. It has one of the world’s highest proportions of atheists (a sharp contrast from their northern neighbor Poland, which is one of the most religious European countries).
      • During the Cold War they were best known for producing the Škoda car, the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution.
      • They are also quite skillful tennis players, with Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova as the most iconic examples.

      Hungary

      • Hungary is known as the birthplace of goulash (which is completely different from the American version), and for its communist era, which may not be over yet. Its language has a reputation as being very bizarre and difficult (which is probably Truth in Television, as it’s one of the few languages in Europe that isn’t Indo-European).
      • Stereotypically the country is poor and economically still stuck in the 1980s, with old compact cars and bombed-out bridges contrasting with beautiful old cities.
      • Hungarians are likely to be eccentric Funny Foreigner types and may be typecast as academics; this is probably due to well-known mathematicians such as Paul Erdös and Imre Lakatos. The country is famous for inventions such as the Rubik’s Cube.
      • The breeding place of Neonazis and right-wing loons. The Fourth Reich. Their discrimination of Roma and the fact that the current right-wing administration submitted a law that allows the government to play watchdog with all inner-country media certainly doesn’t help.
      • Among at least some Europeans, Hungary is also (in)famous for its porn industry, which exploded after The Great Politics Mess-Up.
      • Occasionally also shares the Transylvanian stereotypes (Vampires, torches and pitchforks etc.) mentioned in detail under Romania, thanks mostly to messy local history and Bela Lugosi.

      Poland

      • In America, there are a lot of jokes about the pigheaded stubbornness and stupidity of the Polish people. (Many Americans are of German descent, and once upon a time a lot of propaganda was spread in Germany about Polish stupidity. The German diaspora brought it with them and it took hold, especially because Polish immigrants and their descendants tended to be working-class. Few Americans, however, are aware of the origins of the stereotype.) Curiously, in Eastern Europe the Polish stereotype is the exact opposite – thought of as being soulful, a little mysterious, highly educated and proud as hell. The Polish accent to a native Russian speaker sounds kind of like what a stiff, clipped British accent sounds like to a native speaker of American English, too.
        • Because of its unusual religious tolerance at certain points in history, Jews flocked to Poland and so Jews have made up a large portion of the Polish population for a long time. Poland had the largest Jewish population in the world until, well, those Nazis again. There was a massive post-war emigration and a lot of the Polish Jews ended up in America (and Israel—during the first 20-30 years of its existence, Knesset debate would sometimes be held in Polish as angry MKs of Polish origin lapsed into their native tongue). Perhaps because of that, in America most of the Polish people floating around in the cultural consciousness is of Jewish descent and identifies mostly with Jewish culture (Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jerzy Kosinski, etc.) so there tends to be some conflation between Jewish and Polish stereotypes in the American media.
      • In foreign media Poles generally have names ending in Slavic inflections like -ski or -icz. In reality, not all Polish names have endings like these—only most of them.
      • Poles are often stereotyped in a clichés similar to Russians, particularly for being huge drinkers. They are known for being devout Catholics and may be insistent everyone else be, too.
      • In the UK, Polish immigrants are always associated with cheap manual labour and waitressing — and little else besides. Similar to the Mexican immigrant US stereotype. On a positive note though, Poles are seen to be hardworking, friendly, and keen to assimilate. Since the proliferation of Polish store, Polish cuisine, particularly beer and sausages, have earned popularity. Brits are able to purchase things which are commonplace in the US and Europe but otherwise hard to find in the UK (Lays chips, Cheetos, Nestea, and various Polish beers, to name a few things).
      • Poles eat kielbasa and sauerkraut constantly and are obsessed with bigos. No other dishes exist in Polish cuisine according to popular culture.
      • Poland has an undeserved reputation for losing wars which is probably due to its being the first country invaded in World War II (exemplified by the erroneous story of Polish cavalry charging German tanks). In reality, Poland has defeated Russia, Germany and other major powers several times in its military history. This likely relates to the stereotype of Poles as stupid and incompetent.
      • Poles also have a reputation for thievery. Two common jokes:
        • “Come to Poland; your car is already here.”
        • Q: Why did the Russian steal two cars in Germany? A: He had to pass through Poland first.
      • And of course, as matter of a joke, Poland will be confused with the North Pole and/or the South Pole.

      Slovakia

      • When it exists in popular culture, it’s essentially “the Czech Republic but poorer”. A passing reference may be made to mountains. Extra points for noting the capital is Bratislava and not something else.
        • Slovaks have been stereotyped being bad-tempered, easily offended and having a dark and sadistic sense of humor.
        • Notoriously typecast as a crime-ridden Den of Iniquity in the Eli Roth torture-porn flick Hostel. Many Slovaks were not exactly thrilled about this, to say the least.

      The Balkans

      • Generally stereotyped as being extremely patriotic, even when it doesn’t matter, hating all their neighbors, but especially hating the Turks.
        • However, the Greeks will make sure to tell you that they have nothing against the Turks.
      • It’s not a region- it’s an ethnic-religious cluster fuck.

      Greece

      • To most people Ancient Greece is perhaps the country’s most famous stereotypical image. Apart from the beaches and the uncountable islands Greek musea and ancient buildings are the number one tourist attraction. The Greeks themselves are very proud for being part of the world’s heritage. Ancient Greece was the first great European civilization, which blossomed over several centuries. Their society was a pioneer in painting, sculpture, architecture, pottery making, literature, theatre, language, politics, law, warfare, the justice system, philosophy, medicine, math, geometry, biology, sports, astronomy,… to such a high degree that they remained the standard even long after their civilization crumbled. Ancient Rome copied a lot from them and ever since The Renaissance the ancient Grecian-Roman society has been held in high regard.
        • Greece is also famous for philosophy. They have produced several famous and influential philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Diogenes of Sinope, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Anaximander, Thales, Epicurus, Parmenides, Epimenides, Democritus, Xenophon, Zeno of Alea, Gorgias, Pyrrho, …
        • Ancient Greek, along with Latin, is still highly regarded in many schools and universities. The Greek alphabet was influential on our modern alphabet and several words, idioms and expressions have been derived from Greek language.
        • Several Greek locations also thank their fame due to their association with Ancient Greek society: Athens, Sparta, Delphi, Lesbos, Crete, Mount Olympus, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Corinthe, Epidaurus, …
        • The downside about this is that ancient Greece is still their only huge and well known achievement to mankind’s history. It seems that ever since the ancient Greek civilization came to an end the country never did anything noteworthy that other countries could praise or remember. Except for the Byzantine Empire, of course. Compare them to Italy, who did survive the ancient Roman time period and kept making their mark on history, culture and science in the centuries that followed.
        • For instance, Greece is nowadays still internationally famous for the Olympic Games, which is again a hangover from their ancient civilization. It brings up images of athletes running the marathon, throwing discuses, carrying the Olympic torch, lighting the Olympic flame, chariot racing, wrestling,… Since the late 19th century the Olympic Games have returned as the world’s most famous and watched sports event, but it took a Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin, to revive the games and up to now these modern Olympic Games have only been held in Athens twice: in 1896 and 2004.
      • The most enduring modern Greek stereotype are the Greek soldiers (“evzones”), immediately recognizable for their traditional military uniforms, recognizable due to the “fustanella”, a kilt-like garment.
      • In the 1960s Greece managed to become internationally famous again, thanks to actress Melina Mercouri, Zorba The Greek, Jacqueline Kennedy’s marriage to Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis and unfortunately, the Greek colonel dictatorship that ruled the country from 1967 until 1973. The latter also inspired the famous political protest movie Z.
        • The 1964 film Zorba The Greek has fed the image that all Greeks love to dance the “Sirtaki”. The famous musical piece “Zorba’s Dance” is still used to provide a soundtrack to Greek images and has lead to the wrong impression that both the composition and the Sirtaki dance are part of traditional Greek folklore. They are not: they were composed by Mikis Theodorakis.
        • A Greek musician will always be playing the bouzouki.
      • Perhaps the most modern of all Greek stereotypes (most popular in the rest of the EU) is Greece as the monetary black hole, unable to cope with the 2008 stock market crash until this very day.
      • All Greeks are either Greek Orthodox or still worship gods from Greek Mythology.
      • My Big Fat Greek Wedding is full of Greek stereotypes (everyone is Orthodox Christian, named Nick, and very proud of their Greek heritage).
      • All Greeks are each others’ nephews, a stereotype also found in Asterix at the Olympic Games.
      • Greek men all have a Overly Long Name. They are very hairy over their entire body, sometimes exemplified by a moustache, but this not mandatory. They also wear large ostentatious gold jewelry and watches.
      • Greek parents are very caring and overprotective about their children, well until their kids are beyond their adult years.
      • Greek women are usually homely mothers who mostly cook. The rest of the time they will be gossiping.
      • Just like Italian stereotypes Greeks have a reputation for being unable to keep their voice down. They love to shout and argue passionately, even in public places. A fist- or knife fight might break out afterwards.
      • This European post card sarcastically depicts the Greeks as being disorganized.
      • Greece is famous for its shipping industrynote , which shouldn’t be surprising, considering the fact that they are surrounded by water and have hundreds of small, often inhabitated islands. Whenever a rich Greek businessman is depicted in popular culture he will always be a shipping magnate and be based on Aristotle Onassis, for instance: Percicles Parnassus in Rocky and Bullwinkle and Aristotle Amadopolis in The Simpsons.
        • If a Greek doesn’t own a shipping empire he will be cast as a restaurant owner. He will mostly serve traditional Greek dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, feta cheese, ouzo and lots, lots, lots of olives. Olive oil will be added to every meal.
      • Greeks and Turks have a rivalry that goes back many centuries when both countries went to war against each other. To this day Greeks don’t like to be compared to Turks (and vice versa), despite the fact that they obviously have a lot in common due to sharing a similar historical tradition.
        • For instance, both Greeks and Turks have a reputation for being smokers.
      • Greece also has a centuries old reputation for homosexuality. The word “lesbian” is derived from the Greek isle Lesbos. In Ancient Greece homosexual relationships were fairly common and the male body was idealized more than the female one.
      • Greece also has a reputation for providing great warriors such as Alexander the Great and Leonidas of Sparta.

      The former Yugoslavia

      • To most other countries it is mostly known for producing Gavrilo Princip, the man who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and gave other countries an excuse to start World War I. During the Cold War it was mostly known for Josip Broz Tito and in the 1990s it became synonymous with civil war and genocidal war criminals on the loose.
      • Slovenes are stuck up, melancholic bureaucrats with no sense of humor and an impeccable sense of frugality.
      • Croatians have a reputation for being fanatically patriotic. They are also known for being talkative, to the point of being quarrelsome. Historically the country is known for giving us the first fountain pens and the invention of the cravat (though the original version looked different from the modern one).
      • Bosnians manage to be both very cynical and utter simpletons who consider stubbornness the greatest virtue.
      • Serbs are stereotyped as murderous maniacs pissed off by things that happened centuries ago. They would rather fight among their own people than unite against a common enemy. And since A Serbian Film they are not likely to gain a reputation for good taste any time soon…
      • Montenegrins are allergic to work and you’ll never see one stand up or, God forbid, walk somewhere.
      • Macedonians either don’t exist or are a mish-mash of Bulgaria and Albania. If one Macedonian is mentioned it will be Alexander the Great, even though Alexander The Great and other Ancient Macedonians were actually Greeks and have no relation to modern day Slavs occupying the country.
      • And of course all these people are repeatedly confused with each other, much to their own chagrin.

      Albania

      • Tribalistic in temperament, settle all their issues with violence, love tracksuits and are either owners of an eatery or work for the mob – Muslim Italians with a weird language nobody understands, apparently.
        • May still be Dirty Communists (this is at least partially based on fact since Albania remained communist longer than almost any other country in Europe, but is not true today).
      • Owners of possibly the most Obviously Evil-looking flag in Europe, perhaps the world. Seriously, it looks like it was created by M.Bison.
      • Much like Bulgarians often stereotyped as criminals, human traffickers, gangsters, spies and/or evil militarians.

      Romania

      • Transylvania is the only place that exists. Its inhabitants are pitchfork wielding peasants who fear God and supernatural beings, especially vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein’s monster.
        • So engrained is Transylvania as a fantastical locale in modern culture, that many people probably don’t even realize that it’s even a real place, let alone a region within Romania.
        • As said, Romania is most famous in popular culture for its Uberwald-vibe and oh so many books, games and movies involve Dracula and other associated creatures of the night, with examples including Van Helsing, Castlevania, and so on.
        • If anything, a large percent of Romanians are just as superstitious, only that anything to do with Dracula is a Berserk Button for them.
      • They are frequently lumped together with Slavic countries despite Romanian being a language closer to Latin than Slavic languages. The fact that most Romanians are Eastern Orthodox (as opposed to Catholic like other Romance peoples) doesn’t help either.
      • Romanians, seemingly moreso than other nations, get very bad press throughout the rest of Europe for their pick-pocketing gangs and squatters, who bus into neighboring countries and plague top tourist destinations like London, Paris and Madrid.
      • Another popular stereotype is the freakishly flexible Romanian female gymnast, and (unfortunately) certainly amongst Western Europeans, the association of hellish orphanages with children literally chained to grimy, iron beds.
      • They have a reputation for being either Communists or prostitutes. Sometimes both.

      Bulgaria

      • They really enjoy eating yoghurt! And love roses!
      • They were the Commie Land beach resort. too.
      • If an Eastern European villain is needed he’ll usually be Bulgarian (if he isn’t Russian).
      • Culturally the country is best known for their folk music, which has a distinctive extended rhythmical time, which has no equivalent in the rest of European music. Bulgarian singing is also noticeable for its hypnotic rural atmosphere.
      • An outdated stereotype about Bulgaria in Central and Eastern Europe, is that Bulgarians has reversed head gestures for saying yes or no. Shaking one’s head means “yes” ‘and nodding means “no””. First of all, this stereotype isn’t entirely accurate, since their “nod” is upward instead of downward and the head shake is not completely horizontal, but slightly wavy. Secondly, the exposure to Western media has made the younger Bulgarian generation largely abandon these traditional gestures.

      Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and the rest of Eastern Europe Belarus

      • Belarus is mostly seen as a mini version of Russia, thus showcasing a lot of the same stereotypes.
      • A stereotypical image of Belarus in contemporary Russia is as follows: everyone is a redneck who works on a farm, drives a tractor, and lives in a hut; nothing has changed since Soviet times in terms of politics or culture; everything is laughably cheap and everyone is dirt poor, living on a diet of vodka and potatoes; the Belarusian language doesn’t exist; in short, “they’re not a real country, anyway”.
      • Belarusians are stereotyped by their neighbouring countries as being reserved and unemotional cold.
      • In the West, Belarus is nicknamed “the last dictatorship in Europe”. It’s usually seen as a miniature Soviet Union living in a Cold War time warp, or perhaps a European version of North Korea (minus the nukes).

      Caucasus In Soviet/Russian culture, stereotypes of peoples from the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia (specifically, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) are as follows:

      • Caucasian people love wine, song, and merry-making in general. They are awesome cooks, specialising in meat. Their parties (especially weddings) are week-long affairs where everyone gets drunk several times over.
      • Their men are incredibly lecherous and always horny, showering the objects of their affection with flowers, expensive gifts, etc., and then abandoning them after getting what they’d been looking for.
      • They are reputed to be filthy rich, mostly from criminal activity. They tend towards conspicuous consumption and flashy displays of wealth.
      • Due to two Chechen Wars and an ongoing insurgency in the North Caucasus, they are often suspected of being terrorists, religious fanatics, or ruthless mobsters.
      • Jokes about their love of goats and sheep abound.

      Russia

      • The oldest stereotypes about Russia are pretty much the same about entire Central and Eastern Europe: a romanticized Ruritania with an Überwald full with harsh, primitive peasants who are miserably poor.
        • The entire country is filled with troops on horseback who roam around the taigas and threaten or protect the capital: cossacks, Tartars, kulaks,… Or people pulling boats near the Volga while singing the “Song of the Volga Boatmen”.
        • Tsarist Russia: The Tsar rules the country in a large fairy tale-like palace. His advisor is usually a Rasputinesque villain who holds the real strings and tries to seduce the Tsarina and the Tsarevitsj.
        • All Russians are of Russian orthodox faith and own icons of the Virgin Mary in their house.
        • Russian music will be trepaks, troikas, balalaikas, violin music, ballet dances, male army choirs with bassoon voices and preferably the following melodies: “Katyusha” (or “Casatchok”), “Kalinka”, “Ochi Chyornye” (“Dark Eyes”) and “The Song Of The Wolga Boat Men”. Some Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet music is also essential. Throw some of their numerous famous composers in the mix as well: Igor Stravinsky, Modest Mussorgsky, Mikhail Glinka, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Sergei Rachmaninoff…
        • Just like Germany Russia has an association with fairy tales, set in their huge, thick forests. This probably stems from the fact that the country is the largest one on Earth and therefore so big that a huge part of it is still filled with nature, barely touched by human civilization. In other words: perfect for romanticism. See also: Baba Yaga, The Firebird and Peter and the Wolf.
      • Since the Russian Revolution and the Cold War Russia is still seen as the Soviet Union. Several stereotypes about the country evoke U.S.S.R. images:
        • Expect references to Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, the red flag or hammer and sickle to be made.
        • Everyone either is a spy or is spied upon by the secret police. People are sent to Siberia for minor offenses and work in Gulag camps until their death.
        • Russians with Rifles and Reds with Rockets: The only lucrative career is the army. Russia indeed has a powerful military reputation. Both Napoleon and Hitler made the fatal mistake trying to invade this extraordinarily large country where the winters are so harsh that you don’t survive unless you are well prepared. Several great military inventions were made in Russia, from the helicopters and planes of Igor Sikorsky and Andrei Tupolev to kalashnikov guns.
      • Since the fall of Communism the most modern Russian stereotype is that everybody there is involved in the Russian mafia.
      • Husky Russkie: Russian men always have heavy bushy eyebrows, moustaches and/or large beards and wear bearskin hats.They usually drink their misery away with vodka and after finishing a drink they throw their glass over their shoulder whereupon it crashes against the floor or a wall. They are either exuberantly joyful or coldly enraged, and can switch between the two at a moment’s notice. When they are excited they shout with a loud, booming voice. They are nostalgic for Soviet Russia (always referring to it as “The Motherland”), and love to do traditional dances like That Russian Squat Dance and trepaks while drunk. Either that or wrestling grizzly bears with their bare hands.
      • The women wear something called a babushka, which inexplicably refers to a type of head dress instead of its actual meaning (grandmother). Sometimes they are depicted as being more masculine than feminine.
      • Apparently Russian women go from impossibly hot supermodels to shriveled-up crones over an absurdly short period of time. It is likely they will be tall, leggy blondes who are constantly depressed and mopey despite being incredibly beautiful.
        • Related: If Cold War Spy Fiction is anything to go by, all Russian spies are seductive, mysterious Sensual Slavs who turn good after having sex with the hero. So pervasive is this trope that, over twenty years after the Cold War, mysterious female spies are still stereotypically associated with thick Russian accents.
        • Also a popular stock character: the old lady with a head scarf who has a large hump and merely communicates thru mumbling. She will usually be searching twigs for the fire.
      • Children will play with matryoshka dolls. If they do play videogames, it will ALWAYS be Tetris (Created by a Russian, natch.)
      • Russian Guy Suffers Most and Sensual Slavs: Russians endured centuries of famine, freezing weather, dictatorships, oppression, war, invasions, forced labor, attacks by hungry wolves and bears,… This has led to two stereotypes. Either they are a poor, miserable and pitiful The Woobie or a strong and toughened individual who either drinks his or her misery away with vodka or laughs it off with fatalistic, cynical and snarky Russian Humour. If they do show sadness it will be when playing or listening to a violin.
        • All Russian leaders are dictators. Period. They will either be a cruel Czar, a communist tyrant or a corrupt president. Democracy (or, at least, a reasonable and moderate government) is seemingly non-existant in Russia whenever depicted in popular culture.
      • Russian meals are nothing else but soup, borscht, stew, goulash, caviar, paprika or salami. The only available drink is vodka.
      • Russians all love Russian Roulette and taking hot baths in icy temperatures. When they travel they go by troika, but since winters are too long, dark and cold they prefer to stay inside instead. They decorate their rooms with at least one samovar. Russian Reading: One of their famous pastimes is reading or writing thick Doorstopper novels à la Leo Tolstoy or Fyodor Dostoevsky.
      • Russian Language is also a popular stereotypical target. Russians will tend not to use articles (the words “the” and “a”), or to use the wrong ones, since the Russian Language does not have any equivalent to these words. They refer to anyone as ‘Comrade’. Their speech often puts a strong emphasis on the letter “r” and “g”-sounds are put in front of words beginning with the letter “h”. Other popular cliché expressions are “nyet” (“no”) and “da!” (“yes”).
        • How do you write Russian? Simply write everything backwards and write the letter “r” facing to the left, rather than the right. Add some “da” and “njet” to make it all complete.
        • In the USA, thanks to the popularity of comedian Yakov Smirnoff, Russian Reversals are also associated with the country (“In Soviet Russia, TV watches you!”).
      • Roma are also often associated with Eastern Europe. After 2006, they are even closer associated with Romania, where they make up large percent of the criminal class (although their absolute number in the general population is not very large).
      • In Romanian popular culture, the Russian (notion which lumps together true Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians, at least as they speak intelligible Russian) is always drunkard, cheerful, braggart, violent, strong and nearly-suicidally brave, born warrior. The trope predates both the Soviet Russian victory in World War II and their loss in World War One.
      • When a scene cuts to Moscow: the Kremlin will always be seen in the background.
        • And Moscow will ALWAYS be snowy and cold. Nevermind that in summer, temperatures can rise to 30ºC.
        • Also, every foreigner knows at least one Russian region: Siberia. It’s presumably a huge empty place full of pine woods, snow, tribal communities unaware that Czarist Russia is gone, hungry wolves and bears, glaziers, mountains and people working in forced labor in salt mines. If Real Life Siberia has the woods, snow and hundredfold more bears than entire Europe, it’s also larger than its fictitious counterpart, it may be thousands of miles to the next human settlement.
          • It’s also freezing cold. Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk, the coldest towns on earth, are in Siberia. A typical day is subzero.
          • To examplify Russia’s record as the largest nation of the world characters will travel by Trans Siberian Express spending months on that train, ideal for developing romances or solving murder mysteries.
        • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Other countries, especially in Europe, still have a centuries old fear and distrust of Russia, mostly fed by the country’s largeness . It’s almost comparable to a huge giant, waiting to strike. This is also where the idea of mysterious Russia comes from. There’s so much land, most of it hardly visited by humans, that even Russians themselves have no clue what secrets may be hidden in some of the most remote parts of their own country! Take The Tunguska Event, a mysterious meteorite explosion that took place in 1908. Despite having a huge shockwave and impact that could felt millions of miles away it luckily caused no victims, because it happened to strike in the mostly uninhabitated areas of Siberia.
      • If Russia has to be symbolized by an animal it will be a grizzly bear.
      • When you’re in space and you encounter an astronaut who isn’t American, it will be a Russian kosmonaut. Russia was the pioneer in space travel and were the first to respectively bring a satellite, an animal and both a human male and a female in outer space. They reached so much progress in such a short notice that even the USA was impressed and felt the urge to rapidly start their own space program.
      • Russian athletes will usually be genius chess players or very slender and flexible gymnasts. Other Eastern European countries also fall into this stereotype.
        • Their government will usually be injecting doping, hormones or other illegal substances in the athletes’ vains to make them stronger. (Was a bit Truth in Television during Communist Russia, but other countries are not shy of doing the same thing, of course. One of the biggest scandals about this took place in East Germany, to start.)
      • Russians may also be depicted as virulently anti-Semitic (or sometimes anti-Muslim) due to the historical persecutions of Jews and Muslims in Russia. The word ‘pogrom’ is even Russian.
      • Video game characters from Russia (particularly in beat-em-ups or fighting games) tend to be big, heavy, and powerful Mighty Glaciers, such as Zangief from Street Fighter or the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. See Husky Russkie for more examples.
      • Russian men will be named Igor, Vladimir, Nikita, Nicolas, Yuri, Ivan or Boris. Women will be named Nadia, Natalya, Anastasia, Ekatarina, Tatyana, or Valentina.
        • Russian diminutives such as Vanya, Anya, Sasha, Tanya, and Natasha are often treated as full names, though this is incorrect. Russian diminutives are used as given names in the US and many European countries (such as Germany, Sweden, Croatia, and Serbia), but not in Russia itself.

      Moldova

      • Independent since 1991 and yet, like all other former Russian regions, still thought to be nothing more than a part of Russia.
      • Best known for the pop group O-Zone which gave us the 2003 hit song “Dragostea Din Tei” (the “Numa Numa” song).

      Ukraine

      • People will say “The Ukraine”, even though it is simply “Ukraine”. Before its independence (1991) it was indeed given the suffix “the”, but today this is totally outdated. Still many foreigners think it’s part of Russia and that Ukranians speak Rusisian, which again is totally false. The same happens to their capital city, Kiev.
      • In Russian culture, Ukrainians are a common object of stereotyping as simple-minded rustic hillbillies. A “typical” Ukrainian wears national (peasant) dress, eats salo (pork fat) in unbelievable amounts, drinks horilka (Ukrainian answer to vodka), speaks in Funetik Aksent and is dim-witted and sly at the same time. Despite being jovial Big Eaters, they are also prone to be stingy and mean (“what I can’t eat, I shall bite!”).
      • All Ukranians enjoy dancing the Hopak, their national folkloric dance, and enjoy painting pysankas, colorfully designed wax-coated Easter eggs.
      • Ukrainian girls are uniformly dark-haired, pudgy, gentle and submissive but also slutty. To Americans, Ukraine is the land of beautiful women who want to marry a good man because their own men are misogynistic pigs. Unfortunate Implications abound.
      • In recent years, Western Ukrainians are stereotyped as rabid nationalists (if not outright Fascists).
      • The most negative assocation within the country is the nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl. Since 1986 the city is now both a Ghost Town Frozen in Time and a paradise for animals and plants who survived the radiation.
      • Given the scale of recent events, expect Ukraine to be known for the Euromaidan civil unrests above all else for many years to come.

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