Stereotypes are pertinent in culture no matter where you are. The unknown is the basis for incubating stereotypes. Whether these typecasts are harshly negative or just a misconception, they exist everywhere and I finally understand the extent of this since being in Italy and throughout Europe. I entered Italy with stereotypes about what I might experience fresh in my mind. I had heard the stereotype that Italian men can be very creepy or aggressive towards women. This I have come to realize is obviously a misconception. While out in clubs or bars, the Italian men do approach women with a certain confidence, something I see lacking in American clubs or bars. Throughout my experience in this host culture I have learned to integrate myself in such a culture rather than avoid the behavior I am not used too. Another Stereotype about Italy is that they only eat pasta. This typecast is not completely false being that the culture avoids foods so unique to America such as fried foods, large breakfasts or deli sandwiches. Fresh pasta, cheeses and vegetables are the priority in any Italian meal while protein is generally avoided or ignored.
Stereotypes are often bolstered by the culture itself. Stereotypes that are generally not necessarily negative may be promoted by that subject culture. I experienced just this when I traveled to Germany. The stereotype that Germans love beer and always drink the beverage lived up to its expectations and was only reinforced by Germans themselves. One German man I encountered even stated with a thick accent, “You Americans cannot keep up with a German!” as he took large gulps of his stein. In this scenario stereotypes become culture as Hafez Adel said the unknown becomes a certain understanding.
What I have experienced also is the reception of stereotyping by foreigners. May Europeans have this notion that Americans are binge drinkers. They find that Americans abuse alcohol and act belligerent very often. This I do not find to be true. I believe there are people in any culture that abuse alcohol but it does not go for an entire nation. Another stereotype is that American are clueless are dumb. Many Italians state that the stupidity of Americans is apparent. This was offensive when I first heard it, but I can understand why this stereotype may exist. What these people see in the news is a political race that literally screams stupidity. What they see in person are tourists that are naturally out of their element and unaware of how things work. This I have come to accept and I just explain this to those who believe in this stereotype.
The image I have chosen to analyze is a portrayal of what is supposed to be an Italian man with an iconic mustache, eating pasta and talking with his hands. From what I have encountered, Italian men often have a mustache, especially the older men. This however is a style choice, similar to how a chinstrap beard is popular in America but not in Italy. Talking with hands definitely is not a factual stereotype of Italian men, as I have not yet encountered such a person. Overall this portrayal is a very American view on Italy and the people that live in it. The weight of the man is also not representative of the general population. Italians are generally very small and thin. This is because the portion size in Italy is microscopic in comparison to that of America.