I try not to use stereotypes in my every day life but it is easy to get caught up in them. Sometimes you may not even realize that what you’re saying is a stereotype. It is common for people to say, “you throw like a girl” because it has become a stereotype that girls are less athletic. It took a long time for our culture to tackle this stereotype head on. Girls are equally as athletic as guys and this stereotype takes away from the athletic possibilities of girls. I think that is how stereotypes work. They make you believe something about someone or some race that you may actually know nothing about.
We discussed liminality in our lecture back in America. During this discussion we went over the heightened awareness of the liminals as they try to find their place in their new country. I believe that during this time, we are more susceptible to the surrounding stereotypes. We are constantly listening and watching those around us, trying to figure out our place. When arriving into the new country, all you really have are your previous stereotypes. During the liminal stage, those stereotypes are either found to be correct or completely wrong. This coming to terms with the reality of your host country allows you to continue among your right of passage.
I sometimes find it hard to write some of these blog posts because Australia is sort of a neutral country in everyone’s minds. When discussing Australian’s, I do not tend to see or hear any stereotypes. The only one that comes to mind is the way Americans imitate Australians. The classic way to imitate them would be, “I would like some shrimp on the barbi.” What is funny about this saying is that I have actually never heard an Australian say that term. They do not even call shrimp, shrimp. In Australia, shrimp is referred to as prawn.
A stereotype that is always passed around is “everyone hates Americans”. Coming abroad, I was worried that I would have to hide my “American-ness”. Coming to Australia, made me lose all of those worries. During my travels I have been staying in hostels. The word hostels sounds scary but I have actually learned to love them. Recently, an American that I had just met asked a guy from London, “Don’t all English people hate Americans”. The guy from London responded by laughing and shouting, “We love Americans!” I think that as Americans, we give ourselves a hard time about everything that we do. We are extremely critical of all of our flaws but what I have learned is that every country has its flaws. A question that I do get asked a lot about of course revolves around Donald Trump. The stereotype in this situation would be that every body hates Donald Trump. But, I’ve learned that the foreigners are more interested in the actual reasoning behind his election. Foreigners love talking American politics which shows how invested every one is in our country. I think that foreigners only get their knowledge from the media. But instead of trusting every thing the media says, they are more inquisitive on how actual Americans view their current situation.
I chose two pictures to represent the stereotypes of Australians. I chose surfing and the beach. When you think of Australia, those are usually the first two things that come to mind. Half of the stereotype is true. I’ve spent countless hours watching amazing surfers at all different beaches. The beaches in Australia are the most beautiful beaches in the world. But that is just on the coasts of Australia. People tend to forget about the big cities and the outback. People in Australia are thought of as always being laid back. On the coast, I find this to be true. No one seems to be in a rush. But, once you move into the cities, you begin to see a different side of Australians. They are nowhere near as bad as New Yorkers, but they are definitely city dwellers that always seem to be in a rush. People also forget about the Aborigines who still inhabit the outback and the rain forest. I’ve learned that Australia is a lot more than just surfing and beaches. There is a lot of culture and political issues that tend to be over looked. We constantly learn in Australia history about the two different sides of Australian history. There is the side of the settlers and the side of the aborigines. This conflict is similar to our Christopher Columbus and Native Americans. It reminds you that no country is perfect, even a country as beautiful as Australia.