Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Generalizations Brazilians make of Americans

personal-hygiene-shower

I don’t need to repeat that the number one criticism Brazilians make of Americans is that everyone here is obese. While the US is probably the fattest country in the world, it doesn’t mean that there is not a portion of Americans who are health conscious, try to eat less and right and frequently exercise.

Other notions Brazilians spread of Americans:

1)      American parents let their kids do whatever they want. In this case, we do have overworked parents who do not control their kids or impose rules, but there are many parents who do! Quite a gross generalization.

2)      Americans kids leave their homes at the age of 17 and lose their sense of family. First off, not every child goes to school out of town.  Many kids stay at home until they get a good paying job now, and even kids who go to College out of town continue living at home during breaks and holidays. Furthermore, the fact a kid spends 4 years of his life in College and never returns to his parents’ home does not mean they love their parents less or lose their “family” values. Most kids keep in regular touch with their parents and visit them often.

3)      Americans are cold and only think about money. Another generalization probably stemming from the fact America was founded with puritan values and the Anglo-Saxon work ethic as well as the perception that Anglos, Germanics and Scandinavians have less emotions. Truth is, many Americans are very giving, help others, volunteer, are good friends and are there for you-sometimes more than the “warm Brazilians” who are all talk.

4)      Americans only take two showers a week. Hmmm, maybe in Alaska. It really varies from individual to individual, but most people I know take a daily shower.

5)      American women are “loose”. This is based on the fact it was in America that the women’s lib, the hippie movement of the late 60’s and the drug and rock n’ roll culture started. Actually, the average urban woman usually waits about 4 dates to have sex with a new potential boyfriend. STD’s and “The Rules” have made women a bit more self-conscious about having one night stands.

6)      Americans are blond and blue eyed. Amazingly, some Brazilians still think America is mostly white. They have no idea how diverse the urban areas have become.

7)      Americans love war and love to invade other countries. While this can be true of some more radical right wingers, nobody “loves” wars and would prefer not to be in one. Also, many people, especially liberals, are against pre-emptively invading a foreign country.

Many of these myths are based on accounts of people who have visited and lived in the United States, but many do not have the necessary exposure to American culture to understand it deeply. Many Brazilians do not learn good English skills or live surrounded by their Brazilian family or friends. And many myths are similar to the perception other countries have of Americans, many based on Hollywood and TV shows, which have shaped this perception since the advent of the motion picture.

June 5, 2013 - Posted by | Difference between cultures, Society | , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. As an American living in Brazil here’s myths Americans have about Brazilians:

    1) Brazilian parents let their kids do whatever they want. Same gross generalization, you can find examples of really bad parenting in Brazil but the same is true about the United States or any where else.

    2) Brazilian parents keep their children in perpetual childhood and they never grow up. Brazilians will live with their parents longer than what would be considered standard in America. I think the principle reason is that it’s prohibitively expensive for a young Brazilian to move out at 18. Given the opportunity I notice it’s a mix of some Brazilians who move out as soon as they can and some who prefer to stay with their parents well into their 30s.

    3) Brazilians only care about novelas and futbol. I’ve met the Brazilian that hates soccer, I’ve met the Brazilian that hates the beach, and I’ve met tons of Brazilians that hate carnaval. For every cultural item that may be associated with Brazil, hot weather, party atmosphere, kissing when you meet someone, I’ve met the Brazilian that hates it.

    4) Brazilians are litterbugs. Attitudes about what’s acceptable to throw on a public street are changing and you’ll find plenty of Brazilians who do not like it when trash is thrown on the street.

    5) Brazilian women are loose. Ideas about kissing between America and Brazil couldn’t be farther apart. It’s funny to see the American who comes to Brazil, meets a girl and is soon kissing her in public. In America this type of thing doesn’t happen so often and if a guy manages to meet a girl and quickly kiss her in public there’s a very high probability that they are going to sleep together. Not so in Brazil, a kiss with a stranger at times can be almost meaningless, you are no more intimate than if you had shaken hands. Kissing a Brazilian girl may come faster but sleeping with her is a whole different story, and I’ve seen plenty of frustrated foreigners who go home empty handed after having convinced themselves they had a sure thing.

    6) Brazilians are brown people. I live in the South of Brazil and a good majority of the people are descended from Germans and italians and commonly blonde and blue eyed. In São Paulo there are tons of Asian Brazilians and in Foz do Iguazu I saw muslim Brazilian women wearing hijabs. Brazil might actually be more of a cultural melting pot than the United States. I have a good eye for being able to identify Brazilians wherever I go but I do it by how they act and how they dress not what their physical characteristics are. I’ve seen everything in Brazil.

    7) Brazil is a country called Rio and they only have a christ statue and favelas there. Foreigners seem to focus on Rio as being what Brazil is like, but Rio is Rio, it’s a special case in many ways and perhaps could be the most atypical city in Brazil.The violence and poverty of the favelas seem to get more attention in comparison to their representation of the country as whole. Are there favelas in Brazil? Yes, but I never went to one, same as I have never visited crack neighborhoods in the United States but I know they exist.

    Comment by Tim Case | June 5, 2013 | Reply

    • Tim, could you make a guest post with this? Awesome.

      Comment by Brasilmagic | June 5, 2013 | Reply

      • Sim claro querida, gosto muito do seu blog, o que preciso fazer?

        Here’s 15 things I learned in 8 Years while living in Brazil (as opposed to the United States of America)

        We are social creatures and prefer not to be alone
        It’s fun to be emotionally expressive
        Relationships even casual ones shouldn’t be treated as superficial things
        Life is for living with your friends and family and not spent obsessing over accumulating wealth
        Breastfeeding in public should not be a social or political issue of a civilized society
        It should be easy to say you don’t have the money or can’t afford it rather than trying to pretend like money is never an issue
        Fashion, how you look, and your body shouldn’t be shunned like the plague.
        Getting your coffee to go and fast food will make you miss out on sitting at the café and getting a meal that doesn’t come in a bag. Stop moving around so much.
        Don’t be scared or embarrassed by the sexy parts of life, it’s only sex for chrissakes.
        There should be public places where you can hang out and do nothing and not be concerned that you are being productive or engaging in socially mandated commerce.
        Learning how to dance is the single greatest move for your love life, and when I say dance I don’t mean the kind that’s done by yourself.
        Dancing and relationships are much better if there is no confusion about who will lead and who will follow.
        Some moments in life demand that you set aside politeness and go after what you want without any hesitation.
        Don’t be afraid to take chances that may later require begging forgiveness, don’t forget to forgive.
        Perfection is fine but it’s not necessary to achieve something good.
        “What do you do?” is a retarded question to ask somebody you just met.
        The entire world is not out to kill you, nor do you have to be afraid of strangers.

        Comment by Tim Case | June 5, 2013

      • I think you need my password!

        Comment by Brasilmagic | June 5, 2013

  2. Okay send me an email to tim1time@dispostable.com. DON’T PUT THE PASSWORD in the email. I will email you back from a secure email address.

    Comment by Tim Case | June 6, 2013 | Reply


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