Generalizations Brazilians make of Americans
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.
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