Here is a list of cultural stereotypes which Spaniards who have never been to the U.S. or who have never had any American friends might have about Americans. This list was compiled by a group of Spanish high school and college students between 15 and 21 years of age. Which of the following are stereotypes and which, if any, are accurate descriptions of American culture?
Physical Appearance and Dress
*Most Americans are very tall with blue eyes and blond hair.
*All American men are as handsome as movie stars.
*Men in the U.S. have muscular builds; they resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone. America men like to wear short, sleeveless T-shirts to show off their physiques.
*American women are either unusually fat or unusually thin, never of normal build.
*Women in the U.S. wear a lot of make-up.
*Americans wear very bright colors and mixed patterns, and they wear summer clothes even in the winter. They have no sense of style.
*The typical American "native dress" is jeans, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat.
Work and Leisure
*Americans spend almost all day at work; they have very little free time.
*Although they are extremely punctual and efficient in their jobs, Americans don't consider their work important; family comes first.
*The first two things an American wants to discuss are salary and age.
*The two favorite leisure-time activities in the U.S. are movies and rodeos.
*Young people usually just take walks for fun, because they're not allowed to drink or go to discos.
*Most Americans live either in skyscrapers or on farms.
*In big cities everyone has a large car like a Cadillac, but outside of cities people usually travel on horseback.
*Americans divorce repeatedly and have very complicated private lives.
*In marriages in the U.S., the wife always dominates.
*American cities are so dangerous that a person has a good chance of being killed in the street; therefore, American men either know kung-fu or carry a gun.
*Americans eat almost nothing but hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, and Coke.
*Americans generally eat fast food Monday through Saturday, but never on Sunday.
*American men are always drinking beer, even at breakfast.
*American breakfasts are huge. A typical one might consist of eggs, toast, bacon, and pancakes with peanut butter.
Communication and Social Interaction
*Americans speak very quickly and very loudly. They use their hands a lot, often gesturing in an exaggerated way when they talk. Their strange intonation makes their speech sound like singing.
*American English is extremely difficult to understand because people speak as if they were chewing gum.
*The typical American is very rude, often putting his feet on a desk or table and frequently belching in public. He yawns a lot, never trying to hide it.
*In international affairs as in personal life, Americans do whatever they want and don't care what other people think.