Cars and guns. Flags and freedom. Fast-food and air-conditioning. That’s what the United States is all about—or at least the stereotypical version of America, according to the internet. No matter how hard people try, it looks like there are some stereotypes that Americans just can’t shake.
Whether because of pop culture or anecdotal experiences with tourists, some foreigners have a very clear-cut picture in their minds of what American everyday life is like. Even though it actually varies so much. And redditor Pfl2020 wanted to find out what exactly non-Americans think that Americans can’t live without.
Check out some of the most interesting responses to their thread and remember to give the ones that you relate to a big ol’ upvote as you scroll down. We’d also love to hear your opinions on what you associate Americans with, dear Pandas. And if you’re from the US, share your thoughts and feelings about these stereotypes in the comments.
For instance, I personally associate Americans with extremely warm and friendly people, delicious homecooked meals, great education, excellent four square skills on the playground, flags, and… powdered donuts (yum!). I’m pretty sure there are unfriendly Americans out there, but I’ve yet to meet one in person. (They could be a myth conjured up by jealous Canadians.)
The belief that they’re more free than the rest of the world.
The believe that America is the greatest of all democracies while it is just another empire on its way down...
It’s best to think of cultural stereotypes as incredibly rough guidelines that sometimes help us navigate life, but you should never think that they’re completely accurate representations of reality. Life’s too complex and deep to be summed up in a couple of throwaway phrases.
Not all Americans are overweight, own a gun, only speak English, and tip their waiters all the time. But does the country have a problem with obesity? Yes, it does. According to the CIA, 36.2 percent of all Americans were considered to be obese in 2016. And the US ranked twelfth in the world by obesity. But it would be unfair to ignore that in such a vast country there are plenty of fitness enthusiasts and healthy eaters out there, too.
A sense of superiority and a denial of the truth of their own history.
Fast food. I remember watching a piece about how fast food is sometimes the cheapest option for poor families. They literally can't afford to eat healthily.
Flags. You really care about showing off flags. Pro tip: Any place with lots of flags has a national identity crisis.
Some stereotypes are nearly perfectly true, however. Like how much Americans love cars. They're not the only ones, though. The US really does have a car obsession and ranks fourth on Planet Earth by the number of motor vehicles per capita, but it falls right behind—you’ll never believe it—New Zealand. That’s right, our loveable Kiwis own more cars, on average, than Americans do. Who needs eagles when our hobbit protagonists could have headed to Mordor in a Volvo?
Plenty of Americans really can’t live without cars because they rely on them for their day-to-day lives. Those who argue against this would point to the fact that, in 2019, Americans also took a whopping 9.9 billion trips on public transportation. Which sounds very impressive...
...Until you realize that there were 328.2 million people living in the US that year and that they'd each end up using public transportation just over 30 times each, on average. All year. So there's some truth to the stereotype about loving cars after all. But it's not the entire story. Nor the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not by far.
The goddamn Imperial System of Units.
I don't even live in the US but a lot of content on the internet is American and it annoys me when I need to multiply miles by 1.6 to get kilometers.
A car. In European countries, it’s pretty common that you can get anywhere by public transport, but I haven’t heard about any properly functioning public transportation besides New York’s subway.
High Self confidence. Good thing in most people. Bad thing in flat earthers and antivaxxers
Material consumption. This is true in most places but from my observation it seems to go to another level in America. Everyone spends so much time discussing the latest thing they bought and how great it is.
Insurance. If they get sick without it, they're [screwed]. Meanwhile, if I have an health issue in Europe, I'll get free assistance in case of emergency and pay a small fee (usually between 30€ and 70€) for a routine visit.
A house. Even if you can't afford it. No flat — a house. Big house with two living rooms: one for family, one for ????
Mentioning someones race/culture/sex etc. constantly
War? Jk but I read somewhere in all layout history you’ve only had 17 years when you weren’t at war with someone or the other
News telling them who to be angry and outraged with this week.
Air-conditioning. That's usually the first complaint that American migrants have in Germany.
Soda pop. Spent some time in the southwest. Everyone had these enormous refillable beverage containers they would refill with soft drinks multiple times a day. While I agree it is important to stay hydrated, the jugs i saw held 1.75 quarts, and that much fountain drink could contain more than 200 grams of sugar.
Garburators, garbage disposal. Every time an American was house hunting on House Hunters International, the Americans always wanted a garburator and would be disappointed if the kitchens didn't have one.
Fahrenheit... it’s such nonsense. Celsius is where it’s at!
A credit card. Not sure why people use it over there, possibly because of their weird credit system that seems to be so essential to their lives, or because of their even weirder mindset of liking to spend money they don't have. Probably both.
Ice. What's the deal with ice machines and them being such a big deal in any TV show or movie set in a hotel or motel?
Paper plates. Used in your own home? That’s quite bizarre to me.
Loans or debts of some sort, especially in their younger years. And i think Americans literally can't live without insurance.