9 Stereotypes About Australians That Aren't True (I'm Looking At You, Kangaroo Enthusiasts)
I am Australian, and used to being subject to some pretty weird stereotypes, especially from North Americans. Sorry guys, but it seems that overwhelmingly, denizens of the United States seemed to have a very warped, sometimes superior, and definitely anachronistic idea of what it means to be an Australian. I mean, it always shocks people to learn that my home is a big city. "You have cities in Australia?" people, too often, ask. Why yes, my friend, yes we do. We have the Internet and electricity and cars too! And we're not constantly fighting for our lives against poisonous or otherwise deadly creatures.
Every country has a stereotype applied to it, but having been to Australia myself, and having spent most of my life there, it's hard to see where a lot of them come from. Stereotypes like "larrikin" and "anti-authoritarian" and "pretty chilled out" seem fair to apply to most Australians, as would "immigrants" and "underdogs". And yeah, sure, a lot of dudes look like Chris Hemsworth (don't be mad). Australia is a weird place full of weird people, and it's interesting to see the stereotypes people who have never even set foot on the island have adopted and applied to their vision of the quintessential Australian. Here are nine of the most nagging stereotypes about Australians that are (mostly) not true:
1. Everyone Isn't A Rural Hick
Like I already said, we have cities! But the pervasive stereotype is that all Australians are wearing akubra hats, swatting flies, proclaiming, "strewth!" and rounding up cattle. Not true. A lot of us are obsessed with fashion, annoyingly snobby about coffee, and generally quite metropolitan (for better or worse).
2. People Don't Have/Ride Kangaroos
I feel like I shouldn't even have to explain why this is the stupidest stereotype of all the stereotypes.
3. People Aren't Starved For Global News/Culture
Australians read the news. We know what's up. Sure, there are people who are ignorant to global news and culture, but no more than any other country. Also, have you ever watched the local news in middle America? People in glass houses should most certainly not cast stones.
4. No One Drinks Fosters
Maybe somewhere in Australia there is someone sipping on a Fosters right now, but Fosters isn't the beer of choice in Australia. Most Fosters is brewed overseas, and it's a big marketing campaign to sell it in other countries by advertising it as the local beer. The only time I have ever tasted Fosters is when I lived in London and my roommates bought me some to stop me being homesick. I barely had the heart to tell them the truth...
5. "Barbie" Isn't The Main Food Group
People don't just eat BBQ all the time. We have a lot of BBQs in the summer, sure, but the food in Australia is as rich and diverse as its population. For instance, in Melbourne, where I'm from, you can get most Asian cuisines, Italian, Lebanese, Greek: you name it. We don't just all eat slabs of meat straight off an open flame.
6. Not Everyone Is A Tan Beach Bunny
I mean, I'm pale as sh*t. So are a lot of Australians.
7. It's Not A Beach/Desert Situation
Everyone doesn't either live at the beach or in the desert. We have lots of different kinds of communities, from cities to mountain to country to seaside, just like any other country does. Sure, there's that big uninhabitable bit in the middle, but around the coasts the cities and towns are diverse.
8. Everyone Isn't A Racist
Yes, there are racist people in Australia. And we don't like them. Australia isn't a "mostly" racist country. Like America, it has some racist people, and a whole hell of a lot of not racist people, and the not racist people do everything they can to educate the racist people and change the way they think.
9. Not Everyone Is Descendant From A Penal Colony
My family came to Australia in the '60s, as did many other families. Australia might have been first settled as a penal colony, but since then there have been gold rushes and wars and all sorts of things that have sent immigrants there from all around the world that had nothing to do with jail.