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Transcript of Australian Stereotypes:
Australia is one misunderstood country. Being 'girt by sea', it is isolated from the outside world, making it a place of intrigue and wonder for foreigners. But this also means that many people know very little about our multi-cultural, unique nation, except for the common stereotypes...
Today, we will be looking at all sorts of weird and wonderful, true-blue, plain old Aussie stereotypes...
The current, pre-federation, the unbelievably true and the ridiculously false.
What outsiders think of Australia...
Nobody rides kangaroos....
Contrary to popular belief (Americans...!), Australians do not use the wonderful kangaroo as a mode of transport. Children don't ride them to school, and people do actually own cars....
Tourists who believe this myth are often very disappointed, although it probably boosts the tourism industry quite significantly!!
Another one that many people mistake for the truth. Sadly, Aussies aren't
interesting. Some do attempt it, of course: the likes of Steve Irwin and Mick Dundee.
This stereotype has made many Australians look more typically tough and courageous than many of us really are. It also may have led some crazy tourists to believe that crocodiles aren't as dangerous as they really are, leading to ignorance of the risks and swimming in prime croc territory. As a result, an average of seven people are killed by crocodile attacks per year in Australia.
The idea of a typical Australian is a smelly bushman in a white Bintang singlet, shorts, thongs and a cork hat, right? Wrong! Fortunately, most Australians have much better fashion sense. We're not all the dirty, scruffy people foreigners expect to see... we can dress with style and in ways similar to most European countries. Of course, there are a few exceptions... Mr Manchip and the infamous
This untidy image of Australians really hasn't affected Australia significantly, except for generating some good laughs, and a good theme for costume parties.
Another common error people make when referring to the people of Australia, is that they live in bush shacks. A primary school teacher in America actually thought that if she went to Australia, she'd have to sleep in a rusty tin shed! Australia's famous red dusty outback does exist, but is largely uninhabited compared to the rich, lush coastline. And there are cities within Australia!
It is mainly iconic Australian literature that has given birth to this myth, with popular descriptions of Australia's famous iron red dust in texts such as Banjo Patterson's ballads and May Gibbs' Gumnut Babies.
Australia's supposed great, spreadable invention... the truth is, not the entire population lives off it. In fact, many people are extremely opposed to it. After all, who could truly love an octopus-ink-looking, salty spread for breakfast?
Vegemite has affected Australia by dominating the breakfast table, adding a few dollars to the economy, and proving to outsiders that Australians are strange.
Sure, many Aussies are beach obsessed, with wild, blonde hair and tanned, sun-kissed skin. But the harsh reality is the majority of the population are too busy for the beach, or live too far inland.
The false idea that Australia is a country full of beachy hippies has landed us the honour of hosting some of the world's major surfing events, led to the development of lifesaving, and awareness of sun safety and skin cancer, saving many lives.
Australian slang is world-renowned for its humorous appeal. Children and adults alike enjoy imitating the stereotypical Australian accents, and failing miserably. Many are unaware that our vocabulary does in fact extend past "G'day" and "mate". Slang has shaped Australia's identity, and made us seem innocent and funny...useful when travelling internationally.
Weird, wacky and wonderful things Australians are slightly embarrassed to call the "undeniable, unfathomable, unavoidable truth"-- Kevin Rudd, 2011.
It's no secret that we Aussies would prefer good old bangers and mash over pork and green beans. Barbeques aren't just a type of Australian 'fine-dining': they're a means of socializing, the perfect accomplice for a game of beach cricket, an easy to cook family meal, and a famous Australian icon. The barbeque has shaped Australia's taste buds and diet in just a few decades.
Foreigners have described an Australian football game as something resembling a fight at the Roman Colosseum: with shouting, overly excited crowds dressed in ridiculous outfits, a whole lot of rough play, and men running around in very unflattering clothes.
This is true: footy fanatics scream and chant like cults, and the players are worshipped. To the average Australian, Aussie Rules isn't just a sport...it's a religion.
Football is an iconic sport unique to Australia and has shaped our internationally recognized sportsmanship, developed Aussie spirit, and placed our nation on the pedestal of sport obsessed countries, along with South Africa and China.
Australia is home to all sorts of peculiar creatures, and every one of them exists in reality. However unlikely it seems that a giant, long-tailed rabbit is hopping around our continent; or a spiky, egg-laying, termite-guzzling mammal roams the desert; or a half beaver, half duck lurks in the billabong.... they all have lived in Australia for millennia. Our unique assortment of indigenous animals has given our sport teams their names, shaped Australian literature, boosted the tourism industry, and improved the world's knowledge and understanding of the planet we inhabit.
It's not all fun in the sun:
Australia's weather is another common stereotype. While many expect blistering sunshine and steamy rainforests, Australia isn't just a land of beaches and deserts. There are some places that receive torrential rain, and others that are buried beneath metres of snow.
This policy was most certainly a reality, and the government of the time did try to reinforce it. But even so, Australia wasn't just full of Europeans, this was just a crazy, racist dream of some politicians. Indigenous-Australians, Pacific Islanders, and Asian immigrants still made up a vast majority of the population.
This policy is stereotypical of the racist views of the 1800s, and would be unacceptable now. The existence of the White Australia Policy has helped shaped our society today, as we learned from the failure of those laws that they are wrong, cruel, unfair and unjust.
This phrase was a lie advertised to the people of 18th century Britain, claiming that the new Great Southern Land was "a land of milk and honey". This means that the British government were implying Australia was a haven: with sunshine, plenty of food and a beautiful, unimaginable landscape... in comparison, England was a dreary, miserable hell. Of course, this was completely opposite to the truth, and was supposed to persuade the English to immigrate to Australia and colonise the "fertile" land. Unfortunately, many were fooled, and, seeking adventure and a better life, they were transported to the other side of the world to find an uninhabited, uncivilised world that was too dry, too hot and too harsh to grow the fruitful crops promised to them. These early settlers were left with no food or water, let alone milk and honey.
This was the biggest scam in Australia's history. But it has led to the tough, determined, fair country we enjoy today, as Australians learnt hardship and perseverance early on. As farming and agriculture were vital to survival, they became a major part of modern-Australia's economy.
Australians are uncivilised and rude:
"Australians are a rowdy bunch of barbaric hooligans, useless to the British Empire!"
These are the words that flowed from the accusing mouths of the governing parties from 19th century Britain. What they believed was partly true, as the first white Australians had been lazy, unskilled convicts. They were ill-disciplined, ill-treated and in bad shape; but that didn't mean they all had bad intentions. Sure, most were pretty devastated that they'd just been separated from their families and home, but many saw it as an amazing opportunity to change their lives. Australians did like to have fun, but classic Australian humour unfortunately didn't seem to please the British. The two nations were simply becoming culturally different and Australia was now less dependent on Britain, which obviously didn't go down too well.
The early Australians were labeled as ill-mannered by their mother country, but this simply pushed them to prove that stereotype wrong, and has lead to the prosperous Australia of today.
1. Girt by David Hunt
2. Shipwrecks, Sailors and 40 000 Years by Jackie French
3. A Short History of Australasia by Oxford
Australian stereotypes, correct or otherwise are part of our nation's heritage and make up the majority of Australia's face. The cultures and people of the world outside our borders see Australia through the common, oversimplified image that these stereotypes create. This has both positive and negative effects on us as Australians: it frames and categorises all of us into one general representation of everything foreigners see as Australian.
These stereotypes are often themselves Australian icons, because an icon is something people see as worthy of acknowledgment, or a representative symbol of Australia. They are so common that they became icons of Australia.
They affect Australians daily through our interactions with other countries. The reputation and respect we respect we receive is dependent on those stereotypes. For example, when travelling abroad Europeans often expect Australians to be rude and uneducated...
Australia is seen pretty highly through the eyes of other world powers (America, China...) and this allows us to influence them and spread our ideas and policies. We are a leading nation in assisting the less fortunate, and taking action about climate change. These stereotypes and expectations other countries have in regards to Australia makes it easier for us to connect with the world and gain knowledge and attitudes from other cultures.
Stereotypes also make for hilarious, distasteful, iconic, memorable stories and ideas, unique literature, influence fiction and films, boosted the tourism industry, and have givenAustralians an identity.
Summary of Photos:
All these photos represent the incorrect stereotypes that many tourists and people from other countries' perspectives, Australia is said to living this certain way. America, Scotland, England and many other notable countries thing, we Australians live this unusual way. Apparently we are living in the outback and the bush, we ride Kangaroos to places, wrestle crocodiles and wear cork hats and have no taste in fashion. This is unfortunately incorrect, even though riding a Kangaroo would be pleasant.... but it's incorrect. Australians don't live 'in the bush' we live in houses maybe surrounded by lots of nature. Australia is known for our natural environment and outback with wonderful land made statues.... Uluru. We don't ride Kangaroos and we perfectly provide every family with a car, and we wouldn't even bother trying to wrestle a crocodile because we aren't strange and we have many professional boutiques in Australia and have a great taste in fashion, even though we do love and wear our crocs sometimes. All these photos are perspectives of different foreigners who think of their own way of describing Australia.