Monday 6 April 2020

Outdated and Mysterious Stereotypes 4

Some stereotypes just don't travel.
A place that makes your car stop working is the most Wisconsin urban legend I've ever heard in my life. (@BlueBear2487)

People in North Atlanta usually remain quiet when faced with social conflicts or are passive aggressive. It is an attempt to be a “Southern Lady”. In a light hearted stereotype, people on the south side will tell you how they feel. (MK)

Apparently TERFs wear chunky bangs. When a Pokemon character cut its hair into a fringe, someone commented that he now looked like someone who “shops at Whole Foods”. “Short bangs kind of come out of a reactionary or revolutionary standpoint, and if you look back in history, from Joan of Arc to Louise Brooks in the 1920s to Betty Page and the sexuality she represented to women with Chelsea cuts, bangs have always represented physical defiance,” says a hairdresser. (2019. A Chelsea cut is "a short haircut for women where the side burns and the fringes are long and the main portions features clippered hair", says the Web.)

French cartoon of Nicola Sturgeon: she’s wearing a kilt and Scotch bonnet, her arms crossed, a bagpipe on the ground, a Scottish flag, and a helpful road sign reading “L’Ecosse”.

I supposed I’d do what the heroines of novels did when they crossed the pond for a new life: go to the shore to take the healing air. Meet a man and move into his stunning manor, possibly watched over by a sinister housemaid. Scurry through cobblestoned streets and into dusty bookshops, furtively pulling up the hood of my cloak. Go to a banquet and dance to piano music in a great hall... shoot a bow and arrow. Develop a slight accent... (Lena Dunham goes to Wales for the summer)

For Halloween 2013, Rihanna dressed up in classic chola style — thin arched eyebrows, flannel shirt buttoned at the top, gold hoop earrings, baggy khakis — associated with a modern subculture of Mexican American women with roots in the denigrated working classes of the 1960s. (Good Housekeeping. A "chola" is "a young woman belonging to a Mexican-American urban subculture associated with street gangs".)

If all you know about a group of people is from a lame joke (like the one about the two Belgian guys in a truck at a bridge), what might be the consequence? A little (trivial) knowledge is a dangerous thing. (@koenfucius. He goes on to say that playground jokes painted the Dutch as stingy, the Belgians as dim. The two guys in a 5m truck go under the 4.5m bridge because “there are no police around”.)

There's a tendency for any caricature (of “entitled millennials”, “pretentious artists” or “champagne socialists”) to become a half-remembered parody of the aristocracy (“OK, yah?”). And you have to drag in a reference to food: avocado, latte-sipping, quinoa. Lefties are all hippies who eat quinoa and hug trees.

"Tallulah, Tamara and Samantha... glue themselves to trains... and then go home to their nice middle-class homes in Epsom and go on holiday to Barcelona." Said a man on Sunday Morning Live, stereotyping climate activists. (July 28 2019)

Sarah Shaw points out that every time a journalist writes “Here’s one librarian who’s breaking down the stereotype of the stern lady in a tweed skirt and flyaway glasses saying ‘Sh!’” they perpetuate the stereotype.

A journalist is surprised that a neo-Nazi is “dapper”.

“Were YOU born before 1960?” (Picture of white haired, wrinkly 90-year-old.))

In cartoons and ads, “Grannies” are shown with white perms, baggy cardies, calf-length tweed skirts, tan tights and flat shoes. Or else they're even more out of date in shapeless mid-calf black dresses, black stockings, frilly long-leg bloomers, glasses, no makeup, and grey hair in a knot.

My bugbear is that one of a grey-haired couple in perfectly ironed linen prancing around on an improbably perfect beach... I think the picture desk has finally taken on board the appeal of the reader who wrote “Could they consider NOT running a picture of wrinkled crossed hands peeping out from a raggedy unfashionable cardigan on a lap (probably resting on a patchwork square blanket) every time the story is about the over-sixties?” (Rose Wild Times April 2018)

Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express plays Poirot as a “hysterical Italian”, says a mystery fan on Facebook. He adds that contemporary mystery novels by non-Italian writers set in Italy make all Italians Sicilians: voluble, excitable, emotional, hand-waving. In his area, Piedmont, peasants are hard-working, thrifty and suspicious and not “Sicilian” at all. (But the people he describes are a stereotype of peasants everywhere! Keep themselves to themselves, suspicious of outsiders etc.)

More here, and links to the rest.

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