Dec 2nd, 2015, 11:53 AM

Battle of the Stereotypes: USA vs. France

By Phoebe Todd
Battle of the Stereotypes. Image Credit: Carenina Sasha
We asked French and American young people what they think about each other.

Stereotypes are nothing more than efficient labels. We use them to classify, to simplify, and to save time. However, while certain stereotypes may hold some truth, more often than not these prejudgments oversimplify. After moving to a new country, it's especially important to approach a new culture with an open mind in order to be able to fully embrace the lifestyle. The best way to rid yourself of a limiting mindset is to identify any stereotypes you may hold in the first place.

We went out to discover the different stereotypes French and Americans hold toward both their own cultures, and their foreign counterparts. You can be sure that while you might imagine Paris as a smoke pit filled with men in berets, the French imagine America with an even more vivid description. If there’s nothing else that bonds America and France, they at least both share an unparalleled nationalistic pride.



What do you think defines a French person?

“Everything they say holds a lot of significance; they put a lot of thought into what they say and do. They’re very passionate and proud.” (Kelsey, American, 20)

What do you think defines an American?

“They’re very interested in other people’s lives, not like the French. They always want to know how I’m doing.” (Karla, French, 20)



How would you describe a typical French meal?

“Charcuterie and crème brûlée, followed by coffee.”  (Carl, American, 30)

How would you describe a typical American meal?

“Burgers, fries, popcorn, Coca Cola, and turkey.” (Karla, French, 20)



How would you describe French fashion?

“Unattainable. They make it look so basic and I never know how to replicate it.” (Skylar, American, 20)

How would you describe American fashion?

“Americans wear a lot of a baggy jeans, long T-shirts, that sort of thing. I don’t think they really know how to dress. I mean, they just don’t look like their clothes fit.” (Karim, French, 19)



How do you see France’s role in the world?

“I don’t think they’re necessarily the most powerful country, but they’re well respected.” (Gabriella, American, 19)

How do you see America’s role in the world?

“Americans do whatever they like and invade a lot of countries.” (Karim, French, 19)



What film do you think defines France?

“La Haine.” (Julian, American, 19)                                       

What film do you think defines America?

“High School Musical.” (Leah, French, 18)