‘Ugly Americans’, ‘fat Americans’, ‘stupid Americans’… listening to some Europeans it would be enough to give anyone from the US a bit of a complex and it would certainly seem fair to say that Americans don’t always get the best press from their continental friends. So what’s the deal? Do Europeans hate Americans? And if so… why?
Reasons That Europeans Don’t Like the US (And its Inhabitants)
First of all let’s address the apparent animosity. Clearly Europeans have some kind of problem with Americans, so where does this hostility come from?
- A shallow and materialistic lifestyle?
Well one reason that Europeans often speak out against the US is that they perceive it to be a shallow and materialistic lifestyle. America doesn’t have much history compared to say Britain or Rome simply because they haven’t been around for as long, and this can make some of the more historically rich areas of Europe act a little ‘snobby’ towards the US. At the same time America is perhaps the most capitalist of countries and is perhaps best known for institutions such as MacDonald’s. MacDonald’s which seems to be invading the rest of the world. Meanwhile America is also known for long working hours and for being highly overweight – all of which creates an image of ‘excess’ and ‘shallowness’ in the eyes of some Europeans.
- Interference and bullying?
Another thing that makes Americans less popular in many parts of Europe is their tendency for ‘interference’. This is no place to get into the Iraq war in detail, but many Europeans question the motives of the US getting involved (was it to do with oil?) and see the US as generally being a ‘big bully’ on the world stage. Of course the fact that most Americans were originally invaders in their own country also doesn’t help, and while it may be a little unfair many countries still have to live with the ghosts of their past in this way.
- Loud and obnoxious?
Americans as tourists are also well known for being ‘loud and obnoxious’ in Europe. This is probably an unfair comment in many cases, but comes down simply to differences in attitudes and culture – American culture is simply more outgoing than much of European culture which means that an American is more likely to clap at the end of a cinema screening and more likely to start talking to a stranger. While some Europeans will find this charming of course, others who are more reserved are more likely to find it jarring or awkward and this too damages the reputation of the US overall.
Then there is the simple matter of ‘over-exposure’ – and the fact that America has such a large output of media entertainment has meant that people generally see a lot of America, and a lot of self-aggrandizing, and this can lead to them eventually becoming resentful (or even jealous).
So is it True That Europe Hates America?
But to say Europe hates America is still very strong. While Europe may have some gripes with the US and be generally impolite towards the country in some cases, this doesn’t mean of course that every European feels that way. More to the point, if you look around online you’ll find that the US isn’t the only country that gets this kind of chiding – and that a lot of Europe seems to hate France as well, and Germany for that matter, and the UK, and currently Greece as well. It seems then that perhaps it’s simply human nature to focus more on the bad traits of a company and that this sometimes gets blown out of proportion.
This post was written by admin on July 2012