Pop culture often stereotypes the United States in movies, television series, popular music, and even sports. American tropes are featured in nearly every aspect of pop culture - but how accurate are they really? Historically, many pop-culture interpretations regarding the United States aren’t as authentic as they appear in movies and other media forms. Some tropes are as far from the truth as a person can possibly get, and are only represented as fact for the sensationalism they provide.
Most Americans aren’t rude when they travel abroad, and not every US soldier is a mindless drone serving his country. Throughout history, various movies have played to these tropes to gain a greater viewership, and they have often simplified complex history to sell their media.
We’re going to delve into the dumbest US tropes pop culture has us believe about the United States and try to discern fact from fiction.
All Americans Are Overweight Or ObesePhoto: The Triplets of Belleville / Sony Pictures Classics
The Trope: America is overstuffed with fast-food restaurants and Americans only eat processed foods, which leaves most of them overweight or obese.
Why Is It Accurate? Studies show that America has the highest amount of overweight people globally. In the USA, one published study found that almost 75% of men and 60% of women could be considered overweight or obese.
Why Is It Inaccurate? Not all Americans are obese, and the truth is that most of the world is struggling to curb the rise of obesity in its citizens. There are many Americans who are health conscious and who regularly work out and participate in healthy eating. Additionally, fast food isn’t the only cuisine Americans consume, with many choosing to cook or dine at restaurants that offers healthy cuisine.
Notable Offenders: The Triplets of Belleville, My 600 Pound Life, My Big Fat Fabulous LifeSeen this a lot?
Americans Are Arrogant, Entitled, And Rude When They Go AbroadPhoto: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo / Sony Pictures Releasing
The Trope: When American travelers visit foreign countries, they are rude, loud, and arrogant, continually projecting their ideas and thoughts on foreigners.
Why Is It Accurate? Some Americans are used to a particular mode of living and their own customs, which is why they can appear rude and entitled when overseas. Of course, some Americans have done some truly strange and sometimes unforgivable deeds while on holiday.
Why Is It Inaccurate? Some Americans are arrogant, entitled, and rude when they travel abroad, but so are many people from other countries. These characteristics aren’t only linked to American tourists. Moreover, the actions of a few Americans while abroad shouldn’t be a generalization of a whole nation.
There are thousands of Americans who travel overseas each year and showcase the opposite of these characteristics. In fact, America is known as one of the most diplomatic nations globally, with successful relations with many foreign countries.
Notable Offenders: EuroTripSeen this a lot?
Every Non-Big City In The United States Is Everytown, USAPhoto: Supernatural / The CW
The Trope: If an American citizen doesn’t live in a big city, they come from a small town similar to all small towns in America.
Why Is It Accurate? There are many towns in America that share similar traditions and atmospheres. For example, many towns in the Great Lakes states and the midwest have the same layout comprising a main road, single high school, and one or two churches. In some of these towns, if the population is small enough, most people do know each other.
Why Is It Inaccurate? While most of the US population lives in big cities, the rest of its citizens are spread across countless small towns - each with its own unique history. Each region of the US was carved out for different reasons and settled by various groups, all of whom had an impact on the local culture. And small towns don't just vary from state to state; anyone who lives in California can tell you that towns can differ wildly from each other in the south, the north, and the mountains.
Small-town America can also have an outsized influence on the country as a whole. For example, Little Rock, AR, was an important town in the American Civil Rights movement.
Notable Offenders: Smallville, Supernatural, The X-FilesSeen this a lot?
The United States Is Capable Of Leading The Entire World Against A Global ThreatPhoto: Independence Day / 20th Century Fox
The Trope: Should a war break out, the United States will lead the world to safety with their military and cunning.
Why Is It Accurate? As one of the world’s superpowers, America possesses the intelligence, military power, numbers, nuclear weaponry, and skill to lead the world against a global threat.
Why Is It Inaccurate? The USA could conceivably lead the world, but it could not win against a considerable global threat without other nations' aid. It's also a big assumption that all countries would unquestionably follow America. Studies have shown that many worldwide see US power and influence as a threat to their nations.
Notable Offenders: Independence Day, Battleship, Battle: Los AngelesSeen this a lot?