Global Education

Countering Stereotypes: France

By Tanguy Marquis
Published: March 2010

France: not the home of the brave, not the home of fast-food, not the home of the American dream, but rather, the home of something more refined.

After living in the United Stated for over eight years, I have heard just about every single French stereotype and joke; some of them are undoubtedly true.

France just isn’t the best at killing thousands upon thousands of people in war. Yes we do eat those gross slimy things called escargot. Yes we cannot live without a Baguette, some fine Brie, and a glass of Bordeaux 1987. Yes a ridiculous amount of people smoke in France, but in 2009, smoking indoors in restaurants and bars was banned.

But some stereotypes are purely ignorant.

No, French people did not invent perfume because they don’t wash. No we don’t all wear berets and trench coats. No, we don’t have nude beaches everywhere although we do have some. I could keep ranting on and on, but the bottom line is simple. France is very similar to the United States, simply more refined; It is less of a melting-pot.

Last summer I went back to Lyon, my hometown.

I was filled with joy as I savored a crispy golden croissant with a voluptuous inside and was overwhelmed with the taste of butter, on the side, and a late- creamy and smooth.

My view; the Rhone River reflecting sunlight onto to Renaissance architecture of Vieu Lyon with the Opera house gleaming in pride.

The people dressed carefully, passionately, and with attention to detail.

France has a defined culture immersed in fine cuisine, fashion, and quality of life.

But regardless of how strong this culture is, it does not prevent the McDonalds drive-thru from taking over the street corner bakery.

The United States is the leading country in the world, and whatever it does is eventually reproduced in the rest of the world, therefore changing cultures.

So in many ways, France is becoming more and more like a mini America. The very basis of French culture is disappearing and making way for the more generic world, which is formed by the melting-pot “culture.

Of course this is an inevitable change in a world that revolves around globalization, but all cultures have an immeasurable value.

So, as a French citizen, I proudly announce that I will keep baking crepes, I will eat those slimy escargots and that smelly cheese, and I will keep representing my country and its culture regardless of how many McDonalds invade it.

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