A myriad of colorful and rich stereotypes ensures an easy laugh for the Australian within the international sphere. The bushie, battler, surfie, townie, bogan – culturally enriching and farfetched prototypes of the Land Down Under.
Naturally, the artistic, filmic and sporting emblems of Australia do little to assist. Consider Paul Hogan and his Crocodile Dundee, Chris Lilley’s Mr. G in Summer Heights High, Nick Cummins’ outrageously localized dialect. Being Australian, it would seem, is a cachet for critical acclaim and creative curiosity.
Yet, a stereotype is attributed this status for a reason. Indeed, there are surfies with dreadlocks and a 12-month tan. Country stock who own 5,0000 acres of Queensland bush and whom ‘come to town’ twice a year. ‘Townies’ who revel within the confines of a local plastic mall, foster drinking groupies, hot blondes, bogan babes and potty mouth drunkards – but then again, doesn’t every other nation possess these types?
Take away the sea, desert and perilous flora and fauna and the myriad of Australian stereotypes are hardly worth recognizing. There is something so much more curiously satisfying to the external eye when a surfie is placed on a Bondi Beach backdrop, with the chance of a shark encounter. But really, the same surfie could be on a beach in Cornwell. He is hardly curbed to the confines of the Land Down Under.
And the ‘bushie’ or ‘drover’ – a man or woman of rough and hardened exterior whom was born in the saddle and lives off the land. Well, the same drovers are evident in Argentina, Mongolia and various parts of Europe, but where is the international comical recognition? Sorry, that’s confined to the Australia.
Yet every Australian somewhat glorifies and perpetuates their own stereotype when faced with the international stage. We’re brazen in English pubs and nonsensically loud, invigorated by the prospect: no one around is like me. At international sports tournaments, we don a perilous and unhealthy amount of green and gold complemented with a cork bearing hat. We’d never dream of such attire in the motherland, but when visiting overseas all sartorial bets are off.
Abroad, we perpetuate our own stereotype. But, simultaneously we tire of the cynicism attached to our cultural heritage. We don’t all eat vegemite, drink too much booze, partake in the C word, ride kangaroos or consistently have barbeques.
But then again, our stereotype is our greatest international marketer. Ergo, we’re constantly tweaking, exaggerating and indulging it. Much to the Australians abroad shame.
Humorous? Absolutely. Realistic? You’ve got to be kidding.