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Friday, June 22, 2007

The dangers of perpetuating stereotypes

I have lived in Victoria now for almost seven years. Before then, as you may know, I lived in New South Wales. Recently I discovered my sister is contemplating a move down here; a possibility which caused this outburst from my father: "What? You're going to become a Mexican too?"

('Mexican' = living south of the border, I presume)

I mentioned this to a native Victorian friend of mine who asked,

"Do all New South Wales people have a kind of prejudice against us?"

I thought. I formed my sentence carefully.

"Yes, some do."

Yes, I admit, growing up, us NSW-ers saw Victorians as slightly...odd. They worshipped a funny version of football (a version which has since grown in popularity in all states); they were all bizarrely defensive of their miserable weather-systems (four seasons in one day? Oh, whatever....); they drank crap beer (I can't comment - I don't drink beer); etc.etc. But as you can see in my parenthetical commentary, I have begun to take up the cause for my adopted state. I suppose I can't help it.

Perhaps this is why I loved my friend's rejoinder to the conversation:

"Do you Victorian's have an opinion, then, "asked I, "about New South Welshmen?"

"What?!" she scoffed. "Like we could give a shit about them."

well, touche'.

Do you - as a proud representative of any state - have any sort of deep seeded prejudice against another state which you'd like to exorcise here and now, for the good of social harmony?

Look, okay, here's how I'll start. Before I moved to Melbourne, my vision of what I was in for (on a good day) was of this kind of place:

The kind of indoorsy, cafe-centric, Parisian-inspired, conservative, snooty, narrow-minded culture, who wear their footy colours everywhere.

(Which is all a little bit true........)

But now I've been here, I have a bit of perspective about Sydney:

Brash, loud, proud, fun-loving, free, and blinded by the waters of their beautiful harbour; too much so to have fully formulated any kind of wider comprehension of other places. It's always "we're so great" (which is true) but never, "and so are you."

(Which is all a little bit true........)

What do you reckon?

(I know I've left out three states and two territories in this analogy. Please, add your own in the comments, if you wish!)

Comments on "The dangers of perpetuating stereotypes"


Anonymous Katie said ... (12:19 pm) : 

Last time I went to Sydney I was only small so I can't remember, but I wanted to leave a comment about how some NSW people have a prejudice against Victorians. The funny thing is, Queenslanders seem to have a prejudice against NSW! I wonder who has a prejudice against QLD? Probably the rest of the states, haha.

It's funny how we can't all just get along. :P


Anonymous Shelly said ... (1:51 pm) : 

Well, you've left out four states...but upon my possible move to Melbourne I am trying to feign interest in AFL for my boyfriend's sake, start calling woolies 'safeway' and get used to all the smokers...


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (2:03 pm) : 

oops..yes 4 states. I forgot Tasmania in my head (thats saying something.....wink nudge nudge)

Yes, there are more smokers here, aren't there?


Blogger Tracey said ... (3:04 pm) : 

Well, you were always able to pick the Mexicans - the blokes anyway - because they always wore ridiculously short shorts.

You do have crazy road rules down there.. like turning right from the left hand lane in parts. And there's some weird giving way rule.

Quite often if you see a driver doing something annoying, you note that it's a Victorian.. or more likely a Queenslander, and you shake your head and think "bloody Victorian", or "bloody Queenslander"

I would say that there is a very definite 'thing' between Sydney and Melbourne. And a very definite 'thing' between Queensland and NSW (which is State of Origin inspired.)

I have to say that when recently we vaguely considered moving to Queensland, apart from the heat, the other thing that would put me off is living amongst such state oriented parochialism. Seriously, it's a wonder Queenslanders don't just form their own country and be done with it.


Anonymous Shelly said ... (5:35 pm) : 

Queensland and Victorian drivers are of course inferior to us New South Welshmen...:-)


Blogger Kin said ... (9:31 pm) : 

Every state hates Queenslanders because we have the best weather ;-)

Honestly, living in Queensland and supporting NSW isn't that bad, I get a real kick out of it, and I've had Queenslanders tell me it's no fun watching State of Origin without a NSW supporter.

Obviously all NSWmen and Victorians are Mexicans to us, and as such are sworn at appropriately, however Victorian drivers on Queensland roads are by far the bottom of the proverbial pile as far as Queenslanders are concerned. Course we don't really give a damn about any other state ;-)


Blogger jeanie said ... (10:07 pm) : 

Another Queenslander here - but I have lived in the fair states of New South Wales and Melbourne (although only the main city in each case).

While in Sydney, most of my friends were also ring-ins. In fact, in Sydney it seemed the native born only socialised with those who came from within 2 suburbs of their home suburb - a wierd and fairly unfriendly mob, the natives - but plenty of great expats live there!

I loved Melbourne - sort of full of people who were as friendly as those from my home state.

Queensland can be fairly parochial, its true - and isn't it great how it gets up the cockroaches noses (put that in for you, Trace).

But then, we live in the greatest state, so its hard to be humble!!!


Blogger pussreboots said ... (4:49 am) : 

I got the impression from my time in Tassie that they think then entire mainland is nothing but nutters. :P


Blogger Kim said ... (10:57 pm) : 

We are in the throes of planning our move and complete life overhaul, which will take us south of the border too. We can hardly wait. There are things I absolutely adore about Sydney, but we've had enough. We can't be the parents we want to be here and therefore not give our kids the lifestyle and upbringing we want to either. It's all very invigorating!


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