Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Beautiful People, The Beautiful People (Stereotypes in Sweden)

Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Tall. Beautiful. These all fit the Swedish stereotype of both men and women. Having spent a decent amount of time here in Stockholm I have really stated to take notice of the people that live in the city. While there tends to be a grain of truth to stereotypes not every Swede fits this description. There are brunette, brown eyed, short people who are ugly. It happens. Not very often but it does. As I said though, there tends to be a grain of truth to stereotypes. So obviously we’re going to focus on the good looking people. Because as Mogli discovered, good looking people get paid better.

Having discussed this with plenty of people, mostly a few of my buddies and CBCC I have decided that there aren’t more absolutely gorgeous people in Sweden. I’d say that percentage wise Swedes and Americans have the same amount of just absolutely beautiful people. These are the ridiculous girls you see walking down the street and can’t help but turn your head, or the guy in the bar that always gets the extra look from the girls walking by. It’s just that the average person in Sweden is better looking (studies have been done, I’m sure of it so feel free to take this as absolute fact). These are the good looking people you’re going to date and marry.

Quick side note; I’m writing “people,” but like I said, this was discussed with a bunch of my buddies so who are we kidding, when I write “people” you can read “women.” I will admit though that even the men seem to be a better looking group of people. Alright, back to the incredibly important discussion at hand.

With the average person being better looking the percentage of good looking people really skyrockets. Maybe it’s the outdoorsy culture, maybe it’s the fact that everyone walks and rides bikes so you see a better fitness level, maybe it’s that everyone has a very natural look to them, or maybe I just got tired of looking at Americans. I’m not really sure, either way it’s a better looking stock of people here I’ve decided.

CBCC has commented that people in the US pay good money to have surgery to look like the Swedes do naturally, especially all of the university students he sees in Uppsala. He makes a good point; Americans are willing to put all kinds of stuff in their bodies so that they can look more natural. But there’s nothing more unnatural than filling your body with chemicals and plastic. Quite the conundrum for an American hoping to look prettier. So what is an American to do? I don’t have an answer, hell I’m the guy that just told you the average Swede is better looking than Americans. In the meantime Americans can continue to try to reach the Swedish ,stereotype.

I stumbled across a classic Swedish stereotype the other day immortalized in a YouTube music video. Glorious. Hilarious. Amazing. Words just can’t do it justice. If you haven’t already check it out, it’s called, appropriately enough considering the stereotyping, “Inga from Sweden.” Enjoy.

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  1. well that decides it for me.. in sju years i plan to fully transform in to a swede. starting with a full blood transfusion, of swedish blood. followed by growing taller.

  2. I love it. I would expect nothing less of you really. Except that you surgically implant blonde hair.

  3. right on with your observation! i guess no foreign man who has been to Sweden has escaped what you've been noticing!

  4. I'm not sure any writing about Sweden would be complete without commenting on this phenomenon!

  5. I would say of the male population: *drool*

    the females are equally enraptured by the Swedish males

  6. Don't very often hear the girl's perspective. Gotta appreciate that!

  7. "These are the good looking people you’re going to date and marry."

    That's what you say, but I haven't found me a Swedish man yet, not for lack of trying.

  8. Also, and between you and me (in a very non-private, internet kind of way), I love the Inga song and sometimes I get it stuck in my head for days on end. Cough.

  9. @rinalyn - well you know how shy the swedes can be...

    and in an non-private internet sort of way... I know. When I first heard it it was stuck in my head for days. It's kind of sick that way.

  10. I think Inga from Sweden is a horrible song, quite funny though :-)

    As a Swedish woman myself, I don´t think swedes are better looking, but I agree that we somehow are more "natural" looking over here. In UK and France for example, people think I´m 25. I´m 33! But I think that has more to do with style or something, and that I´m not using a lot of make up and things like that.

    And yes, I´m blond too, but not light blond :-)

    And at the moment I have red hair.

  11. oh its awful. but hilarious in a strange sort of way.

    and I think you might be right. figuring out how old someone is here in sweden is a lot harder.

  12. Most Swedish girls are very average looking BUT most Swedish girls spend a ridiculous amount of time on their appearance.

    And about being blonde: we might be blonder than many other nationalities but extremely few people have the light blonde hair that most foreigners associate with Swedish people. That hair-color is bought on bottle ;-) Swedish girls are very fond of dying their hair, maybe because we're lighter and can do it without it looking odd.

    I noticed that you're living in Stockholm. Stockholm is a part of
    Sweden but the capital is hardly representative to the whole of Sweden. Please beer that in mind. In the villages you'll see less attractive people (and by this I mean people in more ordinary clothes without make-up, hair-color and styling). Styling does a lot.

  13. agreed. thats what is so interesting to me about these stereotypes. just waking around stockholm for a little while will confirm that the stereotype arent necessarily true. but people see what they want to see I suppose. Just like I see what I want to see.

  14. Don't very often hear the girl's perspective. Thanks for the read!

  15. the girl commentors did good work.

  16. I'm 50% Swedish, and I have brown hair and brown eyes. I also am short. All of this I get from my father, who is 100% Swedish. When I read, "... not every Swede fits this description. There are brunette, brown eyed, short people who are ugly" I felt as if you were generalizing all brunette, brwon haired Swedes. Just because I don't fit the stereotype, doesn't mean I am ugly. Sorry, if I upset you, but you upset me. You probab;y should have re-worded that "" from above.

  17. Saying that "There are brunette, brown eyed, short people who are ugly" in Sweden shows your lack of Swedish knowledge since many swedes are brunettes with brown eyes. Many because of the 'samer' who is ethnic group here in Sweden. Fro me you are practrically saying that the Swedish stereotype is better looking than an average, natural looking swedish woman. However, you are sating your own opinion and that should be respected, but knowing beauty is not really your area.

  18. I'm an American of mostly Swedish descent, with German and a bit of Cherokee... green eyes, light brown hair, tall, and very attractive (or so I've always been told). As a female myself, I have to say that I've always found Scandinavian men to be the most attractive... but yeah, they also tend to be a bit on the shy side. Luckily enough for me, I managed to break through this shyness with my current boyfriend (future husband), he's an American born Swede. Tall, blonde, light green eyes, fair skin, broad shoulders, ... mmm, perfection.

  19. So, this comment is super late, but hey, just found this :)
    I live in Los Angeles, before that NY. So, have sadly been surrounded by pretty people for most of my life :/ There are many many many gorgeous Americans without any surgical enhancements walking around, really depends on where you are (though in LA they tend to nip and tuck to avoid aging later, and boy does that not work...)

    I think you need to venture outside cities to see the true panorama of people. Attractive types tend to cluster in cultural centers (why not?). In LA I am average looking, in other parts of the country I am damn pretty :D

    I think the downside of Sweden as far as looks is the lack of variety. I know some people think all Asians etc look alike...I only have ever had that problem with Scandinavian types. They blur together after a bit due to uniformity. And I say this as a very white person who has been compared to Meg Ryan (back before she messed up her face..see my previous note about LA and aging...)

    Not a lot of Halle Berrys or Jessica Albas is what I am saying.

    Though I will say - not a lot of fatties :D

  20. Yeah, stereotypes are problematic. Hence this post. This country is full of people who don't fit the stereotype. On either side of that stereotype. And you're right, I probably should have worded that differently. The point was meant to be that this country is full of lots of people. Not just blonde people. Not just blue-eyed people. This is one of those early posts that I probably would have worded more carefully. Or not written at all.