"The stereotype is properly speaking an opinion, but an opinon which seems to arise from a caricature" (Rautenberg, 2010) - caricatures that seem to be communicated by mass media, by e.g. mainstream films portraying the stereotypical romantic, seductive, and artistic French. And, the less familiar the viewers are with French culture and the less real experience they have with French people, the more they are likely to believe media display an accurate picture of the French culture (Ferber, 2008). By the way, the stereotypical Frenchman on the bicycle, wearing a striped shirt and a beret has an interesting history that started with pink onions. In the ninenteenth century, beret wearing, bicycle riding Breton farmers - the Onion Johnnies - went to Great Britain in order to sell onions (via). While today there are almost no Onion Johnnies left, the stereotype of this little, regional phenomenon did not only survive in media but was extended from Brittany to the rest of France.
Ferber, L. (2008) Pardon Our French: French Stereotypes in American Media. All Volumes (2001-2008). University of North Florida: Paper 7
Rautenberg, M. (2010) Stereotypes and Emblems in the Construction of Social Imagination. Outlines - Critical Practice Studies, 2, 126-137
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