Just a few days ago, Sweden took home one of the most coveted awards in all of tourism. World’s most attractive men! Ok, so maybe it doesn’t rank up there with a Nobel Prize (a Swedish honor of course), but it did make headlines. And for some, maybe it gave them another reason to learn Swedish.
Sweden has long been known for its stereotypically beautiful women. Tall, blonde, blue-eyed, these women created a sort of Nordic ideal. But as Alexander Skarsgård fans know, it’s not just the women who are attractive.
The article by Travelers Digest is no exception, playing on some of the Swedish stereotypes while claiming that Stockholm, Sweden is home to the most attractive men in the world. In fact the paragraph confronts those stereotypes head on and lists them off: cold, distant, attractive, tall. Of course, interestingly enough, the deeper analysis of such a stereotype reveals even more stereotypes. These of course are overwhelmingly positive. Did you know that all Stockholmers (males at least) are “impeccably-dressed?” Or that they love fine dining? Or that they are elegant and devoted lovers? Wandering the streets of Stockholm, it’s hard not to notice that some of these stereotypes may actually hold a shard of truth. I feel woefully underdressed just about every time I walk out my door for a night out in Stockholm for example. But you’ll find plenty of Stockholmers indulging in less-than-fine dining. Sweden’s very own burger chain, Max Burger, comes to mind.
But I suppose that’s kind of the point. No one wants to focus on the negative stereotypes if all you’re looking for is aesthetics. And that’s probably one of the reasons that stereotypes are so fascinating. It’s something we’ve written about quite a few times here at Transparent Language. In fact, if you want to delve a bit deeper, check out Swedish Stereotypes and Swedish Stereotypes. Again.
When you think of the stereotypical Swedish male, is this what you think of? A tall, good-looking man who loves good food and good clothes? Or do you think of the big, rugged, Viking-like man who is more concerned with beer? Or do you find yourself falling somewhere in between taking a more nuanced approach to generalizing an entire population?