USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘blonde’
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Swedish Stereotypes

Informant was a 20 year old female who was born in Sweden and currently lives in the United States. She came to visit me.

Informant: There’s a lot of stereotypes of Swedish people. Everyone always says that we are blonde, skinny, tall, and have blue eyes, which is not true. It’s really not true. Most Swedish girls do highlights, which is why everyone thinks we are. Many people are blonde-ish but not like blonde blonde. Swedish girls are said to be like this, but this is only really in the big cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg. People just care more about appearances in bigger cities. In smaller cities, people do not look like the Swedish stereotype. They’re not like that. People are not as high class, people do not really care about being skinny or healthy. People think of these stereotypes because people only go to the big cities and they don’t visit the small cities only the bigger ones, so they see these people and generalize.

Collector: Has this stereotype ever affected you in any way?

Informant: I mean, it doesn’t affect me in a bad way, people think that Swedish people are really cool and pretty and Sweden is known. Everyone used to always ask me why aren’t you blonde? Why don’t you have blue eyes? But people always know that I’m Swedish, they can usually tell with my accent. Also there’s stereotypes of Sweden working well too, with the government and life being easy. Teachers are always asking me questions about Sweden. When they need a good country to compare another one to. I mean, it’s true it does work well, but there are a lot of downsides that people don’t really see, like the immigrants have so many rights, a lot of people are really worried about the amount of immigrants and how they affect our country. Sure, they are acceptive of immigrants, but it’s making Sweden less safe and taking away rights from the Swedes, but all that the outsiders see is that it works so well.

Collector: You sound like Donald Trump.

Informant: (Laughs) No, it can’t be compared. Like the size of the United States is too big compared to Sweden. Like we are very acceptive of immigrants, but it just needs to be regulated, like no one wants to kick them out.

I like that my friend told me about Swedish stereotypes because I have often been the target of Brazilian stereotypes. Not only did she talk about the stereotypes involving physical appearance, but she also mentioned how people perceive the country in general. I think what she said about immigrants is really enlightening because of the situation that is going on in the United States right now with the whole issue of immigration. I think that her perspective – not kicking out immigrants but just regulating it more – would be a great perspective for the United States to take on this issue. It’s really interesting how certain aspects of another person’s folklore and culture can be attributed to current problems in society today.

Legends
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Mamahuarmi

This tale was told to Marisol by one of her nannies.
She said that in her mother’s town, one of her family’s neighbors, a man named Huaman went to bathe at a lake in Churin. While he was bathing, he saw a beautiful white woman with blonde hair down to her ankles. She was nude and standing on the other side of the lake form where she was beckoning him with her hand in a very flirtatious way. The man could not hold back for long and so, ensnared by her beauty, he crossed the river and went towards her. Many days went by and the man was not seen back in the town; then, Huaman was found at another town completely blind and incoherent. His family took him to a local hospital, but the hospital couldn’t explain the man’s sudden blindness, and so the family took him to a shaman. It was during a healing, that Huaman was able to tell them about his meeting with the blonde woman of the lake, the mamahuarmi. After the healing his mind was restored, but his sight was not, and he died many years later from old age.

The mamahuarmi is a very popular creature from Peruvian folklore. Unfortunately, there is not much study devoted to Peruvian myths and folktales; however, the mamahuarmi can be found in the recently released encyclopedia of Peruvian magical creatures titled, Seres Magicos del Peru compiled by Javier Zapata Innocenzi. A story similar to the one Marisol heard can be read in Relatos Magicos del Peru

Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Joke – Dumb Blonde in a Potato Sack

Joke – Dumb Blonde in a Potato Sack

“There’s three girls running from the police: one is blonde, one is a redhead, and the other is a brunette. They go into this barn to hide, and see a few potato sacks on the floor, so they each crawl inside one to hide. The police catch up and come into the barn, and they see the potato sacks on the floor. One of the cops goes up to the first sack with the brunette in it and nudges it with his foot, and the brunette goes, ‘meow, meow’ really softly. The cop says, ‘oh, it’s just kittens.’ He then nudges the sack with the redhead in it, so she goes, ‘woof woof’ really softly. The cop goes, ‘oh, it’s just puppies.’ Then the cop goes to the last sack with the blonde in it and nudges it, and she goes, ‘POTATOES!’”
The informant doesn’t really remember where she first heard this joke, but says it was years ago and probably at school. Although blonde jokes seem to stem from a stereotype that is often associated with blonde women from California, the informant is from Texas, but also blonde. She made it very clear that she is not offended by blonde jokes, and knows she is “smarter than most people who tell blonde jokes.” She doesn’t really understand where this stereotype that blonde women are less intelligent came from, but she finds these jokes funny, and knows many of them. The informant did mention that she has noticed that the stereotype does not usually apply to blonde men, which gives the stereotype a sexist aspect. Although these jokes have existed for years, the informant attributes their popularity to the media and “dumb blonde celebrities,” such as Jessica Simpson and Playboy Playmates.
I agree with the informant that recent depictions of blonde women in the media live up to this stereotype, which only strengthens the stereotype and leads to the further dissemination of these jokes. The most vivid example that really went down in “pop culture” history is from MTV’s reality television show, “The Newlyweds,” where Jessica Simpson was depicted as a shallow, dumb blonde, saying things like, “is it chicken or is it fish?” (referring to the Chicken of the Sea tuna fish brand). This one statement still lives on in popular culture’s representations of blonde women, and only helps perpetuate this stereotype and this form of humor.

Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Joke – Dumb Blonde on a Plane

Joke – Dumb Blonde on a Plane

“There’s two blonde girls on a plane together… they’re friends. The pilot comes on the intercom and says, ‘we have lost an engine, but don’t worry we have three more. We will just be an hour later to our destination.’ A little while later, the pilot comes on again and says, ‘attention passengers, we have lost another engine, but it’s okay, we have two more, we’ll just be another hour later.’ They sit for a while longer, and once again the pilot comes on and says, ‘we have lost another engine, but don’t worry, we still have one more. We’re just going to be yet another hour later.’ At this, the blonde girl looks at her friend and says, ‘wow, I hope we don’t lose that last engine or we’ll be up here all night!’”

The informant doesn’t really remember where she first heard this joke, but says it was years ago and probably at school. Although blonde jokes seem to stem from a stereotype that is often associated with blonde women from California, the informant is from Texas, and also blonde. She made it very clear that she is not offended by blonde jokes, and knows she is “smarter than most people who tell blonde jokes.” She doesn’t really understand where this stereotype that blonde women are less intelligent came from, but she finds these jokes funny, and knows many of them. The informant did mention that she has noticed that the stereotype does not usually apply to blonde men, which gives the stereotype a sexist aspect. Although these jokes have existed for years, the informant attributes their popularity to the media and “dumb blonde celebrities,” such as Jessica Simpson and Playboy Playmates.
I agree with the informant that recent depictions of blonde women in the media live up to this stereotype, which only strengthens the stereotype and leads to the further dissemination of these jokes. The most vivid example that really went down in “pop culture” history is from MTV’s reality television show, “The Newlyweds,” where Jessica Simpson was depicted as a shallow, dumb blonde, saying things like, “is it chicken or is it fish?” (referring to the Chicken of the Sea tuna fish brand). This one statement still lives on in popular culture’s representations of blonde women, and only helps perpetuate this stereotype and this form of humor.

general
Humor
Narrative

Joke – California

Blonde Joke – Cow in the Tree

A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead decide to try to steal a farmer’s watermelons.  Ripe and juicy, these fruits are delicious and known throughout the neighborhood for their delicious taste.  A couple boys had always stolen these watermelons and were revered through the school for their audacity.  After a while, these three girlfriends got together and wondered why they could not steal the fruits themselves.  They made a plan and when the appointed day came, they three met, all dressed in black.  They stealthily crept through the fields while the farmer snored in his house.  Alas, if it were not for the farmer’s trusty hounds, they three probably would have gotten away with their act.  However, woken by the intruder’s footsteps and their poignant perfume, the dogs started barking up a racket.  The three girls fled into the trees bordering the fields as the gruff old farmer and his dogs came out.  When the dogs stopped at the tree the brunette had climbed up, she was forced to think quickly.  “Chirp, chirp,” she said.  “Oh, it’s only a bird,” the farmer thought, and moved on to the next tree.  The dogs clamored around the next tree which hid the redhead, as the farmer shook the tree.  “Meow, meow, hisss.”  “Oh, just another stupid cat,” the farmer decided.  Coming to the final tree in which the blonde had hid, the dogs again went crazy.  Peering up, the farmer was greeted with silence.  He paused, then shook the tree again.  “Mooo, mooooooo.”

I was told this somewhat lengthy blonde joke by my little brother, Nathanael.  He is currently a junior in high school, attending Mira Costa High in Manhattan Beach, California.  Having attended the same high school, I have a general feel for the demographic makeup.  Over eighty percent Caucasian, the school has more than its fair share of blondes, brunettes, and redheads.

This joke makes fun of both blondes and, to a lesser extent, the entire female race.  The three girls failed in their attempt to steal watermelons, as they awaken the guard dog which in turn wakes the farmer.  The boys, on the other hand, had successfully stolen watermelons for years.  Finally, at the butt of the joke is the poor blonde, who, in emulating the clever animal noises of the others, finds herself selecting one of the only animals which would not able to be found in a tree.  Thus in this already incapable group of girls, the blonde-haired one is the most pitiful.  My brother is full Chinese.  Since he is not white or female, perhaps it is fitting that this joke makes fun blonde girls.  In an environment where he is a definite minority, perhaps jokes like these represent a subtle form of rebellion against the majority.

I have heard another variation of this joke somewhere; however as I already have included numerous blonde jokes, I felt that the addition of another would be repetitive.  This other version sets up the same three girls in a similar situation, except they are hiding in grain sacks in a barn.  The first makes the “squeak, squeak” sound of a mouse.  The second once again meows like a cat.  The unfortunate blond in the third sack is kicked.  She cries out “Potato, potato!”  This version of the joke is very similar as far as the punch line goes.  The first two make unlikely though believable sounds, and are passed over by the angry farmer.  The poor blonde, however picks a ridiculous sound to make, and it is implied that she is discovered.  Cows obviously cannot climb trees; furthermore, potatoes most definitely do not exclaim “Potato!”  The variation and multiplicity of this joke helps validate it as a legitimate, though somewhat ridiculous and humorous, piece of folklore.

general
Humor
Narrative

Joke – California

Blonde Joke – Stranded on an Island

Three women, a brunette, and redhead, and a blonde are stranded on a desert island in the Pacific Ocean.  There is no food or way of surviving for an extended about of time.  The mainland, however, is only ten miles away.  Knowing that they face certain death if they stay there, the redhead decides to try to swim to safety.  She swims three miles, gets tired, then drowns.  The other two islanders are obviously dismayed; however, the brunette knows that she has to at least try to swim to safety.  “I’m stronger than that weak redhead; if anybody has a chance of making it off this island, its me.”  Having said this, she sets off.  She swims and swims, passing the redheads three mile mark.  However at around seven miles, she tires out, and unable to stay afloat, drowns.  The blonde is now left all alone.  “I guess I may as well try too,” she said.  She starts to swim. One mile, two miles, three miles… before she knows it, she is nine miles away from the island.  “I’m really really tired,” she says, “I  can’t go on!”  So, she swims back to the island.

My younger brother, Nathanael Gong, told me this story when I asked him for a “funny joke.”  He currently attends Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California.  A junior, he says he cannot remember where he learned this joke.  Having grown up in the same house in Hermosa Beach as him, perhaps it is not unsurprising that the joke sounded extremely familiar to me when he started telling it.

The source, Nathanael, explained that this joke was just one in a large series of what he called “blonde jokes.”  This category of jokes is founded on the belief that blondes are inherently less intelligent than individuals with other colors of hair.  These jokes usually imply that the subject is a blonde woman, though often they do not specify gender.  This gender implication could testify to the belief that men are more intelligent than women.  Thus blonde jokes are based a couple of bigoted ideas – that blondes are not as smart as those of other hair colors, and that women are less intelligent than men.

The reason this joke is funny, of course, is because of the stupidity of the blonde individual in this story.  Having been stranded on the desert island with two friends, a redhead and brunette, the blonde is presented with the same dilemma as her friends.  The term “brunette” is most commonly used to refer to brown-haired women; for this reason I will refer to the individuals as women.  The redhead is the first to try to escape the island.  Unfortunately for her, she is not strong enough to swim the entire distance and drowns after three miles.  The brunette goes next, making it much farther than the redhead but ultimately falling short of survival.  Based on the results of these two women, it could be inferred that the author of the joke felt that brunettes were stronger or in some way more capable than redheads.  Finally, we come to the poor blonde.  She swims a whopping nine miles before deciding she is too tired and swimming back.   This is of course the irony of the story; even though she could have swum one more mile to the safety of the shore, she instead chose to swim the long miles back to the desert island.  Her stupidity in this situation is the facet of the joke that makes this joke funny.  The listener and teller both realize the smart decision (to swim the extra mile) and the blonde’s ignorance of it. Upon coming upon this fact, both get a good laugh out of this poor individual’s stupidity.

[geolocation]