How Scotland Is Stereotyped

by Susan Macintyre, aged 15

When a country is stereotyped the truth of that country is exaggerated. Everyone associates Scotland with ginger hair, kilts and bagpipes, NOT TRUE!!!!!!

Copyright: Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty Images

Also, when people come to visit Scotland they expect really bad weather. They think it will rain every day. Yes, we get more than our fair share of rain, snow in March and sun in November but normally we get reasonable weather.

Another untrue stereotype is that the Scottish and the English people hate each other. People who are like that are known as bigots. We may have had a lot of conflict before but I feel that that is all in the past now. People also think that we are rougher and speak rougher than the English. Just because we don’t speak posh but our local dialect and most of us don’t live in mansions, doesn’t mean we are rough.

People also think that Scottish people are very unhealthy. It has been proven that we are prone to heart disease but not everyone has a heart attack. There are genetic reasons for some of this poor health record but we do need to improve our diet by eating more healthily and cutting down on fatty foods. Tooth decay from eating too many sweets is another Scottish problem.

Another untrue stereotype is that Scotland is all hills and mountains and more hills and more mountains. Scotland also has many towns and most of its population lives in the urban sprawl of the central lowlands.

People also think we are rude and have harsh accents. Some people are rude and we all know at least one. Some people have harsh accents but most people speak normally to my ears. Other areas of Britain have similarly strong regional accents.

There are also stereotypes that we laugh at and don’t take offence at such as the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t believe in Nessie. I think someone made it up as a publicity stunt and I think it has worked.

We also don’t take offence at the stereotype of red hair and kilts. When you go on holiday you always see little keyrings of men with a kilt and “Jimmy” tartan hats and red hair attached. That’s just taken as a joke though. I love those little men – they’re so cute. But people especially Americans think men wear kilts all the time and joke about what is worn underneath them. If you were walking down the street, unless it was a wedding, you wouldn't see anyone dressed in a kilt.

People also think that all Scottish people eat is haggis, neeps and tatties. Not true, because I, being Scottish, hate haggis, don’t know what neeps are and hate tatties. “Irn-bru” and whisky is all we drink too! Whisky stinks but I like Irn-bru but that’s not all I drink.

Scottish people are stereotyped as red heads, kilts and rude but it’s just not true. Scottish folk are very nice, have some red-heads (like my cousin and my best friend) but we don’t wear kilts all the time!

I think Scotland is okay. The weather is rubbish and cold. I don’t like Scottish weather very much because I’m always cold. I would prefer to live in Australia where the sun shines more but I am 7/8ths Scottish (my granny’s father was Maltese) and very patriotic.

ACTIVITIES


1 Focus on the text
a) Make a list of the stereotypes mentioned by Susan Macintyre, putting them in one of three columns: (1) justified, (2) partly justified and (3) completely unjustified.

b) Does Susan Macintyre give her fellow Scots any advice? If so, what?


2 Writing
Susan Macintyre says at the end of her essay that she is very patriotic. Write a letter to a Scottish magazine that is running a series of articles on “Being patriotic”. In your letter you should explain what you think being patriotic means, and say whether you think you are patriotic, and why. You can refer to Susan Macintyre’s essay if you want, but you do not have to.

The magazine is: Young Scotland, 15 Burns St, Glasgow, Scotland
Use today’s date and your own address.