Everyone has been stereotyped, but did you know states get stereotyped as well? I never thought about this idea until just about a year ago when I finally decided to leave my rural hometown in Idaho to move to Oregon.
Since I had visited Oregon many times with my family, I knew this was the place for me.
I never saw any of the stereotypes that so many people would mention when I told them my college destination. I heard numerous, untrue comments from a wide variety of people.
“Oregon is so gloomy. It rains every day.”
“There are only hippies and hipsters there.”
“The ‘Keep Portland Weird’ is just crazy.”
“Watch out for tree-huggers.”
“They are all granola-crunchers that only care about recycling.”
These are just a few comments I would hear that I would like to set straight.
First of all, haven’t we learned from our rocky history that stereotyping an entire group based off of just a few people is always wrong?
Oregon is rainy, but not every day. Some of the prettiest, brightest days I have ever seen were in this state. Yes, it rains, but if you don’t like rain, then I recommend not living in a climate with a lot of precipitation.
Hipsters now exist in all aspects of our culture and all areas, not just in Oregon. While some have said the original hipsters came from Portland, that doesn’t make the entire state a Pabst-drinking, beanie-wearing, mainstream-fearing, underground, skinny jean-wearing sub-culture.
There are even hipsters in Idaho, So I really never understood this generic stereotype that so many of my friends expected me to see in Oregon.
I actually think the “Keep Portland Weird” campaign is kind of liberating. How wonderful is it that an entire city is saying they will be accepting no matter how weird or normal a person is?
The terms “tree-huggers” and “granola-crunchers” were used derogatorily by some of the people who said them. However, I think these are great traits. Tree-hugging just means you care about the environment.
In today’s ever depleting earth, it is important to care about how we treat the planet. It is true that Oregonians are more conscious about their green footprint, which I commend them on.
Recycling is a much bigger deal here and that is something to be applauded rather than condemned.
A “granola-cruncher” is about the vaguest and most unoriginal label I’ve ever heard used. Loving the outdoors isn’t a bad thing, it’s healthy.
Why shouldn’t Oregonians enjoy the beautiful landscape and weather that I mentioned before? Also, granola is good.
I just want people from outside of Oregon to recognize the beauty here. The people here have been extremely warm and welcoming to me.
Luckily, many out-of-state people realize that the Oregon stereotypes aren’t true, just as I do. I love this state just as much as my home state. I’m sure Idaho has a bunch of stereotypes I don’t really know of.
I think it is important once again to not stereotype. This may be an over-preached opinion, but the message obviously isn’t working on everyone. So, perhaps it is time for a few little reminders.
Alyssa Townsend can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.