View Full Version : Sterotypes: are the Spaniards still seen as lazy by everyone else?
24th March 2006, 10:50 AM
I know that in the past the general view of Spanish people abroad was that they are a bit lazy and prefer to do everything maņana. Is that still true? (Be honest please!) Are there any other stereotypes about the Spanish where you come from?
Hopefully if we have enough feedback on this we can do a podcast about it in the near future.
24th March 2006, 01:32 PM
No way. It's well-known, and been learnt painfully by many, that if you set up in business in Spain you're going to have to work as hard as the Spanish.
24th March 2006, 02:08 PM
I think the impression of Spain (and, to some extent, Spaniards) abroad is very different from the reality that Sin refers to above. From talking to friends overseas, the image of Spain seems to be sangria on the beach, three-hour lunches and month-long vacations in August. All of that adds up to the stereotype of Spain as a laid-back place where no one works very hard and the pace is slow.
Of course, the reality is that people do work long hours in Spain; the average workday is one of the longest in Europe, and the two or three-hour lunch break is quickly disappearing. (And don't even get me started on the issue of salaries...) Living and working in any country is very different from visiting on holiday, which is the only experience most foreigners have with Spain. Maybe it's time to launch a PR campaign to tell the rest of the world that we really are working. :)
24th March 2006, 04:06 PM
I was never aware of a "lazy" stereotype. The only one I'm aware of is that Spanish men are macho to the point of caricature....that they wear big gold chains and leave their shirts open at the collar, that they never do housework and are very domineering to the women in their lives. However, I have a half-Spanish teacher who tells me that is changing. Where her father and uncles would never set foot in the kitchen, for example, her brothers and cousins all insist that *they* know the right way to make paella!
24th March 2006, 05:11 PM
Please appleblossombeck, don't let everyone think that every Spaniard wears big gold chains and open shirts!! I'm not going to lie to you, that exists, but luckly its a minority ;)
Amongst the generation of my parents the percentage of working women was very low, so it was common in couples that the man brought the money home and the woman did all the housework. Nowadays, mostly every woman works, so men have to do their share, so if you think about it in a period of 25 years, we've changed from one extreme to another and I think people are still adapting.
By the way, this was Marina wrongly signed in as Ben.
25th March 2006, 06:03 AM
Well, yeah, those stereotypes are changing everywhere. Something I should point out is that here in the US, I think most people tend to think a lot more about Latin Americans than Spanish people. I have heard lazy applied to all sorts of "south of the border" folks, mostly Mexicans. Personally, I've always had a suspicion that ethnicities who tend to get labelled lazy generally come from pretty hot places. Having lived in the South, I know for a fact that there are times when you just *cannot* move very fast. So you get lazy Spaniards, Latin Americans, or almost anybody from a tropical island and you almost never heard anyone refer to "those lazy Swedes", for instance. I can't think of any exceptions to this...can anyone else?
25th March 2006, 08:01 AM
Exactly, I don't think that most of the people that come from cold places understand it very well. But for example in Madrid, in July and August temperatures reach between 40 and 45ēC. In this weather your body rhythm slows down (you don't see people doing sports at 2 pm). In a way that is why siestas in summer are much more common than in winter, they help to avoid the hottest part of the day, so one gets some time to rest and then you can stay up late and enjoy from 10 to 12 pm that is the only time of the day when you can acutally be outside.
25th March 2006, 10:35 AM
I hang my head in abject shame when I think of my reaction, just a year ago, when I first knew I was going to be dealing with Spanish people on a regular basis. I looked forward to taking a laid back approach and long, lazy siestas. I wish!!!
The Spaniards I meet are the most committed, the hardest working and the most ambitious I have met in a long time. It became not so much a case of me instructing them as them taking all I had prepared and dragging more and more out of me. Long days and no siestas are the norm. But boy, do they know how to party afterwards.
I should have been warned when I was advised to get as much sleep as I could as "Spaniards don't ever sleep". ;)
I'm used to it now and I really feel the Spanish way of working has actually improved my own working habits. Maybe it's because of that I got promoted at the start of the year? So muchas gracias. ;D
31st March 2006, 08:39 AM
Before my first university excursion to Spain, our professor (visibly exhausted with questions based on stereotype) more or less forced us to read John Hooper's book "The New Spaniards". The most recent revision is 1995 so it's a bit outdated but does address the transition Spanish culture and society from the 1950's to 1995. For me, the most interesting chapter of the book is the one following the changing role of Spanish women. I'd definently recommend it as a primer for contemporary Spanish society but keep in mind that it was most relevant 10 years ago -- so go to Spain and write the next revision for Mr Hooper! Oh, I have to say this. The book's cover is great. It modifies Velasquez' "Las Meninas" with decidedly modern symbols. An art historian friend of mine laughs every time he sees it. Chau.
31st March 2006, 12:21 PM
That is a truely great book. I've just got hold of a copy of a book called The Ghosts of Spain (http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?t=booksonspainc-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&asins=057122167X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&lc1=0000ff&bc1=000000&bg1=ffffff&f=ifr) by Giles Tremlett, the Guardian Correspondent in Madrid (whose job I used to covert!). I think it may be a worthy successor by the look of things, I hope to start reading it next week and post a review on NFS soon.
10th April 2006, 03:41 AM
I used to think spanish people were lazy with the siesta, but I envied them, but after traveling to spain in February, the siesta really does make sense, and they do work long hours.
11th April 2006, 02:34 PM
From what I understand in the local press there are moves afoot to get rid of the siesta and I think some of the government departments have done so already. It probably causes problems if you work with the rest of the EU who have "normal" hours. From my experience with local workmen it is not laziness that is the problem but organisation. Getting a start or finish date, periods during job of inactivity etc. But that´s probably true in a lot more countries' building trades than Spain!
18th May 2006, 02:35 PM
Spanish living in France I thought of coming back to work to Madrid, but I saw my friends working a lot, being payed little, having less holidays than I have...I decided to stay here a bit more ;)
22nd May 2006, 06:54 PM
I know that in the past the general view of Spanish people abroad was that they are a bit lazy and prefer to do everything maņana. Is that still true?
I get no impression that the Spanish are lazy (wasn't it Mexicans that were portrayed as lazy?) - quite the reverse when you look at the hours that they work - rather that they do not seem to feel the pressure to do everything immediately - a more relaxed view of the pace at which things can be expected to happen.
Take a meal for instance - often one course follows too quickly on the other in a meal served in England, or if you have bought a cup of coffee no sooner have you drunk it than overzealous waiters are cleaning it up and mopping round you to encourage you to move on so the next customer can sit. I rather like the system where you seem to be able occupy a table for as long as you wish after purchasing a drink without being pestered.
25th May 2006, 09:34 PM
Circulated today in the medium size company for which I work:
As you all know the Spanish Contingent cannot stand the pace due to a lack of siestas. One of their number has had to throw in the towel and is returning to Madrid ...
For those that are less familiar with English humour, let me emphasise there is no animosity here, quite the reverse. The [I]Spanish Contingent are very popular and stay for years. Indeed, when the outrageously clever and attractive 20-something senoritas leave, there will be much distress.
25th May 2006, 11:28 PM
Right before we started studying Federico Garcia Lorca in my Spanish class we did a little list of all the things that came to mind when Spain was brought up. The first thing brought up was siestas. So people on the west coast of the states, at least in my little part of the world, think Spaniards nap all day long.
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