“If you’ve ever met a Finn, chances are they’ve mentioned the reserved nature of their countrymen. Be not afraid – we’re not taciturn brutes. Finns are talkative and hospitable, but the myth of the withdrawn Finn is still alive and well inside Finland. And Finns, with their self-deprecating wit, will be the first to let foreigners in on it. An example of a Finnish joke: “An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes”.
That is what webpage www.visitfinland.com wants to tell tourists who are planning to go to Finland. Most of the people (even the Finns themselves) really think that Finns are not only shy and introvert but also anti-social or even rude to strangers. The stereotype of Finns being closeminded and stone-faced is partly true, but it is also extremely important to remember that in every culture there are also a lot of different kind of personalities. To reduce these prejudices, I’d like to introduce you a few Finnish celebrities who are not the most typical Finns.
Sara Maria Forsberg, also known as SAARA or Smoukahontas
Sara Forsberg became famous on March 2014 after posting a video “What Languages Sound like to Foreigners” on Youtube. Forsbergs ability to mimic accents and speech melodies of different languages is something very remarkable, especially when she happens to be from country where people are terribly shy to use their language skills. Now the video has been seen over 20 million times and she is doing an international music career after becoming famous on Youtube.
Are Finnish people defined by silence? Not all of them:
Next time someone calls Finnish people boring and shy, they have to meet a Finnish singer and songwriter Alma. Usually her look is daring, defiant and stands in the face of fashion norms and current trends. Her top hits are also a perfect example of Finnish music that success abroad, and she didn’t even make rock music to break through internationally. Enough reasons to be proud of her!
At the end of 2014, the average size of a family in Finland was 2.8 persons. There are a lot of Finns who come home after a long, hard day at work and want not to be bothered by anyone. Most Finns live alone or at least without children cause they like their own space even it may seem lonely at times. But there are exceptions. Tanja-Licciardo Toivola is a Finnish vlogger who has ten children and is married to their father. And when you look at her videos you can see that her family is anything but withdrawn, shy or introvert.
Those are only few examples why we should focus on one’s personality more than stereotypes.
Diversity rocks – even if you’re Finnish!