Hot Icelandic Blondes?

When I visited Iceland four years ago, nearly every male asked me the same question when I returned home: Were all the women hot blondes?

My answer? Is Björk a hot blonde?

Stereotyping is a type of ignorance and prejudice which travel either substantiates or refutes. Stereotypes exist because, yes, there are some hot blondes in Iceland just as there are humorless Germans, rude French, and obnoxious Americans. A responsible traveler recognizes this, but more importantly, is cognizant enough to realize that not everyone falls into this generalization. In fact, it is more often the case that very few people live up to these ugly stereotypes.

Travelers will also learn that every nationality which harbors a stereotype is at the same time very defensive about that stereotype. I’ve met many fun Germans with a great sense of humor who are aghast over the generalizations foreigners make about their fellow countrymen. “We are not all without humor,” they tell me. In much the same manner, I often find myself defending the particularly bad stereotypes foreigners have about Americans.

But what about when the stereotype is a good one? I, for one, wouldn’t mind being part of a widely accepted generalization that involves the adjectives, sexy, beautiful, and smokin’ hot! Of course, I’d be one of the exceptions but to at least be in the club would be pretty cool.

Or so it would seem.

I recently came across an article in Iceland Review written by a hot Icelandic blonde dismayed at the “hot Icelandic blonde” stereotype. Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir argues that media has taken that baton and run with it. Sexy Iceland is a sexy concept and evokes all sorts of sweaty brows and heart palpitations amongst those males who subscribe to this theory. The international press can’t seem to let it go, continually painting the small Nordic country with the stereotype people most want to associate it with. “I just hope people choose common sense above stereotypes and visit Iceland, and all other countries, with an open mind,” Arnarsdóttir writes. And, I agree with her.

Oh, and for the record, the women in Iceland are hot–just as they are in New York, Prague, Denmark, Madrid, and countless other cosmopolitan metropolises around the globe.