Is this what Americans think of us?

The internet is abuzz this week over a Vanity Fair article about Australia’s ‘girl next door’ Margot Robbie, in which Australians are referred to as ‘throwback people’ living in a land ‘where a dingo really will eat your baby’.

The article’s author, Rich Cohen, gushes over Ms Robbie’s looks before launching into a misguided assessment of her country of birth.

“She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance. She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character. As I said, she is from Australia. To understand her, you should think about what that means. Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people. They still live and die with the plot turns of soap operas in Melbourne and Perth, still dwell in a single mass market in Adelaide and Sydney,” writes Cohen.

Ms Robbie goes to great lengths to correct the stereotype Americans seem to have of Australians. When asked about her hometown on the Gold Coast, to which the writer refers as ‘isolated’ because it’s an hour’s drive from the nearest capital city, Ms Robbie says: “People always want to know, ‘Did you have kangaroos outside your bedroom window?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, but none of my other friends did.’ Or ‘Did you have snakes running around?’ And again, ‘Yes, in our house, but this isn’t an Australian thing’.”

Margot Robbie's Vanity Fair cover

Could Mr Cohen’s ignorance of Australia be indicative of what Americans still think of us Aussies? Maybe not. Since the article’s appearance, he has drawn criticism from many Australians and Americans, with Twitter users calling out Ms Robbie’s profile as sexist and patronising. One Twitterite tweeted, “Did the author of Vanity Fair‘s Margot Robbie article watch The Simpsons Australia episode and think it was a documentary?” Some have even referred to Cohen as ‘creepy, slimy and lecherous’ and many others ripped into the author’s poor writing.

What is perhaps more ‘annoying’ about this article is the fact that it’s written by an author from a country that’s promoting Donald Trump as its next President. With this in mind, www.news.com.au decided it would ‘fix’ the article for Vanity Fair. If you have a moment, it’s a funny read.

Comedian Rebecca Shaw went even further, breaking down the article paragraph by paragraph and responding to Rich Cohen as such:

Cohen: She is 26 and beautiful, but not in like, an alien way. But not just in a normal way, either. In more of like a [imagery I think is poetic but actually just makes no sense] way.

Rebecca Shaw: “She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes.” – SO SHE ISN’T TALL THEN? That’s like saying ‘She is tall, but only when she is on a ladder.”

Margot Robbie’s profile in Vanity Fair may be drawing criticism from people all over the world, but one thing’s for sure, Margot’s reputation is not being tarnished along with it. At the end of the day it’s quite funny really and who cares what the Yanks think of us anyway? We should all be happy knowing we live in the greatest country in the world along with spunky, talented women such as Ms Robbie.

Do you care what Americans think of us? What do you think of Margot Robbie’s Vanity Fair profile?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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