People are sharing their eye-opening stereotypes of American states

It all begins with a tweet from comedian Alison Leiby waxing rhapsodic about New York City's bodegas.

"People who live outside of NYC and don't have bodegas:" she wrote, "where do you go to buy two Diet Cokes, a roll of paper towels, and oh also lemme get some peanut butter m&ms since I'm here, why not."

For those of us not from NYC, a bodega is a corner store. If I'm not mistaken, bodegas are a bit less like 7-11 chain stores and more like unique, locally owned and operated mom-and-pop shops, but basically a one-stop store for all your basic needs. Debate ensued about whether or not bodegas really are special, or just another name for a convenience or grocery store. Apparently, bodegas often have cats living in them, so that's a thing.

But something else interesting came out of the discussion—a whole thread about stereotypes of various American states and regions, and it is at once entertaining and eye-opening.


It starts with a biting stereotype about Appalachia shared by writer Sean Thomason. "When I tell people I'm from Appalachia they ask me about incest and if we've got shoes yet." Not a surprising jab, but still pretty awful.

Then people started sharing their own experiences with assumptions and jokes about their home states, and it's pretty fascinating. Having lived in eight different states myself, I've seen firsthand how many stereotypes are totally exaggerated (most) and how many are actually based in reality (always fun to find).

Let's just start with the elephant in the room—Florida.

Poor Florida gets a lot of flack for being Florida, but Floridians seem to take it in stride.

New Jersey, as it turns out, actually has greenery and not everyone is in the mafia. Who knew?

Oregon actually does live up to some of its stereotypes. I've often joked about how Portlandia is only a slight exaggeration of what Portland is like. (Don't get me wrong, I love it there—but it's definitely quirky.)

However, as this person points out, there's also some surprising realities about Oregon that you don't hear about as much. Like that it was founded as a utopia for racists who wanted an all-white place to live.

Mississippi has it rough, unfortunately, thanks to actual statistics.

Though some of those statistics are actually surprising, like its high vaccination rates.

Some states, like Minnesota and North Dakota, get a lot of comments about their accents. (Accents are one of those things that I always assumed were exaggerated until I lived in different places and was delighted to find out Whoa, people really do talk like that here!)

West Virginia has a socioeconomic reputation that isn't accurate for everyone who lives there. (Though there is something to be said for the low cost of living.)

And as this person pointed out, some people might want to look in their own backyard before making jokes about another.

Kansas has had eight decades of "Wizard of Oz" references to contend with.

And the Lone Star State is certainly more than horses and guns. (Though several Texans joked about the gun stereotypes being true. Texas gonna Texas.)

I lived in Iowa for a while, so I know the pig farm references are rooted in the fact that there are a whole lot of farms in the state. And the mall with the ice rink? Yeah, everyone knows that mall.

The bigger issue is the confusion between Iowa, Idaho, and Ohio. I've been to each of those states and can attest that they bear little resemblance to one another and aren't anywhere near one another, but that doesn't stop people from mixing them up.

Ah, Utah. A stunningly gorgeous state with incredible National Parks and otherworldly landscapes that prompts people to immediately conjure up pictures of polygamy.

Does Oklahoma have tornadoes? Yes. Is that all Oklahoma has? Don't think so.

Sarah Palin did a bang-up job of creating her own category of Alaska jokes, but being so far north, people are often surprised to find out that the climate of Alaska actually varies quite a bit and isn't all snowy all the time.

Hawaii is definitely unique among states, but not as unique as some people might assume. They do use American money. Because, you know, it's America.

California is interesting in that it's almost like it's own country in many ways. It's incredibly huge and incredibly diverse. Some stereotypes about some areas do hold water, though as this person pointed out, those stereotypes aren't generally seen as negative.

And yes, we do see California a lot in movies and TV so a lot of it feels familiar, but it's worth noting that not all parts of California are like L.A.

On the flip side, we rarely see anything or anyone from Wyoming, to the point where the main jokes are about whether or not people even live there. (Having driven through it several times, Wyoming is full of pristine landscapes and not a lot of people. But the cities and towns that are there are just as developed as anywhere else.)

The whole thread was an interesting exercise in acknowledging stereotypes, celebrating different state identities, and recognizing that what we imagine different states and regions can't capture the complexity of those places or the people who live there.

There are things to love and things to not love every place you live. And the United States really is like a big patchwork quilt of cultures and quirks that make each part of it unique. Amanda Vink wrote, "Reading these comments, I get the feeling most people just want to be proud of where they're from." It's true, and a good thing to remember when we feel tempted to make jokes about different places.

Lainey and baby goat Annie. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
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Oftentimes, the journey to our true calling is winding and unexpected. Take Lainey Morse, who went from office manager to creator of the viral trend, Goat Yoga, thanks to her natural affinity for goats and throwing parties.

Back in 2015, Lainey bought a farm in Oregon and got her first goats who she named Ansel and Adams. "Once I got them, I was obsessed," says Lainey. "It was hard to get me off the farm to go do anything else."

Right away, she noticed what a calming presence they had. "Even the way they chew their cud is relaxing to be around because it's very methodical," she says. Lainey was going through a divorce and dealing with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis at the time, but even when things got particularly hard, the goats provided relief.

"I found it impossible to be stressed or depressed when I was with them."

She started inviting friends up to the farm for what she called "Goat Happy Hour." Soon, the word spread about Lainey's delightful, stress-relieving furry friends. At one point, she auctioned off a child's birthday party at her farm, and the mom asked if they could do yoga with the goats. And lo, the idea for goat yoga was born.

A baby goat on a yoga student. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Goat yoga went viral so much so that by fall of 2016, Lainey was able to quit her office manager job at a remodeling company to manage her burgeoning goat yoga business full-time. Now she has 10 locations nationwide.

Lainey handles the backend management for all of her locations, and loves that side of the business too, even though it's less goat-related. "I still have my own personal Goat Happy Hour every single day so I still get to spend a lot of time with my goats," says Lainey. "I get the best of both worlds."

Lainey with her goat Fabio. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse

Since COVID-19 hit, her locations have had to close temporarily. She hopes her yoga locations will be able to resume classes in the spring when the vaccine is more widely available. "I think people will need goat yoga more than ever before, because everyone has been through so much stress in 2020," says Lainey.

Major life changes like Lainey's can come around for any number of reasons. Even if they seem out of left field to some, it doesn't mean they're not the right moves for you. The new FOX series "Call Me Kat", which premieres Sunday, January 3rd after NFL and will continue on Thursday nights beginning January 7th, exemplifies that. The show is centered around Kat, a 39-year old single woman played by Mayim Bialik, who quit her math professor job and spent her life's savings to pursue her dreams to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jeff Harry started making similar moves when he was just 10-years-old, and kept making them throughout his life. After seeing the movie "Big,"Jeff knew he wanted to play with toys for a living, so he started writing toy companies asking for next steps. He finally got a response when he was a sophomore in high school — the company told him he needed to become a mechanical engineer first.

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Katie Schieffer is a mom of a 9-year-old who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after spending some time in the ICU. Diabetes is a nuisance of a disease on its own, requiring blood sugar checks and injections of insulin several times a day. It can also be expensive to maintain—especially as the cost of insulin (which is actually quite inexpensive to make) has risen exponentially.

Schieffer shared an emotional video on TikTok after she'd gone to the pharmacy to pick up her son's insulin and was smacked with a bill for $1000. "I couldn't pay for it," she says through tears in the video. "I now have to go in and tell my 9-year-old son I couldn't pay for it."

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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For some people, "no" is the hardest word they'll ever say. It's understandable, telling someone no can create a tense social situation and we all want to be seen as a nice person.

The problem is that never saying "no" to things we don't want to do can lead to a terrible build-up of resentment for our friends, family, or coworkers. It can also lead to feelings of low self-esteem because you can't manage to stand up for yourself.

Left unchecked, this problem can lead to a sense of despair because your life no longer feels like it's yours.

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Nearly a year into the deadliest pandemic in a century, the U.S. is still battling not only the virus, but Americans living in denial of reality as well.

Take this video of a group of anti-maskers who stood in front of a Trader Joe's entrance and tried to argue that they had every right to shop there without masks. The woman narrating the video states that they have "a right to commerce" (they don't—there's literally no such right), that Trader Joe's doesn't have the right to require masks (they do—it's their store), that the mandate to wear masks in public places can't be enforced because it's not a real law (it can—), and that they were not there to demonstrate, but just to buy groceries (umm, right).

The manager, to his credit, did what he could to calmly talk with these people while also making it clear that they were not going to enter the store without a mask.

"The point you're trying to make isn't going to be made with us," he said. "It can be made with your government...I am not here to debate policy. I totally respect for you to think anything you want to think...my job, as manager of the store is to enforce the mandate, whether you believe in it or not."


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