Food for ThoughtUncategorized

Myth-busting the Stereotypical Arabs

Ah, stereotypes. One of humanity’s best inventions for when you absolutely don’t want to think or actually get to know people. It’s something that everyone does, and it shows. Just about every nation has a stereotype of its own. Germans are humorless, machine-like workers. American are burger-eating, capitalist, and greedy. Asians are, well, NERDS!!! It even applies to genders: Women can’t drive and Men can’t cook. And while everyone gets their fair share of stereotypes, Arabs have had it the worst. Twenty-two different countries and cultures are lumped together under a bunch of stereotypes. I mean, at least try to stereotype us correctly, you know!

For your enjoyment (and, possibly, the enhancement of your knowledge) here are the most common stereotypes about Arabs:


Not all men dress like this:

Yeah, not all of us wear this, although it does seem very comfy. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Let’s play a game. Close your eyes, and imagine a typical Arab man. If the image in your head looks like the above picture, then you, our lucky reader, are the winner of …. (Editor: For the love of god, STOP MAKING ONLINE CONTESTS!). Anyway, what you see above is a Thobe (or Dishdasha). It’s a type of clothing that is usually made from cotton. While the Dishdasha might be found in any closet (especially in the hot summer days), it’s most usually worn in the Arab Gulf countries.

Speaking of hot temperatures…


We don’t all live in the desert:

The Arabian Desert. Photo Credit:

Let’s play another game, (Editor: Don’t you dare…), Imagine a movie taking place somewhere within the Arab World. The narrator makes it clear that, indeed, this movie’s event are happening in an Arab country. The camera then pans to scenes of sand dunes, camels, and men that look like the dude from above (I thought I’ve seen him somewhere). Yes, there are deserts in the Arab World, but not all of the Arab World is one giant desert. Also, not all Arabs are travelling nomads who constantly move from place to place in search of food and water.


Not all Arab Women are belly dancers:

Catherine Zeta-Jones playing a role as a belly-dancer. Photo Credit:

You’ve seen it a thousand times in the movies, an Arab woman that spontaneously bursts into well-rehearsed and well-performed belly-dancing. Sometimes, it’s all that character knows and its only purpose in life. It is true that belly dancing has its origins set in Middle-Eastern folklore and culture, but that doesn’t mean that every Arab woman knows how to belly-dance. Neither does it mean that Arab women burst into belly dancing to distract the hero from the evil intentions of the villain (it does happen sometimes, though).


We don’t all say Habibi at the end of every sentence:

Habibi…. Photo Credit:

Listen, Habibi. This is very insulting, Habibi. I mean how could you think that about Arabs, huh, Habibi? I know stereotypes exist, but come on, Habibi!

Okay, I may have lied a bit…

So, there you have it. The most common myths and stereotypes about Arabs. Hopefully you’ve had fun, and started saying the word Habibi at the end of every sentence. Right, Habibi?

Don’t forget to leave a smile 🙂




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