A Study In Cultural Anthropology Through Clip Art: Part I

If you’re searching for clip art with keywords like American, French or Swedish, you’re likely to find a lot of stereotypes…and the occasional non sequitur. Let’s say we travel the globe and learn what clip art has to teach us about the world’s cultures! Shall we?

We’ll start in the U. S. of A. for no other reason than it’s where I live. Hell yeah, that’s America. Except we usually prefer the bald eagles NOT be decapitated. I just wanted to clarify that in case anyone is planning on visiting.


Next, shout out to the motherland. The clip art for American may be simple, but at least we aren’t pulling our currency out of a magic hat like the British. Although that may not be too far off.

Let’s take the fancy, high-speed Eurostar train over to Paris and say “Bonjour” to the French. Full disclosure: I have never been to France. But this is exactly who I imagine greeting me at the train station. Against my better judgement, I would eat bread from a stranger. Then he would offer me a cafe au lait and I would drink it. If anyone smarter than me knows how this “striped shirt + scarf + beret = French” equation started, please share.


OK, now we’ll double back to Ireland. I know, I know, poor planning. Next time I’ll get a travel agent. Clip art thinks the Irish are both drunk AND large. Not just large, or extra-large. But, extra-extra-large. Perhaps it’s a Roman numeral. Doesn’t make much sense either way.

One more stop on our trip for today. I don’t know about you but when I think Sweden, I think trolls. Wait, what? That’s right…trolls. I learned that there are some Scandinavian folk tales about trolls when I searched for Swedish clip art.

Don’t worry! Our journey isn’t over! We won’t be stuck in Sweden forever. There are many more places on earth to explore through clip art. If you have clip art to add, please send it to clipsnark@gmail.com.

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5 thoughts on “A Study In Cultural Anthropology Through Clip Art: Part I

  1. Wow, I’d bet that most “cultural” clip arts are full of stereotypes. A quick Google image search for “Asian clip art” just revealed lots of Asian people with slits for eyes.

    • Most of the “cultural” clip art I have found does perpetuate stereotypes. There are also strange things like when you search for India, you’ll find a kerosene lamp. That is a sneak peak for when I do Part II. 🙂

  2. Pingback: St. Patrick’s Day Shopping List | Clip Snark

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