6 Classic Midwestern Stereotypes Debunked

One of the best parts about living in the Midwest is getting a good laugh at the Midwestern stereotypes that are out there. Sure, there is a kernel of truth to some of them (or at least there once was), but as any Midwesterner knows, we are far more than our stereotypes.

Let’s peep at some of the craziest misconceptions people have about the Midwest compared to what it’s really like.

There is Nothing to Do in the Midwest

Okay, let’s spill the tea on this one. First, the lack of oceans and mountains makes Midwesterners take their sports teams seriously. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t just sit at home staring at each other and discussing the weather in the Midwest.

When you mostly have flat land to work with, you get creative. More than 30 professional sports teams call the Midwest home. From NASCAR to team sports like basketball, baseball, football, hockey, and more, you will find your favorite sports here.

Did someone say natural beauty? We have open green spaces, forests, lakes, and beaches galore in the Midwest. Okay, the beaches may be beside the lakes, but they’re still good for everything from catching rays to swimming to chillin’ on a boat.

Do you like music festivals? If so, you might want to consider Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Hinterland Festival in Saint Charles, Iowa; or the Winstock Country Music Festival in Winsted, Minnesota. From trap to pop, rock to EDM, the soundscape of Midwest summers will have you and your squad turnin’ up all day and night. Plus, with all the beautiful views, you won’t be able to resist the vibes!

So, don’t come at us with the assumption that Midwesterners don’t have anything to do.

We’re All Farmers in the Midwest

Yeah, the Midwest gets a rep for farmers, but it’s not as intense as it looks. You’re not gonna see a farmer every time you turn around. According to USA Facts, about 2% of the labor force in Ohio are farmers; that figure is about 5% in Missouri, about 7% in Oklahoma, and a whopping 9% in Iowa.

According to jobnetwork.com, the top 5 jobs in the Midwest are operations research analyst, human resources specialist, rideshare driver, registered nurse, and sales representative. Oh, and for people who can work remotely from home, the Midwest is gaining popularity as a place to live because of its beauty, great lifestyles, and affordable housing.

By the way, the next time you are enjoying your favorite avocado toast, burrito bowl, or pizza, thank a farmer. Well, you probably won’t be able to find an actual farmer to thank them but take a moment to be grateful for farmers. Your favorite foods and… um… any food wouldn’t be possible without them!

No One Famous Lives in the Midwest

So, do you think that all famous people in the United States are born in New York or Los Angeles and then just stay there? Think again! Plenty of famous people are originally from the Midwest, as well as those who have made the Midwest their home.

The Obamas, Ashton Kutcher, Dave Chapelle, Vince Vaughn, and Jennifer Hudson all come to mind as current Midwestern residents. Although he’s no longer around, Prince’s iconic music lives on – not just in his hometown of Chanhassen, Minnesota, but in our hearts and everywhere else on the globe.

Oh, and did we mention influencers? The next time you are checking out your favorite influencer like @jordynjones or @laurenelizabeth on Insta, TikTok, or YouTube, do a bit of research on where they hail from. Technology has made the world a small place. Chances are some of your favorites are living their best life right here in the Midwest.

We Eat Bland Food in the Midwest

Um… we can understand how you could get the wrong impression on this, so let’s unpack it a bit. The Midwest is known for delicious eats like homemade pies, big country breakfasts, cheesy casseroles (which are to die for, btw), and burgers on the grill in backyard barbecues, but if you think that’s all there is to Midwestern food, you are missing out.

Have you tried Chicago deep-dish pizza? What about Cincinnati chili? The Italian and Polish food for which Cleveland is famous, including a version of the cassata cake? Coney Island hot dogs from Detroit, anyone? All things barbecue in Kansas City? Authentic Thai, Vietnamese, and Somali restaurants in the Twin Cities?

If you are eating bland food in the Midwest, it’s purely by choice. If you’re new to the area, just ask a friendly local for a recipe or a restaurant suggestion. They’ll have your back.

We Aren’t Stylish in the Midwest

Delivery to the Midwest doesn’t take the Pony Express anymore. Sure, in the old days, new styles would start on the East Coast or the West Coast and take a few years to make their way here, but there is this thing called social media. It spreads ideas, including cool trends in clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, and makeup, in seconds.

Did you know that both Indianapolis and Chicago have their own fashion weeks? Influencers also flock to the Mall of America to buy the trendiest clothes, where they can check the goods out IRL. Now if you wanna stay on trend, you have to check out the Midwest.

Perhaps the core of this stereotype is that Midwesterners are known for valuing a dollar. But being savvy with your money, getting your money’s worth, and investing in timeless pieces that can be styled in many ways and last for years is cool.

We Aren’t Cultured in the Midwest

To hear non-Midwesterners talk, one would think all Midwesterners look alike, talk alike, and have exactly the same backgrounds, opinions, and interests—and that none of them are interesting! The Midwest actually has a lot of diversity, different educational paths, and so much culture. It’s more interesting than y’all think!

Immigrants from all around the world have found their way to the Midwest (word of mouth about good jobs, affordable housing, and great schools has helped!). There are some 900 colleges and universities in the Midwest—and almost 4 million college students. That’s a lot of people who are being exposed to new ideas and learning new skills. From agroecology to zoology and everything in between, you can study it in the Midwest.

And as for the arts, you can find everything from live theater, music, and dance. All kinds of performances and vibes to check out in the Midwest! I mean, Detroit’s where techno came from, and Chicago’s where House music was born.

Hopefully, you get that Midwestern stereotypes aren’t real – no biggie! In the Midwest, we don’t get mad at people who don’t get us – we just show them some love and give them a tasty restaurant or a cool spot to check out.

  • Chris Kane

    Chris Kane is a military veteran and former business owner currently living in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro. Chris is an inveterate entrepreneur and avid web developer who is not shy about sharing his opinions.

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