Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Earth to Meekus, Earth to Brint: Interpreting Body Language

I'm sorry, I haven't been able to get Zoolander quotes out of my dome all day - so much for an optimized title. That is totally irrelevant to everything I had intended on writing.

Anywho, this week's cultural awareness & interpreting body language post will center around the not so universal "A-Ok" hand gesture.

Ignore Willy's mug - just focus on his raised paw.

A-OK gesture by Willy Clinton

To Americans and to our friends over in the UK, this symbolic little number represents an expression of "ok" or "you got it" [dude.. if you're Michelle Tanner.. try to follow the lines here]. However, to many of our earth-inhabiting counterparts, this American act of good faith signifies something totally different. Here's a brief rundown:

  • Russia > Zero (Ok, I can see where they're coming from.)
  • Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain) > Ahem, "you are nothing".
  • Brazil > Vulgar Insult (My strangely perverse mind can also identify why this would be controversial.)
  • South American countries > "Marica" which translates to homosexual.
  • Japan > Money (You've lost me.)

If you want to get creative, apparently making this gesture around your nose means "drunk" in many European countries. Bottom line, just because you're used to making what you consider an innocently universal gesture doesn't mean that it does have just one meaning. Be careful out there, it's called diversity.

4 comments:

Lil' Boozie said...

Note to self: This gesture sort of resembles the head of a cockatoo.

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Anonymous said...

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