Here at Be My American Girl, I love questions. Send them to me, I live for them.
I recently received a question via email, and I thought I’d share the answer in a post.
“What is it about America that interests you so much?? Isn’t it just Britain but with a different accent?”
It’s an interesting question. I talk about my degree in my post ‘My Degree, My Passion‘, but that focuses a lot on my degree rather than the subject matter.
Back in my first days of high school I had dreams of studying English at Cambridge. I love English, I love reading, and I love writing. It wasn’t until the end of my GCSE’s that I realised that English at Cambridge was not for me. Which was ok. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I enjoyed media. I then wanted to study Journalism at City, University London, and then realised I don’t really like being told to write about things I’m not interested in. Entitled and stubborn, I know it may seem that way. I just believe that writing is better if the author is passionate about their subject, and I think it’s easier to be passionate about things you’re interested in.
During the summer between high school and college, I began to look into Public Relations and similar degrees. I’ve been told since then that I could be a British Olivia Pope, but I don’t quite think I’m suited to THAT kind of life (Scandal viewers you know where it’s at). I soon drifted away from this idea, and stumbled on American History. My attention was caught; I like history, my teacher said had a good head for dates (although where that’s gone I’ll never know), and the US has always intrigued me. Reading more into it, I discovered it was a bit too historical.
It was here that I realised I was more interested in the Cold War and Civil Rights than the American Civil War. I thought back to my History GCSE, where I sped through the sections in the textbook that covered the US. I read ahead of the class, not to be a know it all, but because it was so interesting to me. Reading about how black American citizens were treated with such indignity and subjected to horrific violence, and learning about American propaganda during the Cold War struck chords with me.
The thing I find intriguing about the US is that in many ways it’s largely a contradiction. It claims to be the ‘land of the free’, but was largely built on slavery and subjected a large proportion of its inhabitants to outrageous treatment. The ‘American Dream’ is a cornerstone of American thought, and yet it’s near impossible to achieve. I love how significant the US has become; a superpower in terms of military, population and economy. Hollywood is synonymous with film, and artists such as Beyoncé and Lady Gaga continue to make headlines around the world.
So no, I don’t believe the US is just Britain with a different accent. It’s a paradox, it’s fiery, it’s smart and silly at the same time. It’s an enigma, one that I love, one that constantly makes me think.
I abandoned my search for a degree for a while, not believing I could find anything that encapsulated all my interests. And then it found me. American Studies. And the rest, as they say, is a not too historical history.