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20 Stereotypes About Ohio That Need To Be Set Straight

We are more than Ohio State Buckeye fans and cornfields, I promise you.

Contrary to popular belief, not all of us here own— or have ever owned— a pair of Sperry’s. While it may take some time to see, (as in, more than a day’s stay) our state and the people in it are probably more than what you’ve heard. The following are common stereotypes about Ohioans and the state itself that we feel need to be put into perspective, and when heard should be taken with a grain of salt—at most.

1) We are not all raving football fans.  Sure, many of us are diehard, loyal fans who will paint our bodies. But there are some of us that honestly couldn’t be more apathetic when it comes to all things football.

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2) We have a life outside of (and a lot more things on our mind than) buckeyes—this includes the football players, the candy, the trees, mascots, fans, etc.

3) A trip to Walmart is not how we have fun. (You cannot observe the occasional middle school aged crowd and simply assume that’s what small children, college students and adults do for fun in Ohio. You just can’t.) We actually have to buy things there even though a lot of us wish we didn’t and we choose Target in a heartbeat if it’s within reasonable distance.

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4) A very small percentage of us have actually attempted to tip a cow. Very small.

5) We don’t all have pet cows. (I simply don’t see how my neighbor’s cows across the street count as such a thing. I mean, does your pet live across the street from you in another person’s household?)

6) Sometimes, those of us who wear Sperry’s actually do in fact own a boat. And not all of us wear them. I am living, breathing proof.

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7) People in THE WORLD love buffets. Not just in Ohio.

8) It’s never actually snowed in July or reached 80 degrees in December or anything outlandish like that. Sure, our seasons are confused and inconsistent, but they aren’t actually as crazy as we exaggerate them to be. It’s honestly just fun for us to embrace our fickle weather.

9) In spite of what you might have heard, we actually drive cars and other motor vehicles in addition to tractors.

10) We farm. Yes, we farm. And we are good at it and we should be proud of it. But not all of us live on a farm, grew up on a farm or work on a farm. Please stop taking what we do well and twisting it into a humorous and/or negative stereotype. It’s a good thing that many of us are good at. Let’s leave it at that.

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11) A fancy dinner date doesn’t always mean a trip to Olive Garden because we fully understand that chain restaurants can’t do what local restaurants do.

12) Our buildings, schools and houses are not completely surrounded by cornfields on all four sides. (Do you know how inconvenient/impossible that would be? How could we ever get to a road? Or the destination itself?)

13) Contrary to what you might have heard, we don’t always just stay in one place or work at our high school fast food joint for the rest of our lives. We dream dreams and accomplish our goals. Then we go on to do awesome things around the world or come back to do those same awesome things right in our very own hometown.

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14) Ranch and ketchup are not the only condiments we use because we know that things like buffalo sauce, honey mustard and BBQ actually make the world go round.

15) We don’t all get married in barns because we are well aware that churches, parks and other beautiful places exist.

16) Ohio is only boring if you make it boring.

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17) Many of us actually have decent taste in music because we understand that genres outside of country and pop exist. And we love a good road trip for a concert.

18) We understand the difference between a city and a suburb and when we say we’re from a major city when we actually lived in a suburb within or close to a major city, we’re simply using it as a reference point because we highly doubt that you’ll know what or where we’re talking about when we say we lived in Maple Heights.

19) Not all of our streets are covered in potholes—just basically all of them. And by basically I mean actually all of them. Yes. Every single one. This stereotype is actually 100 percent accurate.

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20) People who live in Ohio do not always hate living in Ohio. (Sure, we have complainers and haters—but so does your state.) We actually have a lot of people who have learned to appreciate and love our imperfect, weather confused, crazy, beautiful state. 

Let the record show that Ohio is more than the things you hear on repeat. What other stereotypes about Ohio do you think need to be set straight?

April Dray
Ohio staff writer for Only in Your State, freelance journalist and blogger. Written word is my zeal. I love my cat and she tolerates me.