I grew up in California and got some of my childhood/young teen impressions of NYC from reading about Stacey. I pictured everyone there as super sophisticated, smart, trendy, and fashionable. I was wondering what impressions you (non Californians only!) got of California from reading about Dawn.
Californians are very much about saving the environment. Dawn and how all of her friends were saving beaches in stuff. This is also combined with when I was in the seventh grade, California made a ban against plastic bags in grocery stores. So those got me thinking that California was all about saving the environment or something along those lines.
1) I was curious if anyone really thought we were all blondes from reading those books when they were like 8 or 9. Dawn talks about all her friends from California being blonde like her and that one even annoyed me when I was 11. Nothing is mentioned about our diversity (even in the early '90s, California had a large Hispanic and a significant Asian population)
2) Lots of people come here expecting warm, tropical Hawaii-like beaches year round when in reality, the water is actually cold, even in summer and winters are usually cool enough to need a sweater or light jacket (this belief largely comes from non BSC pop culture sources but Dawn sure fed into this expectation by hanging out on the beach in a bikini in winter). I was wondering if anyone on this forum experienced that when coming to California for the first time.
3) The health food one could be somewhat true as there are many people here who are into organic food and I do know quite a few vegetarians and even a few vegans and they are more common here than let's say the South or Midwest but not necessarily more so than the educated cities of the Northeast.
4) The perception that Californians are 'casual' or 'laid back'- I disagree as the traffic, lifestyle here is very fast paced due to the high COL, heavy rush hour traffic, and the "keeping up with the Jones" mentality. It was like this even in the early '90s but is even more so now. Helicopter parenting and scheduling kids for multiple lessons, tutoring programs, etc. without much down time is the norm among upper middle class parents.
I imagined California to be more similar to Australia than Connecticut or NYC and I was right (kind of), so I related to it more. I guess the stereotypes are similar - beaches, beautiful blonde people and laid back lifestyle. So I just imagined it kind of like here Which of course, is (for the most part) a stereotype too!