Writing countries/states as humans

So, I’m a big fan of stuff like Hetalia (Which was a offensive show) to the point that I decided to start writing my own story involving states or countries but I know that this is controversial.

So, I was wondering how can I make a story where countries or states are humans without it coming off as hurtful/offensive to people/someone?

because you will be personifying a country / state, you will have to make vast generalizations. there’s really no way around it, and that’s why hetalia can be offensive to a lot of people


Scandinavia and the World seem to manage this in comic strip form.


ehhhh well

seeing as how one of the strips says “lol slavery,” i wouldn’t call it completely inoffensive


People will always be offended by stuff like this. I would just try to make it as respectful as you can - don’t make one country/state a complete bad guy, make them like actual people (good and bad traits).


There is no way to do so because countries are run by different people at different times, and, just as importantly, are made up by different people. Can you characterize America the person as a racist oppressor when the country is filled with people of color struggling to survive? There is no way to capture the complexity and the intensity of what it is like to actually live in one of these countries. Hetalia is offensive, in a nutshell, because it thinks it can.


Yeah, I’m going to have to look outside of my own country’s news so that I can find some good stuff about other countries. The news praise our own country and look down on countries who disagree with us (even if they are our allies.)

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Yes! Definitely do some research! What countries are you doing?

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I don’t know yet but I’m going to try to avoid putting in countries like North Korea, Iraq and Iran since I’m American.

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I was just going to recommend Scandenavia and the World. Such a great comic. I learned about varying degrees of rotten fish eating from it. And as an American, absolute love their portrayal of America.

Lol. Read the strip before judging.


Edit: I found the actual comic’s page and right underneath the comic, he says:

Can you imagine the clipshow?

It’s very common for Brits and Scandinavians to joke about how Vikings loved using Brits and the Irish as slaves, which is often met with a mix of confusion and horror by Americans who are unlucky enough to witness it. How can we joke about slavery like that!?
Part of the reason is of course that it was so long ago there’s no reason to be angry anymore, but Northern Europe in general has a very “don’t forget but forgive” approach to history. That’s why we’re already happy to be drinking with Germans but also joke so much about WWII. We’ve done so much bad shit to each other we’d never get anything done if we had to stay mad about it.

2nd Edit:
I started reading the comments under this comic where they’re comparing various slave systems through European/African history and learning soooooooo much.

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Sounds like Countryhumans.

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i did read the strip; that’s why i said it’s not completely inoffensive. to some, it may not be inoffensive, but to others, it is

not all people in europe think the same way and “forget” history. for example, my german friends who live IN Germany are still pretty irked about what happened in world war II.

although it is a trend that europeans forgive and forget easier than americans tend to, it is still a generalization for the most part. remember that

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all in all, i wouldn’t really recommend doing the countries / states thing, just because you will have to end up generalizing no matter what. you will inevitably leave out many viewpoints, since human nature is really hard to define as simple trends or personifications.

i’ve lived in a lot of places (japan, my birthplace, california, britain, and france for a short while). i can’t imagine generalizing or personifying and of those places.

Of course they’re generalizations, but I think reading it as anything else is just a poor reading.

That’s fine, but I’m not sure how that relates to the idea of the cartoon. The slavery they’re talking about is from the viking era, which is so ancient that the only real impact it has on today’s society is genetic mixing and maybe some shared language. Comparing that history to something that happened within living memory, where friends and family are still living with the scars and fallout, is not at all the same thing.

i was talking about this line in particular

anyways, i’m just stating my personal viewpoint. maybe because generalizations have harmed asian americans in both history and in the current era many times, but i just don’t like the potential harm of generalizations

Ah, well again, I think reading it in anything other than general terms is a misread.

As someone who has lived around the world and always appreciated different cultural viewpoints, I :heart: this comic series and always thought he approached things thoughtfully and considerately.

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:woman_shrugging: i’ve been around the world and lived multi-culturally, but my viewpoint on this comic series is different. i’ve seen many people get hurt by generalizations, even the ones in these comics by this specific person.

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Why don’t you maybe do something that’s in the future and maybe in a dystopian world where everyone is a part of one country per se. That way you can have the characters with those names and you can write them however you want without it being offensive.


this is a really good idea ! :two_hearts:

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