Has anyone seen the BBC documentary 'Make me a German'???

(60 Posts)

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worldcitizen Tue 20-Aug-13 00:13:17
FrauEnglischLehrerin Wed 21-Aug-13 15:45:18

There's a thread in Telly Addicts about this programme, although the discussion seems to have more or less finished. People with strong ties to Germany seem to be saying that the programme didn't altogether represent what they thought of as typical for Germany, but those who knew less about Germany have taken it more as gospel. Par for the course, naturaly, but still rather frustrating.

I actually found the part of the programme about the success of the Mittelstand quite enlightening. I used to teach at a company that made plumbing fittings - the factory was located in a village with 600 inhabitants and employed 400 people. One of my students told me they had supplied fittings to the White House. Is it politics that has caused British manufacturing to dwindle?

worldcitizen Wed 21-Aug-13 20:57:15

Thanks for the tip. Didn't know about Telly Addicts. Will have a look in a minute.

worldcitizen Thu 22-Aug-13 00:23:27

I sometimes wonder how all the Germans who are living in the UK manage to deal with all the non-sense, stereotyping, mocking and utter rudeness???

Have been thinking about asking this question for a while, but I guess it's better to leave it at that.

Sometimes I feel almost disgusted by all of it or feel like this sad or this shock or this angry.

MmeLindor Thu 22-Aug-13 00:29:05

Marking place to return tomorrow when on PC.

MmeLindor Thu 22-Aug-13 07:09:01

What a shame the thread was so derailed.

Anyway. I saw the documentary and thought it was interesting, but like other have said, a bit of a wasted opportunity. I lived in Germany for 14 years and am married to a German.

They seemed to have taken a good few extreme examples, mixed in some stereotypes and then added the strange idea that they had to live like an average German couple. I suspect if you did the same in UK, it would not give a picture of our country that we would necessarily identify with.

I found the decision to put the DD into a Waldkindergarten very odd. It is an absolute niche educational choice, I would say.

The talk about childcare and SAHMs was odd too, because they totally neglected to mention maternity leave of 3 yrs, where the employer has to keep the job open for you. This does mean that a lot of women go back into work when their kids go to school, even if just parttime.

Also think that they missed out on explaining the recent changes, with the advent of the Ganztagsschule and wraparound after-school-care in many areas.

I found it interesting to view the difference in work ethic, as this is something that DH has noticed (having just moved over here). He is used to a very formal uebergabe of responsibilities, and that just didn't happen here. I wondered if the apprentice system in Germany made people more accustomed to training others.

FrauEnglischLehrerin Thu 22-Aug-13 07:46:29

Interesting what you say about the difference in work ethic, MmeLindor. I'd wondered whether that part of the programme might have been unfair towards Britain, since it seemed to imply workers there only do bits and pieces of work in between fbing and gossiping (I haven't lived in the UK for a long time).

I agree with what you say about childcare and I think maybe those mums Bee Rowlatt was talking to had already had a earful from her about how unfulfilled she was feeling having to stay at home and look after her children and do housework when she could have been at work. The complaint that it is barely financially worthwhile to go back to work once you factor in childcare costs and tax is presumably valid for a lot of British mothers, too.

worldcitizen Thu 22-Aug-13 08:48:42

I find the term 'Hausfrau' really and old-fashioned description of a SAHM as well. Not sure, if people know, it's very often considered a derogatary term as well?!

Women would usually like to describe themselves with their professions and what they've trained or studied to be and THEN add that they are staying home with children and that they are not working at all, or they are working part-time in their profession or working something else, cause it fits better with school hours or whatever.

I know tons of women from loads of countries who would love to be able to decide, if they would like to stay at home with new child a month, a year or 3 years...AND be able to return to old job.
And the fact that fathers also can take the paternity leave plus parents being able to switch back and forth as well is important.

I cannot stand when Bavaria (as the Bundesland) is constantly brought as a German prime example.
To me that would be like only featuring Scotland and presenting that region (I know country) as the UK.

I am sure if German newspapers and comedians would constantly represent every Brit as the kilt-wearing (lederhosen) "Haggis" (Kraut) with a very distinguishable accent (Bayrisch und Fränkisch) which couldn't be further away from the RP English (as in Hochdeutsch), even many Scots wouldn't feel well represented.

And I know, some might say that Schwäbisch or Sächsisch or Thüringisch might even be even further away from the Hochdeutsch grin

MmeLindor Thu 22-Aug-13 12:45:03

FrauEnglishLehrerin
I did think it implied that British workers are a bit lazy. The conversation about it not being worthwhile to go back to work was misleading, as it wasn't really made clear that this was due to the tax brackets of the parents, ie while one parent stays home with the kids, the other parent is taxed a lot less. If both parents work, you have to decide who pays least tax.

I can't decide which way around I prefer. Now my kids don't need childcare, I think I prefer the UK system of taxing couples separately.

Worldcitizen
Yes, 'hausfrau' does sound a bit derogatory. Most women I know would say, 'ich bin [job description] aber bin z.Zt in Mutterschutz'. I would say that most of my friends went back to work, at least part time.

DH snorted in derision when he saw them wearing lederhosen and dirdl, drinking 'a Mass'.

Very few of our friends have Trachten outfits, and we lived in Franken - I know that more folk are likely to wear them the further south you get, but even then it is generally at a Fest or a wedding.

Bue Thu 22-Aug-13 23:40:34

I was looking forward to this programme but thought it turned out very silly. I only know the country from visiting family there, but from the people I do know in northern Germany, I really didn't recognize this version of daily life. Also extremely odd that the Rowletts went from being a north London meeja couple to playing at being a couple in a totally different class and social milieu.

LoveSewingBee Sat 24-Aug-13 14:29:08

Haven't seen the programme but read the article in Die Welt.

I agree with others, this is cheap TV and poor journalism.

Of course it does not tell you anything at all about the Germans, it is just all a bit silly really.

How can you get to understand a different country and a different culture in just two weeks, not even speaking the language?

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