Guido (slang)

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Guido /ˈɡwd/ is a slang term, often derogatory, for a working-class urban Italian American. The guido stereotype is multi-faceted. Originally, it was used as a demeaning term for Italian Americans in general. More recently, it has come to refer to Italian Americans who conduct themselves in an overtly macho manner.[1] The time period in which it obtained the later meaning is not clear, but some sources date it to the 1970s or 1980s. The term is not currently used in Italy. [2][3][4]

Etymology[edit]

The word "guido" is derived from either the proper name "Guido" or the verb "guidare" (to drive). Fishermen of Italian descent were once often called "Guidos" in medieval times.[5]

Contentious use[edit]

Self-proclaimed guido Michael Sorrentino from Jersey Shore, wearing typical clothing associated with the subculture: gold chain, black leather jacket, and quiff.

The term is used in metropolitan areas associated with large Italian-American populations, such as New York, Ohio, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey.[6] In other areas, terms such as "Mario" (Chicago) and "Gino" (Toronto) have a meaning similar to guido.[4] Although some Italians self-identify as "guidos", the term is often considered derogatory or an ethnic slur.[4][7]

MTV caused controversy in 2009 when they used the term in promotions for the reality television show Jersey Shore.[4] This spurred objections from Italian-American organizations such as Unico National, NIAF, the Order Sons of Italy in America,[8][9] and the Internet watchdog organization ItalianAware.[10][11] Although MTV removed the term from some promotions, it remains closely associated with the show, and some of the cast members use it regularly to describe themselves while the females sometimes refer to themselves as a "guidette."[4]

According to author and professor Pellegrino D'Acierno, "guido" is a derogatory term for stereotypical working class or lower class Italian American males, "a pejorative term applied to lower-class, macho, gold-amulet-wearing, self-displaying neighborhood boys [...] [with a] penchant for cruising in hot cars [...] Guidette is their gum-chewing, big-haired, air-headed female counterpart."[12] In regards to the "guido" stereotype and the depiction of working class Italian American communities in American film, Peter Bondanella contends that: "Although some films view the working class as a potentially noble and dignified group, others see the working-class Italian American as a Guido or Guidette - part of a tasteless, uneducated, prejudiced group of characters with vulgar gold chains, big hair, and abrasive manners."[13]

Style[edit]

Clothing associated with the stereotype includes gold chains[1] (often herringbones chains, Figaro chains, cornicellos, or saint medallions), pinky rings, oversized gold or silver crucifixes, rosaries worn as necklaces, working class clothing such as plain T-shirts, muscle shirts[14] or "guinea Ts", leather jackets, sweat or tracksuits, scally caps, unbuttoned dress shirts, tank tops featuring martial arts logos, designer brand T shirts such as Armani, Affliction,[15] or Ed Hardy (especially from 2010-15), and often typical Italian "tamarro" or "truzzo" club dress.[16] Slicked-back hair and pompadours,[3] blowouts, tapers, poofs, quiffs, fades and heavily pomaded or gelled hair[2] are also common stereotypes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Edward Guthmann (July 18, 1997). "'Guido' Light On Swagger". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 17, 2009.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "chron97" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b Libby Copeland (July 6, 2003). "Strutting Season". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Maria Miro Johnson (August 28, 1988). "High school: Where the wrong sneakers can turn a Skate Rat into an outcast". Providence Journal-Bulletin. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Caryn Brooks (December 12, 2009). "Italian Americans and the G Word: Embrace or Reject?". Time. Retrieved December 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ Bondanella, Peter E. Hollywood : Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos(2005) (ISBN 978-0826417572)
  6. ^ Tricario, Donald (Spring 1991). "Guido: Fashioning An Italian-American Youth Style" (PDF). Journal of Ethnic Studies (19, no.1): 44–66. 
  7. ^ Wayne Parry (July 19, 2008). "NJ beach town mayor sez 'Fuhgeddaboudit!' to blog". USA Today. Retrieved December 17, 2009. ("he referred to as 'guidos', employing a term widely considered an ethnic slur...")
  8. ^ https://www.niaf.org/public_policy/images/NIAF_Letter_Viacom-JerseyShore11-09.pdf
  9. ^ "Italian-American Groups Ask MTV to Cancel 'Jersey Shore'". Fox News. November 25, 2009. 
  10. ^ "osiarelease". Italianaware.com. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  11. ^ "Italian groups target MTV". pressofAtlanticCity.com. 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  12. ^ D'Acierno, Pellegrino (1999). Cinema Paradiso: The Italian American Presence in American Cinema. Taylor & Francis. p. 628. 
  13. ^ Bondanella, Peter (2004). Hollywood Italians: Dagos, Palookas, Romeos, Wise Guys, and Sopranos. A&C Black. p. 90. 
  14. ^ Betsy Israel (May 9, 1993). "Rave at Close of Day? You Betcha". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  15. ^ Guido guide
  16. ^ Ed Hardy clothing banned in nightclubs