Iowa gets pinned with quite a few stereotypes, especially with the attention that accompanies our first-in-the-nation status. “Iowa nice” and “Iowa stubborn,” among other things, have been associated with the way we operate. One trend I have been noticing, however, has been flying under the stereotype radar — “Iowa naive.”
As for most stereotypes, it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. This is also not to say that Iowans are ignorant or stupid, but I have been observing that we don’t quite catch on to implied meanings, especially when said innuendos are sexual in nature. This whole idea was sparked by an email I received from the Polk County Democrats last week that incorporated the term “Afternoon Delight,” but not in the way you would think:
It’s widely understood that “Afternoon Delight,” popularized by the Starland Vocal Band, has some pretty strong sexual undertones. To be crass, it means a daytime quickie. However, the Polk County Democrats and Dallas County Democrats seem to be quite a bit out of the loop. But if not, it should make for an interesting fall fundraiser.
The Polk and Dallas County Democrats are not the only Iowan offenders. Sen. Chuck Grassley has become quite famous for his Twitter antics. Around this time last year, he added to his portfolio of social media faux pas by tweeting about frozen treats in Windsor Heights:
Windsor Heights Dairy Queen is good place for u kno what
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) November 3, 2014
I am also fan of the Windsor Heights Dairy Queen, and I think it is a great location for plenty of things — but Grassley’s tweet doesn’t quite reflect my same type of affection. In fact, the ambiguous “u kno what” really makes the whole thing strangely sexual and uncomfortable. It is safe to assume that Grassley was not engaging in any promiscuous behavior at the Windsor Heights Dairy Queen; however, it is also difficult to ignore just how “Iowa naïve” the tweet really was.
Even Iowa companies have fallen victim to the “Iowa naïve” curse. Beaver Mower, located in Des Moines, is a company that innocently specializes in home and lawn equipment, but whose name implies more explicit intentions. Iowa is also home to the unfortunately named gas station chain Kum & Go, but I don’t think that one needs any further explanation.
Iowa is many things. It is a great place to live and go to school, it is home to the first political event of every presidential election season, and it is full of genuinely great people. When the media flocks to town every four years, however, Iowa gets pinned with stereotypes that tend to stick. So Iowa, it’s time to stop this stereotype in its tracks. End needless naiveté today.
Steirer is a senior LPS, politics, and rhetoric triple major, mother of three, aspiring travel blogger and lover of traditional architecture and any and all dogs. Follow her on Twitter.