Spread of Media Globally

Globalization is the idea that through media technology, economics, politics, and culture can be spread from one part of the world to another, to create what would be called an “imagined community”. The way in which information flows through the globe has changed drastically within recent years due to the drastic increase in technology. The idea of deterriorlization has come into play, stating that cultural identity is no longer found in one’s territory or geographic location because the spread of technology, as well as the internet, has made globalization more culturally based due to the easy and quick spread of information. A model known as the “Center Periphery Model” argues that the spread of information comes from the rest and is then spread to the rest of the globe; this concept is better known as “west to the rest”. This model claims that authority comes from one single place that can be named the dominant culture. The reasoning behind this model is due to the fact that media is able to globally spread ideas from the said dominant culture (in this case, the west) to the rest of the globe. Scholar Arjun Appadurai rejects this center periphery model rather he believes that ideas come from all over the globe, not from one dominant culture. Appadurai believes that is a constant flux and flow between the different “scapes” of media. These scapes include ethncoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, ideascpaes. All of these scapes are essential to the spread of information and culture through the globe. Specifically, mediascapes helps with the spread of media through the globe. Mediascapes is the movement of cultures, stories, as well as images through a variety of different media outlets. These cultures and stories are then left up for interpretation to other communities. Additionally there are two “flows” of media that help information be spread globally, these flows as known as the global media flow as well as the contra media flow. The global media flow is the “dominant” media flow with examples such as Hollywood, MTV, Disney, CNN and BBC. The contra flow exists in the surroundings of the dominant media flow with examples of Bollywood, and Al Jazeera. The way in which media is able to spread through the media has drastically changed with the creation and improvement of different technology and technology platforms. With these different spread and flows of information and media throughout the world different cultures have adapted those of other counties. Focusing of the Indian film “Wadjda” and the Hollywood film “Mean Girls” as well as the different beauty ideals for each country, the two movies have both similarities and differences with regard to the depiction of women within these films.

Picture: Google Images

Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy [Theory, Culture & Society] by: Arjun Appaduri

Appaduri, A. (1990). Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy.

Media on the Move [Global flow & Contra Flow] by: Daya Kishan Thussu

Daya Thussu, D. K. (2007). Media on the Move Global flow & Contra Flow.

Indian Cinema

It is evident that each culture has their own beauty standards. There are a variety of different reasons as to why these different beauty ideals in different cultures develop. Focusing specifically on the Indian film “Wadjda” directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, women are expected to wear a Hijab. This hijab is presumed to cover all skin on the women in that they are not allowed to have any of the skin to be showed in public. One specific scene in this movie that in a way, goes against this beauty ideal and standard is when one of the main characters in the film tries on a red dress in a bathroom. The character goes to the mall with the anticipation of finding a dress in order to impress her husband with hopes that he will not leave her to go on and find another wife. She tries the dress on in a bathroom with a mirror and her daughter in front of her, as well as a posted in the background that has different sexualized parts of the female body censored out. The dress in which she is trying on is red, also known as the color that symbolizes love. With having the mirror and her daughter in front of her she is reflecting on the current situation in her life. The censored poster in the background goes with the beauty ideal that all parts of women need to be covered and that revealing these different body parts is not allowed or permitted. One other scene in this movie that shows the different beauty ideals of this country is when the main character Wadjda, gets in trouble for not wearing her headpiece to school. With this Wadjda was exposing her head and hair, which is something that is strictly forbidden in their culture. These two scenes are examples of different beauty standards that are mean to be upheld, yet in some cases were not.

Picture: Google Images

Kid on a Bike: ‘Wadjda’ Tries to Break the Silence by: Isabel Stevens

Publications, I. O. (2013, October 15). ‘Wadja’ Tries to Break the Silence – Arts – Utne Reader. Retrieved May 07, 2017, from http://www.utne.com/arts/kid-on-a-bike-wadjda-zm0z13ndzlin

Hollywood Cinema

In America, women feel as if they are expected to follow different ideals that are shown on television, and in advertisements. The movie “Mean Girls” is an American film directed by Mark Waters that caters towards different beauty ideals for women. One scene in particular in which this is shown is during a Halloween party. The so-called “popular” girls of the high school throw a party for Halloween. As Halloween has been defined in American culture, it is a holiday that is supposed to be scary and people are expected to dress up in different costumes. For this particular party one of the characters named Cady dresses as she thought she was supposed to, in a scary costume coming as zombie bride with makeup dripping down her face and a long black dress. When she arrives at the party she gets many different dirty looks as every girl there I dressed in minimal clothing, wearing short shorts and cropped tops. One of the girls goes up to her and questions as to why she is dressed like that and she replies by stating that what she is wearing represents the holiday. Cady responds with “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” This quote goes to show that women are expected to reveal their bodies on Halloween and if you do dress as a “slut” then you will be judged and looked at differently. Many teenage girls have created this so-called beauty ideal that this is the way in which one must dress on this holiday.

Picture: Google Images


Bringing It All Together

Wadjda and Mean Girls are two presumably very different films yet do have a set of similarities and of course, differences. To start, the movies take place in very different counties with one being in Indian and the other in the United States. The beauty ideals that are expressed in these two films differ a great deal. Each movie has their own ideals yet they are shown in two very different ways. The main plot of “Wadjda” and “Mean Girls” both take place in schools. Although there is an age different between the schools, the girls in the school are each expected to dress in a certain way. In “Wadjda” the girls are expected to be covered from head to toe and if they are not, they will get in trouble. As stated above, Wadjda got in major trouble when she arrived at school with her head not covered. In “Mean Girls”, it is made clear that they are only allowed to wear jeans one day a week and every other day they must wear skirts or dresses. If they do not follow these rules they are looked upon with shame and their friends will not talk to them. Also, they state that on Wednesday’s they have to wear pink or else they are unable to sit at a certain lunch table. In this, each girl who attends school is expected to wear something specific or they will be shamed. Contradictory in the two movies arises when Wadjda gets in trouble for showing her face in that it must be covered, and Cady gets in trouble for not exposing enough of her body on Halloween. With these movies coming out people across the globe are able to see the way in which different countries honor their different beauty standards. Along with this, they are able to see how each countries represents their beauty standards and the repercussions that come along with not following these set beauty standards. If it was not for the improvement in technology these movies would not be able to be spread globally and people would not be able to see how different countries represent their beauty ideals.