Hollywood, the glamour, the lights, the fame and fortune! It seems like forever that movies have been released from this American city. Most Hollywood films are released globally and their influence can be seen in many cultures. This has fuelled debate about the homogenisation of cultures and cultural imperialism. The following quote is from David J. Schaefer’s and Kavita Karan’s article “Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows” and explains why Eastern societies are focusing their attentions on producing and releasing “homegrown” movies:
“As noted by Ritzer (2007), cultural hybridity is central to glocalisation, where human agents self-consciously and creatively combine local with global cultural formations in a bid to subvert potentially homogenising forces associated with cultural imperialism.” (2010)
According to Schaefer and Karan the increased production from film industries in countries other than America are a direct response to the constant influx of content produced by the US and its growing influence in those countries. This is because they are seen to be homogenising cultures around the world. To disperse this other countries, like India, have increased production of films that reflect their cultures’ values as they have seen firsthand the impact films can have.
This is very apparent with the changing ideas of what is beauty in Indian culture. Many of the successful actors and actresses in India have pale skin with light coloured eyes and are quite thin. This could be seen as cultural imperialism with the western idea of beauty being embraced by India. This obsession with pale skin is so consuming that many companies have released skin lightening creams for men and women using Bollywood megastars to sell their product.
The following is an advertisement for Fair & Handsome being endorsed by superstar heartthrob Shahrukh Khan; lets just say, the Brad Pitt of India.
Controversy has surrounded his support for skin lightening treatments with an online petition to stop advertising this product gain momentum in India and around the world. Others have vented their views through opinion pieces and blogs.
This is just one of the darker aspects of globalisation with the westernisation, cultural imperialism and the homogenisation of wider opinion seen in India.
What other “western ideals” have permeated other cultures?