Are you really honouring a culture that you don’t know anything about?

Globalization goes further into everyday lives than may be noticed. You might dress up for an occasion in clothes that you didn’t realize were culturally offensive, or you might be noticing how almost every movie that you see these days is an American film, which has the tendency to stereotype other nations and their cultures. These different concepts of globalization impact more than expected through cultural appropriation and transnational film.

Cultural appropriation can be defined as “power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group”.

I will admit, I have worn a Native American headdress to a party before as a costume, with no harmful intentions whatsoever, but many people have done something like this without being aware of the impacts. Most people have no intentions on being racist on any account, but are clueless about the impacts of their dress.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.10.47 AM

An example of cultural appropriation was Katy Perry’s music video for her song ‘Dark Horse’; she is seen burning an Islamic pendant with a lightening shot. This scene offended Muslims to the point where a petition was started to remove the video form YouTube, the petition received more than 50000 pledges. This just goes to show how cultural appropriation can offend people religiously and culturally. A comment was made by Faeezah Shaik stating, “Artists should consider the impact their ‘art’ would have on society and not just go ahead and do things for the sake of being controversial”. Shaik makes an excellent point; these days you see so many artists naïvely trying to break boundaries that they have no business dealing with. Perry could just be naïve to the concept of cultural appropriation, and might even be trying to embrace different cultures? Who knows? And maybe she didn’t have the intentions to disrespect a culture, but she seems to perform with a variety of different cultural inspirations frequently, and often receives quite a bit of criticism for her performances being racist or offensive.


Transnational film is a form of globalization, which combines the components of different nations and their cultures, therefore blending different cultures and their teachings into the film. An example of transnational film is the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (2008).


Traditionally in Bollywood Indian films “you won’t see French kissing, nudity of any kind, or excessive drug use. Modest kisses do turn up from time to time. Touchy political subjects (like religious or ethnic violence) are off limits, especially in films critical of the ruling party.” Now this is where the transnational element comes into play.


The film is Indian, but because the director and screenwriter are both British, the film doesn’t incorporate the traditional Bollywood rules; it’s got more of a Hollywood film feel. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ even demotes India to poverty, beggars and prostitution. So is the film culturally appropriating India by only showing the negative side of the nation?



Globalization encourages international collaboration, allowing people to work together and explore different cultures. Although some situations can be sensitive, it is still a way to expand horizons and collectively grow with knowledge of the world.


Johnston, 2015, What’s Wrong with Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal Its Harm, Available From:

< >

Duca, 2013, Cultural Appropriation 101, Featuring Geisha Katy Perry And The Great Wave Of Asian Influence, Available From:

< >

Denham, 2014, Katy Perry video causes offence after featuring burning ‘Allah” pendant, Availabe From: < >

Film L.A, 2014, 2013 Feature Film Production Report, Available From: < >

Engber, 2005, What Are the Rules of Bollywood?, Available From: < >


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s