Within the past century, America has dominated the media world. American icons like Michael Jackson, and Brad Pitt has been household names in many non-American households. People from all over the world, regardless of race, color, gender, ethnicity, are consuming American movies, films, and other types of media. Not only that, but countless countries are also trying to create their own hybrid forms of media injected with American culture to appeal to the ‘norm’. This just shows how America has dominated the media world. However, for the past several years, Korea has found a way to enter the global stage of popular culture media through KPOP or Korean popular music. However, because of how America has dominated the popular culture over the world for decades, Korean popular culture cannot help but succumb to the pressure of being Americanized in order to appeal to global stage of popular culture which has been dominated by the west. Therefore, a lot of the KPOP music videos that have been popular outside Korea has been ‘Americanized’. The KPOP videos and the artists involved in KPOP have been concealing their ethnic features to be more acceptable in the western media audience. Most of the Korean artists have received cosmetic surgery to have their eyes widened. A lot of them also have changed their hair color to blonde and made their skin color lighter to appeal to western audience. As a direct effect, most of their fans also do this. A lot of women flock the cosmetic clinics in Asia to look like their KPOP idols. The American media not only affected the fans of these Asian media, but it has affected Asian culture as a whole. When I was growing up in Philippines, a country relatively close to Korea, having a lighter colored skin was considered beauty and in contrast, having a dark skin is considered to be bad. Not only has this affected women, but it also affect younger men as well. When I was younger, about the age 10 or so, I used to enjoy playing outside with my friends a lot. I remember always being called to get inside the house when the sun is out because if not, my skin will get darker. In another similar case, when Nina Davuluri, an Indian-American, won Miss America in 2014, a lot of people were naturally very upset because she was Indian. The most shocking thing about all of it was that a lot of people from India were upset at this because her skin was dark. This made me wonder if she would have won a pageant in India considering that her skin was too dark to be considered ‘beauty’ in there.
A lot of these Americanization of Asian media has also extended to anime (a term used to refer to Japanese animated productions). I used to love animes when I was a kid. I still do now. However, I tend to avoid watching the newer animes of today because I feel like a lot of them have been ‘Americanized’ way too much. I can live with watching animes where the characters have western features like blonde hair, wide eyes, and light skinned. I, however, cannot stand watching animes that are dubbed in English. I do understand that a lot of them are made for children. However, animes that are dubbed in English just doesn’t do the anime justice. I think it takes a lot of the emotions away when animes are dubbed to English. One thing that I didn’t noticed until I came to America was the effect of the portrayal of Asian women in animes. Because of some animes where female characters are often portrayed are submissive, a lot of Americans I meet seemed to think that women in Asia are very submissive. I have been to plenty of conversations with my friends here where they want to go to Japan to meet Japanese women.
While Americanizing a lot of Asian products might be good for business, conforming to another’s culture while abandoning your own will eventually lead to harmful effects in terms of culture diversity. What will happen to the world when everything around the world is conforming to that one giant that dictates everything? I certainly don’t want to have all my consumption ideally come from one culture. We should all treasure and invest in the gifts we have.