Globalisation and Cultural Appropriation

I’m sure we can all agree that the internet and trade has shrunk national borders in terms of communication, accessibility, and time, making it so easy to buy anything online from anywhere in the world; watch anything from anywhere in the world; experience and learn from areas all over the world; and even travel the world at a significantly lower price than ever before. This all comes down to globalisation of communication.

O’shaughnessy, 2012 says that globalisation has been shaped by economic, political, and military interests, as well as technological innovation, which in contemporary society largely includes social media and the internet.

O’shaughnessy says globalisation of communication is characterised by:

“Instantaneity, interconnectedness, interdependence, and a trend towards corporate mergers and conglomeration.”

Cultural appropriation however has become an issue due to globalisation. Different cultures, religions and beliefs have become much more accessible and exposed to the world with a click of a finger. Whether that be through social media platforms, books, education or television; many cultures are exposed to others.

Cultural appropriation basically means that a dominant culture uses elements of a minority culture, and often exploits that particular culture. This can be seen in offensive dressing such as wearing Indian gems worn to festivals that are sacred and meaningful to that culture.

Katy Perry can be used as an example of someone (a very well-known someone) who constantly uses cultural appropriation in her music videos.

2013 American Music Awards - Show
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 24: Katy Perry performs onstage at the 2013 American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

The image above was taken from her opening performance at the 2013 American Music Awards and was widely criticised for her ‘racist’ imitation of Japanese culture and her ‘unhealthy fascination with Geisha’s.’

‘During the performance, Perry donned what many termed “yellow face” while dressed up as a geisha, culturally appropriating and misaligning a portion of Japanese entertainment typically performed in a much more socially aware context.’

Take a look for yourself; what is your view on cultural appropriation?