by Mayu Shibata
In the last class we watched TV commercials of cosmetics for lighter skin, which are mostly on air in darker skin nations. We simply enjoyed watching it but it meant a lot. It’s not only about western culture coming into a nation. Well, I read a book about Indian economic growth before and it tells that in India many women seek cosmetics to get lighter skin. According to the book, Indian women pay more attention than ever with the influence of TV shows and magazines and its beauty market has been expanding. Among beauty goods, cosmetics for lighter skin are selling best. As for Indian women, they have cultural and historical backgrounds that they want to get lighter skin. In early days they had the caste system and the higher caste people had lighter skin than lower castes. Their castes were decided partly on their color of skin and therefore they had dreamt of lighter skin for long. And what boosted their adoration is an influence of western TV shows and magazines.
Here’s another story in India. With the rapid economic growth more women are taking part in society. There are more career women and women students and motor scooters are popular with those women now. Honda and local company cooperated and produced motor scooters for women ‘Just for Her’, which hit the market. In India women still struggle with local custom which requires women to stay home and do all the house work. Many men even marry a woman to look after their family and home.
These two stories represent a variety of culture coming into India.
I visited Malaysia last summer to study its culture. In stores there are many cosmetics for lighter skin, American instant noodles, foreign daily products and other countries’ TV shows are on air like Chinese, Japanese and American (with Malaysian/English subtitles). I felt that they live in a much more multi-national country and so that they know about those countries and its culture very well.
It’s pretty much the same in Japan, I think. People like American music, fashion, gossips and TV shows. They know about those stuffs through media and moreover they are mostly available here in Japan, too.
I think it’s fine that another culture comes into a country because I think it has externality in an economically good meaning. In my opinion it’s a matter of people whether the other culture invade the country or not so just let it be because that’s what people want. I do concern that the world goes standardized but I’m not sure if we should avoid it even by sacrificing people’s desire, dream and consumption. I mean that’s a lot. In any way I think now we cannot totally avoid other cultures from coming into a nation.