That isn’t appropriate… Or is it? 

A shift from national branded films to partnerships of different countries coming together to form a film is encouraged within the film industry, with many elements being explored such as cast, production location and crew, a ‘transnational’ film can dramatically change the way in which an audience perceives the film.

‘As noted by Ritzer (2007), cultural hybridity is central to glocalization, where human agents self-consciously and creatively combine local with global cultural formations in a bid to subvert potentially homogenizing forces associated with cultural imperialism (Schiller, 1991).’ (6)
An example of this would be ‘The dark Knight’ a film shot in America with distinctive English protagonists. The film therefore isn’t British, ‘it can’t be defined under one nation thus welcoming the idea of Transnationalism.’(1)

With a greater push towards the idea of ‘transnational film’ we see issues of cultural appropriation surface. The films created are viewed as having ‘borrowed’ different cultural elements and can often be portrayed negatively from the culture that they have borrowed from.

An example of this would be Johnny Depp’s character, ‘Tonto’ in the film,’The lone ranger’ released in 2013. Here we see Native American elements, both misleading and stereotypicalized. ‘Although Johnny Depp claimed to be using the role as an opportunity to ‘salute’ the Native American culture and ‘fix years of Native American misrepresentation in Hollywood’’ (2) it was anything but.

That was just one example, there are many different examples of the ways in which we culturally appropriate different elements of culture. This could even include fashion:!Issues-with-Cultural-Appropriation-/ckcg/6830AD42-A47B-4273-9533-5E0D130053FA
So how far is too far? When most artists or people are questioned regarding ‘borrowing’ a culture. They state that they are ‘honouring’ a culture, but in doing so they stereotypicalize what the culture is about rather than the significance of the elements being used. An example of this would be the use of a tradition bindi, worn by women in Hindu Dharma, a red bindi signifies that the woman is married (5) yet this once significant symbol is taken out of context as a fashion element used at festivals and daily outings by a ‘culture’ or ‘group’, that don’t have a clear understand of what it signifies.

The groups who borrow a culture are often unaware of the significance and tend to do things against the significance or beliefs of the element being borrowed. This is evident when we look at girls at social events such as a festival, wearing a bindi yet drinking, and performing in sexual acts while single. This is a negative portrayal and image being projected through the use of a cultural element.

Many state that as long as you aren’t degrading or mocking that culture, you aren’t at any risk of culturally appropriating in a negative way. However, will we ever truly know if it is appropriate or not? The controversial arguments that surround this particular definition confuse many, whether honoring and respecting the cultural element, we need to tread carefully when borrowing elements of different cultures, understanding the significance behind such cultural elements.
(1)What Is Transnational Cinema? – Transnational Cinema & Online Culture. 2015. What Is Transnational Cinema? – Transnational Cinema & Online Culture. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 September 2015].

(2) Transnational Cinema and Cultural Appropriation | fluffy capybaras. 2015.Transnational Cinema and Cultural Appropriation | fluffy capybaras. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 September 2015].

(3) Guess we can add Victoria’s Secret to the list | Native Appropriations. 2015.Guess we can add Victoria’s Secret to the list | Native Appropriations. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 September 2015].

(4) Does cultural appropriation in pop music even matter? | NOISEY. 2015.Does cultural appropriation in pop music even matter? | NOISEY. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 September 2015].

(5) What does the Bindi signify?. 2015. What does the Bindi signify?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 04 September 2015].

(6) Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, 6: 3, pp. 309-316.


Minority Vs. Majority

The notion that Australia is a multicultural nation could be seen as false with events such as the Cronulla Riots in 2005 and Andrew Bolts column’s for the Herald Sun in April 2009. Controversial instances such as this could allow the nation to be perceived as ethnocentric.

Cronulla riots:

On December 11, 2005 Australians targeted men with ‘middle eastern’ appearances on Cronulla Beach. The media coverage of this ‘race riot’ went beyond news reporting, and ventured into ‘opinions from the community and political leaders.’ [1]

Cronulla riots
Cronulla riots

Different perspectives were shared by Australians, with many locals feeling it was ‘a matter of time’ and a sign of ‘pride and respect,’ while others felt ‘shame and fear’ [2] towards the riots. What followed was an attempt to repair the damage that had been done to not only the victims, but Cronulla locals, and the nation as a whole. Many Australians were ashamed with how they were portrayed to different nationalities around the world. Marginson suggests, ‘We need to give them dignity as persons with equal standing and rights with ourselves,’ [3]  a majority of Australians believed this and it seems the minority of Australians involved in the race fueled controversy aren’t accustomed to a multicultural landscape.

Bolts 2009 column:

On the 15th, 16th, and 21st of April 2009 numerous articles were published by Andrew Bolt for the Herald Sun, targeting ‘white’ Aboriginal people. Titles of the articles ranged from, ‘Its so hip to be black,’ ‘White is the new black’ and ‘White fellas in the black’ [4] which targeted ‘fair-skinned’  Aboriginal’s. It wasn’t acknowledged until Pat Eatock brought forth the matter to the federal court in 2011. A section of the Court summary states, ‘Broadly speaking, the nature of her complaint is that the articles conveyed offensive messages about fair-skinned Aboriginal people, by saying that they were not genuinely Aboriginal and were pretending to be Aboriginal so they could access benefits that are available to Aboriginal people. Ms. Eatock wants the law to address this conduct.’ [5]

Ms. Eatock- 'Fair-skinned aboriginal
Ms. Eatock- ‘Fair-skinned aboriginal

The Australian publisher and author participated in what Pat Eatock believes ‘unlawful conduct’ towards fair-skinned aboriginals, stating it publicly humiliated, insulted, offended and intimidated them as a minority. After Eatock along with eight other Aboriginal leaders sued Bolt under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Peter Kell and Gillian Vogl suggested through research that, ‘Australians can appear ambivalent, distant and disinterested in international students and foreigners in general,’ [6] this statement supports the idea that, as ‘Australians’ we often don’t want to engage with foreigners due to language barriers, yet we can sit and judge different races and religions such as in Bolts column 2009.

A majority of people can be judged by the actions of a minority inside the larger group. This can create an ill perceived notion of what a culture actually is due to the actions of small groups of people. Australia in large part isn’t an Ethnocentric nation, but that doesn’t mean individuals and small groups aren’t within the nation.

[1] SBS. 2010. Cronulla Riots- The day that shocked the nation. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 02 September 15].

[2] Case Study 4. 2010. The Cronulla riots – the sequence of events. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 02 September 15].

[3] Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’, Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012, available online at

[4] Herald Sun. 2009. Column- White is the new black. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 02 September 15].

[5] Federal Court of Australia. 2011. tock v Bolt [2011] FCA 1103 (28 September 2011). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 02 September 15].

[6] Kell, P and Vogl, G (2007) ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’,  Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006.

Inter-connect what?

Globalisation, according to O’shaughnessy and Stadler’s, ‘Media and Society’ reading is truely based on ‘interconnectedness’ of media communication systems within the forever converging media landscape. Are we truly ‘connected’ by communication though? I mean sure, we can communicate easier, through multimedia to distant family, friends and even business’s such as using Skype and Facetime. Texting while sat across from each other however, is a whole different story. Which begs me to question, is globalisation effecting the way we communicate thus making us disconnected as a society?

Marshall McLuhan suggests ‘people of the world can be brought closer together by the globalisation of communication,’ as well as giving people a voice and adding to the large scope of information on the web, globalisation therefore creating and encouraging content creators with independent voices. News and television however thrive on Global content in order to converge ownership and control of media avenues reducing the voices of a society or community. The mass media control the public sphere, creating a narrow minded society who have become dependent on spoon fed information and technology, creating a mediated sphere.

Take marketing for instance, a huge part of connecting networking societies. Marketing matches culture and with more mobile devices than people on the planet it is no wonder brands are becoming personal with consumers through mobile phones, giving consumers a voice on how brands should be marketed, adding to the idea of Castells 2000,p.370; Emphasis in original that we are now ‘living in customized cottages globally produced and locally distributed.’ Yet as consumers we are molded into a global network constructed by the mass media.

With utopian views of coming together such as Hurricane sandy in 2012 and the accounts of what followed from the support of a global network using Facebook and Twitter, truely defines a ‘global village.’ A dystopian view however named by Castells as a ‘network society,’ looks at for example the way in which there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor as a community, is social exclusion due to the poor not having internet, therefore not being connected, broadening the financial gap?

There are many Pros and Cons associated to the way Globalisation affects Australia as a whole, for instance the Cultural aspects of Australia such as food, marketing, music and brands etc are described by many theorists as ‘americanised’. This means that many countries are saturated by the flow of mass media and the way in which different cultural aspects effect another countries. Many suggest that through the ‘Americanisation’ a countries original culture many by lost, an easy example of this would be to take the iconic Australian brand Vegemite, now owned by America and removed of its Kraft logo. Many were outraged stating America was flat out stealing, yet Vegemite and Marmite (a English brand of Vegemite and made before Vegemite in 1902) are relatively, if not the same. The only reason Vegemite is so ‘Australian’ is because of the recognized brand name and perhaps not of the content which is similar to Marmite.

Australia wouldn’t be where is is today without all major exports of resources, either way, Australia calls itself Multicultural, a country accepting of all nationalities and races. This is apart of Australia, a nation that completely accepts globalisation, Australia is extremely connected to the rest of the world but are we truly connected to one another as a society?