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Tam Pham
Dr. Gayle
English 812
17th March 8, 2015
Losing Identity
Globalization means that different countries adopt certain trends from each other such as
TV shows, food, car, music, and many more. Similarly, Americanization is when other countries
grow to be more alike to the United States by taking in many different aspects of American
culture. As the United States is spreading its power to every corner around the globe with the
assistance of technology, there are eventually many writers would argue against it. For example,
Mark Rice-Oxley and Brendon O’Connor are among those who against the spread of American
culture, they claim that it has penetrated so deeply that the world culture has been Americanized
and they are on the edge of extinction. The cultural identity associated with The United States
has had a prolific growth advantage due to technology, namely the Internet. The overwhelming
infiltration has had a significant impact on the nation of Vietnam. Beauty traits of Vietnamese
women, media and language associated with said practices are negatively influencing the people
by capturing, altering and stealing away Vietnamese traditional beauty and culture. The ever
rapidly growing rate and availability of various means of technology is the primary cause for this
drastic change.
Undoubtedly, Americanization is terminating the true aspects of culture identity through
the use of Internet. As of today, a tourist can have a vacation to Vietnam, visit main cities such as
Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City and would eventually discover a woman who has different facial
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features by comparing to others. Through the Internet, Vietnamese women have more access to
the outside world. Only by a few clicks and videos, they decide to spend hours in front of a
mirror tormenting themselves with a question “Am I beautiful?” Following this further, one can
easily distinguish between original beauty of a Vietnamese woman and a woman who has given
up her originality beauty with “almond-shaped eyes” for the more round features of Americans.
For evidence, in his article, Sam Dolnick states “Perhaps the most sought-after procedure among
Asians is “double-eyelid surgery,” which creates a crease in the eyelid that can make the eye
look rounder. Some people criticize the operation, which is hugely popular in many Asian
countries, as a throwback to medical procedures meant to obscure ethnic features”
(nytimes.com). Asian women in general and Vietnamese women specifically want to be a part of
the acceptable culture and ethnicity so they certainly like to look more Americanized. In addition
to the Internet’s negativity and effects, Mark Rice-Oxley addresses “Finally, U.S. domination of
technologies such as the Internet and Satellite TV means that increasingly, America monopolizes
the view people get of the world” (165). Vietnamese people are not aware of the good and bad
on the Internet, they always try to catch up with the latest beauty trend and alter their original
beauty traits for something more American.
Not only the Internet takes beauty traits away but it also makes local entertaining
products lose its position on the field. Certainly, with the help of the Internet, American media
has found its way across the four corners of the Earth beginning early in the last century.
Television program, music, movies, and printed materials depicting and reinforcing the
American way of life have been the predominant form of mass communication. By surfing the
web, people would intentionally seek for entertainments. Indeed, YouTube seems to be a popular
example that everyone would answer if they are asked. Unfortunately, it is manipulating
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Vietnamese people’s mind. As an illustration, Brendon O’Connor states that, “We are effectively
governed from Washington DC without cultural menu set by producers in Los Angeles and
designers in New York. Resistance is futile and likely to mean you are totally uncool” (160).
From time to time, media contents from America are being put on the internet on a vast scale.
People’s choice is being bombarded by American media industry, what is more, they cannot
resist the force since others are also aiming for American entertaining products and they will be
considered “uncool” if one decides to watch something else. The effect does not stop at taking
over people’s mind; it also affects the economic of local producers. To illustrate, Kerry
Manderbach points out “American media hegemony can capture a foreign market and affect the
economics of media production to the detriment of local producers, which in turn can lead to less
profit from locally produced media, which can lead to less investment in local product, which in
turn leads to even less local profit, and so on” (6). The more popular American film becomes,
the more likely local citizens want to see them. It is human curiosity that triggers everything and
that has stolen away the local entertaining values.
Lastly, the English language from the United States is taking over streets, schools, and
many other different places in Vietnam. Local language identity is progressively altered by
Americanization and by the technological developed worldwide. Identically, the practice of
English and its American variety in particular has received a great boost forward as a result of
Americanization and the association of new information technologies. It has had its root
everywhere. English is the language of Americanization, of diplomacy, politics, and international
business. The English language is also the language of computer and the Internet. Almost one
third of the world’s population is in some way or the other exposed to English. While the English
language has been dominating, other languages such as German, French, Russian, and especially
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Vietnamese have been pushed down to the bottom in the international arena. Consequently,
Americanization is an important factor responsible for this incident. In addition, English is
infiltrating education in Vietnam and it has been made a core subject since Vietnam started to
head to the international arena. For instance “Governments are promoting the teaching of English
not because Americans, Britons, and Australians require this but because, among other things,
they want to have citizens that can handle world trade and diplomatic matters with these
powerful partners in the dominant language, at least in the domains that involve them”
(Mufwene 5). That is to say, natives are neglecting the importance of traditional Vietnamese
literature. In fact, an assumption has been made among Vietnamese, as the nation is joining the
flow of the world, English is more necessary than their native language, it is a universal language
and can be used in any country. Thus, English does not kill Vietnamese; speakers are the ones
who kill language, by shifting from one to another which speakers find more advantageous. To
demonstrate, “English is spreading around the world because there are more and more people
who hope to find better jobs, to travel to distant places with fewer communicative problems, to
be read by more and more scholars, etc” (Mufwene 5). The standard way of thinking about the
spread of Americanization through English on the Internet shows that Vietnamese tend to invest
time and money in learning it so that they can enjoy the same benefits as an American person
would have but forget that their mother language is ‘suffering’ and no one would bother to study
and embellish it.
In conclusion, the United States is spreading its power to every single corner of the world
with the help of technology, authors such as Mark Rice-Oxley and Brendon O’Connor strongly
against Americanization, it has penetrated so deeply that a country’s culture would eventually
put to extinction. The cultural identity associated with The United States has had a prolific
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growth advantage due to technology, namely the Internet. Beauty traits of Vietnamese women,
media and language associated with said practices are negatively influencing the people by
capturing, altering and stealing away Vietnamese traditional beauty and culture. As the matter of
fact, technology plays a major role in the drastic change to the nation of Vietnam.
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Works Cited
Dolnick, Sam. "Ethnic Differences Emerge in Plastic Surgery." The New York Times. The New
York Times, 18 Feb. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2015.
Manderbach, Kerry. "Hegemony, Cultural Hegemony, and The Americanization of Imported
Media." (n.d.): 1-17. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.
Mufwene, Salikoko S. "How Languages Die." Ed. Jocelyne Fernandez-Vest. Festschrift for
Claude Hagège (2006): 1-16. University of Chicago. Web. 14 Mar. 2015.
O'Connor, Brendon. "Bored With USA?" International Views: America and the Rest of the
World. By Keith Gumery. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. 160-62. Print.
Rice-Oxley, Mark. “In 2,000 years, Will the World Remember Disney or Plato?” International
Views: America and the Rest of the World. By Keith Gumery. New York: Pearson
Longman, 2007. 163-67. Print.
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Pham Tam Pham Dr. Gayle English 812 17th March 8, 2015 Losing