Mass Media Appropriation

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Appropriation of Non-Westerners in Mass Media
Mass media, by definition, is media aimed toward the masses. Media comes in all kinds of forms such as television, radio, magazines, and film. Film is arguably the most influential form of mass media in that it spans across the globe. Films produced in the West are some of the most viewed forms of mass media around the world; therefore, when non-western people are misrepresented, those representations can be taken as fact across the entire world. Lutz and Collins argue in their text, Reading National Geographic, that the representations of non-western people in National Geographic, and mass media in general, are not a “mirror of reality”. National Geographic does not realistically portray the non-western
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Because Hawaii is known to be a beautiful island, the people are generally going to be represented as beautiful. In the film, Full Metal Jacket, the Vietnamese people are depicted very differently. Since the film takes place in Vietnam (which does not hold the same image as Hawaii to Westerners) the people are not represented as beautiful, but rather the women are completely fetishized. Lutz and Collins critique National Geographic on “emphasizing sensuality” of the women by very frequently showing topless women and the exoticism of female dancers (Lutz and Collins 136). This is also the case in much of mass media, but to a further extent in that much of mass media has the leniency to show more graphic depictions of fetishized women. Full Metal Jacket is known to be one of the best films in American history, which is a shame based upon how the Vietnamese people are represented. There are very few Vietnamese faces shown in the entire film, and there are only two women who have any speaking roles. Those two women shown are presented as prostitutes with their only lines having to do with sex. Lines such as, “me so horny, me love you long time” (Full Metal Jacket 1989) make the Vietnamese women appear to be only sexual objects for the soldiers. Not only is this line a perfect example of how the Vietnamese people are appropriated by the West, but it is also heavily quoted in many other Hollywood films. By representing the only Vietnamese women in the film as prostitutes, it shows that the emphasization of sensuality in women seen in National Geographic is seen to a higher extent in other forms of mass

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