Led by wealthy Western countries, the mass media, the fashion industry and the education curriculum, the perception of beauty is increasingly being defined by Western parameters due to reasons such as globalization, free trade and high technology. The inundation of Western culture is undeniable as it has effects that are both unconsciously beneficial and detrimental in our daily lives. Teenagers, who engage in surfing the World Wide Web, television and variety of Western influences on daily basis, must learn how to deal with tides of Western culture changing them. Western culture has certainly enhanced the lives of teenagers in the East.
The Internet has helped teenagers with their social lives; fast food has made food prep less time consuming; and MTV has shown them a whole new different world. As the influx of Western behaviours and thinking continues, teenagers’ lives will be disparate to those of parents. Through globalization, teenagers are also experiencing new cultures that are absolutely different from local cultures and this can make these youths much more adaptable and accepting to distinctions that vary among societies. Even education wise, young Asian teenagers are privileged to read some of the best and most thrilling Western books. Watching American Idol and C.
S. I, web-surfing on You Tube and Google and socialising on Face book and Myspace, after all, may be the first step these teenagers take to become international leaders of tomorrow. However, these benefits do not come without strings attached. Leading fast food chain shops such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s are making people obese at a young age and glamorous Hollywood actors and singers are mesmerising teenagers into plastic surgery. Unconsciously and involuntarily, teenagers often suffer from the loss of their own unique culture. South Korean architecture, based upon decoration and religion, is scarce.
Then, how will the new generation learn the beauty of the local culture and also preserving it? The use of our own language is also under a threat because the newly inaugurated President wants all the school classes to be taught in English, Korean History included. If the future leaders of our country are to be raised as Europeans, they will never understand our culture and most importantly, forget what has been a tradition that has been passed down for centuries. From ? (Korean alphabet), we no longer see our language but see the alphabet E, which is, tragically, like stabbing King Sejong the Great’s corpse with steak knives.
Many countries affected by the flooding of Western culture should follow the steps of Japan. This Far East Asian country absorbed all different types of Western culture – ranging from artilleries to music – but they have managed to keep their Japanese core alive amid the tides of Western influences. The Power of the West is now inevitable and therefore the most astute solution is to maintain local culture and pass it down to the new generation. Education is vital to achieve this goal and schools must be encouraged to teach students the importance of national identity and traditions.
To adapt to rapid globalization, teenagers should be encouraged to learn the Western culture too but with attitudes that can identify between right and wrong. Teaching them ethics and a sense of morality is integral for them to be aware of dangerous and harmful materials from the West and to restrain themselves from anything that can enslave their lives, such as addictive T. V dramas. If countries do not to keep their local cultures, the outpouring of Western culture will be same as military colonisation but just under a different name.
In conclusion, the Western culture appears to have affected teenagers worldwide both positively and negatively. It offers what seems like a taste of a whole new way of life for those in the East and enhances the lives of all through its forever advancing technology, while ruthlessly off loading its detrimental by-products such as obesity, ignorance and neglect of local culture. Therefore, although with Western culture comes all sorts of benefits, it should be taken with a grain of salt and a sense of rationality.