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International media is not a personality

Liking media from other countries should be celebrated, not used in prejudice.
Illustration: Mazie Neill · The Sentry

Enjoying foreign media doesn’t make you better than others

This world is full of talented individuals who dedicate their time to creating wonderful and mind-blowing art. Since the invention of the internet, it has managed to keep almost everyone around the world connected in one way or another. It’s easy to see what others from different walks of life are creating. A simple YouTube search can throw anyone into the world of international media. Some of the most notable waves of international media coming to America can be traced to the surge of anime that appeared in the late 90’s to early 2000’s and more recently the K-Pop (Korean Pop) takeover. It’s not uncommon to hear names like BTS or Twice on Twitter or Instagram. In fact, these groups have become so popular, that it’s nearly impossible to not run into a K-Pop fancam (footage a celebrity taken by a fan) under the replies of various celebrity tweets.

It’s absolutely okay to like K-pop, it’s wonderful that people enjoy what anime has to offer and it’s inspiring to see movies such as Parasite get the recognition it deserves. However, what is not okay is treating these forms of media as the second coming of God and treating seemingly normal entertainment as a personality trait. Liking a movie from a different country does not make one person better from another.

This mentality has somehow buried itself deep in the minds of American fans. To be frank, there is a pretentious attitude that tends to come along with the way people handle international media, the consumption of someone else’s culture and projecting that as your own after the initial exposure is superficial and appropriation. This is like only taking the parts of something that is digestible and desirable and then projecting this as a part of a personality.

Similarly, building an entire personality around other people’s language and culture is equally as strange. Appreciating the differences in culture is fine, being inspired to learn a new language or try new cuisine though these things is never a bad thing. People around the world learn English through media and entertainment all the time. The only difference is that this isn’t used as a personality trait, but rather as a tool to learn. There’s more to Korean culture than K-pop and there is more to Japan than anime. It’s time to start appreciating other cultures, rather than appropriating them by turning them into a token for conversation with stans on instagram.

It’s great that there are people out there willing to be open enough to sit down and watch something or listen to something that’s outside of their own world view . But, by now, it should be normalized to enjoy entertainment from other countries without it being ingested in a way that causes.

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