What makes American Culture, American Culture?

The other day, I watched an early 90’s film entitled, “The Joy Luck Club.” If you have not seen this film the the premise is about 4 different stories of Chinese mother/daughter relationships, who all now live in America.  All of the mothers grew up in China, while their daughters are all born in raised here in the United States.  All of the mothers have huge goals set for their daughters (great chess player, musician, marry into the perfect Chinese family, etc.) and it shows how each of the daughters are rebelling against their mothers.  The mothers, being born and raised in China, are having a difficult time coping with their daughters independent attitudes.  This movie is a perfect example of how American Culture is shaped.  Our vast mix of international cultures is one thing that makes America unique.  We have the first hand ability to see exactly how other cultures around the world are being raised, and now we have the oppurtunity to critque our own culture to hopefully better it.  Well, the term ‘bettering it’ is up to ones discretion, but atleast evolving our culture.

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2 Responses to “What makes American Culture, American Culture?”

  1. camouflageculture Says:

    Hm. So is it the *idea* behind the movie that creates this discourse of cultural evolution or does the movie do so itself?

    Was the movie made because not enough people had the patience, brains or time to read Amy Tan’s book? And what’s w/the Japanese gals playing Chinese women? Not enough recognizable Chinese actresses in Hollywood to bring the core audience: white people(?!) to the theater?

    If we mix the conceptual map behind this clip with the one behind “why asian girls date white guys” clip you’ve got some interesting politics going on… these same joy luck daughters are looking for tall, masculine, hairy guys who speak confidently…

    So maybe there isn’t a problem after all.

    Looks like another issue of assaulting or defending culture, in this case that of Asian Americans as they assimilate.

    … or don’t.

    And do we *really* “have the first hand ability to see exactly how other cultures around the world are being raised?” Or just a Hollywood version of the same?

  2. I believe that idea is that the transformation from a foreign culture to the “American Normal culture” is being slowed down by the old timers. The young girls rebellious attitude is no doubt good for American culture, even though it does create discourse with their family as well as their Chinese heritage. But American culture is truly based on a mixture of other cultures, obviously, and these girls are doing their best to assimilate as well as evolve American culture.

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