As a typical intercultural film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is about Toula, a lower in-between category Grecian American adult female who fell in love with a non-Greek upper in-between category “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant” Ian Miller. They overcame a series of troubles and finally held a large fat Grecian nuptials. This film shows us how Grecian Americans live, reflecting the struggles between Grecian civilization and American civilization in a humourous manner. Guided by Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, this paper chiefly explores how Greeks and American manage the cultural struggles, and how they integrate into each other’s civilization.
Therefore, we will set up the paper in three dimensions of Hofstede’s theory: individuality vs. Bolshevism, power distance and uncertainness turning away.
1. Individualism vs CollectivismThe film My Big Fat Greek Wedding reveals the crisp contrast between American individuality and Grecian Bolshevism. From Hofstede’s research into civilization differences among 50 states and 3 parts, the US ranked first with its individuality index score making 91 while Greece ranked 30 with its individuality index mark is merely 35.
We can larn from the film that Ian considers himself as an person and are more independent than Toula in footings of decision-making and household relationship. 1.1 Decision-making
In the individualist society, people tend to stress their ain involvement and have more power to do their ain determination without being influenced by other people. In American civilization, it is common that Ian could make up one’s mind who he wants to get married and what faith he wants to profess. By contrast, Toula, the Greek miss, had to follow her parents’ will to larn Greek and carry through her responsibility to get married a Grecian adult male. Merely as Toula said to Ian, “Nice Greek misss are supposed to make three things in life: marry Greek boys, do Grecian babes, and feed everyone… until the twenty-four hours we die.” Families’ sentiments were of import to Toula, which forced her to hold dinner with several Grecian work forces introduced by her male parent. Toula seemed to be submissive in taking her hubby because she should non do her ain determination without inquiring her parents’ permission. The ground why Toula had less power to do determination is that she is non regarded as an person but an of import portion of her large household. Marriage is no longer her ain concern, but the concern of the household. 1.2 Family Relationship
Hellenics have closer relationship with their household than Americans. Greeks attach great importance to their household by life in the same house with their parents and grandparents and garnering the whole household often. In the film, Toula lived with her parents and grandma, and her relations ever come to see her household and have little talk often. Greeks attention less about the privateness and bask confidant relationship with their households. For illustration, Toula’s aunt was willing to portion her secrets to Ian’s parent, “Now, you are household. Okay. All my life, I had a ball at the dorsum of my cervix, right here. Always, a lump…” However, Americans are more independent from their household. Everyone is treated as an single alternatively of portion of a household. Ian lived in his ain flat instead than populating with his parents. Unlike the Grecian household, Ian’s parents rarely mentioned and contacted with their relations and they were non good at pass oning with the household members. That’s why Toula’s male parent though Ian’s parents were really “dry” and non friendly at all.
2. Power distanceHofstede refers to power distance as “the extent to which the less powerful members of establishments and organisations within a state expect and accept that power is distributed unequally” . Harmonizing to power distance index, Greece ranks 60 while the US is 40, which indicates power distance in Greece is larger than it is in America. In big power distance states there is considerable dependance of subsidiaries on foremans, and a penchant for clearly demarcated hierarchy. The emotional distance between hierarchies will be given to be comparatively big: subsidiaries will seldom near and belie their foremans. In Toula’s household, her male parent lies in the top rank and he is the foreman, so he has perfectly the largest power among all the household members. They tend to accept the father’s power and authorization merely on the footing of the father’s place in the hierarchy and to esteem the father’s right to that power.
Authority is built-in in their place within this hierarchy. Everyone must listen to him and he is expected to do determinations dictatorially. In the undermentioned portion, four illustrations will be given to better exemplify the high power distance in Grecian household: 1 Although Toula was 30 old ages old, she had to inquire for his father’s permission shyly when she wanted to larn computing machine. 2 Toula would wish to work in her aunt’s travel bureau, but she had no power to do the determination on her ain, even her aunt. Finally, her female parent, her aunt and she cooperated together and worked out a good thought that helped Toula recognize her dream. 3 When Toula was dating Ian, she didn’t daring to state her male parent because she knew that he would inquire her to get married a Greek. 4 When Ian foremost came to see Toula’s household, Toula’s father even told Ian that Ian didn’t ask for his permission to day of the month Toula. On the contrary, in little power distance states there is limited dependance of subsidiaries on foremans, and a penchant for audience.
The emotional distance between hierarchies will be given to be comparatively little: subsidiaries will quite readily attack and belie their foremans. Peoples in such a civilization are loath to accept the power and authorization of their supervisors simply because of their place in the hierarchy. Individuals assess authorization in position of its sensed rightness or their ain personal involvements. From the film, we can see that in the US, each member in a household enjoys equal rights and everyone is responsible for his ain things. Compared with Toula’s household, Ian’s has lower power distance. Ian could separately cover with his personal businesss without inquiring his parents’ sentiments or permissions in footings of dating and matrimony, even his faith. In the American household, kids were raised with the values of individuality and equality, and their parents have no privilege to inquire kids to obey orders. There is no obvious hierarchy in American household.
3. Uncertainty AvoidanceUncertainty turning away is the most obvious dimension that differentiates Greece from the US. Greece has the highest degree of uncertainness turning away among the states Hoftstede have surveyed, which is 112, while the US is 46, much lower than Greece. We can besides easy happen grounds from this film. When people are under new cultural environment, there are four chief reactions: assimilation, isolation, marginalisation and integrating. In this film, isolation is the scheme taken by Toula’s male parent because he is a chauvinist with a high degree of uncertainness turning away. He tried to maintain himself and his households off from American civilization and seized every opportunity to demo Grecian civilization. The methods he used to insulate Grecian civilization from American civilization included edifice Greek house, hanging Greek flags, learning his kids Greek values, directing his kids to larn Greek and opening a Grecian eating house. What’s more, all the people he knows were Grecian. He thought the root of every American word is Grecian.
Actually, all the things Toula’s male parent had done is because he felt greatly unsure about American civilization which was new to him. His anxiousness and uncertainness made him desire to remain in a safe and comfy environment–Greek civilization. When Toula, a thirty-year-old adult female, would wish to travel to college to larn computing machine accomplishment, her male parent disagreed with her because he was afraid that Toula would be cheated by those people selling drugs. When Toula’s father knew Toula felt in love with an American cat, he was so angry because he thought this adult male was non a Grecian and he knew nil about this adult male. All this showed that Toula’s male parent was dying about new things and refused to accept them. This film shows us a typical Hellenic with a high degree of uncertainness turning away vividly. Compared with Grecian people, American people have a much lower degree of uncertainness turning away.
In this film, when Ian’s parents cognize that their boy was dating with a Grecian miss, they was non so surprised and showed small involvement about Toula’s information. They merely accepted this truth calmly. When they came to run into Toula’s households, although they were a small spot surprised at such different Grecian civilization, they did non demo any disfavor and eventually integrated into Grecian Culture. As for Ian, he merely easy accepted and tired hard to incorporating into Grecian civilization. From the film, we can see the action American people taken is integrating when they face new civilization. That must be one ground why America is called “melting pot” . And it besides closely related to American people’s low degree of uncertainness turning away.
Decision:From the above analysis, we can cognize that as the 2nd coevals of Grecian in-migration, Toula processed Grecian traditions every bit good as American civilization. She could cover with the cultural struggles better and incorporate into the American society better. And Ian besides compromised to some extent so as to get married Toula. As the household civilization is an prototype of the national civilization, the world is the same. Although two civilizations have assorted differences, even a batch of struggles, these two civilizations can still coexist with each other, incorporate into each other. Peoples with different cultural backgrounds can hold a tolerant head to encompass the civilizations irrespective of the broad difference in footings of imposts, traditions, or manners of thought. What we should make is to follow a right attitude towards intercultural communicating and trade with it decently.
Cite this An Intercultural Analysis of My Big Fat Greek Wedding Sample
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