Globalization and the mediated spread of the western ideal

The western concept of a perfect body has been spread all over the world through media imperialism of the beauty industry. How has globalization affected the global body images and what consequences can it have? I will discuss how westernization, mainly through media imperialism, has contributed to the body image of modern age and how the global flows have influenced the homogenization of it.


Many industries in America specializes in products too create the perfect body for women. The Trends they are selling are now sold not only in the U.S. but also in other countries. The trends reached first to Europe but was later expanded to the East and other areas through the medicalization.

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Theoretical framework

Media imperialism

Media imperialism is seen as a sub-culture of the process where a culture is imposing themselves more or less awarded, on other cultures. The consequences of cultural imperialism are that it is destroying other cultures. The west, specially the U.S is dominating the less developed countries, with their media technology such as movies produced in Hollywood, TV-shows, books etc. these things was seen as they were imposing themselves on the less developed countries. The effect was not only on the media but also in the process of shaping the culture. It is not only the less developed nations that are affected by the media imperialism from the U.S but the whole world.

Jeremy Tunstall is the author of the books “The media are America” and “The media were American: US mass media in decline” this is showing the point of media imperialism very well. Tunstall is pointing that America has a huge influence of the media peaked in the mid-twentieth and have ever since been declined. Technoscape. Are the fluid global configurations of high and low mechanical and informational technology and the wide range of material that now moves freely and quickly around the globe and across borders


Another concept is the westernization. Westernization is different to the globalization in the way that it is a “one way” act, “economic, political and cultural influence of the west on the rest of the world” (Ritzer 2011) The concept is often grasped in a more negatively way than before. The reason for the negatively point of view, is the globalization (Ritzer 2010). The westernization has proved that it is making the world more homogenized. Because of the dominating of homogenizing of the western world it is supporting the majority groups and working against minority groups. Because of the globalization many cultures are affected by, cultural convergence, the flows that are a product of westernization I causing a grow alike in many cultures. Ethnoscape- involve the actual movement, as well as fantasies about moving of mobile groups and individuals (tourist, refugees, guest workers)


The sociologist George Ritzer, has taken Max Webers rationalization theory “turn-of-of-twentieth-century” and used for his own thesis “McDonaldization”. Ritzer’s thesis uses the fast-food restaurant as a model for its points. The link between the early globalization model “turn-of-of-twentieth-century” is the rationalization of reaching into more sectors of societies. There is five stages of the McDonaldization:

* Efficiency – the products has to be made effetely, often on a assembly
line. * Calculability – the firms is focusing on the size or the quickness.

* Paradoxically – attempt to make our environment more predictable.

* Control through the substitution of technology – the employees are controlled by the provide technology.

* The irrationality of rationality – the good idea is no longer rational nu irrational because of the boundaries of the technology.


Consumption is very complex and is involving many aspects. The big need of consumption can be traced back to post World War II, together with the Americanization. The US started developing an unprecedented and unique consumer society for several years, and began to export their goods to the rest of the world. And at this time the American society concepts was adopted away to other societies and cultures.

Show description

The former top model Tyra Banks invents the reality show, Americas next top model. In which a number of women competes of the title of becoming Americas next top model. Each season of Americas next top model has between 9 and 13 episodes, the season starts with 10-14 participants. In each episode the judges eliminates a participant. When there is 5-6 participants back they travels to an international destination. Each episode typically starts with a training were they are receiving training in different areas that normally fits the weeks theme. There will typically be a winner of the training and the winner will receive a prize such as clothing, jewellery or an advantage in the next competition.

The next step in the show will be a photo shoot that leads to the elimination of one participant. When there is 3 participants back in the show the challenge will be a commercial photo shoot for the main sponsor “CoverGirl”. The winner of the show will get at contract with Ford Models, a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl, and the opportunity to appear in a top magazine.


Based on the TV – show Americas next top model, we see many beautiful girls getting exposed for their perfect bodies and faces, this has become a huge problem for many people, specially women, all over the world. The program started in the US, but has been followed aboard the United states borders and this tells us that we are now living in a media imperialistic world, were it is easy to follow TV-shows from the internet or the local TV-station. The broadcasting of American next top model has made a huge mediascape in the way of the opportunities for people to watch and follow the show at the same time as the host country’s viewers. The aboard followers is able to watch the TV-show from the Internet or the local TV-stations. Americans next top model has also contributed to the Americanization that has been a trend for several years now. The Americanization has a huge impact on the way that the participants has too look like but the show has also created a big trend on how the body shapes has to be, how the make-up has to sit etc. Americanization is not like the globalization that off course also is a huge part of the TV-show. But Americanization is a one-way happening and not like the globalization were the flows are going both was. Due to the Americanization another concept is very important, the westernization. The Ethnoscape is interlinked with the struckture of the program, as earlier mention the participants has to go to another country and in this way they are crossing the boarders, another scape that is interlinked with is the technoscape. The programs judges and especially Tyra Banks is a very honest women and often show the not photoshoped picture to show the “fails” such as pubic hair, acne, etc.

A product of Americanization and westernization is the McDonaldization. The McDonaldization has five stages. People has to work effectively, this is seen in the way that it is possible to win a $100,000 contract and become Americas next top model in only 9-13 weeks. Another stage McDonaldization has is the stage of Calculability, everything is made quick, nothing comes as a surprise. Because of the stage of Paradoxically McDonaldization the ordered product will almost be the same in all the different TV-show around the world. The Paradoxically is caused by the Control through the substitution of technology stage. Everything is predictable, and are now creating a society where we cant live without technology. The last stage, irrationality of rationality, has not as big a impact as the other stages. There has been a huge financescape due to the globalization of American Next Top model, the main sponsor is the American make-up firm CoverGirl. After
the start of supporting American top model, their revenue has had a big boom.

Americas next top model is a phenomena that has spreads all over the world, first it was shown in the US and later other countries “adopted” the show and made it their own. First the show was spread to the rest of the west and later on it was broadcasted to the east, and it became a proof of the westernization. Linked to the westernization the ideoscape, is the thought behind the concept of Americas next top model, and had create a whole new way of act out young women’s dreams.


What impact has Americas next top model had on body image?

The new body image of the western world has been expanded as a lifestyle, with the help from the westernization through media. The west have had made the body ideal homogenized and it’s a fact that no one can be the same and that people always will have different sizes, skin colour, hair colour, etc. the homogenized body image is like the hipster culture, everyone wants to look different but in the end they all look like each other. The way that Tyra Bank is using the technology is very good, compared whit the claim of the perfect body, she is showing the viewers that nobody’s perfect. The westernization hasn’t been all bad, the ethnoscape and the “crossing” of boarders is good educational, not only for the participants but also for the viewer. Through the ethnoscape, the women and audience learn about different cultures. The financescape of Americas next top model has been a success an that is maybe why other countries as adopted the concept of the reality program.

When I was asking my question, I wasn’t aware of the point that Americas next top model would be more westernization than globalized. So to answer how has globalization affected the global body images and what consequences can it have? The reality-TV is very globalized but is even more westernized. The consequences of it, must be the huge homogenization and due that the wrong picture and message that they are sending to youngsters, that cant sort out, good and “bad” images and news that the TV-station are sending out.

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Globalization and the mediated spread of the western ideal. (2017, Jul 22). Retrieved from