Signs of Globalization

by

On September 2nd, I landed in Madrid, Spain. I was so excited that my body couldn’t stop fidgeting. I could not wait to start exploring and to learn all about Spanish culture… Well, after the five hour bus ride to Granada. Once on said bus, I fixed my eyes on the window, hoping to see sights of what I had imagined Spain to be like. I saw buildings that had slightly different architecture styles, people dressed better than what I was used to seeing and… What is that? I felt like my eyes were fooling me and that I had to rub them to make the image change. However, my eyes weren’t deceiving me. It was… Burger King. Feeling confused and disgusted, I realized that I had expected McDonalds, but Burger King?! I don’t think that people in the U.S. even like it. It looked so out of place in the land that I had been imagining for months prior. This was my first big shock regarding American and Western globalization on the trip.

Despite my negative reaction to seeing BK in Spain, most other globalized products that I found during the rest of the trip proved to be comforting in a land where American products are the only thing that are really familiar. I found American snacks at gas stations while on long bus rides and Fanta was available at every meal. My host family even brought out their deep frier to make us fries and fried ham and cheese, which seemed so odd at the time, but later turned out to be a huge blessing to me after hearing about huevos con queso (ew, even the meer thought of eggs makes me shudder and dry-heave). While I turned on the TV, I found American movies in English with Arabic subtitles, which I wasn’t expecting. These little reminders of home helped me get through the trip in a land where I felt like I couldn’t relate to anything else.

However, once in Meknes, I found a part of American globalization that I didn’t like: the standard of beauty being American women. All over the city, I saw ads for beauty products featuring celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Instead of promoting their own beautiful women, they made fair skin and blue eyes the ideal, which made me sick. The women in Morocco were so naturally beautiful with their flawless dark skin, their thick hair, and their dark and uniquely shaped eyes. However, because of American influence on the rest of the world, the natural beauty of Moroccan women isn’t appreciated the way that it should be.

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