Slumdog Millionare and an Americanized World

There are a lot of things that the Western culture pushes or gives (depending on your view of the subject) the world different ideas and ways of thinking about things. I have traveled the world and I see the difference in American views on things and the same views around the world. I have seen countries so poor where young baby boys are given away (I had this happen to me in Thailand actually) because the father can’t turn them into sex slaves like they can with their children. I’ve seen parts of the world where small, simple things we take for granted are fought for every day. Seeing a movie like Slumdog Millionaire reminded me of the struggle that people around the world face every day that we have no idea about. I understand that there is people in this country that are in terrible situations but for the sake of this class and post I’ll discuss the topics I saw in the film in regards to globalism.

The scene I thought was most telling of the views of globalism and the ways in which western culture can influence minds around the world is the scene where Jamal and Salim are stealing shoes at the Taj Mahal. These two boys are stealing shoes from tourists and they are choosing to steal shoes and clothes that are more American style of clothing. Although these two boys are from a different part of the world with little to no access to life outside of their small part of the world, these two boys still choose to wear these clothes. Perhaps it’s a way for them to feel as though they have something more than what they actually do. Perhaps it’s a way for them to pretend that they are in a different place where they have everything they want and need. However, does this western view portray this as “happiness through money”?

Even when Jamal gets his job at the magazine in his late teens we see this idea of western culture being pushed on to Jamal. There is even an article that seems to me to be an Indian version of the Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie “battle”. While this movie is trying to make people feel as though life can teach us things, I feel it depicts globalization in a bad way. First of all, I can’t believe that all of Indians live the way the movie makes it seem. I understand there is poverty in India but I felt like the movie went over the top at times to portray Indians as a poor people as a hole. While looking at various topics on this movie I even found out that slum dog is a derogatory term for Indian people.

This movie for me wasn’t this great, “feel good” movie that everyone else thought it was. I see this movie as a way for American views (and I say American because that’s what is being pushed in the movie) to be seen as good and that everyone should be like America because we have this great idea of what freedom should look like. I am proud to be an American. I spent four years of my life defending this country but I do feel at times we push our views on other countries. If countries around the world want to be more westernized than so be it, but it should be done on a people’s or coutry’s own terms and time. If this movie wanted to move me then it certainly did. It moved me to be more thoughtful of what I watch and think deeper about a movie than just what is on the surface.


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