Abstract: The influence of western media with a focus on the impact of films and music in the lifestyle and values adopted by youth, and the factors related to the changing Mizo culture that is becoming more westernized over the years is the main focus of the study. From the 1950s, with the development of mass media and intercultural exchange, the foreign films and music started to appear on Mizoram’s cinema/media. There has been rapid growth in the development of electronic media during the past few decades. This poured American films and T.V Shows into local channel and many people became a fan of it. Teenagers and youth are an important segment of the society, the development and promoting culture of Mizoram depends highly on them. The attitude and lifestyle of teenagers in Mizo society have been extremely affected by exposure to western films. This paper therefore examines this situation and it also aims to understand the meaning of their experiences when they come in contact with western media and how they view their cultural identities in today’s globalised world.
Keywords: Western Media, Mizo Culture, Hollywood films, Western music, Globalisation
Western media is the mass media of the western world. During the Cold War, western media contrasted with Soviet media. Western media has gradually expanded into developing countries (non-Western countries) (Chadha & Kavoori, 2000). What has been termed the classic definition of culture was provided by the 19th-century English anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor in the first paragraph of his Primitive Culture (1871): “Culture . . . is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”(Tylor, 1871). The effects of films can be traced back to the 1920s. The earliest coordinated social research or research on the impact of these effects in Western countries started at that time. The aim was to study the harmful effects of films on societies. In the 1950s, the development of this media as a common mass entertainment and information source met with similar concerns about potential harm, especially for young audiences (Gunter, 1994). The researcher employed an exploratory approach to understand the meaning of Mizo cultural identity of teenagers in Mizoram, and how exposure to western media mainly of Hollywood movies and American music shapes the attitudes and general lifestyles. As Hollywood is taking over the world film industry, it is no surprise that even a small state like Mizoram is affected by American culture from what is portrayed by movies. The cultural impact it has on Mizo youth is immense as it affects not just the lifestyle, language and values, but also the ideology of the present-day youth.
Mizoram and the people
The term ‘Mizo’ is a generic term applied to all the Mizos living within and outside the state of Mizoram, whose culture, way of life, traditions, dialects and origin are the same. Etymologically, the word ‘Mizo’ is a compound of ‘Mi’ and ‘Zo’ while Mi means Man or people and ‘Zo’ means hills or high altitude with moderate climate. ‘Zo’ also signifies health and pleasantness. The most popular understanding of the term Mizo therefore means hill man or highlander. Ethnically, the Mizos are of Mongoloid stock and their language belongs to Tibeto-Burman family of languages. They are broadly classified into ‘Lusei’ and ‘Awzia. ‘Awzia’ simply means those who speak dialects other than ‘Lusei’ (Verghese & Thanzawna, 1997).
Review of Literature
The public concern about mass communication focuses mainly on the potential effects of the mass media material on audience members. Parents desire to conceal their kids as they worry about the repercussions of comprehensive media portrayals of ‘sex and violence’ which presumably is understood as a result of excessive exposure to media; while at the same time, self-appointed guardians of public morality set themselves up as watchdogs, targeted at protecting society from the negative effects of less savory media Fabrics. Indeed, mass media controls their viewers noticeably as the contents are undeniably effective in this context. It would therefore seem self-evident that a priority goal of communication research would be to study the impact on people’s world view of the vast amount of time they spend watching television, listening to the radio, going to movies and reading newspapers and magazines (Bennett, 1982).
Morley and Robins (2013) argue that, given the fact that the flow of global information mostly comes from the West, our knowledge of the “Other” is created from the Western perspective, and we often see ourselves through “Western eyes.” People are detaching from their national cultures, and realigning with the universal principles of international consumer culture. Some researchers even argue that in today’s globalized world one cannot say that there is a true national cultural identity anymore; cultural identities are being eroded by the global cultural supermarket, whose aspects, such as the American pop tunes on radio, Coca Cola, and McDonald’s, can be seen around the world (Mathews, 2002).
We Mizos were introduced to silent movies through ‘Krishna Talkies,’ (The first cinema in Mizoram establised in 1950) which helped popularize such names as Mario Lanza, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Doris Day, and their numerous hit songs, which were in turn sung with flair and Élan by our fathers. They emulate not only the songs of the west, but their dress-code as well, which we are told, proved to be a source of endless irritation to the missionaries from the west again (Pachuau & Schendel, 2014).
The lifestyles of the Mizos regarding fashion and food in the 80s were not at all affected by the movies or T.V. series being broadcasted because they were very less in number and viewers just watched them for sheer entertainment with wilderment and astonishment. It was much later in the 90s that the lifestyles depicted in the movies were being gradually copied, after the coming of the cable operators with more channels and when television began to completely take up the role of giving infotainment to the masses (Ratnamala & Laldinfeli, 2016).
Objectives of the Study
- To study western film and music influences on the behaviour and general lifestyle of Mizo teenagers.
- To find out if Mizo teenagers accept and practice American cultures and values, that they are exposed to through Holly wood films.
- To understand the meaning of people’s experiences when they come in contact with western media and how they view their cultural identities in today’s globalized world.
This study is qualitative in nature; Focus Group Discussion is used as the primary research method for this study. Three focus group discussions have been conducted among high school and higher secondary students in Aizawl. Focus Group Discussion method explored the influence of western films, and music videos among the lifestyle and culture of Mizo Teenagers. The issues explored in the Focus Group are – Consumption of Western Media, Being Mizo – Understanding Mizo ethnic identity, Lifestyle of Mizo Youth: Cultural changes and its impact, American Culture through movies: Perspectives of Mizo youth, Main cultural values and traditions in Mizoram, Mizo youth understanding of American Culture from movies, Influence of Hollywood on Mizo way of life, and Understanding global village: A Mizo Youths’ perspective.
This study is anchored on the basis of reception theory and cultivation theory. Reception theory is a version of reader response literary theory that emphasizes each particular reader’s reception or interpretation in making meaning from a literary text. It is generally referred to as audience reception in the analysis of communications models. The cultural theorist Stuart Hall has been one of the main proponents of reception theory, first developed in his 1973 essay ‘Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse’.
Cultivation theory is a social theory otherwise known as cultivation analysis which was developed on the basis of examining the long-term effects of television on American audiences of all ages. Developed by George Gerbner and Larry Gross of the University of Pennsylvania, cultivation theory derived from several large-scale research projects as part of an overall research project titled “Cultural Indicators”. The purpose of the Cultural Indicators Project was to identify and track the “cultivated” effects of television on viewers.
With the use of Qualitative data analysis six themes were revealed from the discussion report of the 3 focus groups. The analysis related to these themes is discussed as under:
Consumption of Western Media
Most of the participants spent around 5 hours average in a day, watching movies/series and tuning into music. Few of the participants also spend 2 hours or less. The response received in the context of how much time is spent on social media particularly in watching movies and tuning in to music, particularly those from the West, shows how Western Media is viewed as a vital source of recreation and entertainment, and how much importance is given to it by the respondents. In many cases an overwhelming amount of time is dedicated, and the impact of western media that is consumed since childhood is clearly indicative of the amount of influence that Western culture in general, has on Mizo youth.
Respondent 1: “Since I am engaged in outdoor activities, I probably spend an hour for social media.”
Respondent 2: “I usually watch movies twice a week and tune into music for two hours on a daily basis.”
Respondent 3: “I spend at least 3-5 hours for movies daily and listen to music at any time of the day.”
Majority of the Focus Group participants started watching movies at the age of 4 or 5 years. The most common first movies the participants remember were Matilda, a 1996 American family comedy-drama fantasy film directed and narrated by Danny DeVito. The film is based on Roald Dhl’s 1988 novel Matilda. This movie Matilda was so famous till the mid 2000’s in Mizoram, it was even dubbed into Mizo and broadcasted in local T.V channel. Most participants also remember Home Alone as the first movie they watched; Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. Other films also includes Titanic (1997), 101 Dalmatians (1996), Charlie Chaplin movies, Alice in Wonderland (2010), Princess Protection Programme (2009), The Little Rascals (1994), Sweet November (2001), Harry Potter series, Baby’s Day Out (1994), A Walk to Remember (2002), X-Men (2000), Batman Returns (1992), Apocalypto (2006), Romeo and Juliet (1996) and Spiderman series.
The participants were also asked the first music video they watched, some of them included “Baby,” by Justin Bieber, a music video which was released in 2009, featuring Ludacris. Participants also view these music videos growing up; Westlife Songs, The tide is high by Atomic Kitten, November Rain by Guns and Roses, Miley Cyrus the Climb, Tattoo by Jordin Sparks, Taylor Swift and Avenge Sevenfold songs.
They mostly watch movies through television and pirated downloads using torrents and other pirate sites. Only a fraction of them get access to netflix, some of them said that they get access to netflix for a month which is till the free period. Every participant uses Youtube to listen to music and watch music videos. Some of the participants also still listen to American music in VH 1 channel in television.
Majority of the participants said that they like American foods and soft drinks; KFC, burgers, Coke, Dominos etc. They watch international news like BBC, CNN and E news while a few of them do not follow any of this news. Majority of the respondents said they are far more interested in American political election than Indian election.
Being Mizo: Understanding Mizo ethnic identity
Ethnic identity is a much debatable concept especially in our current world where the effect of globalization is felt even in the remotest parts of the globe. Tribal cultures all over the world have to withstand the test of time and face the inevitable influence of other cultures, that seep in through different sources. Mizos who were once self-sufficient, who ruled in their own land, who practiced and abide by their own custom laws have also faced cultural assimilation since the coming of the Christian missionaries. Like other inferior cultures around the world, Mizos were forced to adapt, if not live with the drastic changes that was resulted by the invasion of western culture. The process has not been easy and till today, much is left unsaid because of the dilemma of having to understand our own culture and the influence of another. However, irrespective of the many changes seen as a result of western impact, Mizos respect and continue to cultivate the identity that their forefathers have given them. This is seen through the similar notion of what “Being Mizo” stands for in today’s world as addressed by the respondents.
Respondent 1: “Being Mizo means being altruistic, selfless, open-minded and even when we are with non-Mizo people, we respect each other which we often display in front of other people. This is a significant part of protecting and preserving our culture.”
Respondent 2: “Our unity, brotherhood, our selfless altruistic nature.”
Respondent 3: “Respect for elders and altruistic nature.”
Respondent 4: “Our selfless, self-sacrificing nature. Our tendency to look out for each other even when we are out of station, far away from home. It is a sacred tradition of ours to extend a helping hand and heart in times of trials and tribulation which other society or culture may not practice.”
Respondent 5: “Our altruism and respect for elders is what defines as Mizo.”
Respondent 6: “To uplift our tradition and protect our language.”
Respondent 7: “Our language, our dialect, cultural attire, heritages, places, monuments. The selfless attitude and welfare of others we show even when we are out of our hometown and station.”
Respondent 8: “The brother- sisterhood, unity amongst Mizo people, outside the station, cultural attire, places and assets.”
Respondent 9: “Our attires, unity and statues of Pasaltha.”
From what we can gather from the respondents, the intrinsic identity that is still understood and practiced by “Being Mizo” is definitely the selfless altruistic nature that was practiced since the olden days. It is evident that despite many differences between the old and new Mizo society, one thing that remains close to the heart of the Mizos is the brotherhood and unity shared among Mizo people, the feeling of a collective sense of identity and community. It is clear that although the influence of the West is felt in many areas, the core values and principles of the Mizos remain intact.
Lifestyle of Mizo Youth: Cultural changes and its impact
While Mizos uphold many teachings of the elders as is discussed in the afore mentioned point, it is no doubt that the youth who are in the frontline of the war between tradition and westernization, feel a sense of loss as they admit defeat amidst cultural vicissitudes brought by the ever-changing and growing world that takes no heed to one’s cultural values and tradition. It is rather a lonely journey for one to foster communal values of the past as they are confronted by the western world that principally cultivates the notion of individualism or rather independence as a dominant ideology. While many respondents admit their fluency in different languages, much cannot be said regarding the reverence they have for their own culture, especially in upholding the principles of “Being mizo” that has been discussed. It would not be too wrong to generalize from the responses that Mizo youth flounder when it comes to preserving and practicing the values that define Mizo identity, while they do remember it in theory.
Respondent 1: “I can speak in English, Mizo and a bit of Hindi. We (the present generation) are egoistic, selfish and are more individualistic than the past generations.”
Respondent 2: “I can speak in English, Mizo and Hindi learned from watching cartoons. Our loss of respect for elders is a changing scenario in the lifestyle of our ancestors and ours.”
Respondent 3: “I can speak in English, Mizo and Hindi. I understand most even though I haven’t practiced or spoken for quite some time. However, I learnt it thoroughly in middle school. Our respect for elders is a declining, dwindling. The present generation have resorted to living above our means despite being unemployed.”
Respondent 4: “I know English, Mizo and Hindi. I can’t speak in Hindi but I can read it which I learnt in school. Our respect for elders is declining. We’ve become very egoistic, arrogant, living above our means. There are certain rules and standards we’re compelled to follow, like shoe trends; in the past we would have settled for availability whereas, in the present, we own more than we can afford. We’ve also become more individualistic and we’ve become less social and selfless in looking out for others. It was a norm to share our freshly picked greens and dishes with our neighbours which is a rarity now.”
Respondent 5: “I speak in English, Mizo and Hindi (Basics learnt in high school) Walking down memory lane and history, it was a tradition of our ancestors to work extensively for the community- uplifting each other and extend help in services and financially. They looked out for each and every one and leaned on each other. Rather than looking out for the welfare of others, the present generation have moved towards an individualistic lifestyle and moved away from communitarian lifestyle.”
Respondent 6: “I know English, Mizo and Hindi (Basics learnt from school). We’ve lost touch on the altruistic and selfless nature, we are more engaged in the personal growth, development and work. We’ve also lost respect for the elders. For e.g. In schools, we’ve lack respect for elders, teachers more than before. When we are assigned with certain assignments and chores, we make ugly faces, showing disrespect to the teacher passively.”
An analysis of the answers received from the respondents reveal many stimulating facts regarding the reality of the present generation Mizo youth. As all respondents addressed language and their fluency in atleast two languages, that is, English and Mizo, it is no surprise that Hindi seems to be a rather unwelcomed addition despite Mizos being Indians. What can be deducted from this is that, history still repeats itself among the present day Mizos through the reluctance to identify oneself as an “Indian” while anything of the West is readily embraced with admiration. The challenges that is encountered also seems to be a result of accommodation to Western ways of life, which is an outcome of not just physical contact but also the connection with the West through the virtual world and social media. It can be stressed that despite the rising number of Mizo youth going outside the state for studies and work, and intermingling with multiple cultures, they seem to identify themselves as different much as the rest of India view northeast as different.
American Culture through movies: Perspectives of Mizo youth
Movies are an inexpensive means to travel the world and know more about other cultures. It provides entertainment and allows viewers to explore and learn about other people, traditions and beliefs. As Hollywood is taking over the world film industry, it is no surprise that even a small state like Mizoram is affected by American culture from what is portrayed by movies. The cultural impact it has on Mizo youth is immense as it affects not just the lifestyle, language and values, but also the ideology of the present-day youth. The perspectives of Mizo youth in this respect is clearly emphasized through the answers of respondents as highlighted under:
Respondent 1: “Unlike other cultures, esp. K-Pop where there are hardly personal, subjective contents, Americans are quite realistic in displaying their ideas, mindsets, cultures, lifestyles through their songs and other forms of expression.”
Respondent 2: Americans are open-minded, free, complaisant towards all forms of ideas, lifestyle, advocate gender equality for e.g. In Mizo culture, there are sayings which goes, “A girl shouldn’t be seen outdoors after dark; girls shouldn’t be out and about late.”
Respondent 3: “The simple lifestyle they lead and their hardworking culture are significant characteristics of the American culture. In any scope of life, they aspire to be the best, reach the highest level in business, movies, we’ve seen people starting from the bottom, sleeping in the streets, struggling hard to reach the highest level and succeed in life.”
Respondent 4: “As my friends have mentioned, Americans are liberal and they are given the freedom of thought and action in reality. I admire their hard work, independence, work ethics and determination to stand on their own feet and earn a livelihood. Amongst the Mizo youths, mostly at the age of 18-19 years, we are quite pampered and spoon-fed by own families. We are still in the care of our families and are also financially dependent on them.”
Respondent 5: “The determination and will-power to be financially independent in their teen years, to provide for their family at a very young age is an attribute of the American culture that I personally admire and applaud. This is a significant part of their culture which has been passed on from generations ago. Unlike them, we are still in the care of our families and they are compelled to feed and provide us in our late twenties.”
Respondent 6: “The privacy and freedom given by their family to explore and grow as individuals is a remarkable attribute of the American culture. Their authenticity and originality as individuals is also a notable feature of theirs, which allow and acknowledge them to create their own opinions and think for themselves.”
Respondents stress on the difference between Americans and Mizos when it comes to work ethics and the culture of individualism especially in relation to their desire to be financially independent at an early age. This is in stark contrast with the culture propagated by Mizos since the western concept of “individualism” opposes the traditional values of Mizos where individuals identify with the interests of the family and community at large. Unless a person settles outside the state for work or come from a village to pursue work in the city, it is not common to find youths leaving home to be financially independent from their parents. What can be understood from the deliberation of the respondents is that, while the admiration towards the West is mostly in their ability to live and rise above adversities independently, what needs consideration likewise is how many Mizo youths, despite their ability to live independent of their parents support still choose to stay with them and support them in return.
Influence of Hollywood and western music on Mizo way of life
Hollywood is undeniably a very dominant medium for influencing people’s psychology and sentiments. The impact can be both positive and negative, while it can really influence the world in a positive manner and bring about considerable positive changes in the global society.
Respondent 1: “I think most of their way of life and values are portrayed in movies while some are fictional too. Their sense of fashion, style influenced me mostly. I’m quite inclined to their rap culture, music videos and clothes which are quite fascinating. Rapper like 2Pac had substantial lyrics, and in the recent years, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar are some of my favorites.”
Respondent 2: “I prefer biopic and documentaries which motivates and inspires me over fictional movies. True story-based movies which display their culture and values showed that they lead a disciplined life. They don’t have major problems like hate politics and cleanliness is also a significant concept of their lifestyle compared to ours. I know we can’t compare each and everything with ours but we can try to learn and imitate them. I personally prefer their music videos over movies. The music videos I mostly watch are rapper Juice World, XXXTentacion, Lil Uzi Vert; the themes of their songs depict stories of their struggles, hardships and journey to success while our own local artists haven’t worked on these themes and issues. Juice World is one of my favorite rappers, his songs like Robbery, Lucid Dreams and Fast are my favourite. I listen to sad and emo rap songs of XXXTentacion like Sad, Everybody Dies. These rappers concentrate on the resolutions and solutions to their depressions, struggles and problems and compose their songs based on these themes. Instead of resorting to harming and drenching themselves in sorrows, they express themselves through their songs as a revelation. Their sense of style and lifestyle immensely shaped and influenced me.”
Respondent 3: “In movies, they don’t portray each and every details of reality. There are many stories with ‘happy endings’ which are not quite realistic, as you know, we are all human beings and we can’t be happy all the time. Things don’t work out as we wish and may not end in our favor and we have to go through trials and tribulations. These troubled times are often shown as easy to get over with in movies which may be partly realistic and true. By preference, I’m more inclined to their smart sense of style rather than trendy styles. I tune in to blues; cool, calm and melancholic songs, not rap.”
Respondent 4: “When I watch movies, I am more readily drawn towards the themes- didactic, informative and educational. I enjoy movies as they are. Music, I listen to all kinds of genres, ranging from classic, pop, country. Songs like Dolly Parton’s ‘Coat of Many Colors’ depicts a true and sad story of the composer, nevertheless, it is well-written, appealing and brilliantly composed. Smart sense of style is my choice of preference. I’ve copied Charlie Puth’s eyebrow cut, tried Elvis’ hairstyle which didn’t work with my hair strands though. Music videos have a greater impact in me than movies.”
Respondent 5: “Actors are themselves when they act; their characters, their composure and fun-loving nature and, untethered soul are displayed through their movie roles. Some comedians are sarcastic too, hence, in reality is unveiled in movies too.”
Respondent 6: “Movies and music videos, particularly their sense of style, classic and dapper look also influenced my style.”
Respondent 7: “Their real lives are frequently shown in movies, despite the fact that there are some which are completely contradictory of reality. In the movies I watch, there are scenes of bullying which are realistic and a recurrent occurrence.”
Respondent 8: “These days, I’ve a liking for K-Drama and K-Pop. Most men don’t go for it. When people watch K-Pop, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve stopped watching other movies and cultures.”
Respondent 9: “Movies had impact on me in positive ways like developing my skills in building relationships with others”
Respondent 10: “I imitate the way they put on their make-up, outfits and how they make jokes”
Respondent 11: “The positive impact is that I learn how to live with others. The negative impact is its time consuming so it affects my studies, it doesn’t make me in a mood to study.”
Majority of the participants said that they learn curse words from watching these films. Some of them said they imitate their favourite characters hairstyle and lifestyle, and that they not only learn curse words but also helps them increase in vocabulary. Songs and lyrics are absolutely an inspiration more than fashion.
Understanding Global Village: A Mizo Youths’ perspective
As Burke (2009) writes “We are now witnessing the emergence of a new form of cultural order. This is a global cultural order, but one that may quickly diversify by being adapted to different local environments.” The participants of this study embrace changes in our society and they welcome new trends that they are exposed to. Even though they are losing some parts of their identities of Mizo culture as they are creating new ones.
Respondent 1: “The ability to access and view every part of the world from a small device; the potential and possibilities offered by technology to bring the world virtually closer is what they’ve been mentioned as a global village.”
Respondent 2: “My take on it is quite similar with ‘respondent 1’. Nonetheless, it also creates a wide gap between the past and present generation. The older generations are technologically handicapped and are behind the present generation in learning to access things easily, which is a drawback of globalization.”
Respondent 3: “There is a creation of a wider gap between haves and have not’s. The less fortunate attain, afford and learn all the opportunities we have. On the contrary, we’ve become closer more than before. We share, obtain and acquire things effortlessly. The older generation has also learnt to use Whatsapp, so they’re not lacking behind at all.”
Respondent 4: “The creation and establishment of a gap is inevitable. For e.g. people have resorted to online classes in the current pandemic, hence, we have to opt for the online classes like ZOOM calls. There are many who are incapable of accessing the online classes, people who are situated and located at remote places without internet connectivity. Some cannot afford to own mobile phones or laptops. Therefore, the rest of the world has to proceed and progress without them. In contrast to this, globalization, I must say, have provided platforms to see the other side of the world and opportunities to meet new people, society, cultures and befriend them across the miles.”
Respondent 5: “There are desolating and heart-rending stories to each and every story of people who cannot afford these technologies and opportunities. For e.g. a mother committed suicide as her partner refused to buy a phone for their child to attend online classes. On a lighter note, globalization have provided platforms and suitable occasions for starting up new business ventures; thereby dispensing the opportunity to purchase items across the globe.”
Respondent 6: “Globalization has profoundly provided golden chances and occasions to access different cultures, societies and communities across the globe. We are given the chance to shop online, even from the States, with great ease. On the other hand, the lack of opportunities for the backward societies is a drawback of globalization. Even an intelligent student or person may lose their chances of success due to the same drawback.”
All respondents have once owned, accessed a slam book or a journal.
From the responses received, it is evident how living in a global village has detached humans from the realities of the world. Despite the many advantages, respondents stress on how the gap between the economically advanced and the poor has widened more than ever, which is further observed in the race where people who have access to technology run towards opportunities so hastily while those who cannot afford technologies are left behind. Example: Online class etc. There are community still without internet connectivity and old age who are weak in technologies and gadgets, how can these people know that there are even opportunities in the ICT sector. Now that we are in times of pandemic, students cannot stay together at school and institutions, students have to attend online classes and for the ‘haves’ there may be no issue whereas for the ‘haves not’ how can they attend classes from home if there is no internet connection or a connection with very poor internet.
Interpretation and Conclusion
The Mizo youth gets connected with American movies and music from a very young age. The American Culture has a huge impact on Mizo youth, this shapes their thoughts, behaviours, attitudes and general ways of life. They started watching American movies since they were 4 or 5 years old, as far as they remember, movies like Matilda, Home Alone, Titanic etc. were the first movies they grew up watching. They get access to movies through television, movie sites like Netlix and downloading of pirated movies from torrents, they also share these movies to their friends. Every participants use youtube as their main source for tuning into music and watching music videos.
The respondents perception of being Mizo mostly means uplifting our tradition and protecting Mizo language, respecting elders, altruistic nature like ‘tlawmngaihna.’ Most of the participants said they are fluent in English and Mizo but know only a bit of Hindi. Even though the participants grew up watching hollywood films, majority of them preferred British English accent than American English accent. They also mention the value of pasaltha, the Mizo ideal Heroes (mainly of the past), this denotes a guy so it seems the Mizos are upholding this patriarchal value of pasaltha. A good Mizo is to be a pasaltha. The Mizo youth also admire and applaud American youth who are financially independent even in their teen years, whereas in Mizo culture, even at the age of 18 and above we are still pampered and spoon-fed by our own families and financially dependent on them. Some of the respondents said even when they tried to create their own business or start working a part time job their parents would not allow them. They would advise them to concentrate on studies instead and that their parents said they can provide everything they needed.
According to them, Mizo youth should be communitarian, selfless, ‘tlawmngai’, respecting elders; they must uphold the eastern values. But in on the other hand, the respondents also feel that slowly and gradually, they are moving towards individualism and consumerism, they need their personal space, privacy, freedom and they feel that the respect for elders has decline in our current generation. They said the Mizo youth today are losing respect for elders, some said it is declining, and they are living above our means, we also have become selfish and materialistic, we move away from a communitarian lifestyle. This indicates that there is a drift from Eastern values to Western values.
This study revealed that the coming of the missionaries have a huge impact on our youth incline towards western world and its media rather than mainland Indian way of life and tradition and Bollywood films/music. The youth today thinks that there are a lot of similarities with the English/American and Mizo culture on our food, dress/outfit, preference, and way of living and that they find many elements in their films/music which they can relate to. Majority of the respondents said they are far more interested in American political election than Indian election. They mainly follow CNN and E news other than our local cable. The food and eating habits has some effects among Mizo youth, most of the respondents said they enjoy to hang out with friends in restaurants and majority of the respondents love American foods and drinks like KFC, burger, coke and other fast foods.
The results of this study indicate that the exposure of Western cultures in American media hardly results in Western-based cultural homogenization. Rather, such cultural encounters lead to cultural hybridity, an emergence of a new form of culture form, on one hand, of old, well established Mizo cultural elements, and on the other hand newer, accepted Western cultural elements. Mizos as a tribe existed for centuries but it has not been long ago this culture has proper written records of its history. The Mizos are influence by different cultures in recent decades. Currently, it is caught at the intersection between still present remnants of the old Mizo traditional system, and the new trends of globalisation.
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Cite the original source:
Lalmalsawma, Reuben and Lalruatkimi, Dr. Irene. “The Cultural Influence of Western Media among Mizo Teenagers.” Mizo Studies, X, no. 3, Sept. 2021, pp. 418–436.