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Intercultural communication is important for people from different cultures to learn and acknowledge cultural differences. The core medium of intercultural exchange is the sharing of one's culture. People hold various views, behaviors, symbols, desires, ideals, and norms. As a result of the growth of globalization, intercultural cooperation has become an increasingly important feature of today's world. Every day, countries interact with other nations, and misunderstandings occur due to cultural and linguistic barriers (Brooks, P. (Producer), & Zwick, J. (Director). [DVD] My Big Fat Greek Wedding). The dynamics of separations and assimilation are common throughout “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” as depicted by the main characters. This creates the major theme of this movie.
The Movie “My Big Fat Greek”
Sometimes, Weddings are a good example of an intercultural clash as a result of poor intercultural communication. “my Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a story of a Greek girl by the name Toula, who falls in love with Ian, a white Anglo-Saxon protestant. However, Toula’s family is a very conservative Greek-family. For instance, Toula’s father restricts Toula to interact or associate with any other man apart from the Greeks. Therefore, Taula’s father is an example of a Greek man who feels that his language is more superior compared to other nationalities. This is a proof of cultural identification. This can be depicted in his explanation of the origin of the English word “arachnophobia”. The ironical part of this conversations is when Toula’s friend ask where the Japanese word “kimono” came from and still, Toula’s father continues with his long dialogue of the etymology of words (Brooks, P. (Producer), & Zwick, J. (Director). My Big Fat Greek Wedding [DVD].). It is funny to see Toula’s father depend much on “Windex” as a remedy for everything he thought of. On the other hand, it is also ironical for Toula’s father to bring his mother to the United States of America. In addition, when Toula decides to make her personal decision, she changes her look by adapting to a more glamorous American hairstyle.
Since Toula has been born and raised in a Greek family, she is required to marry a Greek and have many kids. It is also cultural believes that Greek women are not supposed to be educated as they are going to marry. This is shown when Toula request her father in great fear to enroll in college. After enrolling in classes at a local college, she employed by a traveling agency instead of a family restaurant. The choice of not working in a family restaurant is a clear indication of assimilations at the expense of one’s own culture. The film also shows that Taula’s father has this perception that ladies are generally stupid, which is an evident form or stereotyping. This creates an obstacle in intercultural communications especially in a society or culture where male and female stereotyping dominates (Brooks, P. (Producer), & Zwick, J. (Director). My Big Fat Greek Wedding [DVD].)
Intercultural communication is a crucial tool for interracial marriage. In this film, Toula is forbidden by her father to marry a non-Greeks, but later she meets Ian. Intercultural clash is evident in this film when Ian asks Toula’s father if he can court her daughter. First, Toula’s father began by judging his appearance particularly his hair which does not look like those of Greeks. The two do not get into a successful conversation and they part way. On the other hand, rituals are very important in intercultural communications. In this film, Ian is expected to undergo baptism in the Greek Orthodox Church. The Greek cultural practices also require him to be baptized before marrying to Toula. After Ian’s baptism, he declares to be a Greek. He even starts to learn Greek language and this is much surprise to Toula’s brothers and cousins. At the end of this scene, Ian accepts to leave some of his own cultural background behind for him to fit into Toula’s family. This is an evidence that to have good intercultural communication, an individual should be converted. Another example of rituals practices in this film is when Ian’s parents are asked to take several shots of vodka (Brooks, P. (Producer), & Zwick, J. (Director). My Big Fat Greek Wedding [DVD].). Ian’s parents were not drinkers but they compiled and also accepted as part of the family after this event. More so, wedding rituals are also a form of intercultural communication. In a ceremonial wedding, culture and religion is only distinguished fine line. But rituals are still prominent in terms of religion. In this film, it shows that the three generations of Toula’s family shared their experiences. Toula’s grandmother shows her photos to both Toula’s mother and Toula. This ritual is common in most culture across the globe. Interracial marriages are also forms of intercultural communication. In this film, marriage between Ian and Toula brought two different families together. In majority of the primitive tribes, intermarriage was a symbol of cooperation between two tribesmen.
In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, it has different components that depict the significance of intercultural communication. It is difficult for different cultures to be united. Therefore, knowledge and understanding of the other culture is important as it can help in promoting peace and harmonious living among people.
Brooks, P. (Producer), & Zwick, J. (Director). My Big Fat Greek Wedding [DVD]. USA: Gold Circle Films, 2002.
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