An Intercultural Analysis of My Big Fat Greek Wedding
GDUFS SEIB1104 Nicole Guan
As a typical intercultural movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is about Toula, a lower middle class Greek American woman who fell in love with a non-Greek upper middle class “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant” Ian Miller. They overcame a series of difficulties and eventually held a big fat Greek wedding. This movie shows us how Greek Americans live, reflecting the conflicts between Greek culture and American culture in a humorous way. Guided by Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, this paper mainly explores how Greeks and American handle the cultural conflicts, and how they integrate into each other’s culture. Therefore, we will arrange the paper in three dimensions of Hofstede’s theory: individualism vs. collectivism, power distance and uncertainty avoidance.
1. Individualism vs Collectivism
The movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding reveals the sharp contrast between American individualism and Greek collectivism. From Hofstede’s research into culture differences among 50 countries and 3 regions, the US ranked first with its individualism index score reaching 91 while Greece ranked thirty with its individualism index score is only 35. We can learn from the movie that Ian considers himself as an individual and are more independent than Toula in terms of decision-making and family relationship. 1.1 Decision-making
In the individualist society, people tend to emphasize their own interest and have more power to make their own decision without being influenced by other people. In American culture, it is common that Ian could decide who he wants to marry and what religion he wants to profess. By contrast, Toula, the Greek girl, had to follow her parents’ will to learn Greek and fulfill her duty to marry a Greek man. Just as Toula said to Ian, “Nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone... until the day we die.” Families’...
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