The Orient and the East

1255 Words6 Pages
Imperialism began with Western European countries looking to expand their reach of influence on the East. These countries would conquer and colonize any region not of the West in hopes of bettering their economy or to help the native people they found in the East, carry up the “The White Man’s Burden.” When meeting the native people, Westerners named the things from the East “Orient,” and along with this name came many stereotypes and assumptions of the people and the land. Although, imperialism is no longer present, effects such as orientalism still resonates within the culture being expressed through media such as the Academy Award winning movie of the year Argo. Orientalism is the misconception by Westerners of foreign people from the “Orient.” It focuses on the differences between the East and the West, and it serves as a justification for imperialism because the West is depicted as superior to the East. Argo, a movie about the Iran-American conflict of 1979, is primarily set in the Middle East where all the inhabitants are wrongly depicted as full of mindless rage, screaming, irrational, and reasonless mobs. In 1891, French economist and journalist, Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, stated about the colonies of the Orient “a great part of the world is inhabited by barbarian tribes or savages, some given over to wars without end and to brutal customs, and others knowing so little of the arts and being so little accustomed to work and to invention that they do not know how to exploit their land and its natural riches. They live in little groups, impoverished and scattered.” Argo having strikingly similar depictions of Eastern people over a hundred years later raises the question “has the Western perspective of the East changed?” ... ... middle of paper ... ...ome to us at an interesting time, before the Revolution, 40 percent of Tehran movie theaters were showing pornography. The function of this office is purification as well as promotion for the arts.” The first part notions the Western stereotype of the Orient since the same as the time when it was discovered, but now the people of the Orient realize the stereotypes and are changing the way they see themselves because of these stereotypes. It is only by correcting these assumptions, stereotypes, and misconceptions of the Orient at the heart of society today, the media can Orientalism be fixed. The Eastern people must be allowed to sympathize in movies and films to humanize them and have intimate interactions. Otherwise, the Orient will be continued to be known incorrectly as a place with people who are without reason, screaming, protesting, and in swarming mobs.
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