Stars In Our Eyes?

From US election parties to the prevalence of Stars and Stripes leggings, LIZA KOZOWYK thinks Durham may have become slightly too Americanised.

Has anyone else noticed an ever-increasing love for anything American in Britain? From stars and stripes leggings, to a fresher’s week of ‘Frat Nights’ and ‘Toga Parties’, to fake letterman jackets being all the rage in college stash, and even the growing number of Cheerleaders. Across the nation there seems to be an influx of the US of A in the Brit of tain.

All the rage?

McDonaldization is a recognised phenomenon in academic studies, referring to the homogenisation of cultures, especially of the American culture, to other countries. And it’s happening before our very eyes. And think about it… there are a lot of McDonalds in Britain, and Durham even recently added a Starbucks and a Krispy Kreme. Suspicious.

The Brits (amongst other countries) used to be known to have a vaguely anti-American perspective, even jokingly. But recently Britain seems to have gone from thinking “what a bunch of silly idiots” to “omg I like totally want stars and stripes on my clothing!”

After what felt like an upheaval in patriotism with the royal wedding, jubilee and the Olympics, the drop into Americanisation is rather alarming.

Is it just a fashion statement? Do people think stars and stripes just look better than the union jack? Then what’s to explain beer pong suddenly taking over Britain’s house-parties? Or the strong and emotional following of the US election, (which admittedly will affect Britain) that felt just a little more involved than was entirely necessary. British Facebook statuses urging people to vote when as British citizens it’s not likely they could sway the election.  It all just screams a little ‘wannabe’.

There are a lot of international students in Durham, and quite a few Americans. Can you imagine coming all the way over the pond to attend to find a country which is just a try-hard copy of the real deal you would have experienced at home?

We live in a medieval city and attend one of the oldest universities in Britain equipped with its own fun and engaging traditions, and we welcomed fresher’s with an abundance of North American drinking rituals. Doesn’t this strike you as a little odd?

Castle’s Frat Party in Fresher’s Week

Sure, it might be fun sometimes, and although as half-Canadian I find the overwhelming amount of American flags a little like a living in a Hollywood movie, I do enjoy the chance to let my North-American side shine through now and again.

But it’s a little disconcerting just how much Britain feels the need to alter her identity. Maybe we all need to watch the scene in Love Actually with the inspirational patriotic speech a couple times more “…David Beckham’s left foot come to that”.

Maybe it’s just a trend, but for now, the whole of Britain seems to have stars in its eyes.