We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Westoxification?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Westoxification is a term that was first used in the latter part of the 20th century. It expressed the way in which many of the more fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic religion, particularly in whole or partly theocratic governments, viewed Western ideology. Especially the American way of life was and sometimes still is seen as a strong threat to the coherence of important things in the societies of certain Islamic states. Westoxification could be applied to other governments that fear Western influence. For instance, banning Western products to a degree in China and North Korea has in part been an attempt to retain certain cultural mindsets and specifically the government structure of these countries.

The word westoxification implies that Western culture pollutes important, sometimes gravely important, ideas in the Middle East. Certainly when viewed through the lens of organizations like the Taliban, westernization of a country or western influence could only be interpreted as a corruptive force. A society interested in keeping women from full participation in that society, cannot be happy when other societies are represented on television, or in other media. Just as Americans in the past were shocked at Elvis’ gyrating hips, the screaming girls that chased after The Beatles, and the sexual revolution and drug culture that followed, there is a vested interest in not allowing things that would subvert or cause massive changes to a culture when those in power don't want these changes.

Though the term westoxification is fairly new, many countries have feared contact with other countries, or even with fads in their own country. After vigorous trade was established between Europe and Japan, the country became increasingly isolationist because it was felt that Western influence could significantly change Japanese culture. After World War II, when trade between America and Japan was strongly established, it could be stated that Western ways did influence culture, and that things American became highly prized, especially by Japanese youth. To some this may have been viewed as a polluting force.

Corrupting impressionable youth with new ideas could create revolutionary trends and threaten the societal fabric, especially in a society with strict laws and cultural traditions. Though westoxification most often refers to the corrupting ideas of cultural norms in other countries as viewed by certain Islamic countries, this was not always the case. When Islam began, even though much of their first efforts were to enlarge their territories through warfare, Islamic leaders tended to be extremely permissive about the practice of other religions, particularly Judaism and Christianity. This varied though, depending upon leaders, and gradually great schisms grew in Islam occupied territory that had formerly belonged to Jews or Christians. It didn't help when the Crusades labeled most Arabs as infidels, and did much to try to kill many Muslims who refused conversion.

The trouble with westoxification is that it significantly impairs relationships between countries, especially between the US and certain Islamic countries. If the US is viewed as culturally corrupting, it can influence countries to adopt a warlike or terrorist attitude toward the US. When a society feels so threatened by a larger culture, and feels that their way of life could be destroyed by that culture, they may view all members of the culture as threatening, bad people. Experts on Islamic-US relations suggest that we need to understand westoxification when we attempt diplomacy with countries that fear our influence. The more imperialist an approach taken by the US toward such countries, the more likely the fear of westoxification will grow in those countries. This fear spawns anger at the US, acts of terrorism, and stockpiling of weapons.

It’s hard for some people in the west to understand why westoxification would be viewed as a bad thing. Most of us like our culture, and we may not be able to see past our own constructions of society and government. Why wouldn’t people want democracy, or rights for women, or freedom of religion? The trouble is, though, when these ideas are predominant in the minds of the people who create our foreign policy and trade agreements, there can be a failure to understand that not everyone thinks western ways are the best, and that failure to respect the cultural traditions of others can lead to extremely bad diplomatic relationships with other countries.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a CulturalWorld.org contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.