Pink Fire Pointer April 2012

Through the Lens of a Stranger

Or how we tell you to see yourself

Topic: Self

Source: Reading “Communication Mosaics” and talking about how our personal identities are influences by the “personal” and “general” other.

Relation: Robbins defines social identities as, “views that people have of their own and others positions in society” (Pg. 136). Our position in society is created through our identity toolbox, and what makes up this toolbox is through the construction of our “self.”

Description: Sitting in class listening to a lecture from my professor Tasha Souza, about the development of identity. I can’t help but think of all the people who have affected my identity. My mother always told me I could be anything I want, which gave me determination to get a college degree. I was also told growing up that I am a beautiful strong person, which gave me the courage to have standards in my relationships.  I was told by mass media that I needed to be white, thin, with light colored eyes. Also I need to have big breast, and a big butt. These are all things that have constructed my view of myself.  Which in turn reflects outwardly and constructs the world’s view of me.

Commentary/Analysis: First let me define what the personal and general other re. The personal other are the people who have a person role in your life that influence your perceptions on yourself. These can be your parents, siblings, friends etc. The general other is outside sources that influence the perceptions of self. These can be things such as mass media: movies, magazines, celebrities etc. (All of these terms are defined in Communication Mosaics which will be cited in my references). From young ages our self-perceptions are constructed from movies, friends and families. Whether it was your mother calling you a princess (and dressing you like one) or Disney movies telling you how your gender should act. All of these affect the way you act, dress, communicate, and your self-perceptions. A study was done in 2007 that tested the actions, attire, and self-perceptions of five year old girls, when they were told everyday by their parents that they were pretty princesses. After three months of this, the children we dressing themselves in “princess-dresses”, make-up and anything they perceived to be “princess-ish.” When asked who they were, they would address themselves as “princess Amanda” etc. when asked what they were, they responded with answers like “a princess” or “the most beautiful princess in the world.” Lastly, The attitudes of these children changed from compliant to conflict oriented. When they were told no, they would demand to be told yes, saying things such as “I am the princess so I make the rules.” This is just an experiment, which shows how we develop images of ourselves based on what other people say, and what we see. These children would never know how to dress like a princess if they were not exposed to media images such as Disney.

 Another way to see our how our self-perceptions are affected by both the personal and general other is our body image. It is almost impossible to say that media hasn’t affect the way you see your body. When white skinny, fake-breasted women are praised as beautiful, any girl who is an average American is tossed aside as unattractive. This makes women want to look like the women in mass media because this is seen as beautiful. This causes eating disorders, health issues, and in some cases suicide. These are just some examples of how the personal and general other affect our self-perceptions. While we do have opinions of ourselves that are formed from our perceptions of the world, most of our self-perceptions have come from years of personal and general other influences. 

Works Cited (not class text)
Wood, Julia. Communication Mosaics: An Introduction to the Field of Communication.[S.l.]: Cengage, 2010. Print.

Picture Citations:

I'm Sexy and I know it!

Topic: Sex

Source: Viewing overly sexualized ads not only in America but also across the world. Also pages 124-126 in the text, analyzing sexual themes and motifs seen throughout the world, and how “sexy” plays certain roles in different cultures.

Relation: “The themes sex, love and wealth are pervasive in American life…” (Robbins PG 124).  North America is such a dominant voice throughout the globe, that many cultures have adapted some of our culture. One of the major western influences we see through out the world is the mythical ideal of “sexy” women.

Description: Flipping through a magazine, I cannot help but notice the hot celebrity picture on cover. “ The women is white, skinny, scantly clad, blonde, and posed sexually. It is the newest cover of “Sports Illustrated” and the female in it is Kate Upton. Some celebrity that I had never heard up, but apparently she is the “ideal” sexy. Random pages of the magazine show more white women with blonde or light brown hair, wearing bathing suits or other form fitting outfits. There is even one woman of color in the magazine…probably to show their “diversity.”

Commentary/Analysis: The North American view of “sexy” is perverse and unfortunately influential.  If you Google sexy you will see images of North American white blonde or brown haired celebrities or models, all women showing off some form of sexuality or femininity. In fact just this past month tabloids were raving about how proud they were that Snooki met her goal weight of 95 lbs (no seriously Google it!). The way sexuality is seen in this culture is the same (almost) as with the Ju/wasi, where a woman who is not sexually active is looked upon negatively (as a prude etc). However men also view women who are overly sexuality active negatively as well (as sluts or “loose”). Similar to the manner of the Ju/wasi where men view sexual women as dangerous, but non-sexual women are not normal. 

In North America we view overly sexual images, clothing, and life styles as “sexy.” All females must conform to the ideal sexy look, which is white, blonde hair, blue eyes, and unhealthily skinny. This ideological myth of beauty is very infectious, causing women of many different cultures and countries to adapt to this same idea of beauty. An example of this adaptation can be seen in Japan. There is a new trend in Japan where women are trying to make their hair blonde, they get blue contacts, and they are getting breast augmentations to try and have the “western look.” This idea of western beauty is so influential that women are altering their natural body type just to appeal sexually to men. For example, there was a culture (I cannot remember the name I apologize) that used to value a huskier woman, who had big hips, and was (as our society now calls it) “fat.” However, this society eventually got television that streamed American television shows. Not long after they were subjected to these TV shows, the women of that culture started having eating disorders where they would be anorexic or bulimic. 

This idea of beauty is sickening, and yet we as a culture still accept it. Yes there have been recent movements to amend this monstrosity by putting healthier women in magazines, but for the most part it is this super skinny women. Also regardless of the size of the women, they are always portrayed as sexy, scantly clad, or in a tight form-fitting outfit. 

Pictures Cited:,r:7,s:47,i:237,r:13,s:99,i:33

The Ritual of Marriage

Topic: Ritual

Source: A close friends wedding on April 12th 2012, in Napa Valley California. The weather was warm and sunny, and perfect for her out door wedding. I was a bride’s maid in the ceremony. 

Relation: Robbins states that a ritual is, "a dramatic rendering or social portrayal of meanings shared by a specific body of people in a way that makes them seem correct and proper" (Pg 84). Marriage is a social portrayal of a meaning shared by a specific body of people in a way that makes it seem correct and proper.

Description: Analese was coming down the aisle with her arm hooked in the left elbow of her fathers. Her veil hid her face away from the public as it covered her face in layers of white chiffon. Her father walked her down to the end of the aisle, where they stopped. The preacher said, "Who gives this woman to this man," and her father replied, "I, her father, give her to Jason…" and then Jason stepped forward, and accepted Analese's hand from her father. Then the ceremony continues, they say their "I do's," they kiss, and walk back down the aisle as man and wife. 

Analysis/Commentary: In this commentary, I will be formatting the stages of the ritual based off of two reading (which I encourage you all to read). Those readings are: Planes of Classification in a Ritual of Life and Death, written by Victor Turner; and, The Anthropology of Religion (2006), second edition, chapter 6: Ritual Theory, Rites of Passage, and Ritual Violence, by Fiona Bowie. In both of these readings ritual is discussed as going through stages which are: Separation, Marginality / Liminality, and Re-integration. These terms will be defined contextually as I make my analysis. 

Separation-the stage of separation in getting married can easily be seen when the bride is "given away" by the father (or who ever she chooses to give her away). The bride walks down the isle with her father (or parent or guardian) and the father will give her away to her partner/marriage companion. This is symbolic for the cutting of ties from being under the fathers’/guardians/mothers protection, to being under the husband/partners protection. The bride is no longer the under the fathers care, but is now under their partners care. Therefore cutting the ties from being the "daughter" to the "wife."

Liminal- this stage is during the ceremony. The bride is not yet a wife, but has been separated from the role of daughter. This is when they are saying their vows, and the ceremony is in session still. The bride is transitioning from daughter to wife.

Re-integration- this is the stage when the ceremony has been complete. They have kissed, the wedding rings are on, and this is when the couple now turns from on another and marches back down the isle together. After the wedding ceremony is complete there is a reception where the couple/bride is re-integrated back into society in the role of wife.

Robbins Defines symbolic actions as, "the activities, -including ritual myth, art, dance, and music- that dramatically depict the meanings shared by a specific body of people" (pg 84). Getting married is an activity that depicts a life meaning shared by a body of people, that body of people being the majority of the world. People believe that it is a must to get married in life; in fact this myth of the importance of marriage is so impactful that governments provide special benefits to those who get married.  Marriage shows many values that are moral, and many that are shallow that our society still believes in. For example, a moral value would be how marriage involves love, being happy, and enjoying life with friends and family. However it is shallow in the sense that, it cost a fortune to have a “good marriage,” as well as that fact that marriage is only allowed between a man and a woman in most states. Which is ironic considering the fact that marriage is supposed to be about love. Nonetheless, marriage is a clear depiction of not just values in our society, but beliefs, myths, and practices. You can tell a lot about our society based off of one wedding ceremony.

The symbols that were used were: Rings- Wedding rings are symbolic for marriage, and commitment to another person. Kiss- The wedding kiss seals the deal so to say. It is like a handshake to a verbal contract, signing the contract with a kiss symbolizes their commitment to the marriage, and to one another. Daughter- this is symbolic for being under the care of the family, or guardian. I do take into consideration that not everyone is under their parents/guardians care when they are married. However it is still symbolic for being the child in a sense. Wife- this is symbolic for the life partner who undertakes the female position. Reception- this is the celebration of the marriage, and of the bride completing the stages. This is when the bride is reintroduced to the world as wife. 

Works Cited (That are not course related): 
 Planes of Classification in a Ritual of Life and Death, written by Victor Turner

 The Anthropology of Religion (2006), second edition, chapter 6: Ritual Theory, Rites of Passage, and Ritual Violence, by Fiona Bowie. 

Pictures Cited: