[Link: Wanna Feel Old]
Posts Tagged ‘Culture’
There’s a fascinating article at Reader’s Digest about a guy who decided to try saying hello to everyone in his path for a month. The results, although probably predictable, are quite interesting. He notes that it’s not as easy as you’d think, and I’m right with him there: I struggle to be friendly to strangers for who knows what reason (I’m chalking it up to shyness, but there are probably a dozen other things in the way as well). The Beloved One, on the other hand, has no problem saying hello to all and sundry, although this might be because of her job.
If I can get over the shyness and “weirded-outed-ness” of saying hi to strangers for a few days, I’ll let you all know how it goes. Anyone else keen to try this experiment? Or are you already extroverted enough to not need to do this?
Slate lead me to a dramatic 2006 New York Times article on the similarities between post traumatic stress disorder as seen in victims of civil wars in Africa and that seen in young elephants who have witnessed the murder of their parents and elders. Long but deeply intruiging.
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Salon directed me to a series of articles at the New York Times on love, romance, marriage, and gender roles among young men and women in Saudi Arabia. It’s an interesting read, a real eye opener and I have to say quite scary too.
Also it makes me think that if you were subject to so much sheltering and insularity with regards to mingling with the opposite sex, surely it would lead to men treating women as objects and women treating men as objects — as beings who have certain qualities which can never be changed, cardboard copies that are cut from a mold you’ve only been told about by other people, beings that can only be worked around and not worked with.
Also, it makes me realize why the fanatical uber-Muslims in South Africa have the conservative, closed minded ideas that they have — it has very little to do with Islam as a school of thought to be explored, probed, questioned and understood, everything to do with spreading an Arab way of life, Arab ideals and Arab mores. My usual example of this is the way South African Muslims always give their children Arab names, despite the fact that Muslims from other parts of the world don’t do this and there is nothing in Islam which asks for it. (Try arguing that point with a middle aged Durbanite.)
Well, I am not an Arab and thank G_d for that.
Anyway, read the articles. They provide some interesting slice of life accounts on the difficulty of being a young person in Saudi Arabia. And the one very interesting point they make is how the Saudis have managed to merge Arab culture so completely with ideas of religion that the two can’t be separated.
Sameer and I went to the Field Museum – a natural history museum in Chicago – yesterday. The exhibits were fantastic. After oggling Sue the T-Rex for a bit, we went off and looked at the Ancient Americas exhibit. While in the Ancient Americas exhibit, I noted the pictures and models of women from ancient times, walking around and going about their work totally topless and I thought “Hmmm, seen that before.” As you know, in many African tribes, women still go topless.
Later on, we went to look at a photo exhibition of women’s rituals from around the world. While there, we came across a series of pictures of Swazi women at the annual Reed Dance, again topless. And here, one of the signs accompanying the pictures states that “In Swazi culture, breasts are associated with food, not sex.” and I though “A-ha! That makes perfect sense!”
We have some many people telling us that women who go around showing skin are asking for harassment but in certain cultures and certain times, women showed much more skin and went about their daily work without fear or reprisal or abuse.
So I ask, when did breasts become co-opted as exclusive symbols of sex and sexuality? I find it so strange that in some countries – the US in particular – people are so abhorrent of women who breastfeed their babies in public but they are quite happy to see breasts flashed around on billboards, in movies, or in porn. It’s a double standard that insinuates that breasts are for men’s pleasure and not for women’s purposes.
Picking up from the idea that the kiddies who once played videogames are now productive, adult members of society who still play video games, see this Slate article about the rebranding of Chester, the Cheetos mascot. Recent surveys found that over 60% of the people eating Cheetos are adults. This surprised the execs who realized that they needed to have an alternative ad campaign aimed at adults.