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How Come…..?

How Come…..?

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How Come…..?

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  1. How Come…..? • Culture is so taken for granted that we seldom question our behaviors, values, and norms… even the most simple ones? • “The last thing a fish notices is the water”

  2. CULTURE • How come…….. • When you’re driving down the road….. • When someone comes behind you….. • When Dr. H walks up and ……

  3. CULTURE • Learned set of beliefs, values, and norms • Creation of culture is universal phenomenon but the form it takes is not • Changes can be internal and external

  4. Cultural Universals • Cultural Universals are customs and practices that occur across all societies. • Examples: • Appearance (bodily adornment, hairstyles) • Activities (sports, dancing, games, joking) • Social institutions (family, law, religion) • Practices (cooking, folklore, gift giving)

  5. Material – the “stuff” • (Jewelry, Fashion, Weapons of War, Technology) An expression of …… • Symbolic Non-Material • Beliefs, Norms, Values • Symbolic shapes and is sometimes shaped by material culture

  6. Beliefs or ideologies…. • How we think the world operates • “meritocracy” – Monopoly game (material expression) • Values….. • Our moral blueprint – what we hold dear

  7. http://Strange and harmful cutlural practices

  8. Other American Values? • Achievement Religiosity • Individualism Education • Work Ethic Romantic Love • Efficiency Democracy • Rationalization Personal Freedom • Material Comfort Equality • Progress Humanitarianism

  9. Value Contradictions and Social Change It is precisely at the point of value contradictions, then, that one can see a major force for social change in a society. Often leads to Culture wars – social upheaval

  10. Norms • Folkways – informal -- violation is minimal • Texting in class? Airplane Travel? • Mores – moral component -- violation might be severe • Smartphones and cheating? • Laws – formalized and enforced • Taboos – most important -- violation causes repulsion

  11. Nature Versus Nurture • Sociability • Intelligence • Sensitive hands • Vocality • Eyesight • Upright posture • Instincts

  12. What instincts do we have?

  13. Instincts versus Innate behaviors • Reflexive behaviors • Instincts • Innate capacities

  14. Symbols Change over time….. Old Symbol Has given way to ???? New Symbol

  15. What is “consumer culture” in the U.S. ?

  16. Powerful marketing convinces us to buy things we would not normally purchase • The manufacturing of desire??

  17. Advertising Culture: • The average person is exposed to more than 3,000 ads per day….

  18. Why is cash no longer popular? • No plastic? No service

  19. Take a guess at the following….. • What are the main causes of credit card default? • A. divorce/loss of loved one, loss of job, health care • B. over spending, depression, loss of job • C. Depression, divorce, over spending • D. None of the above

  20. Postmodernism & Consumer Culture • Cultural Leveling – the ‘McDonaldization of Society” -- more sectors of society are adopting the principles of fast-food restaurants – also seen as the Americanization of culture • Credit cards are our tools of consumption • 3.5 billion letters per year to solicit new consumers • 83 percent of college students have at least one and average debt is almost $3,000

  21. Consumer Culture and Credit….. • Credit card companies now control debit cards too. • They consider those who pay off their credit cards at the end of the month as “deadbeats” - Why might this be the case?

  22. Postmodernism? • An eclectic blending of facets of culture • old/new, east/west, high/low • Globalization • Cultural Lag -- • material and non-material move at different pace

  23. Components of McDonaldization • Efficiency, such as a drive-through windows, ready-made fast-food is meant to get us in and out fast. • Calculability is emphasis on large quantities, e.g., Big Mac, Whopper or Biggie Fries – mass production • Predictability - people don't like surprises, and at chains they know what to expect: A Big Mac tastes the same in Syracuse as in Salt Lake City. • Control -- options are limited to force customers through –also includes replacing human workers with machines, which are much easier than humans to manage.

  24. Information Overload?? • Advertising…… Are we swimming in a sea of messages?? • “copywriters, market researchers, pollsters, consultants, and even linguists—most of whom work for one of six giant companies—spend billions of dollars and millions of man-hours trying to determine how to persuade consumers what to buy, whom to trust, and what to think. Increasingly, these techniques are migrating to the high-stakes arena of politics, shaping policy and influencing how Americans choose their leaders.” pbs--frontline

  25. Charlie and FidoWho is superior? “You are so in my spot!!”

  26. Culture has two faces…. • It can allow us to exercise our freedoms But because it is so taken for granted…. It can also constrain us and we never even realize it.

  27. “Beauty” always refers to • the female body • “What are the norms for feminine beauty? • Do your ideas coincide? Differ?

  28. How did this happen? • Culture told us to do it How does it stay this way? • We’ve embodied those images

  29. If Barbie Was Real.. • Height 7’2” • Measurement 40-22-36 • Weight 83 lbs / 50 lbs would be her breasts • Neck would be twice as long as a normal human • If real, she could not menstruate because she would not have enough body fat

  30. Average Woman in America -- 5’4” • 60% wear size 12 or higher • Average Mannequin 6’ 34-22-34 Size 6

  31. “To men a man is but a mind. Who cares what face he carries or what he wears? But woman's body is the woman.” • Ambrose Bierce (1958)

  32. Why is it that…… • Attractiveness is a prerequisite for femininity -- but not for masculinity or this changing too???? • Would you go through physical torture to achieve attractiveness? • You would not be the first to do so…..

  33. Questions • Would you consider cosmetic surgery for yourself?

  34. 31% women 20% men said yes • 27% 18 to 24 years old said yes to now or in the future • 27% white 24% non-white

  35. Percentage change 2010 vs. 2009 13.1 million cosmetic procedures  5% • 1.6 million cosmetic surgical procedures  2% • 11.6 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures  5% 5.3 million reconstructive procedures  2%

  36. Overall, women have 91 percent of cosmetic procedures number of surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed on women was more than 10.6 million, an increase of 1 percent over 2006. Surgical procedures increased by 9 percent in women in 2007, while nonsurgical procedures decreased by less than 1 percent. • But men are jumping on the cosmetic surgery bandwagon in droves. In fact, men had 9 percent of cosmetic procedures in 2007, with the number of total procedures (both surgical and nonsurgical) increasing 17 percent over 2006, to just over 1 million. Surgical procedures increased 5 percent, and nonsurgical procedures increased 21 percent. • Source:

  37. Americans spent nearly $10 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2011. Of that total, $6.2 billion was spent on surgical procedures; $1.7 billion was spent on injectable procedures; $1.6 billion was spent on skin rejuvenation procedures; and over $360 million was spent on other nonsurgical procedures such as laser hair removal.

  38. Women had almost 8.4 million procedures in 2011, while men had almost 800,000 during the same year. Male plastic surgery has increased by more than 121 percent since 1997. • Source:

  39. In 2011, the top five surgical procedures were: • Liposuction • Breast augmentation • Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) • Eyelid surgery • Breast lift

  40. Top five Cosmetic – minimally Invasive • BOTox • Soft tissue fillers • Chemical Peels • Laser Hair Removal • Microdermabrasion

  41. Food Poisoning? • Sales of Botox grew "at double the rate at constant currency internationally than in the United States." Botox sales rose 18 percent to $315.5 million, while eye-care pharmaceuticals sales increased 22 percent, to $492.2 million. Medical devices sales rose 23 percent to $203.4 million, with obesity intervention sales up 36 percent and facial aesthetics sales up 24 percent. • Source:

  42. A sampling of 2,000 girls, with an average age of 15, found that 42 percent have considered getting plastic surgery. • The number of cosmetic surgery procedures has jumped a whopping 457 percent since ASAPS first began gathering these stats in 1997.

  43. Chinese foot binding – the first historical example of objectification and first sign of norms that demanded conformity. “golden lotus”

  44. Torture or Fashion? Painful Memories of Foot Binding

  45. Some scholars say footbinding deepened female subjugation by making women more dependent on their men folk, restricting their movements and enforcing their chastity, since women with bound feet were physically incapable of venturing far from their homes.

  46. 16th century • Corsets made of whalebone, wood, and hardened canvas

  47. “farthingale” Miscarriages, organ damage, death

  48. 18th century • Floating ribs removed • Women still dying from direct or indirect Cost of achieving beauty… AND Paid twice that of men for public transportation in New York City

  49. 19th century • laced corsets but large hips and breasts • Went on diets to gain weight

  50. early 20th century • 20s – slender legs, hips, breasts, bobbed hair • women were binding their breasts • 40s and 50s – hourglass back in style • Marilyn Monroe