Your Turn: Delicious Ideologies

Chicken Salad Chick signI like their chicken salad. A lot. But every time I go into either of the two local stores it not only seems like I’m the only guy in there but, also, that everyone else seated eating or in line ordering is either a member of a sorority or wishes they were — it’s like there’s a code and I didn’t get the memo about the breezy little sundress. Continue reading “Your Turn: Delicious Ideologies”

Your Turn: Identifying a Book by its Cover

A video posted by Sanaullah Mojaddedi called On Facebook this morning I saw two curiously juxtaposed posts on my newsfeed: the above (click the image to see the video), wisely cautioning us about the dangers of judging value based on appearances, and then the one below (click that image too), which strategically caters to this very tendency to achieve their goals — they give the dog a cute make-over and it is adopted. Continue reading “Your Turn: Identifying a Book by its Cover”

Your Turn: Is the Beach Really Better?

a woman in a bikini laying on the beach next to a woman covered from head to toe

Your Turn” is a new, ongoing feature at Culture on the Edge, in which we just plant the seed by picking a ripe e.g. and then soliciting and responding to your analysis.

Maybe the beach really is better?

Recently, as I sat down on a beach near Nice, France, I took notice of two women in front of me. One was wearing the tiniest of French bikinis, the other, a full burka. Other than the sand — Nice’s beaches are quite pebbly — the scene looked a lot like the photo above and sent my mind spinning, a growing clarity or distillation of oh so many discussions and debates I’ve had here in the academy about women’s rights, liberation and the like began to emerge. The juxtaposing bodies, each “oppressed” or “subjugated” in their own ways via the burka or bikini (of course, depending on the social interests at stake), collided in front of me in the south of France, a country that has recently banned face-covering burkas from public altogether and the more basic headscarf from schools and other civic institutions and establishments back in 2004. Continue reading “Your Turn: Is the Beach Really Better?”

Your Turn: Are they “illegals” or “post-fetal persons”?

An advertisement regarding Mexican children

For the past several days this image has circulated around Facebook in response to the recent flood of Central American children reaching the southern borders of the U.S. in hopes of gaining safe passage, many of them escaping violent home countries. If you’re unfamiliar with the dynamics of what’s gone on, you can read more about it here.

Clearly, this situation has given many political groups ample opportunity to engage in the manufacture of various identities as they take sides on the issue. What identity strategies have you seen at play in this conflict? How have they operated? In what political/social/cultural contexts do they appear to be effective? It’s your turn.

YOUR TURN: The Natural Look

a model demonstrating how you get a natural lookPhoto credit:

Your Turn” is a new, ongoing feature at Culture on the Edge, in which we just plant the seed by picking a ripe e.g. and then soliciting and responding to your analysis.

When I was twelve, I remember spending my birthday money on a “how-to” book on makeup application. I became particularly adept at “polka dot party makeup” (or a technique called something similar to that) wherein I dotted my eyes with black eyeliner in a way that I now realize probably resembled malignant freckles.

Despite my tender age, I remember recognizing at the time that there was some irony in the fact that the book featured a “natural look” section designed to help the makeup novitiate achieve a flawless “natural” state through the help of cosmetics. In the case of the photo above, this particular “natural look” is achieved through the purchase of the cosmetics sold through the website, and the photo supports an article on the same topic. Another related article tells the reader how to achieve a “no-makeup” look with — yes — makeup.

Many might (rightfully) comment that for those of us interested in the strategies of identity, this is nothing other than a misogynist attempt to reinforce beauty standards that not only consistently denigrate women but that also seriously limits them by locating their value in their looks. While all of this is true, there are other interesting identity markers at play in these articles that make them appealing reading.

What do you see here?  How is a “natural” identity constructed?

It’s your turn.

YOUR TURN: Another Sports Metaphor? Ann Coulter and Soccer

Ann Coulter hitting a soccer ball with her headPhoto credit:

“Your Turn” is a new, ongoing feature at Culture on the Edge,in which we just plant the seed by picking a ripe e.g. and then soliciting and responding to your analysis.

Many of you are likely aware of the brouhaha surrounding American conservative firebrand Ann Coulter, who in the past few days has claimed not only that soccer isn’t a serious sport, but that the World Cup craze is an inherently un-American activity. You can see Coulter’s specific discussion on her website here and here.

Knowing Coulter’s penchant for highly inflammatory comments, it’s tempting to dismiss her statements as nothing but an attention-seeking gimmick. But for those of us interested in the dynamics of identity formation, we can find some very interesting data embedded in Coulter’s statements.

What do you see there?  How does Coulter’s argument operate?

It’s your turn.

It’s Your Turn

a women jumping off a cliff with an open umbrella in her handWe’re starting a new, ongoing feature here at Culture on the Edge, in which we plant the seed by picking what we think to be a ripe e.g. and then soliciting and responding to your analysis in the comments section.

So it’s your turn to join us on the edge.

Watch for “Your Turn” posts coming soon…