Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

size acceptance; 'fat power'?

So, recently I've come across something called the 'fat acceptance movement', which people like the Gossip's lead singer, Beth Ditto, could be considered part of.

While I believe that accepting your own natural body shape is all well and good and should be encouraged, I'm not 100% sure about this movement-if interpreted a certain way, like some of the views I have seen, it could give people excuses to not take care of themselves or be in denial about the health problems they may get.

i.e this:

IMO, that whole letter was spot-on till the end...piling on weight=becoming smarter? Ehhhh.

What do you think?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

consumerism vs. empowerment

So I've been quiet as of late...there have been many topics I've wanted to discuss here but I admit, I've been lazy and putting things off. Plus, I wasn't sure which topic I should address first and/or how to put them together eloquently-expressing complex ideas requires thinking time.

I'll start with this one: Consumerism versus empowerment, and the confusion of the two in popular media. Lately and not-so-lately I've been reading things that address this topic, both online and in print. One of the things I came across was a review of the Sex and the City movie in the Monash student magazine, Lot's Wife. This review caught my attention not only because it was well written and largely free of the spelling/grammatical errors present in some of the other articles published (note to editors: step up your game!) , but because of the points the writer, Linda Lai, made.

'Unlike shows like, say Gossip Girl, Grey's Anatomy, The Hills, which, in their glorious shallowness, never try to be anything more than they are in the lather, rinse, repeat of soapy drama, Sex and the City purports itself as a Very Special Show with Something to Say About Women. Feminist! Empowering! Changing the roles and expectations of the Modern Woman!'

'These women claim to be independent and self-sufficient, yet are obsessed with men. They are neurotic, self-obsessed and are overwhelmingly self-satisfied, yet are genuinely confused when they drive women away. Whilst I can appreciate strong, intelligent women, these characters are weak and dull-they don't read, they don't go see plays, they don't discuss ideas- they shop, they philosophise in one-liners, and strut defiantly in Manolos and McQueen with cosmopolitans in hand. They represent a fantasy of the New York lifestyle, rather than a real, identifiable impression of women. Simply stating 'fabulous!' does not make it so.'

I must admit that I have only seen one or two episodes of Sex and the City in my teens plus a tiny snippet from the film; not enough to form an accurate opinion on the phenomenon. But I clearly remember, as a teenager, walking away from the show thinking it was overrated and not enjoying it at all. Maybe it was a little racy for me at the time but from reading this review, I thought that perhaps it wasn't just my prudishness that contributed to my feelings toward the show.

In a similar vein, I remember having misgivings toward Queer Eye for the Straight Guy when it was on, despite finding it entertaining. Amid the laughs and the gasps there seemed something...a little bit wrong about it, and it wasn't the fact that there were gay people were on the show. It was more the attitude of, 'if we give this guy a makeover and renovate his house (according to how we see fit), his life will be 100% better'. I think Carson Kressley even suggested to viewers in a handy hints segment that they throw out their old clothes every season and buy new ones. Though the show was supposedly about self-empowerment of both gay men (by portraying them as lifestyle experts) and straight men (by having their lives 'improved' by the gay men) it came across as ultimately shallow and perhaps even offensive to both parties. Yes, it's an entertaining, 'feel-good' show...but what does it ultimately say?

I'll be honest and say that yes, to some extent, clothes do maketh the man (or woman): being well-groomed and presented can give you added confidence and more positive attention from people in both social and work/employment settings. But where to draw the line? I think this guy oversteps it. Apart from the issue of plagiarism he brings up (which is a different topic altogether) he says:

Do they not know that they are on Swanston St? The street where Starbucks has been graced by the presence of Dior Homme (us), Margiela (I was standing next to a random wearin the shoes lol), Undercover (stanley), Balenciaga (hey kel!), Number Nine (Tan and Jun, Y3 (Karvin), an Ann Demeulemeester Pencil Box (Min.. haha!) and Two Hermes Birkins in the same week during summer!

There are a lot of things I find obnoxious about this quote and his later statements, I don't know where to within one's means, being sustainable to the environment? Not to mention, his idea of what looks good (designer clothing that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars) is supposed to be a standard that all others must follow?

Gala Darling in her popular fashion and lifestyle blog also posted this, which is a practical guide to spending wisely:

Which is somewhat interesting, as part of the reason why I had stopped reading her blog on a regular basis was that for me, it was becoming less relate-able and more about the power of shoes. From the impression I was getting I could no longer connect to the glamourous and extravagant lifestyle depicted, nor the tone or direction of the blog in general. I'm glad that she has started to include more links to thoughtful articles in her 'Carousel' section at least, though I would prefer a little less linkage and more in-depth discussion.

One of her later links did provide a very extensive, in-depth discussion of the issue of consumerism vs. conscience which is worth a read. It's very long so I skimmed it a bit, but I agree with the general gist:

Thoughts anyone? Apart from environmental awareness and budget issues related to excess consumption I also thought about the pressure to conform to a standard of beauty, but perhaps I will leave that for a separate post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'no man is an island'

Something I came across on LJ:

Although I liked the first bit, I can't say I agree with it at all towards the end-I thought the writer might have been being ironic, but it seems not the case.

While sometimes I, and I guess many of us who've been through breakups, arguments, and other negative experiences with our fellow human beings wish that life would be so much easier if we were asocial, the reality of it is that the kind of society (if we could call it that) where every man is an island if you will, would not be feasible or indeed, desirable. Think about a world where nobody cares if somebody is dying in front of them, or gives a damn if we're sick, or a world where charity organisations don't exist. I don't think high IQ robots could reproduce human empathy. Also, there's the issue of how humans will reproduce-if we don't care about each other then how will babies be born or raised?

Then again, if robots replace a good chunk of various staff and service, and babies are born through artifical means, maybe? I'm reminded of Wall-E.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

hi and welcome

Welcome to Pop Sociology. I'm a quite indecisive, somewhat ambivalent 24-year old blogger, doodler and English tutor who likes to think a lot about things.

I created this blog as a place to put my thoughts and musings on different issues, to raise some questions and to generate discussion. I don't claim to be an expert by far on these things so forgive me if I'm naive on certain topics-but the aim of this blog is to share ideas, opinions and perspectives in an intelligent and thoughtful manner.

Although debate and discussion is encouraged, comments will be moderated, so flaming or trolling is highly discouraged.

I hope you enjoy this place :)