CULTURE SHOCK

Life in Queens (the Most Diverse Borough of the Most Diverse City in the World)

Archive for May 17th, 2014


Exoticism of Culture

Whether you are white, black, brown, a person of color, mixed race, or any other classification of race, you’ve most likely experienced the exoticism of a culture. The thing is, you most likely took it in as a compliment. The truth to the matter is, when one is “exotifying” a culture, they are actually placing a barrier against two races. Living in 21st century America, this is something that should not be accepted, and as time goes on, we are visibly experiencing the riots caused by such actions.

For example, I recently read on another blog of how a woman was called “exotic” because of her skin tone and hair. After she was asked where she was from, the “compliment” was taken a step further; calling “her people” exotic and mystifying as well.

Read this here: http://atriptothemorg.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/post-the-sixty-ninth/

This type of misconception, exoticism, and racism can be accounted for in today’s media as well. For example, last year, when Selena Gomez’s Come & Get It music video came out, a lot of controversy was sparked. Although it was not her intent, she sexualized an important concept of Indian culture; the third eye. For Hindu’s this is an extremely religious concept, leading back to Lord Shiva and his “power”.

^That’s a modern kimono styled cardigan.

Another example of this is the up and coming fashion of Kimonos. Although now H&M, Forever 21 and almost any major department store carries a wide variety of them, it is belittling to the Japanese culture and the ceremonies and events they are made for. A black kimono (mofuku), was once known to be for funerals as a sign of respect towards the diseased. Now, you see people wearing the “stylish” versions of them as everyday wear.

 

^That’s an actual kimono.

Whilst it is not anyone’s “fault” that along with the assimilation of cultures come a mixing (sometimes an offensive type) of two cultures, it is important to keep in mind the background behind the clothing we wear, the music we listen to, and the words we speak.

Conformed Behavior of Girls in NYC (and basically everywhere else!)

We live in a city where girls are taught at a young age that it is okay to verbally abuse others. When petty fights are started because of unrealistic rumors (even at the age of 5), adults tend to automatically divert their attention from it, saying, “Girls will be girls”. But where does this double standard come in? Why is it a problem when a physical fight is started, but verbal abuse is tolerated? We’ve come to accept that girls crying in the bathroom and facing humiliation at the cost of their friends is simply something under the norm. It’s normal to be singled out by friends, because “of course they will fight”.

If this is learned at a young age, the same people grow up to follow the same understanding. This understanding is, “In order to rise, you crush others”. It is seen in the work force, in white collar jobs and blue collar jobs alike. Instead of helping each other up, it is “human nature” to step on each other instead. New York City is not always the kindest city. While it holds the golden pot of opportunity, it doesn’t come free. So, if people are constantly facing being put down by other, shutting out important opinions without fully comprehending what the individual is saying, or hiding progressive ideas purely to avoid being put down, how will the people in this city grow as individuals?

The most common version of these types of misconceptions and arguments begin when someone who doesn’t even know an individual begins to form an inaccurate image of them in their minds. As they say, the first impression is the last impression, so this type of image sticks, and therefore, starts rumors. I can’t say that I haven’t been one to do this, but I’ve also been on the other side of it. It makes you think, “How often have I been a hypocrite?”, or “How much of the blame can be put on me?”.

Us “90’s kids” had experienced a wide range of T.V shows, movies, and media news that highlighted that this behavior is “okay”. “Mean Girls” exemplifies this with the constant humor found in situations that cause others to feel uncomfortable or belittled. It gives an image of what a popular girl should be like, and how to become that girl. Of course, young girls would strive towards this image and follow these “instructions”. Meg Cabot’s How to Be Popular connotes a popular girl as someone who parties all the time and is mean to others who aren’t “up to her level”, while remaining friendly to those who seem to be “worthy”.


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