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My mind was wandering the other day, as it usually does, about what the difference is between why a hero is accepted for their differences and why a freak/monster/alien/other is not. It came from reading a research article by Susan Stryker titled “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above The Village of Chamounix.” Stryker raises points about the negative social implications expressed toward people who have a different gender identity that is not their assigned-at-birth identity. Stryker likens society’s feelings about it to how the Frankenstein “monster” was treated. Continue Reading »

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img_0849  Growing up within a world that was constructed through the naturalized standards of body movements, I noticed my brother’s body stood out. As he stayed wheelchair bound and I walked beside him as my mother lifted him upstairs I felt this desire to want the world to be more accessible to my brother. With small inconveniences becoming the reason my brother’s nurses refuse to take him out his room, I saw that my brother’s impairment in which he did not cause nor create was what caused the world to seem unfair to him.  Being diagnosed with something as debilitating as cerebral palsy and having infrastructure built off the assumption that you are an able bodied person creates   disability.  Tom Shakesphere, an English sociologist sees disability to be “the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by a social organization which takes little to no account of people who have physical impairments and thus excludes them from participation in the mainstream of social activities.” This depiction of disability seems to be fairly accurate as places such as college campuses do the bare minimum to ensure that people’s impairments don’t stop from being productivity. For example, on my college campus they provide ramps on extremely steep hills reflecting a lack of thought of those who have to wheel themselves up and down these structures. With non-disabled people creating the structures and tools for those who are disabled it continues the cycle of ignorance. It is easy to understand why disabled people have created Continue Reading »

This past weekend, I was strolling through the mall when I saw a particular bottle of a menacing seeming liquid at some store that I can not now remember. The image upfront was a glittery yet jittery image of a clown that is smiling yet looks bloody and angry. His name was the “Fiery Fool”. And he was quite an interesting addition to the Hellfire Hot Sauce brand.

In an air of competitiveness, this brand claims that this was “THE HOTTEST SAUCE IN THE WORLD WITHOUT EXTRACT”! At first I brushed it off as more exaggerated marketing to the extreme but then I realized that I had just heard about this phenomenon in a recent Gender Studies class. I bought this at $14.99 but for the low low price of $14, you too can feel the pain.

And you better believe that you will feel the pain. In fact, after trying a few small drops, I was in agony. It was like eating liquid lava. And this is coming from somebody that normally puts half a bottle of regular hot sauce on anything. Was this an example of the “extreme culture” that Mary Kosut was talking about? I believe so. According to her analysis, “extreme bodies engage in practices and regimes that push beyond the mundane or acceptable”. Although this might seem tame in comparison to the examples she mentions such as body suspension, this fire sauce that burns you inside was definitely not mundane. And it was definitely not exactly societally acceptable either. Of the 5 friends I asked, none of them wanted to try it. Even just the labeling scared them away. Spicy foods and spiciness definitely can relate to her definition of extreme as challenging to “the body’s limits and borders”.

But why would anybody choose such a life of burning and crying? Kosut can answer. Extreme experiences, in her view, are “uniquely carnal and sensate”. They represent our feelings and maybe even our motivations “to take charge of one’s life and body, and to defy comfort zones”. There is pleasure in the struggle and the pain. On a more scientifical level, research has shown that spicy foods elicit the release of dopamine and endorphins, making us happier even when the pain seems unbearable, confirming this as true. Personally, even though I felt like I was going to die, it was a good type of pain. I might have died but I felt like I achieved something by taking the sauce and I could die happily…

In my view and in the view of Kosut, there is a reason why these extreme products are so highly marketable in an extreme kind of way. “They purport to offer an embodied experience that involves intense engagement of the senses that is beyond ordinary.” After experiencing this hot sauce, as it really was an experience, I know that that is the kind of experience I would pay for. This hot sauce appeals to society in this way and it doesn’t bluff.

I would urge anyone to try this hot sauce. If you would like to try some, you could ask me aswell!!!

akIn a poem titled “Ode to My Bitch Face” Olivia Gatwood theorizes about some reasons why women have resting bitch face or R.B.F. She says that some are born with it, to some it is a defense mechanism they put up every day, and to some it is a “safe zone.” The resting bitch face according to Urban Dictionary is “a person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to” and “A bitchy alternative to the usual blank look most people have. This is a condition affecting the facial muscles, suffered by millions of women worldwide. People suffering from bitchy resting face (BRF) have the tendency look hostile and/or judgmental at rest.” Continue Reading »

Tattoos have become increasingly popular in America

Practices of body modifications date back centuries ago. In some countries body modifications are sacred, separates class division, a set standard of beauty, or rites of passage; thus making it a ‘norm’ in their community. In the United States, some types of body modifications have become almost a standard norm, compared to past history. The body modifications that are becoming increasing popular within the U.S. are piercings, tattoos, hair coloring, body-building, tanning, dieting, and cosmetic surgery. 

What is the reasoning behind why these types (semi-permanent or permanent) of body modifications are becoming increasingly normal? Unfortunately, this it is a hard question to answer and it all depends on the individual. Some people may do body modifications to perfect or correct their appearance, some may seek to improve their body-image, some may just do it as an impulse with no reasoning behind it, and some may use it as a creative self expression (Swami 2011).Regardless of the reasoning, individuals may come to regret the unintended negative consequences that comes along with their body modifications.

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One time, maybe a few times, or maybe every time you enter an elevator you get a weird feeling or is it just me. Sometimes it gets so crowded in an elevator that we as people are bumping in to one another accidently and accidently.  I have a story… one time in an elevator, I was so squished between people in an elevator that I was rubbing all on top of someone because people just kept coming in like I’ve never seen before. I didn’t know if everyone else felt the same way or if it was just me. I feel as humans we like to have a more space, but at the same time we like to get to places as fast as we can, so we try to all cram together to get as many people in as we possibly can.

            Well in the elevator during this specific time, a guy was touching my hair with his beard because he was taller than me. I couldn’t even move to see what it as touching me until some other people exited the elevator to see him there still way too close to me when there was more room at this time once people exited. So I had to say something to him because he didn’t understand my gestures, which were all hinting for him to give me some space to move.

            Specifically, from reading “the body reader”, in Arthur Frank’s piece of writing states “A medical anthropology unable or unwilling to examine how culture infolds into the body (and, reciprocally, how bodily processes outfold into social space) is not very likely to get far in the conceptualization and empirical study of the sociopolitical roots of illness or the cultural sources of healing.” I really like that quote because it proves to us that we feel the need to infold our bodily fluids and motions as humans because we don’t want to be judged in a bad way. It reminded me of my time in the elevator because I didn’t know whether to say anything to the man about giving me some space.

I definitely felt very awkward and couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t move. Just like we discussed in class about out body’s being open in any type of way gives off the impression that we are “dirty” or “unmannerly”. I just would love to know how other personality types feel about the elevator situation I had experienced. Body and mind both are connected and not connected at the same time, which is so mind blowing to me. As a human I feel like sometimes if we didn’t have certain norms about how our bodies are then there wouldn’t of even been that thought in my mind in the elevator.  As well as the others in the elevator witnessing this situation… did they even find it weird? That’s what so wild about all the different types of mind’s there are in the world. The mind is such a insane part of our body that no one will ever think the same. Has anyone else had these thoughts or a situation similar?

“The body reader” Edited by Lisa Jean Moore and Mary Kosut.

Twisted “Reality”

Are you consumed by social media? Media today has become a frenzy. Beyond the communication aspect the latest “alarming trend” described in an article published in the Washington Post describes the cyberculture as a new phenomenon not only for the “selfie-takers” but as a booming commodity on the rise for doctors and the plastic surgery market. A recent survey disclosed that “Americans spent an estimated 16 billion on cosmetically surgeries” alone.

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