Well we’re coming soon to a close and this is the second to last blog post of the class and well its been a pretty good quarter, and I have learned a lot about fashion and its connections to the Social Sciences. Fashion is an outlet where people display their perceived worth and from that we can infer their actual status in life. Compact Challenge Update: So far so good, after the one and only act of weakness of purchasing accessories for a gift that I returned to my usually set up of buying the only things I deem necessary, new socks, food and replacement products for ones that have long been worn out or over used.
Now onward to the context of this week’s reading, Commodification where goods now part of a transnational or international market were once important traditions of symbols of a culture. Several examples are “Lucky Bamboo”, Henna tattoos and former religious icons. Transnational ethnic groups are commonly associated with these Commodified products since it is through interaction with these groups that the mainstream culture creates a market for them. If you walk to any Chinatown you will find stores based on selling cheap reproductions of religious statues, ancient artifacts and any kind of fusion of art/clothing styles. While it does seem disrespectful to the culture being commodified, it is a business practice that has the power the create markets and be a powerful tool in creating businesses in both the Western and Eastern Spheres and has proved to be beneficial the international economy.
The film we saw in class. Yellow Apparel: When the Coolie becomes Cool, exemplifies this growing division in our society, where some people think that they have no culture, so they adopt certain parts of someone else’s. Now this is not a terrible thing it is not even a disrespectful thing it is just a misguided gesture that in some cases causes people to be enraged because of their ignorance. However there is no huge harm done from Madonna wearing a Bhindi, or some people getting their history or supposed “cultural” insight wrong because it is evidence that there is interaction which is progress from years of ignoring and hiding those who are different.
However the reason people get angry over it is not wrong either. The ignorance someone has for adopting a part of another’s culture without even bothering to understand it is a hostile act, to which makes that personal part of someone’s culture less important. Selling trinkets of Buddha that light up and makes amusing noises and plays come stereotypical Asian tune down plays the importance of Buddha and his teachings, just like if someone were to do the same to Jesus, Christians would be angry.
Claire Dwyer. “Tracing Transnationalities Through Commodity Culture.” Class Reader.
Student Film: Yellow apparel: when the coolie becomes cool (from class)