November 2009 Archives

Blog Post 13

I personally think there needs to be a change in our food cultural We all know food is a necessity to live, but society and different cultures make food a fasciations and even obsession at times.   Foods and consuming food can also be seen as leisure activity or hobby which creates the idea of appealing or pleasing foods to be consumed more frequently than the actual necessary food to be healthy.  This creates a mindset as Fitchen "they choose what to eat, when and how often to eat, in what order and with whom"(394).  Our food culture really revolves around pleasing ourselves and looking right past the actual need we have for food as well as the need others have for food that sometimes can't be satisfied.

                Race and class play an intersecting role in the food we eat because a lot of races tend to have similar food patterns. Races also tend to live in similar areas subjecting them to using the same stores and restaurants, resulting in them consuming the same food.  Lower income families usually eat the easy accessible foods that are the cheapest and most pleasing a lot of the time. "Contemporary food preferences that lean towards finger foods, fun foods, snack foods, and convenient foods" (394). Its normal to consume the cheapest, fastest good tasting food in our American culture.

                If our food culture were to be changed to see food as a compliment to a healthy life I think this will help change the way address hunger.  Changing the foods that are advertised and how food is looked at will change how it's consumed. If food is consumed differently it can be distributed differently and then I think hunger can be taken on by a different approach.  Another aspect of this is to begin to look at people differently. We associate the types of food people eat with their social class. Lower class people eat the worse or cheapest food, while upper class people eat the best types of food. If the class distinction is eliminate it will create the opportunity for everyone to have the opportunity to all types of foods. This will then translate over into the prices of foods and having the food market make prices accessible to everyone no matter what the food is.

Blog 13

I think that America does not necessarily need to alter it's food culture. I think that innovations and specific programs would be enough to deal with hunger and malnutrition. Winne brings up the fact that poor people in the inner city pay more for their food and also pay for a product that is lower quality. The cheaper, healthier foods are located in the suburbs and if residents of the inner city want to shop there, they have to spend even more money for transportation. It was brought up in the article that supermarkets are located in places that retailers believe they can make the most money in. It was cited in the article, that "those are not the places that are heavily populated by low-income African American and Hispanic households." So in other words, hunger is specific to low income minority groups living in the inner city, according to Winne's article. Now, I do not believe that the whole food culture needs to change. I think that a simple suggestion to the problem of the discrepancies in food distribution would be to build stores similar to supermarkets in the inner city. There might not be a lot of room for a supermarket store in the inner city, but stores could be built in the inner city that have characteristics of supermarkets. Fresh produce and high quality foods could be brought into the store. Retailers could afford to provide this food with government tax cuts or assistance. If this were possible people of all classes and races could have the same access to food regardless of their location.

In Fitchen's article it is brought up that people in "specific groups who are at high risk for malnutrition now get less assistance than previously." One of the contributing factors to malnutrition is the choices in food that people eat. Low income people chose starchy, sugary foods because they are cheap and cannot afford to buy healthy foods with the right nutrients in them. If poor dietary choices are made, along with less assistance by the government, we should expect hunger and malnutrition to persist. A way to help this problem would be to give farmers benefits for producing produce at a lower price, making it more financially accessible to low income families. Since healthy foods are almost always more expensive than sugary snacks, the trend could be reversed by making healthy foods more affordable-- and thus giving people more nutrients.

One program that I believe addresses malnutrition is WIC. Even though it only allows assistance to children 5 and under, it has some good ideas. There is a list of WIC eligible foods that mothers can purchase and specific guidelines. For example, one of the food items that a mother can purchase is cereal. There are specific requirements as to what type of cereal one can buy. It has to have 51% whole grains, meet regulatory definitions for low saturated fat, and have 28 milligrams of Iron per 100 grams of dry cereal. I think that WIC is a step in the right direction because it monitors the foods that mothers are buying, and prohibits sugary foods that contribute to malnutrition. (http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/benefitsandservices/foodpkgregs.HTM)

Blog #13: Access to Food

I think many Americans, not just the poor, have an unhealthy relationship with food, and that in this sense we do need a fundamental change in our food culture. However, I believe changes in policy can address many problems of hunger and malnutrition in the United States.  One important point made by Fitchen is the periodicity in food consumption by low-income families. It seems a simple solution to this would be increasing the distribution frequency of food stamps. This would help eliminate the end of the month lull, and may reduce (or at least spread out) the number of days people are going with minimal amounts of food. Winne discusses physical access to food, rather than financial access. Policy may be able to provide a solution to these food deserts, and could include tax incentives in underserved areas, and/or urban and rural planning initiatives that require a food store within a certain distance from all residences based on population density. While these types of policy are not likely to eliminate the problem for all people, it would significantly reduce the number of people lacking access to supermarkets.

 

 

Both Winne and Fitchen discuss access to healthy foods and the price difference between these foods and less healthy, but more affordable unhealthy foods. The United States has a long history of farm subsidies; one way to make healthier foods more accessible to families could be through subsidies to organic farmers to keep their costs, and thus end prices, more comparable to non-organic foods. However, as Fitchen points out, many families living below the poverty line are likely to purchase snack foods for reasons other than costs (i.e.; wants versus needs). These issues are more difficult to address with policy and require a change in behaviors, beliefs, and consumption patterns. While not impossible, the results of initiatives aimed at changing human thoughts and behaviors are likely to have a less predictable result. However, Fitchen's wants versus need dilemma may be solved by the policy change suggested above of increasing the frequency of food stamp distribution, because if becomes less scarce, the need to make up for it with snacks and sweets may be diminished, at least to some degree. It seems to me that the bigger problem in addressing hunger and malnutrition in the United States is addressing the ways that people, especially those in power, view poverty and welfare programs. After all, these people have the ability to implement policies that could change food accessibility for poorer families.

Extra Credit Blog #13

Interestingly the New York Times Sunday paper had two articles one in the business section entitled, "Do Health Care Savings Start in the Cafeteria?" and the other, "Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades" was featured on the front page.

The first article essentially talks about how we can reduce health care costs, chronic illnesses, like diabetes and that eating healthy good food does not have to be expensive. As health care cost rises (31% for the Safeway corporation) it then trickles down and affects the paychecks of employees who bear the burden of health insurance costs.  According to Zoe Finch Totten the CEO of Full Yield a food manufacturer whose premise is that if we eat healthier we will become healthier.  She is quoted as saying, "We need to put food back in the heart of health care." A study conducted in January and February of 2009 estimated that 75% of the $2.5 trillion spent on health care has to do with four increasing and prevalent chronic illnesses.  They are: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Most are preventable caused by unhealthy behaviors like poor diets. So what if you are living at or below the poverty line with little money for food causing your food choices to be limited?  According to the second article in the NYT Sunday paper those who receive food stamps (The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP as it is now called) "...has increased nearly a third over the past two years, resulting in a program that feeds more than 36 million" That equates to one in eight adults and one in four children in this county take advantage of the program and then there are those who still too stigmatized do not.  According to the article only two-thirds of those eligible receive help. The break down by race is that of the 12% of Americans who receive aid - 28% are black, 15% are Latinos, and 8% are white. There are still those who believe that assistance programs like food stamps discourage people from perusing marriage or employment. That it's those unwed, lazy mothers again who are the surge of the system. A conservative Republican from Ohio who sits on the County Board of Commissioners, Dave Young threatened to withdrawal from the federal program stating, "As soon as people figure out they can vote representatives in to give them benefits, that's the end of democracy" (p.25 NYT Sunday edition 11/29/09). And there is Mr. Dawson who even though he is receiving food stamps is critical of the program and the people on it.  He is different though because he is married, church going and doesn't pile steaks in his food cart like others who he perceives as abusing the system.  I am reminded of Janet M. Fitchen's article where she comments about, "freedom of choice". Food and eating are enmeshed in feelings about self, interpersonal relationships, and dreams for the future, and these in turn are shaped by the surrounding culture . . . Like most other Americans, poor people want to exercise the 'freedom of choice' in food selection" (CP p.403).

Blog 13 Assignment

After the reading the articles for this week, I came to the conclusion that our country definitely needs to change the way we price, sell and market food.  Fitchen and Winne both described how hunger affects different classes and contributes to insufficient access of food.  Food culture is dysfunctional across classes because of the price of food.  Unfortunately, food that is less nutritious is priced much lower than food that is healthy.  I think if most people walked through a Whole Foods they would find organic food, that is less in sugar and starch, much more appealing than frozen junk food.  However, the problem is only a small percent of the population can afford to spend money on organic, fresh-grown foods.  A lot of unhealthy food, especially fast-food, is extremely cheap.  Low-income families do not really have a choice when choosing a restaurant.  They most likely will choose McDonalds, Burger Kind or Taco Bell because they can get full meals for only a few dollars.  This is definitely an epidemic and leads to obesity.  Obesity in America is a real problem.

Not only does class affect food culture, so does location, age, and race.  People choose to eat what is cheap and available and in many small towns there are only a few restaurants which are often fast food.  Age affects food culture because as most of us know the younger we are the less money we have, a.k.a. starving college students.  Personally, when I am shopping for food, I do not read the nutritional labels I look at the price.  Of course I am going to buy the cheaper items, which almost always tend to be less healthy, then the organic items.  Like the ideas from Tisdale and LeBesco's articles, different races and ethnicities view food differently.  Many cultural diets are less healthy than others.  For example, fried foods are obviously less healthy then fresh rice and vegetables.  There is definitely different health issues for different ethnicities that directly relate to what one consumes.  These issues include diabetes, heart problems and obesity.

The issue of hunger, the way we view food and obesity are all issues that will continue to hurt us until we solve them.  First, I think we need to have more access to healthy, organic foods and for that to happen they need to be more affordable.  We also need to support America's farmers and continue to buy fresh produce, especially fruits and vegetables.  We need to continue to teach our kids the importance of fruits and vegetables in our daily diets.  We also need to stop the fast-food epidemic and rally to make fast-food healthier.  We also need to encourage exercise and healthy lifestyles.  

Comment to my Blog 12 (Thanksgiving Eats)

After our class discussion last week and reading through the posts of others and the articles for this week, I've had an opportunity to rethink some of my statements in my blog 12. I am beginning to see that a form of "American cuisine" does in fact exist. The notion of an American cuisine was more solidified for me by the list we made last week and by Fitchen's argument for an American food culture, which is similar in many ways to a cuisine. We tend to lean towards the junk food when we can have it, especially for snacks like potato chips and candy, or even a sugary pastry for breakfast. Many people consider themselves "health nuts" and avoid these sugary delights, but these junk foods are widely accepted into American diets. So, while junk food hardly fits under the title "cuisine," it does fit into our diets.

Another interesting thing that I realized about many Americans and American food culture is our abundance of leftovers. I think that part of our food culture surrounds this idea of having leftovers after the original meal to carry over for many other meals. The use of leftovers fits nicely into all of our other discoveries about American food culture thus far as well, such as most Americans want something that is quick and easy. If someone takes the time to cook it once, and they cook enough of it, they will have plenty to heat up for many meals after. Leftovers also feed into the American desire for overindulgence and huge meals. If the meal is too big, box it up and eat the rest later, but don't stop giving such large portions at restaurants.

So given the arguments of Tisdale and Fitchen, and our class discussion, I believe an American diet, or an American food culture exists, but not quite a cuisine. Americans take many foreign foods and reappropriate them as well, "Americanizing" food. The amulgamation of other countries' cuisines creates a messy definition for the American cuisine, but it lends itself quite easily to the American food culture that exists in the United States.

blog 13

There is an obvious intersectional relationship between race, class, gender, age, and location when looking at hunger issues and food culture in America.  A term that Mark Winne used was food deserts, places that provide few healthy and affordable food choices, these places are often fast food joints that offer over-saturated and unhealthy food options. Mark Winne states that "People who live in or near food deserts tend to be poorer and have fewer healthy food options, which in turn contributes to their high overweight/obesity rates, and diet related illnesses such as diabetes"  this shows a direct correlation between class, location, and food culture.

To address the Issue of hunger I think there needs to be numerous changes made. In my opinion many Americans see food as a comfort and not a necessity.  I still remember coming home from school and telling my mom I was starving and when she  would offer to make me some soup or a sandwich, I would respond by getting upset and telling her that I didn't want that, she would tell me I wasn't starving then. I think we need to change the way we view food, as well as make some vital changes to our food assistance programs.

An article I found online from Hew Hampshire Public Radio talked about the USDA's dietary guidelines and how low income families are not capable of fallowing them, "Our data shows that it costs close to $8 a day to eat according to this menu and yet the food stamp average allotment for an individual is about $2.75 a day to eat so you could eat about two and a half days on this My Pyramid menu before you run out of food stamps if you followed the plan" (NHPR).

Another program that I think needs to be changes is the national school lunch program. It offers low priced or even free lunches to children in public schools and residential childcare institutions. Although there are guidelines that the food must fallow, the food being provided is often highly processed, pre-cooked, and frozen. Another issue with this program is that it is exclusively in public schools, which is also a direct example of how location, class, gender all have an impact on the foods you eat.

Something that has recently changes since food stamps have become paperless is the ability to use food stamps at farmers markets. I think that this is a very important advancement since this helps support local farmers while also providing healthy and affordable food options to low income families. Although this hasn't been incorporated into all farmer's markets across the U.S. I think that it is something USDA should strive to accomplish.  

I  think with numerous changes to the way society views food, and the way our government supplies food to low income families, we can change our food culture in America to make it a more positive aspect in our daily lives.

Blog 13

This week readings left an unsettling feeling in my stomach. The one that touched me the most was the article written by Fitchen in which it was discussed that throughout the American culture, people buy foods according to wants versus needs even when they are in a financial dilemma. The parents feel as though they need to pacify their children by making up for their financial issues, this leads to child obesity and malnutrition across the board and needs to be changed. Another issue that was brought up through the readings was that food that is good for people is a lot more expensive than food high in calories and preservatives.

This is something that I have looked at while going through the local grocery stores. I have noticed that things deemed as being "organic" are way more expensive than "regular" foods, but these organic foods are supposed to be a lot healthier for you. I see this as something that is a catch 22 because you pay less for things that have more things in them versus paying more for things that are supposed to be natural, without additives. I think that a way in which we can change our food culture in order to address hunger would be to reverse this price difference, by making the organic foods less expensive which would make them more readily available to the people with lower levels of income.

One more solution would be to push people to buy more local, fresh produce in order to stimulate the local farmers and local little economies. This would help the national problem by taking smaller, easier steps to work up to the larger bigger problems. I know that we have farmers markets and that sort of thing, but they are only available in certain areas and at certain times during the year. So, I think that we need to push to have this type of local market in more areas that have higher poverty levels, as to promote healthier-readily available produce and have them year round. I know that this would be hard, considering we have four seasons that limit that growing seasons, but there are alternative to such environmental issues. We have the technology and the means to make indoor greenhouses that could operate year round to support the local demands, we just need to push to establish one.  

Another solution that we have discussed briefly in class that would help out the malnutrition in our economy would be to give food stamps to college students. It is a system that I think helps people throughout America quite effectively, but in order for them to become more affective, I think that we need to make them more available to people that are pushing to benefit themselves but need the extra help to do so. I think that most college students are in a different class than the lower classes that were discussed in the article, but we face those same issues. I know that I would much rather go to Burger King and buy a dollar burger than go to the grocery store and spend more to make my own burger. This is due to the cost and availability of the food at the fast food restaurant versus the healthier alternative at the grocery store. I think that by making food stamps available, it would stimulate a better lifestyle and way of eating through the college years in order to carry them over to the parent and married years to follow.

Overall, I think that there are many issues with the American food culture and in order to change it as a whole, we have to start little. By doing this we would be able to stimulate the little, local, economies and better our everyday diets; therefore, lifestyles for us and for the generations to come.

Week 13 Blog

After reading this week's articles, Fitchen discussed how many people below the poverty line are malnourished and hungry. Families often can only afford the more inexpensive foods, such as the starches and sugars and not the healthier and nourishing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the foods that are nutritious and encourage a healthy lifestyle are more expensive and thus often considered by even families of higher class to be beyond one's budget.  As more and more families have to stretch their limited incomes to pay for rent, heating, electricity, transportation and other basic essentials for daily living, what remains in the paycheck to provide food for their families are increasingly shrinking.  More head-of-households, regardless of gender or race, are turning to government assistance to provide basic food items for their families. And yet, even with available assistance, the funds for food run short and many children go hungry.

In addition to this week's articles, I was reading an article in Saturday, November 28, 2009 Lincoln Journal Star about the Food Stamps program. The article references a recent USDA hunger report in which more than one in seven American households lack food security in 2008 or in other words, almost 15% of all households in the country struggle to get enough to eat. What is unfortunate, according to the article is that there are many families who need food stamps but do not get them. Similar to the Fitchen's article, the USDA report, which was referenced in the Lincoln Journal Star paper, stated that children in the US who face a substantial risk for poverty also face substantial risk to their health and well being since many do not get adequate nutrition.

This summer, I worked for an engineering firm in Lincoln, Nebraska. One of the community programs that employees willingly and unselfishly participated in was the Community Food Bank Food Drive. While the Food Bank Food Drive is a common program in many communities, providing food for families who are in need to provide for their families, what was unique about this particular food drive was that this food drive was focused on kids.  In cooperation with the Lincoln Public School system, the Community Food Bank had initiated a program called the "back-pack program." This program provides children whose households financially qualify (in other words are below the poverty line) with food for the two days they are home over the weekend. These children qualify for "free meals" at school, ensuring the child receives a healthy breakfast and lunch during the school week. However, many of the kids live in households where food is scarce so often go with minimal nourishment during the weekend.  Each Friday, qualifying children receive a backpack that is filled with food for the weekend.  The backpacks are filled with non-perishable foods such as cups of fruit cocktail, applesauce, fruit juice boxes, crackers and peanut butter, etc.  This program provides a much needed service to children regardless of race or gender.  People across the community, regardless of race, gender, or class participate in the program by providing the Food Bank with the necessary food or funds to fill the children's backpacks each weekend.

I find this program to be a very worthwhile program and one that I was glad I could participate in over the summer. This program should be considered and implemented in communities across the country. I found this program to be innovative and a program that has a direct impact on our country's children. I recognize that the food "back-pack" program will not solve this country's hunger crisis. However, acknowledgement that there are children going hungry in our country every day by promoting a program similar to this is a start in the right direction. This program allows people regardless of race, class, gender to participate in an effort for a worthwhile cause - the care of children across our country.

I believe that our culture needs to fundamentally change not only the way we address hunger in America but also how we view the problem. Reports produced by the USDA for example (according to the Lincoln Journal Star, November 28, 2009) reveal that almost half of all U.S. kids will be on food stamps sometime during their childhood.  That is so very sad given the United States is the "land of opportunity" and the "land of plenty."  In addition, it is hard to believe that so many children are in need of food stamp assistance especially when there is an obesity crisis among the youth of today. There is a great need to change the fundamentally thinking of hunger in America today and in particular what is truly needed for our youth today.  Education of proper nourishment of our youth is vital to the fundamental change in the thinking of the hunger crisis. Programs, such as the "back-pack" program is one example where so many people can be educated to the crisis at hand across the country.

Week 13 Blog

After doing the readings for this week I think that we definitely need to change our food culture. In the Fitchen article there is a lot of evidence that people who need help with food often buy foods that will satisfy wants instead of needs. For instance an adult will give into what a child wants to eat when they have the money to pay for it instead of purchasing foods with higher nutritional values. Also, produce is much more expensive than prepackaged food, therefore people with less money will not be able to purchase healthier produce. This will lead to a downward spiral of health issues for entire families. Another problem, discussed by Winne, is the availability of food. The best grocery stores are often located in wealthier neighborhoods and stores in the inner city are hard to get to.

I think that the first step is to promote healthier foods and create more federal regulation on what types of food is purchased with food stamps. Most of the food bought are items that are nonparishable and unhealthy. The government could give some sort of credit to stores to lower prices on fresh produce and purchase more of it. This would make it more affordable for people to purchase it. Another way to make it easier for people to get healthier food is to put more stores in the inner cities. This will also bring jobs to the cities.

Blog 13

A change in our food culture is definitely in need in order to address the issue of poverty in America and it is easier said than done. I remember just last semester in my biology class we had talked about our "ecological footprint" on the world.  With my test result, I found out that if everyone were to live my lifestyle, it would require 5 earths to support the human population alone. Contributing factors did include what kinds of food I ate. (You can all take this test at www.myfootprint.org, it's really interesting!). We then talked about food consumption in the United States and how Americans are very fond of their meats. The Gross Primary Production in science is widely accepted. In a nut shell we have the primary producers (autotrophs, plants) who capture energy for us, then there are the heterotrophs (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores) that consume the primary producers, and each other. So through the food chain energy is consumed. Primary producers have the most energy, as cow consumes the grass, only 10% of that energy is transferred to the cow and 90% of that energy from the plant is lost, once we humans consume the steak, we only get 10% of that 10% from the cow. It's a minimal amount of energy, and so some scientists have argued that if we all consume more plants rather than animals, and produce those in excess, we would be able to stop hunger for the world. But that would mean we as American would have to give up meat, and I really don't think that could be done as easily because of popular culture and its thoughts on consumption. But this is just one example that science has suggested in stopping hunger for the world.

Living in a capitalistic economy makes things more difficult. As Winne used in his article "chains usually build stores in places where the profit-making potential is the greatest" (87) and that would be in the suburbs. Building markets in inner-city areas does not allow for profit due to the fact that there is a rise in "rent, insurance, and security" (88). This allows for an excuse to have "higher food prices with less options", specifically targeting those who are poor (African American and Hispanics). Winne also suggests that prices in the suburbs are 6-21 percent lower than the inner cities (86). Now I'm not too familiar with food programs at all, but one way in which they could possibly work something out is to have a program in which a bus/car/van (volunteers) come out on Sunday's, pick up those in need, and drive them out to the suburbs to do their grocery shopping for the week. That would help reduce the prices they pay for groceries, and no expenses will be used by them to drive out to the suburbs. Perhaps a program similar to this is the Meals on Wheels in which volunteers drive to a senior citizens house and provides them with meals.

Nutrition among low-income families is also a common issue, food options available to them that they can afford comes with high "starches, fats, and sugars, while being deficient in all meats and other proteins, vegetables, and fruits" (Fitchen 390). It would be nice to have programs that donate whole grains to fresh foods on Mondays and have distribution sites the following day to increase the nutrition value among the poor (though it would be difficult to do since these things expire so easily).

Now I use to work Krispy Kreme, and I know it is not very nutritious, but if the donuts were more than 12 hours old, they were tossed. You will not believe the amount of waste our one little store had. We would have over 20 trash bags full of donuts, every night tossed away, when they were perfectly still good to eat. My point being here is that Kirspy Kreme is not the only franchise that does this. Left over's from Buffet's to Pizza Hut, all my friends have talked about how everything is wasted in the trash bin instead of being donated to a local food shelter to feed the poor. I remember asking my manager if we could just donate them, and he indicated to me that there are "legal issues at bay, and we could get sued if someone were to get sick". I understand that, but I suggest that there be a law in which people can't sue stores for donating left over food because they will understand the risk that they take. It is a complicating process and not perfect, but it's an idea that should be considered.

There are many complicating issues when it comes to poverty, and I think that greed and capitalism is just a reinforcing factor contributing to it. These are just some suggesting that I think would work, but it is perhaps only a step to stopping hunger, rather than a resolution. 

Supermarkets Could be the Answer- Blog 13

Based on the arguments of both authors, I think that we need to change our food culture, especially based on Fitchen's argument about food preferences leaning towards the fun foods and snack foods in American culture (394). According to Fitchen, many things in American culture lead to the hunger and malnutrition of impoverished America. Parents feel the need to treat their children to things they want such as candy and chips when they get their paychecks to make up for the poor quality of meals right before the paycheck came. Families below the poverty level do not have enough time to prepare adequate meals because parents often need to take on more than one job. An interesting thing noted by Fitchen is the use of highly desirable foods (such as frosting-covered cupcakes) by parents to pacify their hungry kids, even though this kind of eating leads to malnutrition and obesity (393).

            One looming problem remains in a desire to change American food culture, however. How can we even begin to change our food culture if it has been a problem for over five decades? While this might be the best answer, it is the most improbable solution. Winne study of the proximity of supermarkets to impoverished inner-city areas is intriguing. The co-op that he discussed that was established in 1985 was ultimately a failure, but we did not hear about its successes during its existence. If the government can work to make agreements with supermarkets to keep them in the areas that need them the most, this would be a step in the right direction. Providing tax breaks to supermarkets willing to sign contracts to keep businesses open for a certain amount of years at a time might help keep the companies in the city. Having supermarkets in the city provides more revenue for the city, as well as providing jobs for many of the families who were previously unable to make ends meet.

            With the improvement of supermarkets in the cities added to the current food stamp program and food subsidies program, a drop in hunger and malnourishment might be possible. At this point, it is all speculative and we would not know until someone tries. "Our Store" was established in 1985; nearly twenty-five years later we should be able to learn from mistakes and failed programs, and be able to try something new. I think Winne's idea of the necessity of supermarkets in inner-city is the answer to our next attempt at a solution. The government needs to come up with ways to entice supermarkets to want to come and stay in neighborhoods that need them the most.

Blog Assignment 13

As I mentioned in my Blog Post #12 Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" is one of my favorites. She talks about the ethics of food and how we can change our relationship to it. She along with others like Peter Singer, Michael Pollan and the environmental feminist, Vandana Shiva are calling for a food revolution of sorts to save not only the planet but also us along with it.  Food directly correlates to how race, class and gender intersect with the food industry, production and land use. I believe that the economics of food is very political, especially in this country.  The food industry is less about nutrition, farming or sustainable agriculture.  It favors the wealthy, white (statistically), land owning male run corporations who dominate and profit through exploitation of labor and the land.  Those that "have" buy land to use for the production of food, which is not typically in the countries where they reside, in order to export food from third world countries (in some cases) that ironically can't afford to buy the food that they are producing.  The foodstuffs are then sold to wealthier nations at a profit.  For example The United Fruit Company has a long history of exploiting the land and the people who live and work for this North American Company. This is an excerpt of what has been going on most recently (2005) as more and more attention is given to the unethical business practices of the UFC.

 

"Jan.: Chiquita agrees to acquire Performance Food Group's Fresh Express division for $855 million and completed the deal in June 2005. Fresh Express controls 40% of the American packaged salads market. This operation increases the company's North American revenue base from 26% to 44%.

Jan: Chiquita announces that 100% of its Latin American plantations had been certified by independent auditors to International Labor Standards and the environmental standards of Rainforest Alliance.

June: Chiquita accuses itself of violations of the European quota regime. The company starts and investigation on the employees involved in the case, avoiding a sue from the Europeans due to its voluntary acknowledgement of the problem. Other companies involved included Del Monte and Dole.

Jun 10: Wal-Mart, Chiquita's biggest customer in the United States, announces a decrease in its banana purchases. This means a decrease of 33% of Chiquita banana sales in the U.S. Chiquita blames cheaper bananas from other competitors. June 16: Chiquita says that the problems with Wal-Mart were a result of the extremely low price demands from the retailer.

July: The presidents of the main Latin American banana producing countries meet in a summit in San Jose (Costa Rica) to condemn the existing European quota system as discriminatory and plea for a WTO intervention."

http://www.unitedfruit.org/chron.htm

 

Our food production practices are forcing the poor and marginalized into starvation.  This I would argue affects mostly poor women, children and people of color.  It has been said that there is plenty of food to go around.  That we could alleviate starvation in the world if we would change how we use, grow, and distribute food.  This effort should start at home.

Mark Winne admits that his experience establishing a co-op with others in a low income community through their hard work, blood, sweat and equity was problematic for various reasons not the least had to do with the belief that all people should have access to good, nutritious and inexpensive food in their own neighborhoods -- no matter where they live.

Instead, as both the Fitchen and Winne articles point out, people in poor communities spend more on food then do more affluent neighborhoods because of the lack of transportation and that stores simply will not invest in certain areas.  Without options what are disproportionately women and children to do?

 

http://www.emergencyfoodshelf.org/

According to the web site 85% of people that use food shelves fall below the federal guidelines for poverty.

 

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml

This web site from the Federal Health and Human Services give statistics and guidelines for what qualifies as "living in poverty". A lot of the information comes from the US Census Bureau.

 

And one more thing on growing your own fruits and veggies. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that every one has access to a small plot of dirt to grow even a few tomatoes plants on.  Or that community gardening, which is making a come back, is an option or an interest for people.  However there are ways in which people can benefit from locally grown food through Community Supported Agriculture projects.

<http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/csa.html>

In many cases when you become a member the food is distributed to a local neighborhood school, church or even the Y for pick up.

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It's hard to imagine alternative solutions to the problems of hunger without a major change in our capitalist culture.  In my opinion, solving the problem of hunger would require a holistic approach to all poverty related issues. 

 

I think we would need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger.  We, as a culture, are far too busy.  Fast foods, crappy pre-packaged foods and other convenience foods are popular because people don't have time or energy to prepare food that takes a long time to cook - especially poor people. 

 

I grew up on microwave dinners and fast food.  I used to hate food and I still can't cook to save my life.  Starting children off with healthy foods is very important also.  I'm totally addicted to sugar, caffeine, and processed foods - and I think that has a lot to do with what I grew up eating.  It's hard to change habits when it takes more effort to do so. 

 

I can think of some innovations that are really simple, and could help.  In Minneapolis there is only one farmers market that accepts EBT (food stamps).  Requiring all farmers markets to take EBT could be a potential change that could help poor people get healthier food.  Also, I think it would be great to offer stores and EBT users incentives for buying healthy or organic foods.  An easy way to do this would be to offer coupons for EBT users who buy good food - so they save money/food stamps.

 

At this moment I can't think of any programs that successfully address the causes and repercussions of hunger. 

 

I work at a homeless shelter, and I think it's really interesting because we have groups come in and serve dinner every night.  They usually make a main dish, side and desert.  95% of the time it's not healthy food.  They try to cook decent food, but they're more concerned with price.  Also many of them don't understand the health problems a lot of poor people have.  There are a lot of diabetics that are homeless from my experience.  The food that are prepared are generally processed, carbohydrate heavy and desert is always sugary sweets like cake or ice cream.  We rarely get fresh fruits, vegetables or whole grain items. 

 

I'm not sure if anyone knows a lot about the "food desert" research that has been done.  I believe they started by looking at Chicago and figuring out where there were grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and poor people.  They also looked at prices of various items are compared them to suburban stores.  They found a total lack of healthy foods affordably priced in low income neighborhoods.  So, people who are poor can sometimes be stuck eating crappy foods because of access (economic and geographical).  The group that did the research is here:  http://marigallagher.com/projects/  ...and you can read all of the reports they've done about other cities. 

Blog Comment to Carli062

I like the fact that your Hispanic background is important to you and your family and that they have brought these family traditions to America. I think it interesting that your grandfather still prepares a turkey but you do not for get the Hispanic foods, which makes your thanksgiving dinner unique.  This really shows the importance of your family heritage and the ethnic differences is not lost due to the stereotypical norms of the American meal.

            You also bring up a good point about the food stamps and how many families living on food stamps could not have the elaborate thanksgiving dinners many people have because the availability and cost of groceries. It would be interesting to find out what items of the typical "thanksgiving foods" were available to families on food stamps and how the meals differed.  It would also be interesting to see what families had to do to cut down on the cost or how they prepared the meals  differently. 

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I find it somewhat disappointing to learn that the foods associated with Thanksgiving are prepared in a European way. I have always thought of these foods as representing a moment of camaraderie between the European settlers and the Native Americans, when the settlers accepted something completely foreign to them. Although I suppose it just makes sense that they would still cook new foods in familiar ways.

 

My family eats pretty traditional Thanksgiving foods, turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin and pecan pie. The idea is that these are American foods, as opposed to the ham or sausage on Christmas, which I guess go back to our German roots. Our meal is prepared mostly by the women, with some input from the men on the meat. And the turkey is carved by a man, of course. After the meal the dishes are done by the women and female children while the men and boys watch football. Even the women of my grandmother's generation, who don't really do dishes any more, stay in the kitchen and socialize with the women. Because of this immediate separation of women and men, Thanksgiving was always one of the few times that I ever noticed gender roles. My mother is a huge football fan, yet she does her part in the kitchen before she can go watch the game. And my father cooks and does dishes daily, yet not on this day, when there are tons more dishes to do. Even my uncle, who is an excellent cook and contributes to meals on Christmas and Easter, leaves Thanksgiving to the women.

Week 13 Blog Assignment

This week's readings discuss what happens when people in America don't have access to food, due to economic and geographic factors. Lack of food security is not just a contemporary problem; Thanksgiving is, after all the story of Native Americans providing food to starving British colonists. Yet, as the articles demonstrate, lack of sufficient food is now seen as a personal failing rather than a systemic problem with how we produce, procure, and prepare food.

Tisdale and LeBesco focus on the cultural origins and meanings of the foods that we eat. Fitchen and Winne, in contrast, examine the cultural priorities that contribute to hunger and insufficient access to food and the failures of current institutions to solve the problem of hunger in the U.S.

In this week's blog post, consider alternative solutions to problems of hunger. Keep in mind the intersectionality of hunger (race, gender, class, age, location) and arguments that American food culture is, in a sense, dysfunctional across classes. Do we need to fundamentally change our food culture in order to address hunger? Or would innovations to food distribution programs and food subsidies suffice? What sorts of innovations do you suggest? Are there programs with which you are familiar that you see as successfully addressing the causes and repercussions of hunger?  Be specific in your post, both in your references to the readings and in your suggestions for addressing hunger.

Blog Comment to Unknown Blogger- Posted at 2:06pm

I had a similar experience with my mom doing the cooking, and with Thanksgiving changing after the divorce of my parents. I think you bring up a good point about Thanksgiving being mass-media-produced. I know Rainbow Foods will match any competitor's turkey price, and some restaurants remain open to serve those who do not want to cook or have no family to enjoy the holiday with (which, as you pointed out, is a crime- Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times where suddenly everyone cares where you will be and who you will be with). Like you said, it is not acceptable to be alone during the holidays. It is the one time of year when it is made sure that the homeless have food to eat (and I believe when people are most generous with their food shelf donations).

Similar to what you mentioned about the hotel dinner, I traveled to New York City one year with my grandma, and we ate our Thanksgiving dinner at Tavern on the Green. I remember it being so-so, but it was around $100 per plate, and it's not like we were given second helpings. In fact, if I remember correctly, the portions were fairly small. But the price was so high because of the "special occasion." For it being such a special occasion, it is interesting how everyone who went to Tavern on the Green that day received exactly the same food.

Thanksgiving Food

We are lapsed Congregationalists on my dad's side of the family. You can think of the Congregational Church as a sort of pre-Great Awakening Protestant denomination, which rose from the Puritan reformation of the Church of England. Loosely translated: we were once a family of Puritan settlers.

 

One of my favorite authors ever is Sarah Vowell and she has an amazing book about the settling of New England called "The Wordy Shipmates". She makes the colonization of American incredibly interesting and incredibly funny, and bills the Puritans as fascinating, but also huge jerks. Everyone should read the book!!! My family has always felt the same way, and despite being able to trace the family tree back to the original colonists, Thanksgiving has never really been that important of a holiday outside of the food.

 

My mother is an amazing, amazing, amazing cook, but the only times she ever really does cook is for the holidays. She also never wants to cook anything plainly, but always has these fancy, gourmet twists on new recipes. It's funny because the family members that comes to Thanksgiving each year are all super picky eaters, so even though my mom always prepares this amazing mean, no one really appreciates it.

 

This week's blog questions asks about room for resistance with Thanksgiving observances, and I think this year my mom is sort of resisting people not appreciating her meals; this year, my mom is not making anything traditional, but just a hodge podge of stuff the family likes. I could not be more disappointed, and bought cranberries and stuff to make stuffing anyway.

 

I think Thanksgiving and the traditional meal refutes Tisdale's argument that there is no truly American food. Every core ingredient may be borrowed, but the way that we mix foods is uniquely American, and I think that's the same for all countries. Maybe a lot of American food is defined by big, fast, and processed, but I think there are a lot of traditional meat and potato meals that speak of regional culture. And she barely even mentioned the Midwestern hot dishes! (And on a side note, I got a bit upset when reading Tisdale's essay because she discusses a Ritz cracker casserole as being from a trailer park in Florida. I thought that was incredibly classist, especially because I love hot dishes and believe they were an important part of my Midwestern upbringing).

Blog 12

I remember that we always had a turkey, a ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet corn, usually a mixed veggie plate, bread, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.  My mom definitely "performed her gender role" and made all the food...but as soon as my parents divorced we no longer had Thanksgiving dinner.  The last time we planned to have Thanksgiving dinner together was roughly 2006 when I came home from school and we were going to go to the $30 Radisson Hotel dinner so she did not have to cook.

I feel like the food for Thanksgiving is somewhat culturally American...in that I mean mass media produced, anyone and everyone trying to earn a buck from grocery stores to HOTELS serving a dinner.  I think the class aspect comes in through advertising...everyone who has cable cannot help but see advertisements for specials on Thanksgiving food and commercials about families coming together to hang out and watch football.  The class aspect as those who can afford TV...but I also believe that the media has made it "unacceptable" to be alone for Thanksgiving...why would you want to spend that day alone when you should be making dinner with your family and overeating?

I think this year is going to be the first since I was 16 that I'm going to have dinner (not consisting of Thanksgiving food however)...with a friend who doesn't celebrate holidays but feels like she shouldn't be alone either.
 

Missing the Good Ole Days

My thanksgivings have definitely changed over the years. When my parents were married and I lived in a big house out in the country, both my mom's side and my dad's side, along with some family friends would come over to my house, and my mom would prepare most of the food. It was super chaotic, but it was a big deal. We had tons of delicious, traditional Thanksgiving food. My mom made very tasty home-made gravy and potatoes, and we had turkey, cranberries, yams, stuffing, various desserts etc. It was the best.

After my parents divorced, we had two separate Thanksgivings; one at my dad's parents' house and the other at my mom's parents' house. That went well for awhile, but as we have all gotten older, it has been much more difficult to hold Thanksgiving the way we did in the past. My great-grandparents, mom and aunt all passed away, one of my cousins has been in jail, his sister has been in a group home, and our family friends no longer come. My mom's side consists only of my grandparents because my uncle lives in Texas, so we no longer do Thanksgiving at their home- they will occasionally stop by my other grandparent's Thanksgiving. The food that we now have is often just snacks because A) my grandma is not the greatest cook, and B) my grandparents are never sure how many people will come. My immediate family makes up most of my larger family, with my five siblings and I, and we all have significant others that we have to share Thanksgiving with.

When we do have a meal at Thanksgiving nowadays, my siblings and I are always disappointed because it has been potatoes with no gravy, fruits, veggies, and some strange salad or other concoction that we are unfamiliar with. My grandma's cooking is in no way comparable to my mom's and we all know it. 
  
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is just not the same as it once was.


Blog 12

In my family Thanksgiving is celebrated with turkey, usually deep fried, mashed potatoes, lots of gravy, canned cranberries (jellied), stuffing, green bean casserole, and pumpkin/apple pie.  The duties of preparing and cooking this meal are shared by all, my sisters and their husbands, my mother, and me.  Also while the food is cooking, we always play pinochle, which is a very difficult strategic card game.  This has been our Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember.  I remember one year my sister Marilee suggested that we eat Prime Rib for Thanksgiving, that did not go over well with my mother.  She always stated "tradition is important and we are going to keep it this way".  The meaning of Thanksgiving to my mother is so important that anything/anyone who could change it would cause the ultimate devastation to her. To her Thanksgiving is a time when tradition shall not be changed, as same with Christmas.

One thing I have always found amusing, yet annoying about Thanksgiving is that it's Americans' excuse to gain extra weight from now until New Year's. Tisdale states, "Everything's bigger in America." It's true, our culture is obsessed with "fast, plentiful food" states Tisdale.  Thanksgiving is the description of American cuisine. 

Blog 12

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I love having my family together and eating all day. My family always makes fresh cranberry compote, my aunt's famous mashed potatoes (packed with cream cheese and butter, really good for the arteries) and sweet potatoes with brown sugar on top. Recently my dad has decided to make Thanksgiving an extreme sport, so now we have a deep fried turkey every year as well as deep fried potatoes. My family gets along very well, but as much as I love the food associated with Thanksgiving, I agree with Tisdale's view that American cuisine is largely behavioral. Usually my family gets together at about 1pm, and doesn't eat until about 4 or 5. We spend the time in between cooking, talking, laughing, and playing games. 

In fact, this year, for the second year in a row, I am spending Thanksgiving with my mom's family in Minneapolis. This is for a variety of reasons, but I am not looking forward to this as much as I would my normal Thanksgiving tradition with my dad's family. Despite the fact that I'm sure many of the same foods will be served, it reinforces to me Tisdale's view that our cuisine is behavioral. Thanksgiving meals are prepared in some ways as a tip of the hat to the Native American culture, but they are saturated with European influences, and altered slightly in respect to each family's heritage, and personal traditions. Even a slight alteration to such traditions makes me want to reject them without trying them first.

I also agree with Tisdale's view that Thanksgiving is the American meal. American in the sense that despite the view that only traditional foods served, each family, whether they be biological families or families of friends, are changed, either made more healthy, as my friend Claire's family does, or changed to reflect their heritage, as my friend Mario's family does. 

Week 12 Blog

Holidays have always been spent with family, and Thanksgiving is no exception. I have always gone to my grandmothers house and ate a big Thanksgiving lunch. We always have turkey, mashes potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie. This is a very traditional meal for most Americans on Thanksgiving. I think race is included in the events of Thanksgiving because families that are from other countries incorporate their traditional food into the regular spread. Hmong families could have eggrolls, and some Italian families might have some sort of pizza. Class comes into play when affordability is taken into account. This means that some families may be able to afford the fancy turkey, while some have to settle for just the breast, most of the time frozen. The more wealthy families will be able to buy all the food they see fit to be on the table (depending on race discussed above), and be able to host a place where the family can come together and eat. Gender can also be discussed here; most of the time it is the women who prepare the dinner, as well as clean it up. I believe this is the case because of tradition, because of the roles and positions women play in society, they seems to just end up doing all the housework even though we live in the 21st century and things should be different. In my family it is the women who do all the preparation, however, the men do help clean up, but only a little bit. This doesn't seem to be a problem in my family because everyone has accepted their roles and don't have a problem fulfilling them even though this is a discourse. Even though there is all these differences about Thanksgiving when thinking about race, class, and gender, I truly believe that Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and enjoy it.
The idea that America does not have it's own food is true in my mind. The idea of the "melting pot" is a good way to explain it. Native Americans were in the Americas before we were, which means that they had their own culture and food, which we incorporate into out Thanksgiving dinner. Families from other cultures also incorporate their traditional food into the regular meal. So, whatever food is at the table, it has been on a table somewhere else first. 

Week 12 Blog: FOOD

To me, Thanksgiving is hands-down the best holiday of the year. My obsession with food is further justified on this glorious day. My family is Italian, so a lot of my love of food comes from this part of my identity. Although I live in a typical "Nuclear Unit" family with a mom, dad, and sister, we seem to defy traditional gender roles. A clear example of this is the preparation of food. As long as I can remember, my dad has ALWAYS prepared dinner. He made me lunch as long as I can remember; even days in college when I commuted from home, there would always be a brown paper bag with my name on it to grab as I left the house. Thanksgiving holds the same truth in my family: my dad is always cooking. He spends most of his time on the turkey, vegetables, potatoes, etc. I help my dad take out the insides of the turkey and am always his helper on the side. I LOVE to bake, so I happily take up the pumpkin-pie baking. My mom and sister, both lovers of food, seem to do other odd-jobs in the kitchen at Thanksgiving: stir the gravy, open the can of cranberry sauce, etc. Although my dad does most of the cooking, he never makes it seem that way. All the small parts of Thanksgiving dinner is appreciated by everyone, however small the contribution. Domestic roles are obviously gendered, and I am proud to say that my family is a little different in this respect.

I agree with Tisdale that there is no true "American cuisine," that most of all the dishes we Americans know and love have actually stemmed from some other part of the world. This is another reason why I love food as much as I do: whatever I'm eating has some outside influence. I really enjoyed the readings this week and their quick history of food. It's interesting to know facts about pasta and tomatoes, potatoes, clam chowder, etc., as almost stolen ideas from some other culture's delicacies. I LOVE FOOD!!!!!!

Blog Post #12

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I find deeply mired in political confusions and cultural appropriations in every possible way, so naturally, that includes the food consumed for the Thanksgiving "feast". Is it American, is it European, is it Native American, I found that Thanksgiving most closely mirrors Tisdale's assertion that there is no "American" as we like to think of it, that Thanksgiving, and it's food, is one large cultural bastardization, fraught with excess and gluttony. In one viewpoint, that in itself could be demonstrative of America, as a nation that prides itself on gross excess. Possibly, that is the only way Thanksgiving is even remotely "American". Within a traditional mindset of popularized American history, Thanksgiving is American because it's (ostensibly) about the unification of the colonizers and the natives. Naturally, this is based in large part on a lie that I can only assume was placed into history to assuage guilty colonial American conciounces. Perhaps this too is "American", or at lest the truest definition of what American is; lies and gluttony, and the celebration of both.

This plays out into the food that America consumes during Thanksgiving: green bean casserole, store bought stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce from a can. Mass produced, normalized and NOT AMERICAN, at least not in the sense that it was made by Americans (as packaged and processed in Mexico, South America or China attests to). American, maybe in the sense that it was intended for Americans, for American consumption perhaps, but in no way originating from America. What does that say about a supposedly "American" holiday and "American" holiday foods? I say it points to yet another example of appropriating other sources for the glorification of America, but in no way pertains to an actual America. Unless, your view of America is one of a nation that has no roots in it's own traditions and only aquires other nation's traditions, warping them into something neither original nor familiar, but something that has been marketed as both. Maybe that is the real America, the ability to take something that belongs to another, twist it beyond recognition and then claim it's something new, something "American", not recognizing origins. Again, the celebration and glorification of a lie, spelt out in food.

Thanksgiving (like every major holiday feast) also has rituals involving the preparation of supposedly American food. Within households, I've found that women are expected to cook the meal and men are expected to carve the turkey. I suppose this dervives from the old caveman "Ug, I bring dead animal" male mentality that is so normalized within America, of men doing some sort of sembalance of providing, even if they don't do the actual labor. (Carving a turkey and cooking one are very different allocactions of labor, as someone who has done both I can say with assurance that one is definataly easier than the other, though no points for guessing which one.) The turkey, typically being the centerpiece, is given a special importance. Carving it becomes a somewhat aggrandizing gesture, the "start" of the meal. Although the woman has created the meal, the meal does not actually commence until the man begins it. So one could make the argument that Thanksgiving is also a paternal holiday, maybe moreso than any other holiday widely celebrated in America, due to the ritualistic way it prizes men to begin it. I could be off base here (I'm uncertain if it is the same sort of thing for Christmas, since I'm Jewish and don't celebrate it), but within my experiance Thanksgiving has always seemed to have a heavier bend towards male achievement (more of, "you carved the turkey beautifully" than "wow, this turkey is cooked really well").

In summation, Thanksgiving is quite possibly one of the most depressing American holidays in existance; the glorification of sloth, gluttony and the under appreciation of women and the under awareness of the cultures that have contributed into the formation of this holiday. I suppose, in one sense this could also be the ultimate expression of American perversity, as  a nation that disregards women and other cultures in favor of an imagined ingenuity. America is spoiled and ungrateful, self deluding and proud of it, and so it makes sense that Thanksgiving is such a celebrated American holiday, as it is the holiday that perfectly captures and embodies these traits. On that note, perhaps some definace of tradition is in order, the "resistance" that Lebesco talks about. After all, it's not like the parts that make Thanksgiving good are the parts we should attribute to American values.

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When I was younger I remember thanksgiving being a huge event that always involved my family traveling to one of the grandparents house and having the entire extended family there.  My grandmas and all the women in the family would do all the cooking.  We usually had the standard turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, potatoe salad, cranberries, etc.  While the women cooked all the men would go and watch the football game and wait for the food to be readied.  Large quantities of wine and liquor would also be consumed and someone in the family would typically get in a fight or get pissed off and leave.  It always made for a lovely holiday get together. 

Around the time I was in highschool my family quit doing the whole large family thanksigiving thing.  We decided to not deal with the large stressful family and we were sick of always having to travel somewhere.  When its just my immediate family thanksgiving at our house the tables are completley turned.  My dad does the majority of the cooking.  My mom is the big football fan in the family so she gets to drink wine and watch all the games while my dad cooks.  We have turkey, twice baked potatoes, stuffing, lefse, homemade bread, and a pie which always comes from the perkins bakery.  My brother and I do all the clean up work after the meal and then the four of us enjoy some wine and a game of trivial pursuit.  I love having thanksgiving this way so much more than the whole large family get together.  I get more time to actually talk with my family and things are way more laid back and just make it a much more peaceful experience. 

I think gender, race, and class are all displayed in the tradition of thanksgiving.  In the ways my family currently celebrates thanksgiving gender doesn't have a strong implications.  But the ways we used to celebrate and in many of the other blogs I've read gender determines who is doing the cooking, cleaning, football watching, etc.  I think class also plays into thanksgiving.  A familie's income could maybe determine what food is served and can be afforded and the quantity of how much can be served.  Race may be a large factor in what type of food is served whether it is a family recipe that may have been passed down, an ethnic dish, or  even the ways in which the dinner is eaten. 

I believe that Tisdale's arguement that there is no such thing as american cuisine.  America is made up of so many different cultures and is a melting pot of immigrants.  There are vast amounts of differences in families and what type of food is eaten at thanksgiving.  The traditiong of thanksgiving may be American but the food is a blend of cultures.  In terms of resistence in the practice of thanksgiving I believe there is plenty of room for this to take place.  My family for instance broke the stereotypical gender roles in the thanksgiving tradition by having my father cook the meal.  I also know that plenty of people are having thanksgivings with non traditional foods and making it more original.     

 

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I think Tisdales argument that there truly is no actual American cuisine is right on. Yes, food has "supposed" origins from all over the world. True, America is a melting pot of culture. I really can't help but think it is a little presumptuous for anyone/any culture to claim knowledge of or creation of a particular food. So the Native Americans introduced Europeans to corn, new agricultural processes, etc. If anything, I have learned that no idea is the first original idea, everything has been done before. We can look back only a minuscule amount of time and have limited documentation as to what was going on. These documents are also heavily biased by the authors. I'm just saying there are probably a lot more sides to this story then we know or have access to. Native American tradition, policy, etc. was passed on by spoken word, stories, and hands on training. Today, numerous native languages are passing away with the elders of those tribes. Some will never be known again. With this death of knowledge comes the death of history. OK, now for the not-crazy ranting.
I have had Thanksgiving at my Grandparents the last few years but used to spend it at my uncles and aunts since I was young. I always eat too much. There are sentimental dishes made in memory of family no loner with us. I make lefse a traditional Norwegian potato delight with my grandparents the day before everyone comes over. It's a time to think about our heritage, culture, family and, future. Of all the Thanksgivings I can remember, the ones where I could not be with my family stick out the most. It's amazing how much I took family time for granted. Instead, of me huffing and puffing about getting things done and having to have the same conversation about school twenty times, I really began to miss the tradition and with that the food. I think that is why traditional thanksgiving dishes can be sometimes be thought of as comfort food. Turkey = family

Blog #12

The kind of food that my family and I associate with on Thanksgiving is Turkey, mash potato and gravy, stuffing, papaya, eggroll, fried rice and white rice, and other small dishes. We have a mixture of American and Hmong cuisine and we always do have both kinds of cuisine every year. It is a good thing to have both because my family and cousins like to have a variety of food to eat during Thanksgiving. What I like about my family is that we are very close and enjoy spending as much time as we can with my cousins when it comes to holidays. For Thanksgiving, we eat, talk, catch up with each other, and have fun with the kids. Every year we choose a different house to hold the holiday gathering so that it would be fair with the whole family instead of just one place.

Thanksgiving does involve with race, class, and gender because race involves with religion or culture, class could be money to buy food, and gender is who cooks the food. For race, most families would eat American cuisine, but my family likes to also have the Hmong cuisine and I grew up having both during Thanksgiving. For class, my family is Hmong and since there are about 7 families at the gathering then each family brings one dish for the gathering. It is well distributed and anyone can bring extra food if they want to. For gender, most of the women cook and set up everything for Thanksgiving and the men just eat when everything is ready. The women in my family, grew up knowing that they have to cook, clean, be a good wife and mother and so when it comes to this holiday or other holidays or events, they are the ones who usually cook and do everything.

Blog #12

Thanksgiving in my house always followed the same pattern. My mom, grandma, aunts, and any other "female" present would spend the day cooking various traditional Thanksgiving foods while my dad, brother, grandpa, and all the other males would be parked in the living room watching football. Every year we would have the same tradition, if you could call work allotment and television watching a tradition. While this is the way things always were for me and I don't want to change things, I always thought it a little unfair that my mom and grandma would work so hard while my dad and grandpa never lifted a finger. I think I was a little more outspoken then my mom and grandma because when I was 15 I started insisting that if the women in the household did all the cooking and preparation, then afterwards, the men would have to clean up. Granted they were never very enthusiastic, but I figured it was the least they could do. Funny thing though, was my mom and grandma ended up doing most of the cleaning up anyway, and the men were always quick to head back to the couch. Clearly there is a gender distinction in the "traditional American Thanksgiving".

The foods we ate were the "traditional" ones I suppose. We had the turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, pie, and vegetables. While I don't think that any of these foods are distinctly American in themselves, I do think that the pairing of these foods together is very American. If you were to suggest eating these foods at the same time any American would probably associate them with a holiday, and the holiday that would first come to mind would probably be Thanksgiving. Not all countries in the world celebrate Thanksgiving, in fact, only a few besides the United States do, but I think that other countries know the traditional meal choice pretty well. I know my family never even ate turkey unless it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, which is interesting because if the food is supposed to be so good on Thanksgiving, why don't more American's eat it more often?

Points of Interest:

http://www.thanksgiving.org.uk/around-the-world.html

www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?content_spotlight/.../thanksgiving

 

Blog 12 Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in my family has always been a bog thing growing up.  For as long as I can remember its always been about the turkey, dressing, potato salad, Mac and Cheese, sweet potato pie, banana pudding, and my favorite greens! It's always been a time where everyone came together to enjoy all this food and just be around each other, but mostly the food. I'll admit when I was younger all I really thought about was eating any and everything and as much as I wanted of it. Now that I'm older I see how key food is in bringing our family together. Whenever we know there's a guarantee for grandma's greens or Mac and Cheese, there's a guarantee that we will be there.


Not only is food a tool that's used to bring us all together a family, but its significance comes from generations that the recipes and traditions have been passed down from. For example my grannies sweet potato pie, is pretty much a celebrity in our family. Its something shes learned from her mom my great-grandmother, she's passed it down to her children and they've passed it down to my cousins and myself.   This coincides with our races because I feel all races have traditional meal that are passed from generation to generation.  Class connects with this too because the class you in plays a role in what you can afford the have for thanksgiving. If you're in upper class and considered rich you can afford to have a gourmet thanks giving dinner delivered to your door. While others have to split the items up so its easier to afford to have all the foods that families want.

Gender is pretty present in the Thanksgiving holiday too.  Its pretty common to have this image of the wife, mom, or woman in the kitchen slaving to cook this huge meal for the entire family. Even in movies that are based around the holidays there's usually mom in the kitchen and all the other female family members join to help cook and finish the meal as they arrive. While the men sit and chat and watch football. I even see it in my family; football ALWAYS comes to the TV no matter whose around or what there watching.  Typically when people start to leave my entire family pins cleaning the kitchen on my cousin and me (the two girls closest in age). It's kind of like these are rituals that are followed based on the idea that men just sit and watch football, and of course the woman is in the kitchen taking care of things.

               

Blog 12

 

 

For Thanksgiving, my Mom usually prepares the whole meal. She is an outstanding cook and loves making Thanksgiving dinner so much that she actually refuses help with it. My family usually eats turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato rolls, custard pie, and pumpkin pie. I only celebrate Thanksgiving with my Mom's side of the family because my Dad's parents both passed away and we do not have many connections with that side of the family.

Typically my Thanksgiving consists of my immediate family, my grandparents, one aunt who is divorced, and her two sons. It is a very small Thanksgiving but enjoyable because I love seeing my family. We do not really have stories about the food that is prepared for Thanksgiving, except for the custard pie that my mom makes. It is my dad's favorite dessert that his mother used to make and he used to have it every Thanksgiving. My dad usually pokes fun at my grandma whenever she attempts to bring food because, needless to say, it is terrible. He usually tells stories about when he first dated my mom and how he had to choke down the dinner that my grandma made.

Race, class, and gender are implicated in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices because your class determines how much money you make and the food available to purchase. Higher class people may have maids that prepare their dinner and are served the best quality of foods with expensive bottles of wine. Lower class people may not be able to afford certain foods and may have to resort to generic foods and cook themselves. Gender is implicated in Thanksgiving foods, at least in my family, because my mom cooks all of the food. Most of my friends' mothers also cook their Thanksgiving meals as well. This makes Thanksgiving foods gendered because of who prepares them. I believe that race is implicated in Thanksgiving foods because my friend is Filipina and celebrates Thanksgiving but eats with chopsticks and has chicken adobo and rice instead of turkey and mashed potatoes. Different races eat different types of food, and it could be shown through Thanksgiving practices.

I think that Thanksgiving practices confirm the argument that there is no American cuisine. America is made up of immigrants who each brought their influences of food over when they immigrated. America is looked at as a melting pot with influences of different cultures, and I think that Thanksgiving could be looked at in the same way. Different cultures celebrate it with different foods, and there is no "typical American way". There is also room for resistance with Thanksgiving because people may chose to resist participating in Thanksgiving because they may not want to have to cook ormay have bad relations with their families.

Blog 12 Assignment

Growing up in my family, Thanksgiving wasn't exactly a holiday in which we gave thanks to things and people in our lives.  Even though, that's what Thanksgiving is about we celebrated more as a time where all my family gets together and eat so much until they have to unbutton their jeans.  That may be an exaggeration, however, I feel that this way of celebrating Thanksgiving is becoming more and more common. 

Usually at Thanksgiving, my grandmother makes turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, corn, lefse, and pumpkin pie.  The lefse, corn, pie, and cranberries are usually store bought with everything else being homemade.  My aunts also help with preparing the meal.  We never really had any stories about the food itself, however, I always have enjoyed Thanksgiving because it is a time that everyone on my dad's side gets together and socializes.  This gets harder and harder as people get older.
 
I think race, class, and gender are involved in Thanksgiving foods and practices because it incorporates all three with many different places into one evening with one family.  Although, many people don't realize it, the food they are eating comes from many different cultures and practices that they never even heard of.  I believe that Thanksgiving confirms Tisdale's argument that there is no American cuisine.  I feel that everything that we eat in our country has came from somewhere in the world, and we have just "Americanized" it to meet our special tastes.  I think that there is "room for resistance" in Thanksgiving observances.  However, it won't be an easy task to carry out.  

Week 12 Blog

The main foods that I associate with Thanksgiving are turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, warm rolls, and pumpkin pie. In my family, everyone brings a dish to share. Usually, the owner of the house that we are all celebrating at is the one in charge of the big turkey. This year, we are having thanksgiving at my house and my parents are very good at sharing the duties of cooking and getting the house ready which I love to see. Preparation is not a matter of gender, rather it's shared.

 

I've always loved Thanksgiving because I feel like it is a better version of Christmas. Besides the amazing meal, it is completely centered on the meaning of family rather than the stress of presents. I think class is more irrelevant at Thanksgiving than at Christmas and some other holidays because people don't need to worry about finding a substantial gift for everyone when they don't necessarily have the budget to do so.

 

As for race, I would imagine that many families incorporate their heritage and roots into certain dishes they make for Thanksgiving but I think that that is the greatest aspect of America and American cuisine. Everyone and everything is welcome. We are like a melting pot of people that have come from all over and influenced our culture and I don't think that that means there is no American cuisine.

Blog #12 Food & Family

Growing up in Saint Paul and I proudly boast to being a "Frogtown Girl" whenever I have the chance, I spent all my Thanksgiving holidays with my father's side of the family.  It was what we did before and after my parent's divorced when I was 7 years old.  It sounds sad, but for most of my childhood and teenage years I have no idea what my mom did for her Thanksgiving holidays.  According to my mom, my parents both agreed that it was better for my dad to have us.  My mother wanted the divorce and was one of those mom's who for whatever reason could not be a full-time mom. Her family was not what I would call a "close" family.  They were very religious("Old School Catholics")as I always called them and very judgmental of people, including of their own daughter who ended up divorced, which was in their minds one of the most horrible things a person could do.  I think this played a big role in how we ended up with my father.  It was a good decision though because my mom was not one to stay in one place for long as my dad got really comfortable in the same place.  Worked out good for my sister and I so I can't complain.

My father's family is primarily Lutheran("Lazy Lutherans")meaning church was usually associated with a party afterwords that involved alcohol and food. My grandmother was more strict with her own kids when it came to church.  They were all forced to get up, attend church and be confirmed by the time they graduated high school.  After that, her job was done and although she would have preferred that they did the same with their own kids, it was their own choice as the parents, not hers and she was ok with that cause she did her part. 

My grandparents had seven kids, 5 boys and 2 girls.  My grandmother, who will be 82 this years always said, "Everyone deserves a girl."  She also believes that, "Chocolate does make life much easier."  The whole "clan" as I call my family, which used to be pretty big but now has dwindled down to 45 people total, used to all fit into my grandparents rambler which was 6 houses away from the house my father owned.  In fact, all my father's siblings lived within 6 blocks of my grandparents house.  If I was ever out causing trouble, I got busted cause there was always an adult or some other family relative around to catch me.  It kinda sucked at times but now that we are all spread out, I do miss those days. 

We would start out our day getting to Gamma's house around 10am or so.  Us kids had to find ways to keep ourselves busy and out of trouble while the women(Gramma and my 2 aunts)would be busy in the kitchen getting the food ready.  If a woman married into the family to one of the son's, she usually was not "expected" to help out in the kitchen.  She sat next to her husband, one of my Grandmother''s five sons.  Gramma would shoo people out of the kitchen who would try to sneak in and steal anything, even a pickle.  My grandfather handled the beer and his homemade moonshine.  He was the only one Gramma bugged about drinking anything before eating cause he only had 25% of his stomach due to having 75% removed as a result of damage from chronic ulcers.  If he drank anything, he would be too full to eat.  I heard this every year.  Growing up, there were drinkers and smokers in my family, they were pretty good about keeping things under control.No wild parties, fights, abuse issues which I am grateful for.  It's quite a contrast to today though, just with the absence of alcohol and smoking. There is not one picture in my childhood that does not have an adult with either a cigarette, beer or both in the picture.  

All the food was prepared at Gramma's house.  She worked nights as a nursing assistant so there was a big chance that she may have come right home from work and started as soon as she came in the door.  My grampa was an orderly at the VA until he retired early after his 4th heart attack, which was before he was 50 years old.  While the women prepared the food, Gramma called Grampa in to "cut up the bird" when it was ready.  The food was mainly turkey, mashed potatoes(lots!) vegetables, dressing, gravy, cranberries and lastly homemade pie(s). Gramma always went all out and always had made enough for people to have more than seconds.  There were two main tables, the adult table and the kid table.  I remember as a kid wanting to grow up so badly cause I wanted to be allowed to sit at the adult table. The older kids helped with the younger kids(5 & up)and if they were younger they got to be on their parent(s) lap.  I say it this way because unlike my mother's family were divorce was a sin, it was not seen to be such a horrible thing by my father's family.  Divorcing seemed to be an option other than kids being raised in a household where people are not able to get along.  If the marraige did not work, so be it.  It was a part of life.  We were all responsible for clearing our plates and putting them on the counter/sink.  Cleanup was done by everyone else while the adult women got a chance to sit around the main table and relax after all their work, which we all made sure to thank them for. Football would be on in the living room. Older male cousins would be playing craps in the hallway with my "bachelor uncle(s)". Younger kids would find toys and other things to play with as it is was well known that our parents were not the entertainments committee.  We were expected to entertain ourselves.  Our day would end late like 7-8pm.  We would be more than ready to go home and sleep.

Fast forward to current times and things are pretty different.  My grandfather and father have both died and my cousins and myself are all parents and have homes/jobs/in-law's etc.  We do not get together for Thanksgiving.  My grandmother and I are very close, infact our birthdays are 2 days apart and we celebrate them together every year. She usually comes to my house where my mom and younger sister will also be.  I send out an open invite to any of our friends and family who want to come.  People bring a dish to share, which can be interesting and fun with the variety we can end up with. The turkey, ham and potatoes are usually cooked at our house.  Happily to say, I am not the cook in our house, my husband is and along with his mom and sister the three of them usually take over the kitchen getting things ready.  I will take care of appetizers, drinks & deserts.  There is no smoking in our house, if you smoke our dog is very good company as she will follow you out the door to the back yard while you smoke.  My husband, as well as his mother and father have all been sober from alcohol for over 15 years.There is no alcohol at family functions as I don't drink or smoke by choice.  This year is going to a bit different as my husband and myself are in the process of divorcing and it may be the last set of holidays we spend in the same house. It's disappointing for me, as even though a consider myself non-denominational,I do have strong feelings and beliefs about marriage and vows people take with another. I am also looking forward to this new part of my life.  We have four kids total but 2 young children together.  I was a single mother by choice for 12 years before I met and married my husband. These changes that will be taking place in our lives will take time to get used to but I am confident that they will work out as I've been a single parent before and have no reservations about doing it again. 

Week 12 Blog Assignment

There are many different types of food that I associate with Thanksgiving. When I was growing up, my family, along with staple Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, cranberries, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes, also had a few dishes that were specific to our family that were not necessarily traditional Thanksgiving foods such as homemade carrot kugel and glorified rice.  My own personal Thanksgiving festivities became a little more awkward when I stopped eating meat and my family has adjusted fine to this change, however my boyfriend's family has had a bit of a difficult time figuring out why I don't eat turkey at the table.  What seems to be the most confusing for them is why I also don't eat stuffing, gravy etc since they use chicken stock/broth to make them.  Out of respect for his family, the first time I went over to celebrate Thanksgiving with them I put a little bit of everything on my plate (including turkey) and just had my boyfriend eat it. J

 

Thanksgiving rituals can differ not only by individual family traditions, but also by race, class, and gender.  This includes the ethnic origins of the food we eat, whether the food eaten is home made or store bought, who makes what dishes, who takes care of the clean up after all of festivities are over, is it just immediate family or a whole extended family, does everyone sit around the table together, whether you even celebrate thanksgiving in the first place etc.  There are just so many variables that I think that there is no wrong or right in regards to Thanksgiving, only differences. 

 

In regards to the readings from this week, I agree that Tisdale is correct in part that there is no authentic American cuisine, but also think that since America is basically a land made up of immigrants, we sort of just "Americanize" what we think foreign food tastes like and call it ours.  When examining Thanksgiving in terms of resistance, I guess my family doesn't really go specifically by gendered roles of cooking/baking since my mom usually makes the turkey and my dad makes some salads and we all help clean up.  I think that judging by the variety of Thanksgiving traditions in our class alone; there isn't really a norm for which all other Thanksgiving traditions should be based off of.  A traditional Thanksgiving meal, like authentic American cuisine as described by Tisdale, is simply a fallacy. 

Blog #12: Thanksgiving Foods

When we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family, we had a very traditional Thanksgiving. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry molds, pumpkin pie, and, of course, Jell-O and fruit salads. When my grandmother was alive, she and my mother and aunt spent most of the time preparing the food. My sister, cousins, and I were usually at the table during preparations playing card games. In addition, grandpa and my uncle set the table and kept the youngest kids entertained. After we finished our meal, grandpa and grandma used to wash the dishes together (this is the way I always remember things being at their house- Grandma would rinse the dishes ad Grandpa would load the dishwasher).

 

Every other year when we were with my dad's side of the family, Thanksgiving was less traditional. My dad emigrated from Guyana when he was 19-years-old. Most of his family is in the states now, and a few relatives are nearby. We usually went to my cousin's house. There were always the traditional foods, but there was also always potato curry, daal, rice, barrah, and sooji halwa. Food preparation is a major affair. Although on Thanksgiving, most people bring something to share, during other holidays and celebrations we all cooked together (sometimes for days) women, men, and children. This side of the family always cooks enough to eat for days and days following Thanksgiving. Some years we had so much food left over we my dad would put turkey in everything (who was really going to eat very much turkey with all that curry around?)...from soups to omelettes (yes, omelettes), and eventually the turkey was thrown into a new pot of curry.

 

I never really thought about these practices as a type of resistance, but in a sense, I suppose they are a type of resistance as well as a way to maintain cultural ties. Having grown up in a relatively small, white, middle-class suburb, I have always known that my family traditions were less than "normal" and I have always been appreciative of that.

Blog 12

Thanksgiving has been a family tradition shared by both my imitate family of five, my grandparents, and cousins. In the morning my family and I usually lounge around spending time as a family watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Later in the evening we meet at my grandparents house. I am very lucky that my family all lives close by so we get to spend the evening together. When we get there the food is already prepared by my grandma. My family is in charge of the pies and other relatives bring a small dish to share. Our meal is very traditional usually consisting of the exact same items each year. We have turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cooked vegetables, salad, and rolls. Because my family is quite large we have many separate tables to devour our thanksgiving feast. I usually find myself at the table with all of my girl cousins around my age. There is an adult table and another table for the guys. After the evening meal my grandpa, uncles and brothers go down stairs to watch T.V as most of them sleep after the delicious meal it would be very unlikely to find them helping out in the kitchen. The dishes and clean up is left to my grandma, my mom, and her sisters. They are the ones running the dishwasher and putting away the leftovers. They are also the ones serving deserts. After that is done they usually join us in playing games or catching up on everyone's life. When thinking about the how race, class and gender are involved in the thanksgiving dinner I can see how there is a separation of gender rolls in my family. Most of my uncles show up and eat they do not contribute at all to the preparation or clean up of this holiday, or for that matter any holiday. These are expected stereotypical rolls that they have of their wives, I can't even imagine what they would say if we asked them to help with the meal. As LeBesco mentioned in her article that the lower class would serve Jell-o because it is cheap, I do not see that playing an important roll in our thanksgiving meal. All of my family is from the middle- class so I do not see class being an important aspect in this holiday. We have very little diversity in my family so race is not involved in my family's food and eating practices. We do not have any ethnic food on this day.

As Tisdale mentions that there is no American cuisine I would have to agree with him. Many people see the thanksgiving meal as a typical American meal but it is different dishes are actually originated from all different parts of the world. For example "Corn is the earliest cultivated grain in the work and was found in a cave in Mexico" (31).  I think there is room for resistance I know many families who do not get together on this holiday and order in Pizza or eat fast food.  No matter how you celebrate or what foods you eat I think it is important to take the time and realize all the things you are truly thankful for. Enjoy this precious time with your family and the ones you love.

blog 12

The majority of my Thanksgivings were spent just outside of Saint Paul at my great-aunt's home.  All of my extended relatives on the paternal side of my family were there.  Each individual family would bring a dish or two to share potluck style.  My mother always brought pie, and would always bring 4 or 5--usually two apple, one pecan, and two pumpkin.  My Thanksgiving morning memories center around my mother hastily finishing baking as the Macy's parade played in the background. 

 

In the case of my family's Thanksgiving, my relatives are white and have incomes that define them as middle to upper class.  The hostess, my great-aunt, married a man with a large inheritance, so our family is fortunate in the fact that she has both the space and resources in her home to allow everyone to gather and eat comfortably...and these gatherings are usually forty people or more!

 

To me, Thanksgiving confirms the arguments that there is no American cuisine.  While the whole "tradition" of the holiday is based on the idea that colonists and natives met together and combined their eating traditions, the food we eat today has a much greater resemblance to that of European colonists rather than that of the Native Americans.  Rather than American food per se, I would argue that there are American practices for dining, such as fast food or dining in front of the TV.

 

I do think that there is room for resistance.  More people are having other main courses besides turkey. More people are vegetarian or go totally organic.  There is greater exposure/access to different recipes, etc. via the Internet.

Blog Post #12

My family did celebrate Thanksgiving, however we don't have any great traditions or food that is unique to the holiday.  I was a vegetarian for something like 20 years so a topic of conversation that came up EVERY year with my family was, why don't you eat meat again?  My mom EVERY year would worry about what I was going to eat, if there would be enough options for me and whether or not I would get enough to eat!  I've had the Thanksgiving dinner at my house a couple of times and each time I ordered an organic free-range turkey from the co-op and one year actually ate some of it to my families delight.  My brother is a deer, pheasant, turkey and duck hunter.  It was an activity that he and my father shared together when my father was alive.  I didn't go or learn how to hunt or handle a gun because (I assume) it was not something girls did.  My brother however taught both my niece and nephew how to safely handle a gun and the ethics of hunting.  My niece, who has won sport shooting awards and has gone hunting with her dad for years is now a vegetarian to my brothers disdain.  Both my niece and I reassure my brother that if he were to kill something for food and invited us to eat with him we would.

I think Americans have an idea about traditional foods, which can be regional as well.  For example, I think of collard greens, grits and sweet potatoes pie as uniquely Southern.  I think "traditional" food derives from not only what has been handed down generationally in your family depending on where your family is from but also what is cheap, easily accessible and seasonably available.  We used to be a much more agrarian society where the men typically were the farmers and women had their home gardens and prepared all that was grown and harvested in the tradition of their mothers and their mothers mothers.

Women tend to do the planning and cooking of meals.  We are responsible for feeding our children, and families in a nutritional way.  What is served again depends on several factors including cost that of course touches on issues of race, class, and gender.  Food sadly is becoming less and less nutritional.  It is being manufactured in surplus quantities and offered at lower cost for people who can't afford to shop organically or grow their own veggies like I can -- not that you have to shop co-op to eat well, you don't.  I would argue that American traditional food has become fast food.  We eat more processed food than ever before in our history and consequently we're becoming a sick nation.  Sadly we're exporting our food tradition around the world.  It's hard to travel anywhere with out running into a McDonalds . . . it's sad.  Women have tough choices sometimes about what to feed their families especially when they are working outside of the home. 

I'm sorry to be such a downer; you'd never know that I really love the Thanksgiving holiday.  I mean who wouldn't.  It's about eating, getting time off to spend with family and friends and there's no religiosity attached to it.

However I have to include a story that I found on the Democracy Now web site as something to think about while we stuff ourselves on Thursday, which is this.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2009/11/18/hungering_for_a_true_thanksgiving

 

And if I could suggest some leisure reading when there's more time after the semester is through, one of my absolute favorite books of all time is Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which talks about one year in her families life of eating locally and organically.  She and her husband mix in facts about the US food industry as well as our destructive addiction to pesticides. The book is distinctly from Ms. Kingsolver's perspective on how to take care of and love her family through inexpensive wholesome food.

Happy Thanksgiving all J

Blog 12

As far as Thanksgiving goes, it has been something that my family and I have observed ever since I can remember. It is the only holiday in which we all get together and have a meal without giving presents or that sort of thing, like we would on Christmas or birthdays. It is a holiday in which my mom cooks all the main food and the rest of the family brings side dishes like vegetable or fruit trays. The main food consists of a turkey, cranberries, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and sweet potatoes. My dad's traditional role is to carve the turkey and pass it out while he sits at the head of the table.

This clearly depicts how gender plays a role because as I reflect on this, it seems as though my dad takes all the credit for the work that my mom does by taking the main position and role at the table. Another thing that Thanksgiving makes me think about is how small or big our dinners appear to be, being part of the lower-middle class, when comparing it to people that are lower and higher in class than my family is. I know that there are some kitchens that open up and serve special dinners for homeless people on these types of holidays, but these people are without a family atmosphere. As for the higher class people, they are mostly people that have a certain image that they feel as though they need to live up to, especially when it comes to the holidays. They get the biggest and best things in order to show off their status to everyone and they, too, do not have an intimate side with their family. I may be generalizing, but this is the picture that I see in my mind when thinking about the classes around the holidays. As far as the last identity to look within the thanksgiving sphere, race, there are many differences amongst them. There seems to be big differences amongst the different types of food prepared, which I will discuss below.

I think as far as the argument in Tisdale's essay that there is no American cuisine, I think that Thanksgiving confirms this. It is an American holiday, but there are many different dishes that are incorporated to the whole meal depending on what your family is accustomed to. I know that some of my Asian friends have a cooked duck instead of a turkey to celebrate, while other friends do the 'traditional' dinner. On that note, who is allowed to define the word traditional for all of American society anyways? I see thanksgiving as a holiday that gets the family together, first and fore-most, but I think that people are so fixed on what the true American traditions are and they forget what it was established as in the first place.

Along with this thought, I think that I have displayed a type of 'resistance'-that was discussed in Lebesco's essay in observing Thanksgiving. I know that some of my family and friends don't observe it due to their religion (one being Jehovah, where they do not celebrate anything but Passover) or the fact that their family is so new to America that due to their culture, they don't observe it. I also know some people that don't have any family or that their family is one in which that they would much rather forget and not see due to how dysfunctional it is. This biased view is one that perpetuates the "scrooge" view of the holidays and the American traditional gatherings overall and appears to be a type of resistance from an outsider looking in.  

Week 12 Blog

Thanksgiving for my family and extended familyhas always been an all day event, not just a meal, and there are definitley gender roles present. All of the men watch football, the women cook and gossip, and the kids (which is the category I'm still included in) play foosball in the basement until it is time to eat. The men and boys always dress very casually in jeans, while the women and girls are dressed in skirts, dresses, and fancy shoes. Within our Thanksgiving celebration, the idea of class goes unnoticed because all of the families have the same finincial situation, however we are able to have a lot more food and sometimes have things catered, which is probably something only associated with the upper middle class. 

The eating festivities can take hours and the amount of food consumed in amazing. My family goes very traditional when it comes to the food. We eat mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pie of many different varieties.  While this food is not considered American by origin, but it has become American food over the year. The same is true for other foods like hamburgers and french fries. It represents the melting pot of culutres that we as Americans pride ourselves in.

thanksgiving blog

Since I come from a family with a strong Hispanic background, we don't typically have the traditional thanksgiving dinner that people expect. We celebrate with a wide variety of Hispanic foods ranging from tamales to enchiladas. My grandfather always makes sure to prepare a turkey, but for most people, the exciting part is eating the Mexican meal he has prepared. I have brought friends to my thanksgiving dinners and they always find it odd that my family doesn't prepare the traditional foods you would expect at a thanksgiving dinner. I have never had a problem with the fact that we don't have the typical thanksgiving meal, because for me thanksgiving has always been about giving thanks for your family and friends, and a celebration of how far we have made it in this country. I really appreciate the fact that my family hasn't succumbed to the norm of the whole turkey and stuffing dinner, because that isn't who we are.

I think this is a great example of how there truly is no American Cuisine, America is made up of such a diverse population of ethnicities and religions, whom all eat different foods, and all consider themselves to be Americans.

Something else that is also not so traditional when it comes to our thanksgiving is that the men do the cooking. It has always been that way in our family, which isn't always a common occurrence. After reading the Lebesco's article, it really opened my eyes up to how there are certain gender specific foods out there and how companies advertise to women.  An example of this I found was Hamburger Helper 2007 commercial. The commercial features a woman from a small town who takes part in numerous city events and coaches the local basketball team, she says that hamburger helper helps her to spend more time with her family and keep them happy while maintaining her busy schedule. There are many other food products that advertise to women, insisting they will help take the pressure off their busy schedules. 

Something else I wanted to mention was how the foods we purchase can relate to our class status. Last year I did research on food stamps and what sorts of foods are excluded from the food stamp program. I found that people using food stamps are excluded from buying organic products, which limits these foods to those who can afford it. People of lower income are often stuck having to buy highly processed foods because they are less expensive.

Over all I think our identities are shaped by food more then I had previously realized. I think that this is going to be great topic to bring up this thanksgiving at our dinner!

 

Week 12

Thanksgiving is new to me because I do not grow up in the US. In my home country, there were thanksgiving ceremony in Christian schools, but not in public. The first thanksgiving in my life was 2 years ago in my host family's home. It was awesome and there was so much fun. My host family is American, so I did experience a very American way of thanksgiving. My host mom woke up early in the morning in order to make sure that everything will be done on time and we have time to get together to chat and talk. She was a great cook and prepare all food by herself. She made all kinds of traditional food like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, and apple pie. All homemade! They were amazingly great and I would never forget how they tasted.

I think thanksgiving is evoluting in the US as many race are engaging in this seasonal celebrating. Although people celebrate thanksgiving to keep it as a traditional way to say thanks and enjoy the great day, the ethic thinkings do  change the way of  what thanksgiving is.For example, I was at my aunt's place last year during thanksgiving. Although we did have a thanksgiving meal, but it is not the traditional way. There were no mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, sweet corn, and other popular thanksgiving dishes.  However, we had turkey and other Asian food like chow mein, spring rolls, fried rice, etc. Yes, race is taking place in this thanksgiving, the way that races look at the meaning of thanksgiving is different and it affects the way that they celebrate and prepare the meal.

I think thanksgiving confirms Tisdale's argument. America is a multi-culture nation, there are millions of immigrants who bring their own cuisines and those cuisine  cross, change, and influence each other to make "American food". American food is just the mix and evoluted way of what American get from other cuisines. Although there are certain kinds of food which are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals, yet they are prepared for thanksgiving celebration by Christian only and cannot be considered as a distinct cuisine. I think although thanksgiving celebrate widely in the States, but there is still room for resistance because there are still people who refuse and too lazy to celebrate. Some people really think that it is a blessed holiday for rest, and don't want to spend a long hour to cook. Nevertheless, people I know do celebrate thanksgiving and have a thanksgiving meals (although some are in a quite different way).

For gender, it is so interesting to read the blog posts as many of you mentioned that male would take up the responsibility or help to prepare food on thanksgiving day. What I thought is that women still are the cook on thanksgiving day, I did not know that many male will cook on the special day. Does that also mean that the male also give the female cook a day off on the thanksgiving day? I am so jealous about all the homemade thanksgiving dished that you mentioned, it sounds so delicious.

Blog 12 Assignment

I love Thankgiving.  It is a time of year that everyone gets together, cooks, and eats tons of great food.  I know this is not the case for all families.  In fact, it is a bitter time for some people but I can only share my own experience, which is far from that.  Thanksgiving dinner usually includes my immediate family of 5.  When we were younger, we would travel to Memphis or Chicago to visit family but as we've gotten older and time together has grown more precious, we have started to stay home.  In some way, I miss my extended family and the craziness of my relatives (excess drinking that is) but it is really nice to have a low key Thanksgiving with my parents and brother and sister. 

We prepare your "traditional" Thanksgiving meal, which includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, bread, vegetables, etc.  However, my sister has developed a great fondness for cooking and in the last few years has spiced up our menu.  I cannot relate to Tisdale's traditional Thanksgiving meal.  My sister makes spicy cornbread, sweet potatoes, spicy grean beans with onions, etc.  My sister is the head cook but we all particpate and play a part to make the meal as special as possible.  My Dad is usually in charge of the Turkey, my mom deserts, and my brother and I the odds and end stuff.  I do not think gender plays as much as a role today as race or class.  Unfortunately, many families cannot afford to have such extravagant meals.  However, I think every family has their own special tradition and makes the most of their own Thanksgiving.  I know many families get together with other families (whether it be friends or extended family) which helps make the cost of preparing a large meal more afforadable.  Everyone chips in a makes a dish opposed to one family being in charge of everything.

I would have to agree with Tisdale because I do not think there is such a thing as American cuisine.  I look at America as a melting pot, a place full of immigrants old and new, and each different culture that has immigranted to the U.S. has brought over their own unique cuisine.  We all know Italian, French, Chinese, Thai and many other cuisines are very popular in the U.S.  So, is there such a thing as Americn cusine?  I don't really think so- even burgers and french fries date back to other countries.  Next, I think there is room for resistance in observing Thanksgiving and many people do resist this holiday.  I know many people who could care less about Thanksgiving.  Honestly, I do not have an opinion either way.  Every family is different but to me Thanksgiving is a time to get together with my family, eat, drink, and laugh.

Comment to yangx467 (week12)

I really like your blog post as I have the same feeling as you do. I do not grow up in the US and I have never celebrate thanksgiving before I came to the US. Although we do celebrate thanksgiving in Hong Kong, it is only a small ceremony in school but not for the public.

I found that thanksgiving is a fantastic festival that people gather together to have all kinds of traditional thanksgiving dishes. Last year I was with my aunt during the thanksgiving and I observed the Asian way of celebrating thanksgiving like what you mentioned. It was great that it was like a fusion of exotic cuisines which is different from majority American thanksgiving meal. The only same thing is the turkey.

I also agree with you that Tisdale's arguments of no American cuisine is true. What I think is that no food is real American food. American food is the change or evoluted version of some other cuisine. Actually I think the American food had changed to fit the need of the current society. Thanksgiving is a traditional festival which has its own way of preparing and celebrating since last century. Some people still stick to the old way, but some people with different race and ethic background see it differently. It ends up that  the true meaning  and way of celebration changes.

Blog 12

Thanksgiving has been a long tradition in my family. Since I'm a Christian, my family attends to variety of Thanksgiving meals in different houses. The first main house that my family attends is at one of our church member's house. Then we go to my cousin's house to eat Thanksgiving, and come back home with packed leftover food. My family also celebrates my younger brother's birthday which is on the 23rd, and my birthday on the 27th. So we get twice the celebration, our birthday and Thanksgiving. The food that we eat that relates to the American cuisine would be turkey, mashed potato and gravy, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. However, each family can bring in different side dish to share with the rest of the group. Since I'm Hmong, my family and the church members make variety of Hmong food such as eggrolls, rice, lab, pho, kho poog, stir fried rice and noodles, na va, spring rolls, papaya salad, purple rice (or sticky rice), Hmong sausage, and many more. These foods can be made for special occasion not just for Thanksgiving, but for Christmas, Easter, Valentine, and other occasions. Usually my dad makes the dish to bring and share because he makes some good fried veggies, and my mom would makes the rice. We also buy beverages such as water and pop. The turkey is prepared by my Pastor or the head leaders of our church.


I do think that race and class involves in Thanksgiving foods and eating practice rather than gender because depending on what race you are and class, depends on what you eat and what you can afford to buy. For example, from above of what I have listed of the food my family eats for Thanksgiving, we eat American cuisine and Hmong cuisine. We keep our traditional food cuisine, and also eat American cuisine because it is also part of our American tradition and represent who we are as an American. For class, I remember when I was little; there would be a couple coming to our house to drop off boxes of food and winter accessories for my family. And since my parents had a lot of children, they couldn't afford to buy food for all of us because they weren't making much money. The food came from school donations, and we were one of the selected families to receive the school food donation. Once we all grew up, they stop coming and giving us food and winter accessories because my parents makes more and five of me and my siblings are able to work. So, depending on your race and your traditional culture, and your class of how you can afford food.

Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving has long since been one of my favorite holidays. It is a time for family to gather together and enjoy the year's blessing. I am fortunate in that my family is a close family, gathering during holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes just because the whole family had not been together for a while. My family is small in comparison to others' families; there are four in my immediate family and when together with my two aunts and their families and my grandparents, there are 14 of us in total. Regardless of the reason, there is always an abundance of our favorite foods. Every year at Thanksgiving, Grandpa always remarks that there is enough food to "feed the whole county."

The Thanksgiving tradition in my family is dinner on Thanksgiving Day at either one of my aunts' house. Meal planning is the responsibility of the women in the family, including the kids, with the planning beginning several weeks before Thanksgiving. No one person has responsibility for the entire meal. Each of the aunts, Grandma, and my mom would split up the menu and within a matter of several phone calls or emails, the entire menu is planned. Our Thanksgiving meal is fairly "traditional" with very few changes from year to year. There is turkey and ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, corn and green beans, cranberry salad, vegetable relish dish, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie.  In addition, there are usually several non-traditional appetizers for all of us to enjoy prior to the full meal. Over the years, I noticed that each female family member tended to be "assigned" the same food item year after year. For example, my mom traditionally brings the vegetable relish tray, the fruit tray, the rolls, the green beans and a dessert. Mom is rarely asked to bring salads, unless it is a vegetable salad as she does not like jell-o and does not like to make jell-o salads. My one aunt is great at making appetizers. She also is the one who brings the sweet potatoes as she is one of the few people who like sweet potatoes. My other aunt is great at making salads and insists on making the pecan pie. No one can make pumpkin pie like my grandma, so grandma usually has the task of making three or four pumpkin pies for the family to enjoy on Thanksgiving and then to take home for later.

Our Thanksgiving Day begins with all of us arriving at the designated "aunt's" house around 10:30 - 11:00 in the morning. The aroma in the house from the baking turkey and ham makes your tummy growl instantly. While not considered traditional Thanksgiving cuisine, appetizing dips and snacks are placed throughout the living and dining room. Family members begin grazing and sampling as goodies arrive and are placed either in the oven or in the refrigerator. If someone brings a "new" dessert, several family members have to sample immediately. Men and women alike congregate in the kitchen and dining room to graze and converse. Wine is a tradition in my family and is served with Grandpa being responsible for removing the cork and serving the wine. A toast is made, also the responsibility of Grandpa. The non-wine drinkers finish the toast and then reach for a beverage of choice. The men usually make their way towards the living room where invariably a football game is already on and in process. The women begin getting the potatoes mashed, the vegetable and fruit trays assembled, and food placed on the table. Grandma's job is to cut the ham while Grandpa is called into the kitchen to carve the turkey. For as long as I can remember, only Grandpa carves the turkey, sampling to make sure it is done for all others to enjoy.

When the six grandchildren were younger, the six of us would get to fill our plates first and then sit at a table designated as the "kids table". Following grace, we were allowed to eat with the adults sitting at the main table. Food would be passed around counter clockwise with far more food on the table than we could possibly eat in one seating. Once we got older and all of us were in high school, the six grandchildren were seated at the main table, usually at one end of the table with the adults at the other end. Grandpa always sits at the head of the table with Grandma sitting to his left. Husbands and wives always sit together. The year following my aunt's divorce was very awkward for all of us, but we have since adjusted with a slightly altered "seating" arrangement. Desserts are rarely served immediately following dinner. Desserts are saved for later in the day following the evening meal.

While meal planning, preparation and serving are the responsibilities of the women in the family, Thanksgiving would not be the same without my Grandpa and the few men in the family. The Thanksgiving meal is not fancy, but neither are our family traditions. As I commented at the beginning, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite family holidays as it is during this time of year, that I realize the blessings that I have been so richly given.   

Thanksgiving Eats- Blog 12

            For my family, Thanksgiving has usually been a tradition for only my immediate family. Before my sister started college, we travelled up to Lutsen and typically ate a wonderful restaurant Thanksgiving meal, filled with both traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving foods. I remember these meals less than the home-cooked meals we started having nearly eight years ago at my parents' home. The Thanksgiving meals that my dad cooked were anything but the bland meal that Tisdale describes when she talks about Thanksgiving. My dad makes homemade pumpkin pie and homemade apple pie (with real apples, none of that pre-made filling crap). He makes a delicious turkey with garlic-mashed potatoes that are so creamy and delicious that gravy is unnecessary. We also have sautéed asparagus (my favorite vegetable), glazed carrots, and canned corn and cranberry sauce (my dad is the only one who eats the cranberry sauce, and he prefers it canned). Part of the reason I think that our Thanksgiving dinners evolved is that my dad discovered his love and talent for cooking; we previously did not really have anyone in the house who could cook very much. My mom is a terrible cook which she has no problem admitting, so cooking was never something she did much.

            When it comes to Thanksgiving, I think that race and class are involved more in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices than gender today (although gender still plays an important stereotypical role for some). As LeBesco discussed in her article about Jell-O as associated with lower class because it is cheap, to be able to afford a dinner of typical Thanksgiving extravagance, most families are middle-class. Other ways to overcome cost issues without sacrificing quality of food include larger family gatherings, which my immediate family partakes in for other holiday gatherings such as Christmas and Easter. Each family can then contribute different dishes to the meal to spread out any possible financial burdens. In relation to race, it relates more to ethnicity and culture than race specifically. Some families have different traditional foods that they incorporate into their meals, such as when we have large family gatherings with my mom's side of the family we have traditional Norwegian food like lefsa. The inclusion of such "traditional" foods brings us back to Tisdale's question of an "American cuisine," which I personally do not believe exists (although many look to McDonald's as the answer). I have never celebrated Thanksgiving with any other friends or discussed their celebrations, but I do not think we can say that Thanksgiving brings out the American cuisine. People have an idea about typical Thanksgiving food, but every celebration adds its own twist, its own change, making it less stereotypical. Some even go as far as to deep-fry their turkeys (my uncle did this for Christmas one year).

            It is difficult to think of Thanksgiving in ways of resistance, but it does exist. Some families reject Thanksgiving all together and go eat at Chinese restaurants on Thanksgiving, or they order pizza and stay in. It is difficult to determine what people are trying to say when they do these things, but it is a form of resistance nonetheless. My family's celebration can be seen as a form of resistance to the gender stereotyping surrounding cooking; I do not think my dad allows my mom's help with anything (but to her credit she can make some killer desserts, and had her own bad Jell-O experience). Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving differently, so we might want to ask, what is the status quo? Is anyone actually conforming to the stereotypical Thanksgiving observances?

blog 11

I have to be honest and say I waited to write Blog 11 because the prompt made me envision a lot of blogs about gender and a lack of addressing race and class, which bothered me.  Also, I didn't really know how to frame what I wanted to say about identities and leisure activities. 

 

So I was reading through all the blog 11's today... and what struck me was the lack inclusion of class and race in regards to leisure time activities.  There were only four or five blogs that addressed race and/or class, and the rest focused on gender.  All of the blogs about gender had great insights about leisure time and identity.  Instead of writing my own examples, I wanted to expand on the few blogs by classmates that addressed race and class.

 

kapp0081 wrote, "Something else to note is that gardening is pretty consistently associated with leisure and free time, but it's also something that has been deemed a necessity. As such there are jobs created for it, so gardening is something both leisure and function, something people who have free time do and something that people make their livelihoods in. This has interesting connotations in regards to leisure activities as profitable enterprises, but those that garden for profit aren't typically associated with higher classes."  I would like to add that race comes into play in regards to gardening as paying labor because most people who work as gardeners are people of color.  While gardening may be a leisure activity for people (read: white people with enough money and free time), it is a low paying job for many immigrants.  Racial and class hierarchies are played out and reinforced when it comes to gardening.

 

mcdon462 wrote, "All in all, I think that not having as much time or money to participate in leisure activities that you really like to do such as shopping, going to concerts, travelling, etc, really does have an affect on the way you form and define your own identity."  Not having enough time and/or money is so key regarding class identity.  Most leisure activities cost money, and some can cost a lot of money.  Also, people in lower classes tend to work more physically demanding jobs that I would argue are way more tiring.  I know when I worked two full time jobs to make ends meet sometimes I physically couldn't do anything because I was so exhausted.  Free time is such a privilege, and enjoying your free time is even more of a privilege.   

 

gillx139 wrote about African American women and how dancing is seen as a way to 'prove' legitimate group membership.  She wrote, "It's really interesting to see how we use the everyday things people do to label them or identify who they are based solely on these simple actions they carry out. In a way it's disturbing too because it shows how little we look to understand people, we assume we know them and everything there is to know about them based upon how they act."  I think that's dead on, especially regarding race in the U.S..  This country has such a twisted legacy of racism, and it still has an impact today.  This blog made me think about how racial identities are claimed and denied.  Historically, having lighter skin color allowed for more mobility and was a desirable trait.  With more racial/ethnic blending, skin color doesn't carry quite the same connotations as it once did, but other things act to allow or deny full membership into racial/ethnic categories - dance is a great example of this.

 

carli062 wrote about sports and class.  She brought up great points about the historical roots of some sports and there ties to class, and touched on cost as a possible barrier to playing sports.  Lastly, she touched on race and wrote, "There are still many sports that have a very little diversity. Fortunately there are many great athletes that have broken through these stereotypes, like Tiger Woods and Venus and Serena Williams."  I would add that while Woods and Williams have broken through some stereotypes, there is still a lot of work to be done.  For example Woods' race is often questioned, and there are claims that he's not really that 'black' because of his participation in a higher class (white) sport.  Woods may be excluded from the racial/ethnic category of black in a similar way that a black girl who can't dance might be excluded or questioned.  Furthermore, his participation in an essentially white man's sports breaks stereotypes to an extent, but could further them by making him an exception.

 

In conclusion, I will get off my soapbox now, I just really needed to bring up issues of race and class identities and leisure time because I think it's really important for a better understanding of intersectionality.

blog 12

I grew up in a family that observed Thanksgiving.  However, I stopped spending Thanksgiving with my family when I became a vegetarian.  Before that I was forced to go to three different family Thanksgivings (too many divorces).  All of the various parts of my family ate about the same thing, but only one of them were actually really good cooks.  Turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and all that 'traditional' Thanksgiving fare.  In all three parts of my family, my grandparent(s) - cooked the main dishes, and other people would sometimes bring a small side dish.  I really can't recall any stories my family had about the food.

I think Thanksgiving refutes the arguments in Tisdale's essay.  Thanksgiving food is American food in my opinion.  I think that most things we eat and prepare in the U.S. have been modified enough to count as American food.  With the influence of capitalism, profits from selling food, and how much manufacturing most of the food in the U.S. goes through I think that we could consider most food here American because of other, more cultural aspects.

Blog 12

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year in my opinion. Being a college student, I am all too familiar with cup noodles to microwaveable food. It is the one time of year in which I am able to go home and feast.

I am Asian so I would like to say that my family's meal would be quite different from the traditional American family meals. We have a variety of foods that consists of pho (noodle soup that is AMAZING), egg rolls, vermicelli salads, spring rolls, to fried rice; it is what I would call the Asian influence in Thanksgiving. My mother also likes to incorporate the turkey (it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it), stuffing, cranberry, mashed potatoes, gravey, macaroni and cheese, corn, spaghetti, and pot roast. Early Thanksgiving morning (4 a.m) my mother would wake up and put the turkey in the oven, she would then go on prepare the other the more difficult meals to make. When my sisters and I awake, we are instructed to make the more simple things, like mashed potatoes, spaghetti, spring rolls, etc. It is evident here as to who does all the cooking during the holidays, the women. As for the stories associated with the food, the only thing is my mother's secret ingredients she puts into the Pho. Everything else comes from cultural practices.

Race is obviously a contributing factor in the Thanksgiving food my family prepares, women are linked to be the cooks, and as for class, I'm just thankful that my family can splurge and be have that "excessive indulgence" (41) Tisdale talks about. I would say that Tisdale's arguments of no American cuisine is true. Looking at the history of the potato is one great example of how it was never Irish, but came from the America's originally, corn came from the natives, and chocolate from South America. "A thousand foods slowly crossed the globe" (20). The point is that all foods are influenced one way or another by different cultures. Even with the Pho that I love so much, it was originally a Vietnamese dish, but seeing that my parents lived in Laos, they too were influenced by the dish, but my mother put her own spin to it.

Is there room for resistance? Not in my family, the meals made take time, and the women do have to constantly be watching. But that is what Thanksgiving is in my opinion. Like Tisdale said Americans want, " Big, cheap, and fast - speedy fast, extra fast, hot and now" (41), and with Thanksgiving, that is simply not possible. 

Response Comment to Anna's Comment, Blog 11

  Anna, I agree with what you have to say. I'm not saying that it is completely wrong for girls to have homey toys, it does teach them to prepare for the future. Your points about what we give boys ring true. My concern is that when looking at commercials to advertisements, we usually don't see a little girl playing with legos or monster trucks. Toys are strictly directed to gender roles, you're right about boys playing with kitchen toys and parents being uncomfortable with it. I would love to see an ad like that, a little boy playing with kitchen utensils, and dolls; while a little girl shoots toy guns and plays with G.I Joes to promote the products, but it is simply not promoted in media. 

It's not wrong for boys or a girl to play with dolls or guns, what's wrong is how society portrays these roles. In one of my other classes Skin, Sex, and Genes, we read an article by Lisa Duggan called The Trials of Alice Mitchell; Sensationalism, Sexology, and the Lesbian Subject in Turn of the Century America" Alice was a lesbian whom murdered her lover. "To make a case, the defense attorney constructed Alice's life as a case history and present it to expert witnesses as a basis of their opinions" (796) They concluded that "she delighted in marbles and tops, football, and preferred her brothers and sports over her sisters at a young age" (796). The defense attorney did this in order to "procure a medical opinion and a desired legal outcome" (797). This case happened in 1892. The fact that the defense attorney's labeled her as not conforming to what little girls should be doing such as "sewing, needlework and playing with her dolls" (796), she was seen as "presently insane...dangerouse to the community" (795). It just goes to show that over a 100 year period, the constructions of proper girl play and proper boy play are still evident in society today through the toys that children are presented with. 

Blog Response to Gomol003

You bring up an interesting point about the ways in which the people that we associate ourselves with play a role in shaping our identities. Whether we like it or not, who we hang out with affects the way others view us. In high school, especially, the group of people you ate lunch with defined who you were. Some schools are less "clicky" than others, but the high school I attended was extremely clicky. Very few people belonged to more than one group of friends. Everyone knew where their place was. You were either a prep, a band geek, a jock, a goth etc. You were only socially allowed to identify with one of those groups. Even the people who didn't want to identify with a single group were grouped together.

Outside of high school, we all belong to more than one group. We have family groups, church groups, recreational groups, work groups etc. Piggybacking off of what you said, depending on where we are and who we are with affects how we act and how we present ourselves. There are socially acceptable ways of behaving within certain places and around certain people. We may base our own behaviors off of what we see from others in an attempt to fit in. As we have all faced before, when two or more individuals/groups who would normally not be in the same room together show up to your party, for example, it can be difficult to know how to act because you more than likely behave differently around one group/person than you would around another.

Blog 12

I thought I'd participate in this week's blog post, since this is a topic of particular interest to me. growing up, Thanksgiving was an anomalous holiday for my family. We were religious Jews, so most holidays began at sunset and centered on going to the syngaogue. But Thanksgiving was a purely "fun" holiday; no dressing up and sitting in the synagogue for hours, no restrictions on using electricity or driving. Additionally, Thanksgiving was one of a handul of times during the year that we ate meat, and it was one of the few times that my father took charge of the cooking. While my mother shopped for and prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day, my father took over special occasion meals to make sure that they were done right. He used his family's traditional southern recipes- cornbread dressing, candied yams, pecan pie. But he rejected other traditional recipes- those including, for example, Jell-O- because they were "gauche." His Thanksgiving dinner was supposed to represent his transcendence of his small town Southern roots, his family's secular Judaism and his enlightened status as a man who cooked for his family (albeit only a few times a year).
Thanksgiving now is very different. My parents divorced, and my mother, sister and I have Thanksgiving together. They are both vegetarians, so we have Tofurkey, which is a bizarre non-meat turkey substitute for vegetarians who still feel that Thanksgiving dinner centers on the bird. Neither of them eats processed foods like Tofurkey with any regularity, yet the association of Thanksgiving with food traditions is strong enough to overcome their usual eating habits. Our Thanksgivings are usually all female; there's no football on TV and no one feels "stuck" in the kitchen while the others are having fun.
My mother enjoys Thanksgiving more now than she did when we were growing up, when my father used his Thanksgiving cooking as justification for not helping out with clean-up or cooking on less auspicious occasions. Now she enjoys having her daughters and friends coming together in her home and creating new traditions that represent this stage in her life.  For my mother, cooking Thanksgiving dinner symbolizes her independence from my father and the unequal gender roles in my childhood home. The Tofurkey is an oddly resistant symbol of her break from tradition and from daily life. But as proud as I am of my mother, I still miss the turkey.

Blog Assignment 12

This week we begin our final unit, on food. I chose to focus on food around Thanksgiving because this holiday is, for those who observe it, almost exclusively about food (albeit with a heaping dose of football on the side). Thanksgiving is also the only American observance that traditionally incorporates ingredients native to North America: turkey, potatoes, cranberries, corn (especially corn syrup), pumpkin, pecans. Yet the ways that these foods are prepared are European in origin: potatoes with gravy, pecan pie with corn syrup in the filling, jelled cranberry sauce. Even the turducken, a recently popularized dish consisting of a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, has its roots in medieval European dishes in which a large animal was filled with increasingly smaller animals.

Sallie Tisdale discusses whether there is such a thing as American cuisine. Kathleen LeBesco analyzes the gendered and classed meanings of one American food product. Both authors address ways in which Americans mythologize "our" food culture by creating meanings for foods and resisting and changing those meanings in ways that are intimately tied to gender and class identities.

For this week's blog post, reflect on the foods that you associate with Thanksgiving. If you grew up observing Thanksgiving, write about what you usually ate, who prepared it, the stories your family had about this food. If you did not grow up observing Thanksgiving, write about what impressions of Thanksgiving you have gathered from other people's stories, books, media coverage- news, television shows, advertisements. How are race, class and gender involved in Thanksgiving foods and eating practices? Does Thanksgiving confirm or refute the arguments in Tisdale's essay that there is no American cuisine? Is there "room for resistance," in Lebesco's words, in Thanksgiving observances?




comment to mccar353

I agree we do continue to reinforce gender stereotypes, but I always believe that most people do it unconsciously.  I have always loved hearing stories of when men know how to cook, and take that responsibility.  My brother-in-law is an amzaing cook, and mostly takes charge of the cleaning and cooking duties in my sister's household.  Hopefully, this is a sign of gender stereotypes changing a little bit.  It's also interesting to pay attention to what people say about when men cook and clean, it's seriously like the world has changed, world peace is here lol.

Comment to Cari's Blog #11

I Completely agree with this!!
I go to the gym regularly and I started lifting weights in March of this year. When I first started guys would look at me like I was crazy, or like I didn't know what I was doing. Women would just look like What is she doing? like it was a foreign language. Its weird how everyone expects to see guys ONLY lifting weights, as soon a women does it shes either a body builder or she's just experimenting and doesn't really know what shes doing.  Men are associate their identity with being strong and muscular, while women are always thought of being the exact opposite.

Blog 11

I agree with the idea that leisure activities are shaped by the ideologies of race, class and gender.This exists because our identities are based upon what society thinks about how we look and act. So much of identity is based on assumptions and stereotypes placed on individuals without even knowing them, a lot of times without even speaking to them. For example I'm what most people will consider a girly girl. I love to shop, spend money, get my hair done, try clothes on, paint my nails, pretty much anything girly you can think of I like to do. All these things are associated with the ideal "female "its normal for me to be this way.  It's interesting to see how when people act in ways that are considered the norm there accepted by society.  Another example that comes to mind is in the African American community and the hobby of dance.  It very important for black women to be associated with the idea that they "can dance", if you can't dance, or don't have rhythm you're not "black" enough. It's really interesting to see how we use the everyday things people do to label them or identify who they are based solely on these simple actions they carry out. In a way it's disturbing too because it shows how little we look to understand people, we assume we know them and everything there is to know about them based upon how they act.

Comment to yangx467 Blog 11

            This is a really good point about kids' leisure time. They are not just innocently playing, they are practicing for the future. I think changing what we give our kids to play with could be a huge step toward changing gender roles, and I think it's all to do with what we give the boys. Yes, girls get homey toys, they practice cooking, cleaning, and mothering. I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they get to practice building and creating, too. But I had legos toy cars and trucks, and it's generally seen as ok for a girl to like 'boys'' toys. Where people get uncomfortable is giving boys pink toys. Parents don't want their sons playing with dolls or Easy Bake Ovens because they're afraid it will make them effeminate (or even gay!). I don't have a problem giving children toy kitchens and vacuum cleaners, because they'll have to do some cooking and vacuuming in their lives, why not practice? But let's give them to boys and girls, so that when they grow up they'll all feel responsible for those homey tasks.

Blog 11

Leisure activities are so important to us in constructing identities for ourselves as well as others. One of the first questions we ask people when we meet them is "what do you like to do in your spare time?" I personally hate that question because I feel like I should have a really interesting answer, like "oh, you know, I rock climb and sky dive, and when I'm not doing that, I'm saving the children of the world." In actuality, I sit at home and watch television or browse the internet for fun. But if I told you that I like to lay around at home, you would probably judge me as being lazy and/or boring.

In regards to housework, I can say that I do not enjoy cleaning. However, I do enjoy a clean home. The problem is that I live with two men who could care less about the cleanliness of our apartment. If I want our living space to be clean, I must clean it myself. I could ask them to help, but it just seems easier to do it myself. It's really a lose-lose situation for me. I have two options: either I beg/bribe the boys to help me (which is a lot of work), or I take care of everything myself (also a lot of work). They seem to think that I do, in fact, enjoy housework, but I think they're confusing my enjoyment of a clean home with enjoyment of the cleaning process. And as much as they claim to not care about cleanliness, I think they would care if they never had clean clothes to wear or dishes to use. There are two common excuses as to why they shouldn't clean and I should: because I'm "better at it" or I "like to do it."

When it comes to leisure time, it is no problem for my boyfriend to come home from work and "relax" because he had such a long day, but when I come home, after what I would argue to be just as long of a day, I don't get to relax until dinner is made, the dishes are done, the laundry is folded, the cat is fed etc. Even my roommate comes home and asks the question, "what are we having for dinner?" As if it is my job to provide for our little family.

Blog Entry: Identity and Shopping

I can definitely see how shopping plays a role in constructing and maintaining identity, especially for women. I'm a strategic communications student, and many of my classes have had a large focus on defining target audiences and publics. One of the most interesting things we discuss is that a significant majority of consumers are women, and men tend do "shop" while men "buy". While this doesn't really come as a surprise when you consider stores like Target or Walmart, it is kind of a shock to learn that about 65% of automobile customers are women, a trade that for whatever reason targets almost exclusively men. I found this trade article about auto dealers marketing to female customers here: http://www.asashop.org/autoinc/july2009/mech.htm (My favorite part is when they advise against the use of "big words" when dealing with women).

 

What we buy defines who we are. We are very much part of a consumer and material-driven society, and the things we buy for our homes and our bodies supposedly tell a lot about our class, gender, and sometimes race. Different groups and cultures have different norms for the ways in which they express themselves materially, and where they go to get those material goods.

 

For many women, though, shopping is also a psychologically rewarding experience. According to research on how the different sexes show differently (found here: http://tinyurl.com/y9tr5w5), "Women tend to be more invested in the shopping experience on many dimensions." From a young age, women are taught that shopping is therapeutic, and a new pair of shoes or shade of lipstick will lead to a better "you". This psychological dimension manifests itself in different ways though, where it doesn't necessarilt make the shopper happy; compulsive shopping is a consequence of women feeling that shopping can define them and make them happier.

 

An overwhelming majority of compulsive shoppers are women, just as a majority of alcoholics are men. I think that there are a lot of women who want to badly to construct and maintain a perfect identity through how the look, and therefore what they purchase, that the spending beings to control them instead of the other way around.

Comment to mohab002

What a great example to use the Roller Derby as an example of breaking the gender stereotype! I can't tell you how many times I have heard my guy friends make rude and obnoxious comments about the girls that participate in roller derby, saying that they are all probably lesbians or "man haters." It's almost like they feel that women acting agressive is a direct threat to their own masculinity!! One of my guy friends actually said once that he hates women who try to act strong, stating that the sport has to be rigged so that the women don't actually have to be agressive or strong at all! I could not believe this! I personally know a girl who participates in roller derby and when she isn't skating, she works at a beauty parlor and spends more time than me on her personal appearance!

Blog #11

Maintaining gender identities to me are directly related to one's leisurely activities.  We all know the way it's "supposed" to be: girls go shopping and boys play sports.  These ideas of what men and women do with their spare time are directly related to how society views them.  Look at the examples of girls who want to play football for instance. They are considered gender breakthroughs because they want to focus on a field that is traditionally dominated by men.  Why is it such a big deal if women want to play a sport that involves hard-hitting contact between players? Female athletes often get stereotyped as "tough girls" that care more about sports than makeup and dresses, yet this generalization is in often cases not even true. This stereotype gets applied to women who work on cars, watch sports on TV, and who have any other interest other than the traditional womanly interests.

Men who dabble in traditional "girl stuff" such as shopping, cooking, gossip, etc., are often labeled as too "sensitive" and sadly are assumed to be gay.  I have an ex boyfriend whose favorite pastime was knitting. Needless to say both him and I got teased endlessly about this abnormality in our relationship. Society has even coined a term for men who enjoy shopping and who take a heightened interest in their outward appearance, hence, the "metrosexual". Fathers get concerned if their sons don't like sports and become obsessed with making their sons more "manly."

The interesting similarity between men and women who participate in past-times that fall outside of the traditional interests of their gender, is that in most cases, their sexuality is questioned. Needless to say this is an assumption that is ridiculous and founded on the firm beliefs in traditional stereotypes and gender roles.  Past time preferences have no bearing on determining someone's sexuality, nor should it matter anyway. 

Blog 11

Since coming to the U, I have had two fairly separate (but equal) friend groups. I have my friends from the university, and then I have my friends from my job. I work as a server in an Irish Pub downtown, and the lifestyles of these two separate groups vary in interesting ways. My closest friends at the university generally have weekends off, so shopping, cooking 'family' meals, and going out to Dinkytown bars seem to encompass leisure activities. However, my coworkers at the Local generally spend their free time at bars downtown or in uptown, not necessarily to get drunk, but to spend quality time and conversation with their friends.

Leisure time for college students seems to be monumentally important, and if it requires skipping a class to catch up on sleep or going out on a school night with your friends instead of finishing your paper, so be it. However, the service industry of Minneapolis is a tight knit community, and it seems that career servers operate on a totally different wavelength. When your night starts at 1:00am, if you're lucky enough to get off before bar close at all, there are specific bars downtown that are appropriate to go to, where you'll see other servers, and talk about your night. Their (our) identities quickly get wrapped up in our jobs, much in the same way it does for business professionals. 

Who you choose to spend time with in your leisure time also tends to define and reinforce your identity. It's strange hanging out with my college friends, who aren't completely owned by a job yet (for the most part), and conversation revolves around relationships and classes. My friends from work, however, for all of our trying, usually wind up talking about work, and that reinforces the friendships that the service industry seems to create. Ultimately I have found that leisure time influences my identity based on who, and what community, I choose to spend that time with. Whether it be post-shift cocktails and sharing jokes that we've told to, or been told by customers, or spending a (rare) afternoon lounging on the couch having a TV on DVD marathon with my friends.

Blog 11

 

When thinking about my leisure activities and how they play an important role in construction and maintaining identity I find it quite different from high school, then now being a student in college. In High School I was on the Girls Hockey Team. At my high school the girl's hockey team had a great reputation always winning our conference and making numerous trips to the State Hockey Tournament at the Excel Energy Center.  Not only was I involved in this sport it was something I did in my past time. We would play pick up games at our door rinks, go to open skate, or even play street hockey. I believe that this leisure activity shaped and maintained my identity. Many people at my school and even individuals in our community knew my teammates and I as the hockey players. We were expected to succeed every year because that was our reputation and stereotype people saw us as. Younger girls looked up to us and it was important to set good examples. My identity was shaped not only as a student athlete but one who stayed out of trouble and kept up on grades. 

         Now in college I do not have time for any leisure activities. I would love to be involved in intramurals or try to stay involved with hockey one way or another but I feel with the pressure of school and work I do not have any spare time. This makes me stressed out and sometimes unhappy because forget to take time and do the things I once enjoyed but rather I am tied down with loads of homework.

         I think that that over all the ideologies of identity is shaped by activities that one takes part in. Identity is not just formed by your gender, race, or class status alone but your involvement and more importantly your leisure activities. 

Week 11 Blog-Identities

I definitely see the relationships between leisure activities and in constructing and maintaining identities. I feel strongly about this because for some reason, the hobbies that I enjoy and incorporate into my daily life are typical, stereotypical characteristics pertaining to the "Female" identity. I love to paint my nails, cook and clean in the kitchen, maintain various other "household duties" that my seemingly apathetic roommates don't care to do. Basically, I'd make a GREAT Female Spouse in the Nuclear Family Unit. But I'm not. I am very feminine, but I also enjoy things that are associated with masculinity. For example, in the future I want to be the breadwinner in my family, not just "second" to my husband's salary or income. I hang around lots of guys because I seem to get along with them very well. Of course I enjoy my girl friends, but a lot of the things that I'm interested in right now is shared with my guy friends. Who knows if that's a good or bad thing!

 The point I'm trying to make is that even though I enjoy these things, I have never really viewed them as "feminine" or "masculine." As a person, aren't you supposed to clean up after yourself and not expect any one else to do it? Just because I like to wear purple and pink nail polish does that mean I don't know anything about baseball?

 Unfortunately, albeit changing perspectives and views about gender roles in society, the stereotypes of the "Female" identity continue to oppress women. Although times have changed, for example, it is WAY more common than not for a woman to be the stay at home parent while her husband works. It seems like once a woman enters marriage, or some sort of committed relationship, there is an assumption that the husband is the ultimate protector and provider. Once they start having children, this relationship between man and wife strengthens, because now he is providing, protecting AND fathering, and she is expected to mother and watch over the children. (This one of society's assumed female identities: Stay at Home Mom).

I would like to think that our generation is starting to defy these identities placed on us by society. Does that mean that I fall into these "Female" stereotypes? Maybe. But that is never the case for everyone, and no one should assume all working women and men or mothers and fathers have the same story. Everyone is individual and defies the stereotypes placed on them by society every day.

Although I am planning on continuing my education and working, I'm excited to start a family someday. Except this time, mommy will wear the pants.  

Blog 11

For this post I immediately thought of my friend, Hannah. Hannah underwent somewhat of an identity crisis in our first two years of college, and her leisure activities reflected that. In the middle of our first year, Hannah became Taylor and we addressed her as he. He immediately cut of his hair. It was in dreadlocks before that, a hairstyle just as acceptable for a man as a woman, but short hair was more definitely masculine. Taylor's leisure activities didn't change much, except that we watched a lot of transgendered television. The things we did for fun were pretty gender neutral to begin with, like listening to music, going out to eat, and watching movies. It was when Taylor went back to Hannah that I saw a change. When she decided that she could live with being a woman, Hannah went feminine. She got her ears pierced for the first time. And she wanted to go shopping all the time. Suddenly shopping became a leisure activity for us. She bought skirts, accessories, makeup and perfumes. She got me addicted to Sephora. Dressing up and wearing makeup became part of her identity. She grew out her hair. The point is that while trying to define her identity, she shifted her leisure activities, and her consumer activities in particular.

Comment to mart1927

I agree with you about "gender stereotypes will always exist" because I do see that similarity with my family and my boyfriend. I always cook for my family because I am the daughter and that is what a daughter does around the house is to cook and clean. I grew up knowing that this was my duty, but at the same time my dad also helps cook when I am busy or have homework. It is true that yes women are born to be in this gender role, but who says that men can't help. I mean my boyfriend also helps me cook because he knows that I have been cooking ever since I was 14 and need someone to help. It only happens at time that he would cook for me, but it makes me feel better. Other people tell me that it is not right for him to cook because it is my duty or my role and it doesn't have to always be that way. Even though men are starting to help cook, there is still a stereotype that women are the ones to do it. Men will still assume that women are suppose to cook 80-90% of the time. There is nothing wrong with this, but I'm just thinking what if men do want to cook and see it as their leisure activities, would society see it as fit for the gender norm? 

Week 11 Blog

Growing up I never imagined that my activities, including playing with Barbie's, and playing dress up, shopping, and putting on makeup form an identity for myself, but most importantly maintain a reinforced gender stereotype.  This thought doesn't pop into your head on a daily basis.  The other day I decided I was going to cook for my boyfriend and I, but as I am making the meal (which was fried chicken and mashed potatoes!) it dawned on me that this activity has been a gender stereotype forever.  For me it feels like cooking is a leisure activity, because I am only providing for myself.  I have no dependents like children to feed.  For example my mother and grandmother were seeing cooking as work because they are providing for their dependents.  I love to cook, but I also realize that some men have this ideology that cooking and cleaning is a woman's duty.  I never asked my boyfriend that question when I cooked for him, to tell you the truth I never wanted to know the answer.  I truly believe these stereotypes will be maintained because as long as there are gender identities, gender stereotypes will always exist.

bloh 11

I think that having leisure time and activities play a vital role in creating and maintaining one's identity and also keeping people healthy.  I know for me leisure activities take me away from the stress of the day and remove me from what may otherwise be a hectic day.  Recently i've taken up quilting with my mother and find it is something that I can really get lost in for hours at a time, I also find it to be a great way for me to be able to spend more time with my mother.  I think that getting to be able to do a leisure activity such as this with my mother really serves to keep our relationship strong and gives us both pride in being able to create something beautiful as our end product.  Quilting is stereotypically a woman's leisure activity and I would say it probably reinforces some form of gender identity within my mother and me that we're not aware of.  However, another leisure activity of mine is cooking and I've learned all my cooking skill from my father who was always the cook in our family.  He absolutely loves to cook and for men in his generation doing all the families cooking and in particular doing it as a hobby was definitely not a gender stereotype.  I know for my dad coming home after work and being able to cook was a great way for him to relax and find some peace in his day.  I'm glad I have picked up on a leisure activity from each of my parents and have found something different in each of these, and i think both of them play an important role in not only my identity, but my parents' as well.

Blog Assignment Week 11

I think that leisure activities, or lack of time to participate in the leisure activities that you like to do plays a very large role in constructing and maintaining.  I work full time and go to school full time as well as maintain a part time job so I can afford school in the fist place, so when I do have free time, the activities I fill that time with are extremely important because I don't want to feel as though it was time wasted.  Most of the activities I do are fairly gender neutral, with the exception of special occasions where getting done up is appropriate.

 

One leisure activity that I personally enjoy is spending time with my friends and family.  Though people rarely see hanging out with friends as not being a leisure activity, people often see spending time with family as a burden rather than as a leisure activity.  The way I see it is that I am my friends, my family, and my experiences, so regardless of what activities we actually do, it is the people you do them with that help form your identity, not just the leisure activity itself.  I also go to see the midnight showings of movies every week.  Me, my boyfriend, and a small group of our friends have been doing our midnight movie ritual for almost 3 years and it at this point in the game, has so much more to do with the group of people we go with, rather than the actual movies themselves. 

 

All in all, I think that not having as much time or money to participate in leisure activities that you really like to do such as shopping, going to concerts, travelling, etc, really does have an affect on the way you form and define your own identity. 

Activities that Create Identities- Blog 11

Using Butler's ideology of performativity with gender, as Peiss does, the activities of shopping, dressing, wearing make-up, cleaning, and cooking, are all gendered in our society. They also create identities for us, as seen in the article by Lee with how African-Americans were treated in some White neighborhoods, regardless of class, or how young people were treated based upon their age. Cleaning may not necessarily be considered a leisure activity, but I know from time to time I prefer cleaning to homework, and it feels good seeing the noticeable difference of a clean room or house. When I think of leisure activities that I enjoy, I typically think of reading and watching movies, which typically are not gendered, but also are activities that I rarely have time for. In fact, as soon as winter break or summer break starts, I spend the first few days reading as many books as possible, which is very relaxing and a nice break from reality. Not having enough leisure time is stressful, but with school, rugby, my responsibilities as an officer, among other school activities I participate in and other responsibilities that I have, I have little time for leisure.

 

Some of the activities I listed are every day activities that you cannot get around, such as getting dressed every day (or staying in pajamas) and ones appearance is always a performance that creates an identity. The identities created by various activities and by leisure activities may not be the stereotypical identities of a person's race, class, gender, sexuality, etc., but they are identities nonetheless. Certain leisure activities are gendered in our society, such as watching football and playing video games (often seen as masculine) and going out dancing or watching romantic comedies (often marked as feminine). Thankfully, most people break these binaries in our society and complicate the notions of gender as an identity, along with many other identities.

Blog Post #11

When thinking about leisure activities and how they can lend and contribute to the formation of identities in specific to gender, I actually thought of gardening. Gardening is something that I find particularly interesting in regards to gender. In certain aspects, gardening is something that men and women do. While not specifically a masculine or feminine activity, it's acceptable to a degree to be a man or a woman and garden. I'm assuming here, but I expect it has something to do with home upkeep and that extending to the garden, as both a masculine and feminine responsibility.

Gardening as an acceptable thing for men (in America at any rate) to do, without casting aspersions on their masculinity, gets called something else. Gardening for men is called 'yard work" or something similar. It involves mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, planting trees, etc. These things are practical (to a certain extent) and therefore completely socially acceptable in regards to normative gender roles. While some men definitely do it for fun and leisure, it's not strictly associated with a leisure activity in regards to men.

Gardening, when placed in relation to women, becomes more about the beautification of the yard. Because the aesthetics of the garden aren't deemed strictly practical, 'women's' gardening is classified as a leisure activity. This plays into the normative gender roles of the men being the practical, the rock, and the women being the superfluous, the support. This is not to say that gardening that gets called yard work isn't also a leisure activity, it is, but as it deals with home upkeep (the literal upkeep of shelter) it gets classified as masculine. I find this interesting because it's not as if men don't garden to beautify their yard, but when they do it it is deemed necessary. The socially acceptable forms of caring for your yard are gendered in its tasks, they have male and female roles.

Another interesting thing about gardening is that if women take on 'male' gardening tasks, or men take on 'female' gardening tasks, their is little social backlash. If women mow the lawn or men plant flowers, it's not considered a big deal. This would suggest that the gendered roles in yard work aren't heavily enforced, if men and women can transverse them without significant recriminations. This begs the question of why these gender roles within gardening even exist, if the necessity of these roles are critical in gender construction. I think it's more subtle than that, it's the sly suggestion that appealing to both genders will increase revenue in gardening supplies and related tools. Why that means that gardening should be gender segregated I'm not sure, but maybe some of the interplay between the two aspects are the cause of the acceptability in transgressing those select roles. Regardless, gardening remains something that does have socially appointed, gendered identity associations to it, though not as strictly adhered to as some other things, for whatever reason.

Something else to note is that gardening is pretty consistently associated with leisure and free time, but it's also something that has been deemed a necessity. As such there are jobs created for it, so gardening is something both leisure and function, something people who have free time do and something that people make their livelihoods in. This has interesting connotations in regards to leisure activities as profitable enterprises, but those that garden for profit aren't typically associated with higher classes. 

Week 11

It is very true that leisure activities play a significant role in shaping and maintaining identity. People choose their way of "leisure" because they have different view and opinion toward it. Also, the leisure activities that a person prefers can gradually become part of his/her life that influent who the person is. Leisure can be something really materialistic or something that is so spiritual. What I mean is that even a short relaxing time is a leisure activity to a busy working person. And some people see it in a materialistic way that they think leisure is something that is luxury and not easy to get to enjoy.

 

My mom is a busy woman, she works and also needs to take care of the family too. I know she is so tired, but she still enjoys cooking for us after busy work. She is a great cook, she sees cooking as her leisure activity that can bring the family happiness. Although cooking is not an expensive way to show what a leisure activity is, but this give her a spiritual fulfillment and happiness. I think part of the reason that she enjoying cooking for us is because she think this is her responsibility to take care of the family. This unconditional love that mom gives us is incomparable and this maintain who they are and their identity in the society.

 

Personally, I love travelling and I do consider it as a leisure activity of mine. This is the reason why I choose to study aboard and go everywhere in the states during vacations. There is so much fun when we go somewhere we don't know and look at different culture. Although sometimes it is expensive to travel around, I treasure every experience to look at new things and discover new spot with friends. Now, I enjoy going to new place alone and meet new people and learn new things.

 

Also, sometimes we may stereotype that guys' leisure activities would be play sports, and going to gym, and girls' leisure activities would be shopping and dressing up. It is so true that these different leisure activities shape gander difference as two gender are going two extreme way. However, some girls go to gym too, they are consider to be healthy and leading a good life and guys do go shopping with their girl friend to show their tenderness.

Blog 11

What initially came to my mind when thinking about leisure activities and how they play a role in maintaining gender stereotypes, racial hierarchies, and class distinctions, was sports. Many sports are known to be sports that originated in wealthy areas and were played by wealthy people. An example of this is Tennis. Tennis originated in Europe and was played by Monks for entertainment purposes. The game soon became popular in France and was quickly adopted by the royal family. Some other sports that have historically been played by wealthy people include polo, golf, lacrosse, and hockey. The historical backgrounds of these sports still have an impact on who plays these sports today. You don't often don't see much racial diversity displayed in these sports, the athletes that participate in these sports are typically of Scandinavian decent.

Another issue that impacts who participates in certain sports is the cost. I know hockey is one of the most expensive sports to play, which limits participation in this sport to wealthy upper class people who can afford to play. This is also true of golf; golf can be expensive due to the price of equipment along with the cost of playing on nice courses.

An example of gender stereotypes in sports is prevalent in lacrosse, and is something I'm familiar with since I play. There are a lot of differences between men and women lacrosse. For one, men wear a lot more equipment, such as helmets and shoulder pads and are able to have different size sticks, where as women equipment consists of mouth guards and goggles and a standard stick. The rules are also different, men are allowed to check one another, and women are not. A lot of people consider women's lacrosse to be boring because it's not a contact sport like men's lacrosse. This is something that is really aggravating for me.

So in my opinion sports is a good example that encompasses all three aspects of race, class, and gender. There are still many sports that have a very little diversity. Fortunately there are many great athletes that have broken through these stereotypes, like Tiger Woods and Venus and Serena Williams.

Blog #11 & response to Mohab002's entry

Speaking of the Minnesota RollerGirls and roller derby I want to share a link to the North Star Roller Girls 2009-2010 season schedule.  It's www.northstarrollergirls.com.  I have become acquainted with 2 girls here on campus who gave me this website information.  I went to the first show, which was my first roller derby event.  What a fun night!  These girls are so much fun to watch and they have taken a leisure activity, which I might add is not a "soft" activity and challenged my thoughts on gender performativity.  They can really get hurt doing this!  Personally, I could not, would not do this.  Too scared of the pain I might encounter. 
Anyway, thought I would share that....check it out. It's worth it!

About the topic of leisure activities and the role they play in identity formation and maintence of identity, my most favorite activity is sewing.  I have been sewing since I was 15 years old, which adds up to just over 20 years now.  Sewing for me is my way of being creative, de-stressing(family members might argue this at times)and keeping in touch with myself. I do prefer to sew alone as it is also my personal time in which I do alot of inner reflecting of my past, present and future thoughts/goals. 

It is a very personal and sentimental activity for me as my grandmother who is going to be 82 this year is the one who was generous enough to teach me this activity that she also loved to do with me.  I have been able to teach both my older daughers to sew, which has been an invaluable lifeskill for each of them to have and a huge financial money saver for myself.  It provides me a way of being able to share myself with others and give to others as I make many gifts myself and have donated my time and many items to fundraising benefits which has raised money for people/persons in need(usually medical).   Shopping at thrift stores is also something I like to do. It's always fun to see what is out there and I do alot of thrift-store browsing too(when I don't spend any $$$). 

Other than sewing, I scrapbook once a month with my sisters, cousin and some friends.  This is "my time with the girl's" as I call it.  We all are putting out photographs in our scrapbooks which, is also a creative activity and sharing our lives with each other. 

I am a person who does not care much for a life that is what I define as "crazy busy".   Being that I am now back in school, working part-time and a mom of 4, that's is what my life has more often than not, become.  While I am very happy to be back in school, I cannot wait to be done.  I really love to sleep in as long as my younger two children will allow me to on the weekends, which is until about 8:30am at the latest. I take advantage of Saturday morning cartoons as a way to be able to do almost nothing for an hour or so and get some snuggle time in with my younger ones.  We do lots of craft projects at home too. I have always been a reader, dancer(love music, loud music)and just being around people in general as I am always fascinated by other peoples lives and their own stories. I love movies, especially with captions and with lots of popcorn. 

If I start to feel like I've just got too much going on, I get really bitchy and actually feel like I've lost myself in all the chaos. This is when I close myself up in my sewing room to reclaim myself.  I am not a fan of cooking.  Baking is alright. Better if chocolate or caramel is involved.   I cook because my family needs to eat, but I do not do the majority of the cooking.  Thier father does and actually is a much better cook than I am, which is fine with me.  I refuse to diet and use chasing my kids around as my source of daily exercise.  Being that I was raised by a single father, I learned years ago how to change oil, brakes and some other basic car maintence needs. I will do this myself in warm weather but will gladly pay when it gets cold, like now. 

Comment for ches0087

I agree with you about not going out with friends and dressing in fashion because I use to have time to have fun with my friends and buying a lot of clothes. Since college has been very stressful, I don't have time to be fashionable anymore. Sometime I do dress fashionable whenever I feel like wanting to or when I have the time to do so. And yes, I buy my clothes from the thrift store and people assume that I'm rich just because I hear cute clothes and different variety of clothing everyday when I go to school. The type of clothing does identify who you are from the theme clothing that you mentioned like Abercrombie and Fitch brand clothing, emo clothing, and such forth.

Blog Assignment 11

In thinking about my leisure activities I would say that mine are pretty gender neutral and yet they tie closely with the other women in my life.  The best part is that they're inexpensive. Running or biking I've done since high school.  It's a way for me to decompress and handle stress.  I also love how good I feel (usually) after I've gone for a run.  It's the pleasure of being outside in most cases and taking in the weather, what ever it's doing.  Because of my running I've developed closer connections with my girlfriends.  For a while now a variety of us, and our group have changed over the years, have sought out different fun runs, half and full marathons to train for and run with each other.  It's been a source of strength and solidarity.  We've each gone through a lot in our personal lives and yet getting together to run, to have that bond with each other and to share the ups and downs has been wonderful.  I couldn't do without it.  Gardening on the other hand is a solitary activity yet it is a great way to get to know your neighbors.  I have a greater appreciation for what it means to say, "heard it through the grape vine". I had a grape vine growing on the fence between my neighbor Claire and I. For years we would take the time on several occasions to stop our gardening or what ever it was that we were doing and chat across the fence over the grape vine.  I developed a greater friendship with other women in my neighborhood because of our gardening.  Sharing stories, techniques, and exchanging plants.  Not that gardening is traditionally a women's hobby, it just so happened that the only gardeners I knew in my immediate vicinity were women.

On the other hand I was just thinking about how I wanted to treat myself after the end of the semester and the idea of a spa day sounds more and more appealing.  My idea of the perfect spa day would be to get my haircut, followed by a massage and a hot bubbly soak in the tub.  The next day or maybe the day before I would get a pedicure.  I don't do these things, especially the massage often enough and I suppose these are very gendered leisure activities that I don't do very often because quite honestly of the expense involved.  I suppose there could be an argument made that stereotypical female activities cost more (like cosmetics) then men's pastimes (except male sporting events).  Women, who generally speaking have less disposable income then men, tend to spend more on these luxury items like pedicures, haircuts and massages.

There's a disparity in who female vs. male activities are valued. Women's sporting events for example are cheaper because (generally speaking) are less advertised and less attended.  On the other hand women's clothes which are made cheaper and don't hold up as well as men's cost more in the long run.  So much of how women are perceived out in public affect how we perceive our identities and ourselves.  One of the big questions that keeps coming up in my mind is how much of what I do is truly for my own pleasure and how much is for the likes of others.  As I get older I would like to think that I do what makes me happy, like that pedicure!

Blog #11: Leisure

After leaving class on Tuesday I started thinking about gender performativity and the ways that leisure activities not only reinforce but also how they allow us to break down gender performance. I think the women who participate in the roller derbies, such as the Minnesota RollerGirls, provide a good example of using leisure and performance to abate gendered norms and expectations. The RollerGirls, an all-women's roller derby league in the Twin Cities, consists of four teams. These teams compete against each other and with other all-female teams across the country. Roller Derby is an aggressive and violent sport, which is in direct opposition to the kinds of behaviors society deems as "feminine." Many of the women involved in this sport are attracted to it for that very reason, and most of these women live otherwise quiet, and sometimes even professional lives. Another performative tactic used by the women in roller derby is to take on derby names, many of which reflect the violent nature of the sport, such as "Barbie Brawl", "Candi Pain", and "Phyllis Driller". Although men do participate in roller derbies, it is most often played by women and the most popular roller derby leagues are the women's leagues. Aside from being a popular women's sport,  roller derby is one of the few sports (perhaps the only?) that is completely operated by women; every member of the Board of Directors of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) are women, and most of the leagues across the country were started by women.

blog 11

I think that leisure activities play quite an important role and constructing and maintaining identity, primarily because they tend to have a great impact on creating the paths of one's future. 

 

For example, there are two female bartenders at my place of work.  Both girls hope to become stylists via the Aveda Training Center. One girl is currently in the program, and one will begin in December. 

 

The girl who is currently enrolled constantly complains about her days in the program.  She complains about having to get ready early in the morning and about her assignments which include testing and trying beauty products and tools. 

 

The other girl cannot wait to start and is counting the days down until December when she finally can.  In spite of the restrictions of our workplace uniform, she always manages to look fashionable through her hairstyle, makeup, and accessories.  She and I discussed how the other girl could possibly choose this profession if she was constantly complaining about what should be "fun parts" of the job.  As the "fashionable" girl said, "If you want to be a stylist, appearance should be your passion."

 

I just find it interesting because the latter girl generally enjoys fashion/appearance/etc. as a leisure activity, she will probably have a much better career as a stylist because the activities involved are something she generally enjoys.  The first girl on the other hand only sees the activities as work, and thus, loathes them, and only thinks of them as a way to pay the bills in the future.  While I have not personally seen her talent, I can't help but think of how this will affect her future clients, as style and appearance are a huge aspect of identity for many women.  If this aspect of appearance is so important, should it be left to people who aren't as passionate about it as others? 

 

I guess it is just interesting to consider the effects that an individual's leisure activities and hobbies can potentially have on others.

Blog 11

Leisure activities do play an important role in constructing and maintaining identity. For example, ever since I started college, I don't have the time to be involved in my church youth group. Work has also made me to be absent from church services and involvement as well. If I was able to balance school, work, and church altogether, then I would have time to get involve in my church. Whenever I do have the time over the weekend, I attend church and get involve. It shows me as a person who take school as an important aspect of my life, yet still keep my religion tradition at the same time. Another thing would be to stay at home while going to school at the same time. Since I commute, I also have to balance house chores and responsibility such as cooking, cleaning, and looking after younger siblings, and much more. However, doing chores at home causes me to not have time to get my homework done and having enough time to study. I can balance all of the responsibility of being a student and staying at home at the same time, but I need enough time to focus on things that I like to do. Being able to stay at home taking responsibility and being a student at the same time let people know that I am a person who is able to do two or three things at the same time and managing my time.


I enjoy surfing the net, which can be addicting to do if I have assignment due the next day. I do balance the productive and unproductive activities when I'm on the net by doing my work for 30 minutes and then have a break to surf around for 10 minutes.  I also like to cook whenever I have time but not as often. I also enjoy making music with my siblings and sing as well. My sibling and I make music and sing help benefit the church choir by getting involved and sharing our talents specifically with the younger youth who are still learning how to play an instrument and improving their singing skills.  Although I do not have time to do all the activities I want to do, the amount of time I spent on doing the same and new activities helps me develop something new about myself and helping others as well.

Blog 11 Assignment

For myself personally I have few favorite leisure activities.  I enjoy going out to eat, going to the movies, hanging out with friends, reading a good book, and traveling.  The fact that I enjoy these certain things says a lot about who I am as a person.  They dictate the type of things that I have knowledge of and the type of people that I hang out with.  Obviously I am not going to be very compatible with someone who never likes to leave his or her hometown because that would make me stir crazy.  I notice when I do not have enough time to do things that I enjoy I get very depressed and angry.  I believe that people need to take life seriously but also pause and have moments where they can just do the things that they enjoy most in life.  I think a reason why some people enjoy things like cooking and other people don't has a lot to do with how they were brought up with that specific activity.  For me personally, I don't enjoy cooking, however, I enjoy baking.  I think the reason for this is because my mother bakes all the time, but she is not a big cooker.  As a little girl I would always help her in the kitchen with cookies, cakes, and pies.  I looked forward to Christmas so much because we would make massive amounts of baked goods, and my mother always let me help and that made me feel very important.  Like I stated earlier, I love going to movies.  As a child, my family went to a movie in the neighboring town almost every single weekend.  It was something I always looked forward too, and we always had a wonderful time.  This has now carried over into my adult life, and I know one day when I have my own family I will do the same.  I believe it is the way that someone is raised with certain activities that dictates how much they will enjoy it in the future.  

Week 11 blog

I definitely think that leisure time plays a role in maintaining identity, especially when it comes to gender and sexuality.   For example, I really enjoy going to the theater and used to work in one as an usher.  Generally, the heterosexual men I would see at the theater would either be there with a girlfriend or wife, and most often they would look bored and angry for being there.  During shows I would sit in the theater and watch the audience to make sure there were no cell phones, food, etc., and I would see the men respond to the show with the same reactions as the women.  During intermission and after the show, men would still look bored even though it was clear they were having a good time.  I think that because the theater is associated with typically feminine things like costumes and dancing, some men feel uncomfortable expressing that they enjoy their time there because it is not considered masculine.

response to dahlm038

I completely agree with you about the tanning issue that you brought up. I think that it makes one look like they have a lot of money because tanning is actually really expensive if you keep up with it. My sister and I were actually talking about this the other day when we saw a really tan girl and she said "wow, she must have a lot of money in order to look that tan". You're right that it gives the impression that someone who tans has a lot of money because of how expensive it is. It makes people think that they have a lot of money, when in all reality they possibly could not. I also liked what you said about shopping and style. I kind of wrote about the same thing. I think that people shop or wear certain things in order to give the impression that they have money or to belong to a certain class. For example, look at all of the name brand purses that people are obsessed with. In my opinion, they are not that cool except for the big logo on them. I think that people buy these purses which scream the name "coach" on them because it is a status symbol and they want people to think that they have the money to buy such things.

Blog week 11


 

Being that it is a stressful time in the semester, I am not able to partake in the leisure activities that I once enjoyed. When I tell my friends that I can not go out with them because I am too busy, they will respond by saying "oh you don't have a life". This leads me to believe that leisure activities form a great part of one's identity. Without leisure activities, people presumably do not think that you have a life, even though you are engaged in activities such as school and work. Leisure activities shape one's identity because it shapes aspects of your life that are different from other people's.

I believe that leisure activities sustain ideologies of identity. For example, one of my leisure activities is shopping. In high school, I dressed up every day in high heels and skirts and went all out basically. I was looked at as "the most stylish person" in high school and I felt that I needed to maintain that identity by wearing the most eccentric outfits. It got tiring, and I did not feel as if that is who I really was. If I wore something normal, like a T-shirt and jeans, everyone would say something to me including the teachers because they were so surprised that I wasn't dressed up.

My clothes and fashion sense made up my identity and also gave the aura that my family was well off because of the clothes that I wore. Little did they know, my family was far from being well off and I had to pay for all the clothes myself, and mostly shopped at thrift stores. My outfits constructed who I was in other people's minds. Like when I went shopping with my friends, for example, they would pick out an outfit and say "this is totally you". Well how can an outfit be "totally me?" It is just an outfit. When I see my old friends from high school, they tell me that I have really changed just because I don't wear the same things anymore. The reason that they think I have changed is based on the fact that I simply changed my style and what I wore! I think people base identity on looks. When your looks change, they assume that your identity changes as well.

Shopping as a leisure activity sustains ideologies of identity. People shop for different outfits and styles based on the identity that styles construct. For example, if you shop at Abercrombie and Fitch you are looked at as having a lot of money and also a small size. If you dress "emo" you are looked at as someone who is dark and not in with the mainstream. I could give countless other examples of the ideologies of identity that are built into style. People think that they can change their identity through leisure activities such as shopping, by changing their style.

Blog 11

I believe that leisure activities definitely reinforce racial hierarchies, class distinctions, and especially gender stereotypes. It does construct identities and we all do it on a daily basis. As seen from the readings and discussed during Tuesdays class, make-up reinforces gender identities. From observing the classroom, most of the girls have some form of makeup on, from foundation, lip gloss, to eye makeup, it has become part of the norm.


When thinking about my leisure time, I really like to just hang out with kids (6 and under). I work full time and go to school full time, so when I volunteer at the local daycare center, the kids help me forget about the stress that I have in my life, and they usually put a smile on my face without even trying to. As a volunteer I get to take the children out to play, but on cold days they tend to stay inside. Now I like to think that kids always have leisure time, they have no responsibilities, and just stick to their instincts. "I'm hungry" "I'm thirsty" and "I have to pee".  When they play, I have noticed that the girls love to hang out around the plastic fisher price kitchen stove and refrigerators, while some will serve me tea in plastic cups. The boys on the other hand have monster trucks to play with, and building blocks like Lego's to construct.


My point is that if we look at children's toys at the local Target for example, we will see that girls have new born babies to feed, kitchen ware to play with, and Barbie dolls that can have a closet full of bright pink clothes. Boys will have buildings to build, tools to fix things, and G.I Joes with guns. Kids and their leisure time (play time) are full of gender stereotypes. Already at a young age, girls are associated with pink colors to housewife roles, while boys are associated with blue colors and heroic roles. So the next time you find yourself in a toy aisle, look at the toys and see the ideologies that are implicated.

Blog Assignment #11

I definitely agree with the readings from this week and the idea that leisure activities play an important role in constructing and maintaining identity.  For example, a leisure activity that many people do is tan.  Many people tan once or twice a week to maintain color and look freshly bronzed.  However, most statistics prove tanning is unhealthy because it greatly increases the risk of skin cancer.  So why do people tan when they know it is bad for them?  In my opinion, tanning is a tool that many use to maintain a certain look or identity.  In many cases, tanning makes people "look better" and many are willing to sacrifice their health to look more attractive.  Also, tanning costs money, so people who can regularly go tanning construct a social identity of having money and being able to spend it how they want.

Like tanning, there are other leisure activities that represent specific social identities.  Some of these activities are getting your nails done, wearing make up, and going shopping.  In every race/ethnicity there are certain activities that one can do to show their social status and maintain a certain identity.  Whether it is wearing the trendiest clothes, regularly getting manicures or pedicures, or wearing make up (hair extensions, fake eyelashes, etc.) different activities play an important role in maintaining a certain look.  Depending on one's look they are categorized into a certain class.  If you have the money to wear nice clothes, buy new make up, get your nails done, etc. than you are higher on the social hierarchy.  Leisure activities can directly relate to the type of person you are and the message you are sending to others.

An unfortunate aspect of constructing or maintaining an identity are the extremes people are willing to take to look good.  Many people, especially teenage girls, struggle with eating disorders and have substance abuse problems.  These problems definitely relate to leisure activities and the role they play in social indentities.  Oftentimes, we become obsessed with looking good or being part of a social class that we ignore what is healthy.

Blog #11

Leisure activities do play an important role in constructing and maintaining my identity. I am taking an Asian Service Learning course that involves with working with students off campus or on campus. I really like to help these students and I have taken this course for 1 year already which we can take it up to 8 credits. I have volunteered throughout my high school year until now and found that this is something I like doing. I haven't really gotten my own time to relax and the only time I get to relax is at night or around 6 Friday-Monday because I have class Tuesday-Thursday all day, work Monday and Friday, and volunteer on the weekends. I like volunteering and need to get my hours for my Service Learning class, but it takes so much of my time that I can spend to myself, which I do need so that I don't stress out too much. It is very challenging for me to keep up with what I have here, but I am surprised that I am doing well so far.

 

I haven't decided my major yet, but I might major in Youth Studies or Family Social Science because of this class and working at Henry High School as a Tutor. I feel like I haven't really gotten the time to spend with my family and boyfriend because I have been so busy and distanced from them. I don't want to have to give up time for work, school, volunteering, or family because I feel that they all play a part of constructing and maintaining my identity. I do feel like giving up on certain ones, but at the same time they are all important to me so then I will have to find a way to put all the pieces together.

Blog 11

When looking at how the people around me enjoy or consider what is and what is not leisure time is very different from my own experiences and perspective. I consider leisure time to be none-existent during the school year and I have to push myself to take time out of studying or working to make myself sit and have dinner with my family in order to center myself again. This would also include me making sure that my cell phone is off and the books are out of my hands, in order to keep my attention to whomever I'm with. Other people that I have around me, like the rest of my family, are not going to college, so they work year round; therefore, their definition and amount of leisure time that they have is totally different than mine. I know that my mom hardly gets to just have time for herself because right when she gets home from work, she starts dinner, while the rest of my family does their own thing: dad takes a nap, brother works nights, I'm doing homework.

So these differences in roles that are played within my family show how they dictate who can or will receive leisure time. I have asked my mom what she considers to be her leisure time and this is what she says: "Between the hours of 4am and 6am when everyone is asleep and I can watch TV and read the paper in silence". So, she has adjusted her schedule around ours in order to make time for herself and it begs me to wonder: Is this fair? I know the default answer that she would give me would be something along the lines of "I am a mom and this is what moms do, they take care of their family", but is this all that "moms" should do and be identified by? I give my mom a lot of credit for what she does and I just wish that I could help out more. Then I also wonder if she would still have the same impact on our family if she didn't do these types of things, but if my dad did them instead. Would she, herself, feel less of a mother or would the rest of us think that of her?

I honestly, am not sure, but what I do know is that society has dictated and put these mandates on what we perceive to be and not be rights ways in which one should play out their 'role' within the family. This influence in ideology has impacted and hindered people from thinking outside of this pre-made box and if anyone was to step outside of it, it would be considered wrong.

Week 11 Blog

I was on my way back from the Rec Center after a great workout when I realized that working out and in particular lifting weights is an activity that I truly enjoy doing. I try to work out at least five days a week and when I skip a day or two, I really miss the energy I get from working out. So, when thinking about this week's blog assignment and in particular a hobby or activity that I consider to be a leisure activity, I immediately thought about lifting weights and working out.

I was fortunate that my high school had built a great fitness center a couple of years before I graduated. Of course, the fitness center was equipped with machines and free weights designed for the football team, but that did not stop me from learning how to use the equipment. I would chuckle each time the girls volleyball or basketball players would come into the fitness center before or after practice. They were required to work on building their upper and lower body strength. Most of the girls would moan and groan when they came into the fitness center and would half-heartedly work on their strengthening exercising. I would get a lot of looks and stares as I pushed my way through my workout. What I found to be a leisure activity providing mental and physical enjoyment, the players saw it as work they did not want to endure. The stares and gawks of the scrawny freshmen boys would also make me chuckle.  I still smile when I think how the young football players would come into the fitness center and in an attempt to show -off, either to me or their fellow players, pick up a free weight that nearly brought them to their knees.  At the end of each school year during the athletic banquet, awards would be given to the boys for their weightlifting accomplishments. I would get so frustrated during this part of the banquet because, if girls were allowed to participate in the weightlifting program, I too would have been recognized for my accomplishments.

Weight lifting can be as beneficial to one's overall health as cardio exercise. Lifting weights can help women tone their bodies, build stronger bones, and boost metabolism.  As in my case, working out with weights makes me feel great.  What's unfortunate is the identity people associate with weight lifting and in particular women who lift weights. Weightlifting for years has been thought of as a man's activity. Women were not commonly seen in weight lifting facilities or fitness centers. While there has been a slow change in this thinking, there still exists a stigma associated with women who lift weights. Many women and men tend to look disapprovingly on women who lift weights, often wondering why a woman would want to pump iron to develop muscles. Some dismiss a woman weight lifting as a passing whim assuming the woman will give it up after a period of time. Some question a woman weight lifter's sexual orientation.  Some men may feel threatened by women weight lifters, especially if the women lift more weight than the men. Unfortunately, the identity associated with a female weightlifter may keep some from pursuing this activity - an activity that offers many of the same health benefits for women as it does for men.  

For me, lifting weights is not work. It's an activity I enjoy. It's an activity I miss when not able to visit the fitness center to work out. Although the beliefs of some towards women weightlifters may keep some women away from the gym, the ideology of women weight lifters does not deter my participation in this activity.

Week 11 Blog

I do believe and agree that activities of leisure play important roles in maintaining gender stereotypes, racial hierarchies, and class distinctions. Naturally, when it comes to shopping, girls look for certain things and guys look for certain things but the things we shop for are often different according to our gender. I think we do this because it is all we have ever known. And as we continue to go along with the stereotypes of what is expected of us, we continue to reinforce them.

 

Also, one thing that stood out to me and I related to was the cooking idea. The stereotype is set that women are the ones that normally stay home and do the majority of the cooking. However, I personally think cooking and baking is over rated. I've always taken little interest in learning how to cook and felt like it was too time consuming. Recently, I have been dating a guy who loves to cook and is really good at it. I have been impressed with his skills. I've also enjoyed experiencing a guy who doesn't go along with the stereotype and just assume that cooking is my job because I am the women. His willingness to cook has rubbed off on me. He has taught me a lot about cooking and a lot of recipes and I am excited to learn because I respect him and have been introduced to the rewards of being able to cook.

Week 11 Blog Assignment

NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, I could not get this week's blog assignment to post on Friday. Therefore, this week's blog assignment will be due by the beginning of class Thursday.

This week we examine aspects of life that can be categorized under "leisure": shopping and television. The readings address how ideologies of race, class and gender shape and constrain how we engage in leisure activities and the significance of these activities for maintaining as well as shifting those ideologies. Activities like shopping and wearing makeup are not, according to these readings, merely innocent pleasurable past-times; rather, they play important roles in maintaining gender stereotypes, racial hierarchies, and class distinctions.

In this week's blog post, I would like you to consider this notion that leisure activities play an important role in constructing and maintaining identity. Think about hobbies that you or people you know have, or activities like cooking that are work for some and leisure for others, or how you react when you feel you don't have enough leisure time. How are the ideologies of identity implicated in, challenged by, or sustained by these activities or their absence? As usual, you can write about yourself, other people, fictional characters.


Blog Response to Ches0087

I think you're completely right about welfare being thought of as long-term and unemployment short-term. I didn't think of it that way. We are on the same page with the unemployment concept. I wrote in my own blog that a person who is unemployed is seen differently than a person on welfare because an unemployed person was probably laid off from their job- meaning they were not necessarily doing poor work. More likely, there were issues within the company and they needed to let some people go. I like how you said we have this notion that some people are "inherently predisposed" to be on welfare. Like it doesn't matter what they do, they cannot avoid welfare and will forever be on it. You also bring up a good point about Social Security, in that it is "based on someone's work ethic and the fact that they have worked all of their life." Welfare, on the other hand, is given to those who may or may not have (had) paying jobs. Both unemployment and social security revolve around someone who worked for pay at one point and are assumed to have continued to work if they could have. I think the key here is the concept of work for pay. Many women on welfare are single and work really hard to keep the family together, which often does not include work for pay.

Comment for Blog #10

This comment is in response to hegse005.  I completely agree with the observation about why unemployment is viewed in a more favorable light than welfare. The time people spend on assistance is, in my opinion, a factor in how they are viewed in society.  If you could be on unemployment indefinitely, then I'm am almost positive the public opion would be comparable to welfare recipients. I especially found the idea that unemployment helps out "individuals on a short-term basis or ones who were previous wage earners of the middle class".  I hadn't thought of unemployment recipients as previous wage earners, and when this is taken into consideration, it makes the case against welfare more defined. 

blog 10

We distinguish welfare from other programs that provide public benefit for a wide variety of reasons.  In short, any welfare is scrutinized because these benefits usually go to poor people, who are viewed as undeserving. 

When welfare and social security began it was aimed at helping poor rural whites.  Social security provided aid for people to go to college and encouraged urban migration and industrialization.  The changing demographics of the United States has shifted public opinion of who is deserving of welfare/public aid.

I think for many Americans the historical roots of welfare and public aid have been forgotten.  Many people don't think back to what their families may have received that has helped to better their situations.

Now, more people believe the media hype that paints poor people of color as undeserving of public aid or welfare.  There is so much stigma regarding public benefits, and I think with the change to TANF, many people have a skewed vision of how much public aid/welfare is actually available and how much it really helps.  For example, welfare to work programs don't help people pay for childcare, and encourages low wage, dead end work.

In conclusion, we should be more focused on preventing poverty than trying to find quick fixes.  We need to train, educate and help people - not trap them (and their future generations) in a cycle of poverty that gets so entrenched that it's impossible to escape.

10

I think I am compassionate and what not but, I would be lying if I said I didn't judge and scrutinize where my hard earned tax money is going. I volunteer at a homeless shelter, I want to be helpful to those less fortunate but alas, I begin to notice that they are smoking, where are they getting that money? I used to smoke, I like smoking, I cant f**king afford it and I'm paying for their habit? Then I see a mom with two kids and is pregnant again, this wouldn't be a problem if they actually used the money to support their kids to support their kids. There are bad mothers and fathers out there, there are people who will have a child for money and leave the child shoeless. Yes, welfare queens. These people taking advantage of the system are not charectterrized by being in an unfortunate position and needing assistance from the government, NO; these are just shit people who are ruining it for the legitimate destitute. There are always a few bad apples wherever you go. My anger is steered at the probably 1% of people on welfare who have terribly misused the system to their greedy advantage. I know I'm not the only one feels that way. I'm fairly certain that that's exactly how the government wants us to think in this elitist society. If welfare doesn't affect someone personally and all they see is the 3 worst case welfare recipient scenarios on the news that year then It's easy to be mad, close the book on the subject and not investigate any further, why would you? Unless, that's your money. Looking superficially at welfare, especially welfare according to the media we can make a quick decision to vote for cutting assistance programs and tell ourselves that those 3 cases accurately represent the whole. Within moments the average layman feels informed enough to make a judgment on worthiness about people they don't know and situations they most likely have had no experience with.
The real people who suffer from these public illusions on worthiness are predominately mothers and children of the American minority. These honest people are already in desperate conditions and to add insult, they are unfairly being labeled as that shit 1% of bad apples. Reform was and is the answer to the 1% but the other 99% have to suffer the same consequences. When Welfare Reform was approved we essentially approved to force disadvantaged single mothers into fulltime labor that nobody else will take for barley livable wages in a structure set up to keep the poor in their place, still poor. The conditions of receiving assistance are not set up to be helpful to anyone but hotel owners who can treat their welfare employees like shit because if they quit or are fired they are essentially booted out of am=any possible assistance. I don't see spending time with their children; education, daycare and becoming informed on issues directly related to them anywhere on the governments agenda. I do see however on the agenda an attempt to
cover their asses in front of voting citizens by allotting a small pathetic amount of money into interests that the informed community deems "important" at the time and, endeavors that will only succeed in making the rich, richer.

Welfare vs. Public Benefits- Blog 10

            I think part of the reason why we distinguish welfare from other programs that provide public benefit is because of the stigmatism attached to welfare. Abelda and Tilly made a good point when they said that "non-AFDC families themselves are becoming more desperate, and resent the limited assistance that welfare provides to the worst-off" (81). This resentment leads to animosity towards those considered to be the "worst-off." Welfare "reform" has been continuing throughout the 1990s up to today, as the AFDC is now restricted to TANF, or Temporary Aid for Needy Families, to stress that it is temporary. TANF also gives states more control over how they restrict giving out welfare money and what needs to be accomplished before they will provide anyone with welfare. These restrictions are not helpful to the families and single mothers that are struggling to survive.

            One service offered as a welfare service in Minnesota is food stamps. It is specifically allocated to be used only for food by the recipient; many families above the poverty line have fewer problems with obtaining food and more problems with paying other bills, so food stamps do not apply to them. Another service that would not be considered welfare would be universal health care. Abelda and Tilly mention the importance of universal health care and higher earned income tax credits to help remove the necessity for welfare. With the option of universal health care, enormous chunks of paychecks will not be allocated towards health expenses for the impoverished families.

            Another problem that goes along with welfare and the necessity for single moms to work is the inability for women to find or maintain jobs, discussed in some of the earlier articles we read. The article by Williams discusses the difficulty of obtaining a job as a woman in both white-collar and blue-collar work. Stereotypes are made about women, such as women are unable to maintain jobs due to the fact that they can become pregnant and have children. These stereotypes take away from the actual skills and work ethic of women, minimalizing their opportunities and pay rates compared to men. It is frustrating that, given these circumstances, many women and so-called feminists are unwilling to help the single mothers on welfare, as discussed by Mink. Instead of being able to support the single moms with their lives working in and outside if the home, many of the "feminists" in the U.S. House support the Personal Responsibility Act. It comes down to being able to "improve women's position in the labor market" through the measures discussed by both Mink and Abelda and Tilly.

blog 10

After reading the articles about welfare that were assigned this week I could see a difference of how people viewed welfare and other public assistance programs. Society's perceptions on people who receive welfare are usually lower class females, white or colored individuals. "Over 95% of adult welfare recipients are women" (301). Many people see individuals who take welfare are lazy and just don't want to work, therefore living off this money. Welfare is designed to help recipients who are suffering economically, most recipients' fall into the category of being of minority, lower class females, usually a single parent trying to support their children. I agree with Dujon, Abelda, and Tilly because I believe there are flaws in the welfare system. One concern is that welfare is used to help people look for jobs and to seek a better a better life.  We need better government regulation to ensure that people on welfare need it and are the ones actually receiving it.

          Other public programs such as Unemployment or Social security are looked at as more a positive light because they are helping out individuals on a short-term basis or ones who were previous wage earners of the middle class. They are not just receiving and living off free money from the government.  One public assistance program my friend is currently on is the WIC program it is a nutrition program for women, infants, and Children. She is a young, middle -upper class mother, who needs assistance during this part of her life while she is not working, allowing her to raise her child.  She can only be on his program of a short amount of time but will eventually return to the work force. Social security is also look at as a non welfare program because you have to earn this from previous yearly wages.  

 

 

 

blog 10

Welfare programs are state regulated programs for those who live under the acceptable means of living determined by states governments. There are multiple programs that fall under the category of welfare; one that I am familiar with is food stamps. I did research on food stamps and how they contribute to childhood obesity in the U.S., so I am familiar with the ways in which this welfare program works. This program supplies families with food, without having to spend their income on it. There are a lot of restrictions that come with the food stamps, which often times prevent a healthy well balanced diet. Other programs include medical assistance and school breakfast programs. These welfare programs require that families fall within certain guidelines to obtain the "benefits" that these programs provide. In contrast we have public assistance programs like social security and unemployment. Unemployment essentially provides money to someone who is temporarily out of work, but this is not considered welfare because of the separate guidelines that you must fall under.

In this case I think that race, class, and gender are part of the distinction of welfare and non-welfare programs. When people think of welfare, many assume that the individuals receiving the benefits are not working, when facts show they would actually like to work, just often times can't find a job that will support them, when they have to pay for healthcare and childcare. And when you think of unemployment, you assume the individual is an affluent white who ran into some bad luck and lost their job.

Over all I think there are a lot of changes that need to be made to make these welfare programs effective. It goes beyond helping families meet the basic requirements of decent living conditions. Men and women should be supplied with affordable education options so that they can be educated mentally and socially to enter the work force.

Blog 10

I think we distinguish welfare from other programs because welfare is aimed at poor people, who are usually women and often of color. Welfare is for those specific populations that are not favored in our society. Other programs, like Survivor's insurance, affect people of all races, classes, and genders. Like one of the authors pointed out, welfare was not on the forefront of feminist's minds because it did not pertain to most of them; they were upper class, whites who did not need to worry about welfare. There is just such a stigma around the word welfare. The first thing that comes to mind is incredibly poor people who are probably lazy and may want to take advantage of the system. I realize that studies show otherwise, but that is what comes to mind when I think of welfare. A person who collects unemployment, on the other hand, is a person that I would have sympathy for because it probably means that they were laid off and are doing everything they can to find another job. In trying to understand why I have these beliefs around welfare and other forms of public benefits, all I can come up with is that the gender, race, and class hierarchies that we have influence how we view welfare as opposed to other programs For example, the person on unemployment is most likely male, since men have traditionally had (paying) jobs. Of course we're going to learn to feel bad for them; our male-dominated society would not allow us think that men were lazy like the women on welfare.

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It seems to me that certain welfare programs are targeted at certain races, classes, and genders.  To me it seems there is a certain stigma surrounding welfare programs, while the other programs are not welfare as they are set up for other types of people.  "Survivors insurance" definitely sounds "better" simply because it is not a welfare program, and it seems to me that this is aimed at white, middle to upper class individuals. 

It also appears that welfare programs are aimed at women with children and are aimed at them not to marry for more benefits.  One can see that lower-class individuals (and some middle too) who benefit from this program the most are being pushed not to marry regardless of having a long term relationship whereas the middle class and the upper class are shown the ideal life is having one with marriage in it. 

I think it's ridiculous that certain programs, welfare or not welfare, have been created and aimed at certain individuals and decipher largely in stigma and much else.

Week 10 Blog Entry

As Albelda and Tilly point out, recipients of AFDC income support are singled out as being lazy and undeserving compared to benefactors of other government programs. These negative stigmas are completely unfounded--for example, recipients often work and "on average, have fewer kids than other mothers" (pg. 80). And, despite receiving a very small portion of federal and state funds, these so-called "welfare mothers" are frequently in the center of debate over welfare reform. 

 

It is possible that a lot of the criticism surrounding AFDC stems from the recipients being overwhelmingly single mothers. According to Albelda and Tilly, 40% of working women would be unable to support a family above the poverty line if they ended up as a single parent. This suggests that social constructions already work against the interests of working mothers. In addition, a disproportionate amount of AFDC recipients are minorities. Simply put, it is hard for welfare recipients to stay afloat, a struggle detailed in Dujon's memoir.

 

. I've spoken before with friends who are critical of welfare and welfare recipients. The response that I hear most frequently is that they support government programs such as tax breaks for big corporations because these corporations "work hard", contribute a lot of money to the government through other taxes, and provide jobs. They then argue that they have a hard time with their tax dollars financially supporting the unemployed, or others that are not contributing as much in taxes as they are.

 

Another example: as the readings discussed, unemployment tax is not considered standard welfare, even though it is a government funded program. Because employed workers pay into taxes as sort of an insurance policy if they become unemployed one day, it is easy to see unemployment compensation is kind of an "earned" right, especially because it requires the recipient to be actively looking for a job.

 

As Mink discusses, welfare programs are by no means feminist policies; recipients are subject to treatment and laws that force them to work away from home and away from their kids, and to maintain a relationship with the father of their children. Through these regulations, the government has demonstrated very little understanding of, and empathy towards, the pressures of being a poor minority woman

 

In sum, I believe that critics do not support welfare because they do not consider a woman working if she is at home with her kids. Despite efforts to place a value on this work, it is difficult for the male-dominated society that we live in to value the efforts of motherhood, particularity when racial and class burdens also come into play.

week 10 blog

This weeks reading gave me some insight into how welfare and social security are more similar than I thought they were. Welfare is when the government provides funds to help out families in need, and social security is similar, but everyone who pays taxes deposits money into a social security fund that they will receive when they are old and retire.
Welfare has always had a bad connotation in today's society, even though it is meant to help families get back on their feet. It is true though; that some people take advantage of this, some people get on welfare even though it is not completely necessary. This is the bad side of welfare, when people exploit it when they have the means to create some other kind of income. It is not fair to the taxpayer to provide some families with money when they could help themselves. Social security is like welfare for when you retire. Taxpayers still pay for it, but it is not considered a bad thing. I agree with this distinction, because the people that get social security have worked their whole lives and deserve a break.
There are racial, gender, and class assumptions when differentiating welfare and social security. It is a common that when people think about someone on welfare they think on non-white, low class, and usually a woman with children. This, of course is not always the case, but it is a stereotypical one. These labels and assumptions make it more likely that non-white, low class, and women with children families will decide to go on welfare because it is almost a cultural norm. They almost get a privilege to be on welfare because it is so accepted that those kinds of families would have to get the help.

Blog #10

Distinguishing welfare from other programs that provide public benefits doesn't make things easier because they are similar to each other, it's just free money or not. The majority of people on welfare are women because they are single mothers that get benefit from the welfare and it gives them the chance to take risk and experience things. Even though they are limited a certain amount of money, it gives them time to love themselves, time to spend with their kinds, and to also not rely so much on others but themselves which maintains their self-esteem. The mothers have the chance to choose their path of life because they are not stuck in the same position and instead are exploring and getting to know where they stand in society. Diane Dujon reflects on this and says "I feel fortunate to have been on welfare because I learned how to survive using my wits.... to prioritize and set my own agenda." She was able to learn and get her way through life being on welfare even though it didn't give her enough to satisfy.

 

Welfare is given to women or single mothers who can't really support their families. Not everyone is like Dujon because maybe they think of welfare as free money and they won't even bother to go find a job. There are negative and positive sides to being on welfare and I think it depends on the family and how they are surviving in the society. Women who are not on welfare also deal with the same things because it is hard to find a job to satisfy their needs. They learn different ways of life about managing their money and all sorts of other responsibilities at work and home. I think it's such a big problem to explore and find a conclusion that sometimes people leave out these few little things that matter about family and survival. Everybody has their way of life and being on welfare or not should not matter as much as looking at your family and how you are living right now and how that will change later.

week 10 blog

A Government program that comes to mind that is not considered welfare is social security.  Social security is not considered welfare because it is something that people put into while working and contributing to society.  Social security is taken out throughout a worker's career and then accessed upon retirement.  You get what you put into it.  Anybody who works gets social security.  I think that class, race, and gender do effect what is considered welfare because women, and women of minority races are more likely to collect welfare handouts.  This could be because many women cannot obtain high paying jobs equivalent to men and also may end up caring for more children than men.  Welfare can be obtained by anyone while social security can only be accessed by those that have paid taxes into it during their working years this is a clear disctinction between what is considered welfare and public benefits.  If you collect welfare people may think of you as lazy or abusing the system while people collecting social security are looked at as earning it throughout their lifetime.    

Blog 10

A non-welfare program is Social Security. According to the qualifications of Social Security, one has to have a medical condition that has to be approved by the government as a disability, and had to have earned "Social Security work credits, which are based on total yearly wages or self-employment income". Basically, one has to have worked legally and have paid their taxes in order to be able to be considered for the benefits of Social Security.

One reason why there is a distinction of welfare from other programs that provide public benefits is that welfare primarily serves single, poor, women. Specifically more Latinos and African Americans are under this category.  Social Security differs from welfare programs because it is basically for people who have a disability and have paid taxes. I would say that there is a distinction here between welfare and non-welfare programs. According to the Mink, many middle-class feminists do not fight for the rights of poor women on welfare, and it is a class and race issue. Women of the poor class are merely targets, thus allowing for rules and regulations that restrict them in receiving their welfare benefits. Myths that see them as irresponsible, and dependent on the government, only allows for more restrictions. For example, Mink talks about a mother who refuses to reveal the identity of her husband. She will receive 25% less income than usual because of this. The constant monitoring of the government is what is different. For social security, if you have proof of a disability, and have shown that you are legal, and paid taxes, you're qualified, and not viewed as dependent of the government. You have "earned" that money, while welfare recipients have not. 

Blog 10

When I was growing up, my household was upheld by a single mother with three daughters on welfare.  My sisters' and I were on Medicaid, food stamps, reduced lunch program, and my father was ordered to pay child support (actually lack thereof).  I would define how we distinguish welfare programs from other public benefitting programs by the fact that for example Medicaid/Medicare is supported by U.S. taxpayers whereas child support is coming from my own father's income.  I remember in my small town that my mother was viewed as the "one that can't provide".  I was actually teased in elementary school for having a mother that was on welfare programs.  When Albelda and Tilly stated "poor mothers are blamed for almost every imaginable economic and social ill under the sun", it felt as if my whole childhood was summed up into one sentence.   

Welfare is a government system in which money is given to individuals with children when there is little to no income being earned.  I believe that unemployment and child support are not welfare programs because they are short term low income payment programs, in which the person either worked and is laid off, or is ordered by the court to pay.  I don't know if welfare is racially or gender discriminating, because it is provided for families who live below or on the poverty line.      

Blog 10

I know that I for one, have never had a firm grasp of what welfare is. This has certainly affected the way in which I perceive welfare. Even not knowing much about its process, I know that many people dislike welfare because people are said to abuse it, take the money and refuse to find work. However, I know a little bit more about unemployment, and I have heard of Survivor's Insurance before. 

Having said that, I would say that the way in which welfare is distinguished from these other programs is in its stigma. Those receiving unemployment have definitely had a job before, and Survivor's Insurance is a way to help widowed mothers, who can not possibly be expected to be the breadwinner and the sole caregiver, after the loss of their spouse. But we expect that from people on welfare. I think it's easy enough for anyone middle class or higher, to assume that actually working will remove the problems that face welfare recipients. The assumptions made about both Survivor's Insurance and unemployment benefits are that these are people just going through a rough patch, and poverty is not their standard financial state, and its the government's job to see to it that they make it through, by helping them financially. There are very obviously some problems with these assumptions. 

Unfortunately, as we've seen, single mothers are the largest group of recipients for welfare. And, technically speaking, they are probably the largest group of recipients for Survivor's Insurance. Why does our society validate the loss of a spouse and recognize the difficulty of being the sole breadwinner and caregiver for these women, but does not see fit to appropriately help single women well below the poverty line? My guess is that the makeup of the single mothers receiving Survivor's Insurance are at least middle class - clearly they understand how to pick themselves up again, and get back on the right path. They must be, since they haven't always been poor. 

I think the assumptions made about the people who receive these different forms of public funding are what perpetuate their existence. While there may be people who take advantage of welfare, there are also those who take advantage of unemployment, and I'm sure, Survivor's Insurance. The problem isn't with the people, as Mink makes it clear, its the institution itself that needs to be reevaluated and rebuilt so it doesn't keep down the people it claims to help, and as she says "we need to improve women's opportunities as both nonmarket and market workers, so that the choice of caregivers to work inside the home is backed up by the possibility of choosing not to."

Blog #10

I think the main reason we think of welfare as a separate sphere from other programs that provide public benefit is because welfare has negative connotations in society.  We have programs such as Unemployment Programs that are basically the same thing in a sense, yet if you file for unemployment, the underlying idea is that you had a job and circumstances caused you to lose that employment, and that you are actively looking for a new job.  On welfare, I think that the assumption is that you don't want to work and would rather sit back and get free money.  I used to work with two employees that received unemployment benefits when they lost the jobs they held prior to the one they had currently.  One woman actually said that she would never consider filing for welfare because she would be too embarrassed. I think this idea is in most American's minds.  For the most part, I think that recipients of welfare do not flaunt their status because there is a stereotype that is associated with welfare. I do, however, think that the system gets manipulated by some people and that the program needs a serious overhaul.  For example, welfare should time out just like unemployment.  That way, it gives people an incentive to find a job and they are prohibited from free-loading off of the government.

 

Race, class and gender are all assumptions made when you are talking about the difference between welfare and unemployment. I think it is safe to say that the black population gets lumped into a group of people who are on welfare the most. Statistically that probably isn't true, but the stereotype still exists.  I think that most white people in America have this skewed view that they are harder workers than most black American's and can therefore provide for their families. Gender comes in to play when you consider single parents.  I think the idea is that single men won't file for welfare, even if they have children to support. However, the assumption that single women have no option but to file for welfare to support their children exists in most social circles.  This leads back to the idea of women belonging at the home taking care of the kids and not having an outside job.  If this idea is present in someone's mind, then the direct conclusion they would draw is that the mother would be on welfare. The class divide is wantonly obvious. The societal assumption is that people on welfare are a lower class than those not on welfare. I agree with this because it makes sense. If you depend of welfare to get by, clearly you are not living in the suburbs with a nice, dependable job.  However, I do think that anyone can end up on welfare, if circumstances arise to warrant their downfall. 

Week 10 Blog Assignment

I have no idea why we, as a society, distinguish welfare, which as we know is mainly AFDC, from other public funding programs.  Welfare exists to help people who have little to no income and their families survive.  I believe that unemployment serves the same function.  People can be fired or laid off from their job and receive unemployment checks for their lost wages, only if they are actively looking for a job though.  The problem is that actively looking for a job is a completely relative concept.  Yes, you may have to show that you sent out however many applications or went and completed applications at specific businesses, but that never actually means that one is "actively" searching for a new job.  I just find it strange that we feel sympathy for those unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits, yet we condemn those on welfare, regardless of their specific situations.  There are people who misuse both systems, but that doesn't make the entire system faulty, like people seem to believe with welfare.

 

I agree with Abelda and Tilly in their analysis on why and how welfare programs perpetuate poverty which in turn perpetuates and keeps in place a widening gap between the upper and lower classes especially in regards to single mothers.  I mean, what are they supposed to do?  Many single moms work literally as many hours as they can, but with the lack of affordable childcare along with the lack of jobs with flexible work hours for single moms especially since they are, as we read about earlier, a higher risk employee in regards to their family objectives and responsibilities, these women can barely make ends meat.  The real problem is that we don't actually try and fix the situation to help these women and their children get out of poverty, we just give them temporary assistance and condemn them for it.  Why not create more affordable child care programs?  Why not create jobs that don't discriminate against mothers and offer more flexible hours that accommodate women (and men) with families?

 

There are many things that could be done to make the welfare system better, but part of the problem is not the system itself, but the way the system is portrayed in such a negative light not only by the media, but by society as a whole.  Welfare is no more of a "handout" then unemployment or social security is, but since it is mainly single mothers who are often minorities who are on welfare, it makes it a handout since there seems to be this general consensus that there is no way that they earned the assistance.  Apparently single women working 2+ jobs for crap pay just to put food on the table and clothes on their children's backs doesn't qualify as deserving of any help by our government....shows where we place our values I guess.

Blog Post #10

For a public funding service, I'm going to use Mink's example of Survivor's Insurance. Survivor's Insurance goes to widows supporting children and has no stigma attached to it like Welfare does. I believe this is in part because the government sees the widow as someone who would have had the means to get along when she had her husband. Because her husband was taken from her, it is no fault of her own that she can no longer support her children herself. In the case of Survivor's Insurance, the woman is seen as a victim.

 

I think part of why welfare reform doesn't work like Survivor's Insurance is because the American government does not want to acknowledge or see that the women who are most in need of welfare (women of color, single mothers, etc.) are being victimized by an interlocking system of oppression that works to keep women underpaid, overworked and women of color stigmatized. The inability to see that women are being oppressed is so that the government can ignore the racial, wage disparity and sexism that runs throughout America. Addressing welfare would mean addressing all of those problems and these things can't be addressed if the government says none of them exists.

 

Survivor's Insurance operates on a non racial, non class level. (Or at least the way Mink describes it, it seems to.) It does not place blame on the woman, no one says, "Well it's her fault that her husband died, why should we give her money?" But the government does that to women in need of welfare because welfare is a way to patch over larger issues. Survivor's Insurance is easy; "Let us help women who have had their husbands die." Welfare is not easy, it is "Let us fix the wage and time disparities in jobs that exist because of racism and sexism." It's based on inequality and the continuing upholding of inequality and to combat inequality requires a government that is willing and able to see those inequalities and act upon them.

Week 10

When we think about welfare, we always associate it with low-income and poor people. Such as that the article mentions, AFDC provides financial assistance to families which had low or no income to help them to catch up with the society. However, we can see that this program restricted people from benefiting from the government fund as the condition and location of the mothers affect the eligibility of getting the AFDC. People must meet certain requirement and situation to get the welfare that is provided by the government. I think class different do exist in these situation. This kind of welfare program is intended to help people who are with poor background. It is true that this is a good way to help people in poverty, but they are automatically stereotyped as low-class people when they receive they fund.

 

I know that there are some kind of welfare and assistance program that designed for the minority and refugee. These programs give us an image that welfare program has shows that the government is designed different welfare according to different target group, helping them in different classes.

 

However, I think the difference between welfare and other public benefit like unemployment benefit is that people get help from the public benefit are not fundamentally in bad condition, they just need help to overcome a short period. The unemployed people are individually contributed to the program and the authority has to make sure that the benefiting people are currently seeking job instead of just sitting there and waiting for help. They deserve the helping hand as they are going to contribute back once when they find a job and pay tax. In addition, I agree with Mink that Survivors Insurance is not considered welfare. This is because they are widows with a family to support and this benefit is able to help them to transit. The women that receive this benefit are treated better because they are considered as women who lost their husbands and economic support and they are not getting the benefit because of the fundamental poor background. I think these social benefits do not limited to race, class and gender as people of all different race, class and gander receive benefit according to their earnings.

Blog 10

I think that the welfare programs such as the AFDC is a good way of providing funding for low income family who does not make enough money to support their family since single mothers, who do work, yet don't get paid enough to pay for bills and put food on the table. However, the AFDC is given to certain race, class, and gender because single women who has children are able to receive the funding. Women who are poor that are living in poverty and the location where mothers are living affect their chances of receiving the AFDC. For race, I don't think it matters what race the women are, but if they fall in the category of low income and a single mother, surely they are eligible for the government income program. Along with food stamps, single mothers are able and unable to buy food for their family. Food stamps are also another option of help mothers get funding to buy food for their family.


For the unemployment, I also don't think it should be consider as welfare because even thought today's economics is going down during the past months, there are still jobs out there for single mothers to find work. It can be hard to find jobs nowadays, but unemployment happens when mothers either quit or get laid off. And once they find a job, they're employed again earning money in which they are able to provide for their family, unless they are unable to do so. Tied in with Social Security, it also shouldn't be consider welfare because it is base on whether or not the person is able to work by having Social Security. If mothers who are unable to receive Social Security, then they are able to receive the AFDC because they are not receiving any money. I also think Social Security does distinct race in general because it takes immigrants to obtain Social Security because they are not citizens yet. Immigrants either work under the table to get money.


Overall, welfare can be helpful for parents, especially single mothers to have government funding and support programs to help them. But now and then I think people can easily deceive the government by lying that they are making less money and they need help to support their family. It can also be that some parents don't want to work because they are either lazy. And I think being lazy isn't going to get them to where they need to be especially when their children are receiving cares that are not appropriate. Government should actually look carefully and check the family's background because even though they do meet the requirements of receiving the funds, they can actually earn extra money on the side or not making the effort of trying to pursue in finding a job.

blog 10

I think that it is perhaps the easiest (as well as the most interesting) to explain the differences between what is and isn't considered welfare, is by bringing further attention to the striking comparison that Mink made between welfare and Survivor's insurance.  While both programs are to help single women provide for their families.  There are two notable differences.  First, women who are lacking in a co-parent must provide personal information to receive welfare--such information that may include details about their sexual history.  Women who have lost a spouse do not need to provide such "proof" to receive government funds.  Second, there seems to be a significant change in respect given to those who receive Survivor's Insurance over those women who receive welfare.  People are more likely to look down upon women who receive welfare, because their single parenthood seemingly comes from "mistakes" or "poor choices," whereas a woman who receives Survivor's Insurance received better treatment simply because she lost a husband.

 

But who's to say this husband was especially committed in the first place or that the children from this union weren't conceived before vows were exchanged?  However, it wouldn't matter, because Survivor's Insurance doesn't inquire those who depend upon it.

 

In my personal opinion, I feel that a lot of the distinction between such programs is based on certain stereotypes and stigmas surrounding gender, class, and race. First, women have forever been stereotyped as inferior workers as men due to their weaker bodies and supposedly "weaker minds."  Women have never been given the opportunity to earn as much as men, and thus are much more likely to receive welfare.  Furthermore, negativity is imposed upon those who receive welfare, because there is the stereotype that all poor people are lazy and don't look for jobs. They simply just milk the government for all that it's worth. 

 

But can that really be true? Particularly in today's economy when many families are affected by unemployment?

 

Finally, there is the aspect of race.  People who are non-white are far more likely to be among the stereotyped poor discussed above.  People of other races don't make as much money and are less likely to have higher education.  Or as mentioned a couple of class periods ago, sometimes immigrants who are completely qualified for highly paid jobs are refused jobs simply because they are from a different culture or they weren't educated in America.  Thus, gender, class, and race intersectionally combine to make distinctions between welfare and other similar government funding programs. 

Week 10 Blog

I thought Mink's mentioning of how the middle-class feminist's approach on the issues around welfare was a real eye-opener.  Being that, as Mink stated, the majority of feminists are middle-class women.  Women who focused on the deficiencies of the welfare mothers instead of the deficiencies of the welfare system(p. 302)and how unlike the welfare mothers, the middle-class women were free to choose whether or not they became a part of the labor force(p.302).  Yes, it is possible for a high-middle class woman to end up being a single parent, but her chances of ending up in the welfare line seems to be less.  She is more likely to end up with payments of child and spousal support due to having a husband or spouse that has been earning a higher income which in the event of a divorce/death, the woman would be entitled by law to a portion of the financial proceeds. 

A single mom who has little to no post-secondary education
& possibly not receiving support from the father is going to have more obstacles in her way which will cause more difficulty for her to be able to provide for herself and her child(ren).  Most are doing the best they can with what they do have. 

Being curious, I looked up the State of MN website that gives information about what the state has to offer people who need it.  Here's what I found and here is the link. 

www.dhs.state.mn.us

General Assistance(GA)-single unemployed adults w/o children.  May consist of those who are elderly, ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated. 
MN Supplemental Aid-additional supplement for those who receive SSI/Disability
SSI/Disability-those who can no longer do the work they have been doing, are unable to do another form of work due to a medical condition/illness or those who's disability has lasted or expected to last for up to 1 year or result in death.

The above may rank under programs that are not considered a "welfare handout" in most or all of these programs, there is a "qualifying reason" for the person's inability to acquire a job and keep it long enough to be independent from needing help from the government.  These programs are all government controlled programs and there are strict qualifying guidelines a person needs to meet before being accepted. 

The next may be considered 'welfare handouts"

DWP(Diversionary Work Program)-generally four months, focused primarily on establishing employment for family members who are able to work. 

MFIP(MN Family Investment Program)-our state welfare program.  If the family's situation is going to take longer than four months they would be place on this program for no longer than 4 years.  They are to work a certain amount of hours and/or attend school for vocational training purposes.  Technically, there may or may not be underlying reasons that the adults are not able to work which would be evaluated and considered for other programs if applicable.  These families are still struggling even though they are on this program which is supposed to get them on the way to being able to obtain work that will lead to financial independence from needing assistance from the government. 

I noticed the last two and for while I don't consider any of these programs"handouts" myself thought that these two may be subjected to even more criticism and racism than the other programs that some may consider "handouts" for various reasons.

Refugee Assistance Program-provides similar services as the above for those who qualify under the definition of a refugee. 

Indian Child Welfare Program-this brings together the government and tribes associated with the reservations and works to provide services for children/families who qualify.  I thought it was interesting that the word "welfare" was attached to this program when it no longer is with the other 2 programs that would be considered welfare. 

I think there is a distinction between gender, race and class between the welfare and non-welfare programs.  The refugee assistance program applies to people who can qualify as a refugee.  The Indian Child Welfare Program is for Native American children/families. 

Although the DWP & MFIP program does allow for a 2 parent household to participate, it would most likely be headed by a female or the mother who is responsible for all aspects of what is needed at home and how to get it through working.  I do know people personally who have been on the MFIP program and it was not easy to be on.  I also know people who barely survive on the SSI/Disability income they receive for medical conditions that they have no control over. 

Despite what some people may believe out of their own predjudice and ignorance, while there may be a small portion of people who actually "choose" to live this lifestyle, which for some it has been.  Which they say is the reason for the changes that have been made. I cannot believe that most would chose to have to struggle daily and at times skip buying needed medications in order to pay the rent/heat bill.  I cannot believe that someone would chose to have a life ending disability over being able to work and remain with thier family. 

There is a mess within our government that surrounds these issues.  They are as complex as unique as the next person which is what makes it difficult to have a system that is drawn up on black or white terms. 



Week 10 Blog

I am in agreement with the Dujon, Abelda and Tilly. They point out some of the major flaws in the welfare system that mostly have to do with gender and class. For instance, working mothers are more likely to be on welfare because they are generally paid less. Also, they have more resposibilities at the home, and are unable to work more. An example of a public benefit that is not considered welfare is Social Securtiy. It is something that is guarenteed to everyone no matter what race, gender or class someone is. However, Social Security isn't considered a government handout. Similar to welfare, people must meet requirements, like being of a certain age. Social Security is also something that is considered to be earned and not a handout like welfare.

Blog 10

Overall, to be quite blunt, I think that our welfare system in the United States is messed up and needs some major revisions. This would make it possible for people that really need it to use it and use it while being able to benefit themselves; hence, the whole initial reasoning behind it. Right now, it is a system that only helps those that are unemployed and in order for them to seek help, they have to stay that way. So, they can't look for a job because they are on it, but they also cannot afford to get off of it in order to apply and seek jobs. Seems like one big game of messed up 'Catch 22'.

            On the other hand, I do believe that we have some really good systems out there that help to benefit and not perpetuate the hindrance of the people in our society that need the most help. The one program that comes to my mind first when thinking of systems or organizations that are in place to help people in need is the Salvation Army. This is one organization that has been around for years and was first established as a way to help the soldiers coming back from war to find jobs and re-establish their lives. I don't think that this is an organization that is considered to be 'welfare' because it appears as though you are giving for a good cause and for those people that are striving to better themselves when they once had not been in their current situation. I think that this constrasts with the view of the generic welfare system because people cringe at the thought of giving money to someone that "put themselves in their situation"; meaning that it was the women's choice to get pregnant and her choice to be single while doing it. People will also give more to ads that have children in them that appear to be struggling for a meal or have no roof over their heads. This is another campaign that the Salvation Army runs, especially during the holidays. They show kids getting toys and that sort of thing and show all the heart-retching ads that get people to help out and donate whatever they can. Race, class and gender also play a large part in what is and not considered welfare. I think that people are more willing to give to people that appear to be upholding the "American Dream" ideals (being white, wanting to be upper-middle class, heterosexual, etc) because they are fitting into the normative culturally established ideal of normal.

Blog 10 Assignment

          After reading Mink, Dujon, and Abelda and Tilly's articles I realized for the first time how our country doesn't have a descent welfare program and even programs like Social Security, which is not considered welfare is not what it should be.  I think Social Security is an interesting aspect to consider.  Social Security is a program that gives money to people who aren't working anymore, which is exactly what welfare is.  However, nobody looks at Social Security as welfare.  Personally, I look at Social Security as a positive thing and as something that people who work a majority of their life should automatically get.  It's almost like a reward, as in you work hard in life until retirement age and then you receive social security to live off of.  However, I feel that the general idea about welfare is that it's bad, however, maybe that's just the idea from where I come from.  The idea is that welfare is a negative thing because it doesn't force people to go get jobs and to just be lazy.  However, I come from a very small town with people who are very narrow-minded.  In my hometown, people associate welfare with single mothers who are either African American or white and who are bad mothers.  It's unfortunate but I've heard people talk about and that the general assumption that they have.  While going back to the social security, people associate that with middle class white people, again, at least in the area where I come from.  I personally think it changes slightly considering where one lives.  However, what they don't realize is that it's the programs that need to change and not necessarily the people all the time.  

Blog 9

I definitely had not heard of the lawsuit brought against Forever 21 before I saw the documentary Made in L.A. I had heard about lawsuits against other stores - such as Kohl's department store, but never about Forever 21. While I was watching the documentary, before seeing that they came to some sort of agreement, I realized that after becoming aware of worker conditions, it would be impossible for me to continue to shop at Forever 21 with the same ignorance I had prior to watching the movie. Even so, shopping at stores such as Forever 21, that offer such low prices for clothing, it had crossed my mind that in order to price their clothes so 'reasonably' there might be some sort of labor abuses being made. But, ignorance is bliss, and I continued to shop there. I think the campaign absolutely could have benefitted from broader publicity. Although I don't know how they would have gone about that. The protesting they did do, especially after they won their appeal did seem more powerful, but maybe they didn't have access to the kind of resources that would allow for a nationally recognized campaign.

I am not sure, however, that the documentary was a totally effective intersectional analysis of the workers lives. While we get some perspective into their personal lives - where they live, how they live, who they live with, it's still very much a camera directed from an outsider's perspective. The people who watch Made in L.A. are likely to be more privileged, and not necessarily regularly exposed to the lives of garment workers in L.A. They didn't address religion very often, which I think would be a very interesting aspect of their lives to incorporate, and perhaps very important. 

In terms of the actual lawsuit, it perhaps would have been beneficial to hear more of the legal side of the garment worker's rights. I was curious as to how California law supports garment workers, even those who are undocumented. I think that's pretty crucial, and something that wasn't really explained in its entirety. However, I think that it was also important for the film to focus its lens on the garment workers themselves- the group that has the smallest voice, and in America, the fewest rights, that actually made the change happen. They are rightly the center of attention.

Overall, I enjoyed watching this documentary, and I was very interested in the Maura, Lupe and Maria's personal stories, which seemed both vital and relevant to the campaign itself. I feel like they embody the American dream - especially as it was paralleled to the lives of garment workers a century or two ago. Working from the inside for real change, and to better their lives, and their children's lives.

Blog Assignment 10

After reading the articles for this week, there is definitely a difference between how people view welfare and how people view other public funding programs.  People view welfare in a negative light because of their perceptions of who benefits from it.  Unfortunately, some view welfare programs as "hand outs" to lazy people who don't work.  However, I don't think that is the case.  Most likely, "The Andersons" your typical suburban, white, middle class family will not collect welfare if both parents loose their job.  Most people believe benefactors of welfare are lower class minorities.  Although welfare was designed to help a wide range of people who are financially suffering, I would say it mostly helps lower class, minority families where there is usually one parent.  In these cases, it may be easier for a single parent to collect welfare then go to work and make minimum wage and not be able to take care of their children.  

I agree with Dujon, Abelda and Tilly because I think there is flaws in the federal welfare policy and in some ways it is impossible for people not to live in poverty.  I certainly agree with government programs that help people with low or no income but there are still a lot of problems with the current welfare system.  Some people cut lines to receive welfare and that cannot happen.  The government needs to make sure people who are receiving welfare need it.  I think we also need other programs that go along with welfare to help people in these situations, like more low income housing, tax breaks, etc.

Other public funding programs that provide benefits, such as Survivor Social Security, Unemployment, and Disability are designed the same way as welfare.  One must apply and meet specific guidelines, like low income, loss of job, death of spouse, etc. and if accepted, will receive money from the government.  Still, why are other public funding programs viewed more positively than welfare?  Because of the people who are designed to benefit from them.  In this case, "The Andersons" will receive unemployment if a parent looses their job.  Some public funding programs are designed to help people who have worked and now can't.  Some would argue people benefiting from other public funding programs deserve help more than people who collect welfare and have never worked.  In my opinion, that is not a valid argument because some people who collect welfare have never been able to work.  (No education, substance abuse problem, can't afford daycare, the list goes on.)  The general public's negative perception of welfare is because of who benefits the most from welfare.  However, these perceptions are not always right or valid.

Blog 10

I think that some public benefits like unemployment are not considered welfare because unemployment is typically looked at as temporary while welfare is predominately looked at as more long term assistance. I believe that the general public thinks that race, class, and gender does not specifically pertain to unemployment because they do not put responsibility on a person who is collecting unemployment. Mostly, in order to meet eligibility requirements, it is prohibited for one to be fired from their own job or because of some other misconduct. In order to receive unemployment, there is a preconceived notion that one was not responsible for the loss of their job. I think that welfare is looked at differently and they put responsibility on a person for having to receive welfare. It may not be someone's fault that they are on welfare but a lot of people look at the situations that led them there and believe that someone on welfare may be inherently predisposed to receive it. This is tied along with race, class, and gender because quoted in Ableda and Tilly's article it is said that "children, people of color, and single mothers are most likely to be poor"(page 80). So therefore low class, single mothers and minorities are more likely to receive welfare. I think that race, class, and gender is part of the distinction between welfare and unemployment because unemployment is served to assist anyone who has lost their job and meets eligibility requirements whereas welfare is mostly distributed amongst poor single mothers and mothers of color and only given to a small group of people.

There is also a difference between Social Security and welfare. In order to be eligible for social security, one must have had a prior work history in order to be eligible and welfare it is given to those who meet the need for financial assistance. I believe that Social Security is not looked at as welfare because it is based on someone's work ethic and the fact that they have worked all of their life and welfare is given to people with low income who have not met the standards for the typical work ethic. So, Social Security is given to anyone who has had meets the requirements, and welfare is still only distributed among a small group of people, primarily poor single mothers.

Week 10 Blog

As I was reading this week's material and thinking about the comparison between welfare and other public assistance programs, I found myself thinking about individuals who receive welfare and unfortunately had similar perceptions as many people towards individuals who are on welfare.  However, when thinking about individuals on other public assistance programs, I found my perceptions of these recipients were significantly different. Society's perception is that individuals who receive welfare are lower-classed individuals, white or colored, but usually women. It is perceived that the welfare benefactors usually are responsible for the care of multiple children whose father or fathers are unknown. Many of the benefactors choose to not go to work as it is "easier" to stay at home and receive the government aid than it is to find a job and report to work on a daily basis.

Welfare is defined as government aid that is intended to help individuals who have very little to no income. Most welfare programs are aimed at helping children, the elderly, or the disabled - those who are unable to financially care for themselves because of their inability to enter the workforce or return to the workforce to financially support them. For example, Aide for Dependent Children, Subsidized School Lunch Programs, Child Support, and Medicaid insurance programs are programs that are intended to benefit children. Parents of children must provide proof of eligibility to receive these programs. In the process, individuals, as reported by Mink, give up some of their right to privacy.  Effort must be shown on a regular basis that the parent is attempting to obtain work outside of the home in order to retain their eligibility.

In contrast, other public assistance programs, such as unemployment insurance benefits and Survivor Benefits through Social Security are benefits for individuals  who at one time contributed to the funds through working outside of the home. Employers pay into Unemployment Insurance at the state level so that if an individual is let go from their position, they can apply for unemployment payments.  Similar to welfare programs, individuals must meet eligibility guidelines including reporting earnings and demonstrating effort towards finding a new job. Survivor Social Security Benefits are payments made to a surviving spouse. Payments into the funds are made each paycheck by the deceased spouse. Similar to welfare programs, the surviving spouse must meet eligibility criteria to continue receiving survivor benefits. In both of these examples, the recipients of the benefit contributed to the public assistance fund as a result of working outside the home.  Public assistance benefits, such as social security benefits and unemployment benefits are available to all individuals, regardless of race, class, and gender as long as the recipient worked outside of the home and contributed to the funds through their employment checks.

Perceptions of individuals on public assistance is more positive because these individuals are perceived to have "earned" these benefits versus receiving government "hand-outs" through welfare programs. While public assistance benefits are available to all individuals, regardless of race, class, or gender, many individuals receiving these benefits are typically lower to middle-class individuals who have been wage-earners in the past. In comparison, many welfare recipients are lower-class individuals as these individuals have not had the opportunity to work outside the home and provide an income for their family.

Week 10 Blog Assignment

For Tuesday, we are reading pieces that discuss welfare. I put these readings in the unit on Work because the authors address the interactions between welfare and what is perceived as work in the U.S. Mink refutes the standard feminist claim that the ability to work outside of the home for pay increases women's choices and equality. Dujon, Abelda and Tilly discuss flaws in federal welfare policy that perpetuate poverty, particularly for single mothers and their children.

Welfare, as discussed in these pieces, is defined primarily as AFDC: income support for people who have no or very low earnings. yet, as Mink mentions, Survivor's Insurance (related to Social Security) is not considered welfare, and recipients are not subject to the same requirements and surveillance as recipients of AFDC. Abelda and Tilly point out that AFDC functions for recipients similarly to the function of unemployment for those who are eligible for it, yet unemployment is not considered welfare either.

The taxes that state and federal governments collect are distributed to a wide range of programs and services that benefit people who live in the U.S; some programs benefit a small number of people, while others are intended to serve the entire population. So why are some of these programs considered welfare while others are not?

In this blog post, I'd like you to consider how and why we distinguish welfare from other programs that provide public benefit. Be specific; address one or two ways in which public funding of a program or service for public benefit is or is not considered welfare. Are assumptions about race, class and gender part of the distinction between welfare and non-welfare programs? Again, be specific. You may find it helpful to refer to earlier readings that discuss how public perceptions of the responsibilities, rights and privileges of various groups are shaped by race, class and gender.

blog 9

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21.  I think broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign.

I think this movie, although brief, provides an intersectional depiction of the campaigners.  However, they could have gone much more in depth into the lives and identities than they actually did.  It would have been interesting to know more about the actual work the workers did - it was covered, but I was interested in finding out more.

I think it would have been interesting to hear from other people besides the garment workers, but I don't think that was the aim of the film.  They could have done a more inclusive documentary, and had people from the companies (Forever 21 and the suppliers) talk about what they knew/didn't know. 

I enjoyed the movie, and it made me think more about labor issues in the United States and why there isn't more enforcement of labor laws.

Movie Blog

Before watching this movie I was unaware of the boycott against Forever 21 by garment workers who were owed thousands of dollars in minimum wage and overtime pay. Since I didn't know about the boycott it didn't have an impact on my shopping, but I really wish it would have reached a broader audience because I feel that if it did, it would have had a bigger impact on Forever 21 and shown them that this isn't something to be taken lightly. I think that this movie was an intersectional depiction of the campaigners in that we saw the hardships they faced gaining momentum because of their lack of funds, knowledge of the system, and language barriers. Executives thought that they could take advantage of these vulnerable immigrants who couldn't speak English, and would take whatever they could get to help support their families. A specific example that stood out to me was a campaigner who didn't want to shout because she was afraid she would say the word Boycott wrong. Little things like that really held them back.

I liked the fact that the campaign was told exclusively in the words of the garment workers, because I feel that their story is the one that needs to be heard. If you were to have had executives from forever 21 speaking in the movie, you would be hearing false stories and excuses to justify what they did.

A question I had after this watching this movie was what settlement they agreed upon, because they don't ever touch on that in the movie. Another thing that bothers me is the fact that all Forever 21 had to do was pay off these workers that they had wronged, and never suffered anymore consequences. Is there a system in place that ensures this issue isn't still happening in their factories?

 

Week 9 Blog

It was very strange to watch this movie because I had not heard of this boycott against Forever 21. I do think that if there was more publicity then more people would have been aware. After seeing this movie it definitely made me rethink my shopping patterns because I tend to buy clothes that don't cost very much. However, when I buy cheaper clothes, the people who make them only get paid a very small fraction of what I paid and the majority of the money goes to executives. This movie mostly focuses on women from Mexico and Central America. I wish we could hear from men who work in this industry, as well as people of other races which would make it more intersectional. I think it would have been interesting to talk to their children more about how these lack of benefits affect their lives. It would have also been interesting to see what the higher-ups at Forever 21 thought of this. 

blog 9

Before viewing made in la/hecho en la I had absolutely no idea that forever 21 had ever been involved in a lawsuit.  I personally shop their quite often and if I had known this information earlier while the lawsuit was actually happen I would not have chosen to shop there.  And I would've made my friends aware of this who shop there as well.  Unfortunately I have never heard of this lawsuit and I feel many people also had not heard of this, I know that if the publicity had gotten larger that more people would've chosen not to shop at forever 21 and help in supporting the workers campaign. 

I think this movie did a pretty good job at intersectionality and I feel like they did a great job of addressing the campaigners personal lives.  I wish I could have seen more of what the sweat shop and clothing making conditions were like, however, I understand that it was hard to get cameras into these rooms.  But I feel like including what their working conditions were like more would have been very informative and disturbing I'm sure. 

I really like how this story had the most impact coming from the garment workers themselves as they are the group suffering the most adverse impact.  The makers of the video attempted to get comments and interviews with the CEO, but like always, he declined so getting this view of the story was impossible.  Maybe they could have included retail workers and if they ever even knew anything about the workers' strike and their opinions on the strike.  This maybe could have supplemented but I feel like the workers stance was the most important to have.  Overall I thought this was a very good documentary, and I was shocked to learn that somewhere I shopped had been involved in a lawsuit such as this.  It made me realize that I should research companies before I give them my money and chose to consume in their company. 

Blog Post 9

The Video "Made in L.A." I had never heard of Forever 21 was very interesting and eye opening to a issue that I was never aware of at all. I never heard a thing of the Forever 21 Boycott, I do however think that if  the boycott was publicized more  it would have gained way more support and an agreement probable would of been reached much sooner .  I love shopping at Forever 21, it one of my favorite stores, so its very interesting to have a person that loves and shops at this store on the regular, not have a clue about the boycott. Honesty if I had heard of the boycott while it was happening I still probable wouldn't have stopped shopping  there, its not because I don't care or I'm not insensitive to the issue but I think can easily overlook the issue because I  have no personal ties to it and I'm not directly affected by the issue.

I really liked how the movie took such a detailed and close look at the victims in the issue. I think it's crucial to see the victims and their families during the boycott because it gives a close up picture of what these people and their families are experiencing. The in depth look really gives a first hand unedited picture that doesn't hide a things and opens you r eyes to what really went down, without sugar coding anything.

Week9

I had never heard of the boycott against Forever21. If I didn't watch this movie, I would never know that there was a campaign like this. Although I don't shop there often, the price there is so cheap. Now I know that one of the reasons of the affordable price is the exploitation of the garment workers. Personally, broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign because the more people know the more pressure on the company. When more people aware of the exploitation of the workers, they may tends to stop buying or shop less from Forever21. This would have created pressure on the company once the company realized how much they loss because of the campaign. Not only profit loss, they also lose their reputation. The increasing economic and social pressure forces them to sign the agreement.

I think the movie does a very nice good of intersectional depiction of the campaign as it depicts the race, class and gender differences in the campaign. The movie illustrates the origin of the garment workers and how they come to the United States to pursue their dreams and how they get disappointed. By doing this, the audience world have had a better image of the overall life of the poor immigrants and are able to compare them to the other people in the city.

However, I would love to hear more about the males' positions and views of this campaign. Although there is one lady who talks about how her husband feel toward her engagement in the campaign, It is still not enough to express the male's role and view in the campaign. Also, in order to get the views of the two genders, the movie can also interview the male workers or the husband of the female garment workers.

Although the head of Forever21 refused to be interviewed, I think it would be more informative to see how they see this issue and treated it in the company. Also, the customers' attitude would be interesting to know. The different situation and attitudes can provide other view. Anything that is related to the issue is worth to look at.

Blog 9

I had no idea that such a boycott existed!  For having won so many awards and becoming "nationwide," I am amazed that I have never heard about this. To be honest, it probably will not stop me from shopping at Forever21 because I am positive that nine out of ten stores I shop at use sweatshops. I know there have been issues with The Gap and Wal-Mart using sweatshops, and I am sure there are many more stores that, unbeknownst to me(like Forever21) also use sweatshops. Furthermore, I don't think that it would make any difference if I stopped shopping at Forever21 because of it's huge popularity.

 

However, if there had been more publicity around this campaign- enough to create common knowledge within the public- perhaps shoppers would think twice about entering Forever21's doors. Even if they did not have strong opinions against Forever21, they may have been afraid of what others would think of them for purchasing clothes from them. It seems highly unlikely that Foerver21 would have been deeply affected by a drop in sales, but it may have at least made a statement.

 

I suppose this film does depict the campaigners in an intersectional way. It covers three women from three different backgrounds. They were all facing the same issue in the garment industry, but they all had differing perspectives.

 

I think the movie was strong because of the focus on the three women. It made the film very personal for the viewers. We feel a connection to these women. The only other voices that would be necessary to hear would be that of the women's close family and/or friends. The point of the documentary was to capture these worker's stories and to give them the limelight. Throwing their loved ones in the mix would be an added bonus; it would probably leave us feeling even more empathy for these women.

Blog #9

I had never heard of the boycott against Forever 21 before seeing this documentary. Since I have very little faith or belief in the effectiveness of boycotts, despite the outcome of this one, I would probably not have been affected by the boycott. As a matter of fact, I was ironically wearing a sweater from Forever 21 the day we watched the film. Naturally, broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign. I was actually surprised that they were able to win their lawsuit with such a small group of people.  I found it quite comical when the workers were traveling across the United States to boycott other Forever 21 stores.  They looked so pathetic to me, and it is surprising that the Forever 21 Corporation bothered to take any notice of them at all.  I wish the film would have addressed whether or not Forever 21 saw any financial loss during the time period of the boycott or whether they figured they would just settle to get rid of a bother and prevent further slander toward the company name.

I thought the film did a good job in portraying the intersectionality of the campaigner's lives.  However, I think that the film could have shown a profile of a male worker to see if the conditions were the same.  Since gender discrimination occurs in many workplaces, especially in the area of salaries, it would be interesting to see if there was a distinctive discrepancy when it came to how much men and women were getting paid even in a work environment that was so corrupt. Of the three women that were primarily profiled, I think the film chose a good representation of three different types of women and their families.  They had a married woman with children, a single woman with children, and a single woman with no children.  The differences were interesting because they differed upon the number of dependants each woman had. I wish that they would have focused a little more on the women's relationships however, so we would have had something to compare the deadbeat husband of one campaigner to.  It seemed to me that this primary reference to only one man was stereotypical and maybe not a fair representation of immigrant male workers in the United States.

While I am not saying the campaigners did not have any right to protest, I think that Forever 21 should have chosen to be interviewed for the film. By refusing participation, they make themselves appear to be guilty of the campaigners accusations and I would have liked to hear what they had to say about the situation.  I want to know if they truly had no idea what was going on or if they just chose to ignore it.  I am not taking anyone's side to this situation, but I wondered throughout the film if Forever 21 wasn't as much as at fault as the people who physically ran the sweatshops.  

Blog 9- The Exploitation of Garment Workers

            I have actually seen this documentary before two years ago as part of the Fair Trade Task Force in MPIRG. However, before seeing it then, I had no idea about the sweatshop working conditions in which Forever 21 clothing is made. It did help impact my awareness about shopping, but I have also been working with MPIRG campaigns and learning about sweatshops still in existence in the U.S. and in U.S. territories in other courses. I do think that Made in L.A. is an important tool to open people's eyes. A broader publicity might have helped the workers in their campaign, but it is difficult to know because it looked like they already had quite a bit of publicity. Too much publicity can also create a backlash, but I believe it is important for the public to know what is going on. I am disappointed in the media because I did not find out about this struggle until long after it was resolved (to an extent).

            I think that the film did a decent job with an intersectional depiction, but it did lack a focus on a story of a man working in sweatshop conditions. It is difficult for the angle of the story, however, because very few men work in sweatshops and tend to do more heavy labor as immigrants. For the purpose and focus of the film (on the specific campaign against Forever 21), I think that it did a good job addressing various lives and lifestyles of those involved in the boycott. In this situation, a few store representatives are addressed and given opportunities to speak. More than anything, their silence is due to an unwillingness to speak. At the same time, we hear the voices of the privileged store managers and presidents all the time, when the marginalized garment workers are silenced. This story gives the garment workers the opportunity to tell their story from their point of view without the influence and intimidation of people higher up or the consumers.

            I really enjoy this documentary and think it is heartbreaking to hear some of the stories and to know that sweatshops still exist, not just in the United States, but also around the world. That also brings up an important point mentioned in the film about how garment workers are having a harder time getting jobs because companies and contractors are moving the work elsewhere, where they can continue to get away with sweatshop conditions for their workers. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped; we need to work to come up with transnational regulations in the labor industry to end exploitation of workers.

Blog 9

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21 before seeing this movie on Thursday.  Before viewing the movie, I had already cut my frequent shopping at the store, simply because I need to start saving money for after I graduate this semester. Student loans over fashion, I suppose. But the movie overall did make me think more about the clothes that I do buy at Forever 21 or otherwise.

I was mainly just surprised because I assumed that bigger, more global chains would be more apt to use sweatshop labor.  But then the more that I thought about it, labor standards probably do have a direct correlation with how the store can get away with such low prices. This is probably why broader publicity was needed, so more people would have been aware.  Though at the same time, I think that at the time this film was made, Forever 21 wasn't quite to the nationwide peak/popularity that it is today.

I do think that this film was an intersectional depiction. It involves race, gender, and class. The women garment workers are non-white, lower class females, which is important to their story, because unfortunately they are at a disadvantage in the American white, male business world hierarchy.  This interwoven element of their story was essential because it greatly contributed to their treatment during the boycott, the initial rejection, and the many months that it took for their case to be appealed. As far as other aspects, I guess nothing else was really necessary. I feel that there was enough information to be thoroughly invested in the story. However, I would have been interested to know where those women are now, simply because it is easy for the audience to have an emotional connection to their stories.

As far as other voices being included in the documentary, clearly it would have been more "balanced" had the Forever 21 corporate staff had a say. But however, it was their choice not to comment on the situation. Though, a deeper perspective of what the Forever 21 customers thought of the boycott/circumstances would have been interesting.     

Blog #9: Made in L.A./Hench en Los Angeles

I had heard there was a boycott against Forever 21 because of poor working conditions of the women making clothing for them, but I was not aware that the sweatshops were in Los Angeles. Over the last several years there have been several documentaries made about the sweatshop conditions women migrant workers from around the world, but I had not seen one involving workers in the United States. In some ways, (although it is, retrospectively, perhaps a bit naive) this was the hardest part of watching this film; that these conditions exist here in the United States.

On some level, broader publicity of the worker's campaign may have helped at least pressure Forever 21 into negotiations earlier. However, even if Forever 21 was forced to change production in the United States, it seems reasonable to assume they would have moved production to another country and continued these same business practices to maintain their profits.

Most of the workers in Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles are immigrant women from Latin America, but even within this group of women there is a great amount of diversity; some are undocumented, some are single, some are mothers; some come from Mexico or El Salvador. However, all of these women are made vulnerable to exploitation in the garment industry because of their socioeconomic status. The historical and cultural connections to women and the garment industry could have been explored further in the movie, especially during the trip made to New York. Additionally, there was surprisingly little detail about the experience of the women at work. However, the gendered domestic lives of these women were well portrayed, especially through Maria Pineda. Pineda highlighted the ways that women work a "double day" through wage labor and domestic responsibilities including child rearing, cooking, and cleaning. Lupe Hernandez summed the ways these women's immigrant status influenced their experience when she said the as an immigrant "you basically don't exist." I imagine undocumented workers are especially vulnerable to sweatshop exploitation because of the fear of deportation.

I think hearing from someone that represented Forever 21 would have added a nice dimension to the documentary, but it is not surprising they refused to be interviewed. Interviews with immigration and/or labor lawyers may have added a richer understanding of the women's struggle as well as tying their experience to the historical experiences of women in the garment industry in the United States.

week 9 blog

            I had not heard about the boycott against forever 21 prior to this movie. It would not have changed my shopping patterns mainly because I do not work there. That being said I do try and pay attention to these issues and plan my shopping accordingly. There is a lot of hype around American Apparel because they are a strictly U.S. based company and that claims to be "sweat shop free". I choose not to shop there because of their business ethics and their attitudes towards workers rights. They have a history of anti-union tactics. When shopping (online), I try to be conscious of what I'm buying by using Knowmore.org - a website started by Hip-hop artist Sage Francis. The idea behind Know More "is to raise awareness of corporate abuse, and to serve as a catalyst for direct action against corporate power."

 

            I think the movie did a good job addressing the campaigners' lives and identities. Their histories of their migration to the United States is very vital in explaining how they got their jobs. Since many of them don't speak English and come here illegally they must get whatever job they can. Unfortunately, many of them take on sweatshop a job because they believe that that's all there is for them and they don't have rights as workers. Like one of them said, they take the jobs that no one else is willing to take because little money is better than none. In regards to other voices that should've been included, I think it would have been good to hear from some of the mail workers as well. While the job as a garment worker is primarily female, there were men at those meetings. Even if they did not work there they were supportive, and hearing their opinions would've been beneficial as well. One voice that we didn't get to hear from was Forever21 but that was because they refused to answer any questions. I would've like to hear their justifications; that would've been interesting.

 

            The movie brought up an interesting point in bringing up Globalization. With the garment workers making big gains in regards to their wages, a lot lost their jobs after the companies decided to ship them overseas. One of the workers was learning English and was going to take the steps to become an American citizen because she lost her job after it went overseas. That's not to say that the struggle has stopped. The other day an article was posted about 3 garment workers who had lost their lives due to rioting outside a factory where the bosses had decided to shut it down refusing to pay its workers for their time.

http://libcom.org/news/3-dead-garment-workers-clashes-unions-promised-new-role-04112009

 

Blog 9

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21. However, before watching the movie, I wonder where the company hired people to make enormous amount of clothing since young girls are now attracted to fashion. I love shopping at Forever 21 because of the style and the prices are very cheap. But now I know why the prices are cheap. Plus seeing the movie makes me think about how we pay so much for buying Forever 21 clothes, yet the garment workers are getting paid less of what they make. Although the campaign did indeed spread throughout the nation, I wasn't aware of it. I think broader publicity would have helped the workers if they traveled to different state and go protest in cities where people can actually see and learn what is going on with the garment workers. Unless the media are trying to exclude the issue from letting people know, especially majority of money spend on Forever 21 clothes are targeted manly on young women.


The movie did a good job of addressing intersectional depiction of the campaigners because the women talked about their life before and after coming to the United States. They also talked about having high hope of an American dreams and working in a job that was fair. Unfortunately, things didn't go the way they planned because their spouse causes chaos, and the job they were working for was unfair to them. I think they should have address other garment workers who does not work for Forever 21, however have similar issue because it would have made more people be aware of the issue of unpaid rights for garment workers.


The Forever 21 president should have voice his or her opinion about the boycott because it would have made better sense of why garment workers are not getting paid correctly. Unless they knew about the unpaid rights of the workers, but decided to not speak out because they are guilty of the truth. People can assume a lot of things, and think that the president does not care about the workers but themselves. Aside for the president, shutting off managers to not speak about the issue must have been the president idea of not leaking the problems of garment workers. yet wanting to make profits by not letting other people know about the issue.

Blog #9-Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles

Although I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21, I have walked past this store many times when I've been out in the malls with my daughters.  Our own shopping patterns consist of second hand stores like Savers, Goodwill & other thrift stores.  There are also some good consignment stores out there where you can earn some money by bringing in clothes you no longer wear.  I am glad to know that my daughters also prefer these stores over shopping at the mall stores.  After seeing this documentary, I can't say that I'm going to change my views on mall stores any time soon. I'm sticking to my secondhand stores.

While I do have my own personal limits as to what I will and will not buy secondhand, I do know people who have no limits.  What are we really paying so much for when we buy things like clothing brand new? I would rather buy something secondhand than support something like this.  Being that I do sew, as my hobby and also at times for hire. I have the freedom to choose how much to charge for my time and effort.  These workers do not have this luxury, which I feel is very sad.  They have more skill that I do after 20 years of sewing and they get no credit for it. I myself, can only manage to sew for a couple hours at a time.  I could not fathom 10-12 hours days & no breaks and having to bring it home too.

The courts initially denied the case, which prolonged a process that already takes along time to get through. Broader publicity may have brought more attention to the boycott.  It's not hard to figure out that this type of case would have gotten more attention, more media and possibly been over sooner if the campaigner's were not undocumented, Hispanic/Mexican women. Then again, at least in the U.S. for sure there would not have been a group of middle to lower class Caucasian/white women in this position.  The sweatshop owners knew who to target and that is just what they did.  Like it was mentioned in the movie, It's was better to take the little they could get than have nothing at all.

Whether or not Forever 21 actually "knew" about the conditions the garment factory workers were under, we will not know.  They choose to deny an interview, which in my mind basically says they did know they were wrong in what they were doing.  The store manager who was taking pictures...what was she going to do with them? Make scrapbook to preserve the memory?  There were so many people involved directly and indirectly in the wrongdoings of Forever 21.  I'm glad that these strong women and men(as there were some) finally got to share their story and experience victory over Forever 21.

While I did pay attention to the legal details of the story, I was much more interested in the personal stories of the women, their families and how they came to the U.S.   I felt that this was a good example of the intersectionality of race, class & gender.  These women came from countries where they have already struggled.  Countries where as Lupe herself stated, "there was no place to advance themselves."  They came to the U.S.  for a better life and they were taken advantage of .  They were all young girls upon arriving in the U.S. some were married with babies, some were orphans, and some had to leave their babies behind .  I have not experienced any of these conditions in my own life and do not know anyone who has. 

Being a young mom in the U.S. is one thing, being a young mom and having to live the life these women had been living was a different story.  These are all strong women, they are supporting their entire families, some here in the states and some in their home country.  Maria, who's husband had a job but drank away his paycheck every payday.  I was glad to see that she eventually was able to get out of that situation.  He did not support her in the boycott, but she soon found that she didn't need his support.  Lupe has a strength that has kept her alive in the worst times of her life.  It was sad to see her put herself down, calling herself ugly.  She came so far in this movie and accomplished alot, yet she did not forget who she was and were she came from.

If any of these women ended up discouraged, which was understandable, it did not last long.  Maura had been planning on having her children come to L.A. from El Salvador, the plan did not work out which was heartbreaking for her.   Maura and her sister were able to acknowledge that they came from a country where they could not better themselves, they also greatly missed the simplicity and the beauty of their country.  They sacrificed so much and ended up receiving very little for it.  

The tour in New York of the Tenement Museum was really an interesting part of the movie.  It did show that the backbone of the United States were at one time, and possibly now the immigrants who come here for a better life.  You can see it even today, they will work the jobs no one else will work.  The low paying, hard labor jobs that yes, they may not have it as bad as these women did, but it's still not acceptable in my mind.  I have not been to New York but I would like to go someday and see those areas that show those people who had a hand in making our country.  Somewhere along the lines, I think the dream they all had has been lost in what is now run by corporate executives who get rich off others like Lupe, Maura and Maria. 

When I saw the street sign that said "Fashion District" & knowing that this movie was set in L.A., my most favorite show, Project Runway flashed through my mind.  I wonder, if this area is still the same.  There are were many small independent shops in the show that are a part of that area of L.A. Project Runway is a big time show and I can't help but think if the designers are really aware of what might be going on not too far from where they might be. 

Week 9 Blog Entry

Prior to watching the documentary, I had not heard of the boycott, but I also have the feeling it may have been several years ago because I do not know how old the movie is. If it was something that I was aware of and it happened recently, it would have absolutely impacted my shopping patterns, and I feel like it would also affect the shopping patters of many of my peers; I feel that broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign. If more people were aware of the boycott, more people would have participated, and Forever 21 may not have waited until the court ruling to make changes.

 

I'm a public relations student, and throughout the movie I grew more than a little frustrated with the lack of publicity the Garment Workers Center was advocating for. The center was very good with grassroots organization, but a cause does not stop there. To get people to adopt your cause, you need to let them know about it. The simple fact of the matter is that they failed to inform the general public. The protests did get them some media attention, but the clips that were shown seemed to be local to Los Angeles or in the Spanish speaking press. I'm confident that with just a little bit of effort, the center could have gained enough earned media to dramatically change the country's attitudes towards Forever 21; the boycott had several aspects needed for news coverage: newness, conflict against a large organization, significance because of the number of people the cause represented, timeliness because of ongoing immigration debates, and prominence because Forever 21 is well-known.

 

I feel like the movie did a good job with intersectional analysis because it talked not only about gender, but about class and race. They even discussed immigration status frequently. I was a little surprised that no men were interviewed.

 

I think the movie was effective because it told the story mostly though the eyes of the garment workers who rarely have this big of a platform to voice their concerns. Forever 21 declined to comment, so while it might have been nice to get a little bit of their side of the story, that was impossible. I do think that they could have explored some other garment factories that are sweatshop-free to talk about how they were able to provide acceptable working conditions when other factories failed to offer fair hours and fair pay.

 

I found some similar information on current boycotts and sweatshops online:

http://aintiawoman.org/DKNY/dkny.html

http://www.nmass.org/nmass/index.html

http://www.aflcio.org/corporatewatch/stop/

Week 9 Blog Assignment

I had not heard of the boycott against Forever 21 until I saw the movie Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles. If I had heard about it prior to seeing this film, I think that it definitely would have made an impact on my shopping habits.  I don't often buy clothes from Forever 21, but I do buy bags and accessories from the For Love 21 store, and I assume that if the women making the garments for the company were subject to such harsh conditions, women making accessories, scarves, and handbags would be subject to the same conditions as well.  It would have at least made me think twice before entering the store in the first place.  I think that the broader population definitely would have helped workers with their campaign had they known about it.  It may not be a majority of shoppers, but even deterring one person who then deterred another and so forth could make a profound impact for the workers' cause.

 

I think that the movie did a decent job showing an intersectional analysis of the campaigners.  They showed a broad range of ages amongst the workers as well as did an excellent job portraying the worker's public and private lives and how issues regarding the campaign affected both aspects of their lives, not just one.  I kind of wish the movie had shown more male workers perspectives as well as maybe what some of the garment workers husbands felt about their wives investing so much of their time into the campaign (nearly 3 years I believe it was)

 

I think that having the story be told exclusively by the garment workers themselves was extremely effective.  It is important hearing the trials and tribulations of the actual people who worked for Forever 21 rather than their story being told through someone else. It makes the issue much more real since, as I explained before, we also got a look into their familial and personal lives and how the boycott effecting more than just their jobs, it affected their (and their family's) livelihood.  I do think it would have been interesting to see what employees of the retail chain felt about the boycott as well as what the president of the company had to say about all the issues going on, but I' think that even if it was in the film, it would have been completely censored since there is probably a protocol on what Forever 21 employees can even legally say about the company without putting their jobs at risk.  Interviewing anyone other than the workers probably would have detracted from the main message of the movie.

Blog Post 9

Before watching the movie, "Made in L.A." I had never heard of Forever 21.  Not that I shop at stores like that, or retail in general but I'm a little embarrassed that I was unaware of the boycott.  The movie didn't outline the time frame very well.  I understand that the boycott continued for three years however by the end of the movie I was unclear as to what year the lawsuit finally settled out of court.  I checked on line and from wikipedia.org I discovered that the lawsuit ended in 2001 with no admission of wrong doing by the company only that they would abide by labor laws and pay back wages to employees who had worked in the sweat shops that they contracted through.

I also learned that Forever 21 is much more unscrupulous and unethical then the movie depicted.  I think it's fascinating that not only were there law suits filed by the Garment Workers but also by Diane von Furstenberg, a designer who claimed that they were stealing designs by "high end fashion brands". After that other designers followed suit with their own claims that the company was ripping off designs.  In 2004 PETA too put pressure on the company to stop selling clothes made with animal fur, which they agreed to do.  There refund policy is also under scrutiny for not giving full refunds but rather giving store credit for any returned item.

I was fascinated with the stories of the women featured in the movie.  It was interesting to see their transformation from quiet and accepting of their situation to fighting back and realizing that even as undocumented workers they had a right not to be exploited and should be paid, at the least, a minimum wage.  I would have like to learn more about what was actually going on within the building of the garment workers.  But then I guess that would have breached confidentiality by showing the managers and needlessly exposing the other undocumented workers.  I was also curious as to how the Garment Worker Center got started, how the women and lawyers who were working on behalf of the garment workers got involved and who was financing the project / Center.

It was stated that the producers of the movie tried to interview someone from Forever 21 but they refused.  Those are the voices that were missing for me.

They did try and tell their stories by traveling to colleges and talking to students and by picketing at stores in other cities.  I was impressed that they sent Lupe to Hong Kong to participate in the rally taking place at the 2005 World Trade Organization's conference in order to draw attention to international workers being affected by the globalized market . . . or at least that was my assumption since they didn't expand on that either.

One of my favorite things that Lupe said, and there were several was essentially this: 'Ignorance can keep you isolated from knowing or wanting more.  And the more I learn the lonelier I become'.  It was difficult and eye opening for her to see the injustices and yet I'm sure it made her a stronger and more resilient person having had the experiences she did.

video blog

I had never heard of the Forever 21 boycott before seeing this movie. The movie made me more aware of how clothes are made, I always knew that there were exploited workers, but the movie was very eye opening to the fact that these garment workers are suffering. When I shop now, I will be more aware of where the clothes are coming from. I cannot say that I will never buy something from Forever 21 again (because there was a settlement agreement), but I think it is important to be aware. I believe that broader publicity would have been a lot of help when they were on the boycott. I had never heard of it before the movie, they should have had more publicity at more stores around the country.
I think this is an intersectional analysis because the movie reported on many aspects of their lives. From the conditions at the place of work, to the family structure at home; the movie showed us how being exploited effected every aspect of their lives. I think the movie did a very good job of showing us how working at Forever 21 was affecting their lives in more than one way.
I thought that having the garment workers do most of the narrating was very effective. It made the story more believable and had a greater emotional impact. It gave us a look into the faces of the exploited workers and we got to see first had how bad the conditions were and how making less than minimum wage was not enough to support a family. I wish that there could have been more information on the actual agreement that they made at the end, but I realize that it is illegal to record that information. I would also like to know the opinions of the other side, the president of Forever 21, and see how he felt about it and why he didn't do anything sooner.

Blog 9

After watching the movie Made in L.A/ Hecho en Los Angeles, it was much to my surprise about the boycott against Forever 21. I do not shop regularly at Forever 21, so that might be the reason I was not aware of the boycott that was taking place.  I definitely think that broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign, mainly to spread the word to more people. They started with a small group of female garment workers; I think that if they recruited more people, like employees of Forever 21, both male and female, they could target a higher population of people and expand it to all 50 states.

            I also believe that this movie did a good job of depicting intersectionality. We observed the lives of the Hispanic women of the working class. We saw the family structure of how it was mainly the woman who raised the children and was working to support her family. They did not talk much about the men or husbands of these women and how they contributed to their family. We never found out what kinds of jobs the men had or how their income contributed to the family. We also observed the community these Hispanic women lived in which also form their identity.

            This movie was mainly told by the garment workers, I thought this was important because you got an understanding of their life. The experiences, and hardships these women went through both at their private life at home and public life at the factory.  I think it was important that this movie was told mainly by the garment workers, but I think it would have been beneficial to interview the President of Forever 21 to hear his excuses about the poor working conditions, the excessive hours of work, not receiving overtime, but mainly the unfair pay. These women were not even getting paid minimum wage!

            One thing that really stood out to me was how strong these women are. They continued their boycott for over three years and continued fighting for what they wanted. They were not going to stop until the papers were signed.  It was also interesting how much work the women did at home to support their family. I cannot even imagine living in these circumstances and I hope it makes everyone think of the different places the shop at.

            

Blog 9 Assignment

I was not aware of the boycott against the clothing store Forever 21.  However, I told some of my friends about the movie and they had heard about the boycott.  I definitely think the movie did a good job at showing the lives of the campaigners.  By the end of the movie, I really felt like I knew the campaigners personally; their families, their struggles, etc.  I don't think they needed to go any further in detail about the campaigners because the point of the movie was to depict the problem with sweat shops not share the lives of the campaigners.  I thought the movie did a good job at keeping a balance between the lives of the campaigners and the problem with the Forever 21.

I don't think other people's voices were really necessary in the movie.  The voices that were important, discussed, and meaningful were those of the garment workers.  I think it would have been interesting to hear what the president, Mr. Chang, had to say about the garment worker's boycott but the movie showed he declined to be interviewed.  I really enjoyed the movie, Hecho en Los Angeles, because it was political and interesting.  It made me think about the way other people live and that sometimes I take my life and the privileges I have for granted.  No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you do, everyone has the right to be treated equally and with dignity.  I applaud the campaigners for their persistance and determination.
 

Blog 9

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21. I have never bought anything there, but it did make me think about all the other places that sell cheap things like that. Those clothes, shoes, or whatever had to be made somewhere. It makes me wonder if the prices I pay are enough to cover the production of the product, considering that most companies will take higher profits over fair pay. We generally ignore this problem when it occurs outside of the U.S. I know I buy things made in countries with sweatshops that aren't illegal. Then we think that if something is made in the U.S. its ok, that the manufacturer had to pay the workers minimum wage because it's the law.

 

I don't know how much of an impact higher publicity would have had for these workers. I think the people I know that shop at Forever 21 would have stopped had they known, but how much impact would a drop in sales have had on the lawsuit? I don't think it could have expedited the process too considerably, and the dip in sales would probably have eventually ended when the story got old.

 

I think the movie did a pretty good job presenting an intersectional analysis of the campaigners' lives. They investigated the affects of the workers' race and class on their situation. One thing I think they could have done more to look into is the affect of their gender on their status as employees. They definitely showed the roles these women had as wives and mothers outside of the factory, but they didn't investigate gender within the working environment. We did not see many male garment workers, and I wonder if that is because most of the garment workers are female. If so, they could have presented a similar occupation dominated by male Latino immigrants to explore what (if any) impact being female had on the garment workers' treatment.

 

In order to get a fair picture of the situation, I do think the filmmakers need to talk to people from all sides of the issue. The story is definitely about the garment workers' struggles, but that needs to be balanced by a fair depiction of who exactly they're up against. In this case it looked like the Forever 21 people were not willing to talk, and the women's direct employers shut their doors on the cameras. So, maybe it just wasn't possible to get their point of view.

Week 9 Blog - Video

I was never aware of the boycott against Forever 21 before seeing Made in LA. I do however shop there often so I definitely took this movie to heart. I love shopping there because the clothes are so cheap, but now I know why they are so cheap. I was really relieved to hear that they finally did win the lawsuit and an agreement was signed toward fair labor practices.

 

I think this movie did a fairly good job with intersectional analysis in some ways. They focused on women from different places around the world, women who came from different types of families, and Women of different ages. However, I did notice that the entire movie focused on the female gender and not at all on the males that were also affected by this case. Also, It would have been difficult to bring in the intersection of different classes because upper class people were not experiencing these difficulties.

 

I think the focus on the garment workers was effective. The workers and their families were the people who took the hardest hit in this case and the focus on them made the movie very powerful and it gave them a chance to spread their word.

Blog #9

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21 only after seeing it did I realize that something like this occurred to a retailer store that many women around the U.S. shops at. I shop at Forever 21 sometimes and seeing this makes me think differently about the store. It also makes me think about the other retailer stores that I shop at and I wonder if there are garment workers like these workers that deal with the same situation at these other stores. Broader publicity would maybe help more because the world knows about this boycott and it would be more helpful for the garment workers.

 

This boycott Forever 21 is an intersectional depiction of the campaigners because it focuses on the women's lives and how they dealt with working as a garment worker. They struggled throughout the process and to get the chance to do something about it and get the agreement they wanted, help change their lives around. We got to see what they needed help with and how they came public about it. Even though they also doubted that the agreement would not pass with the President of Forever 21, they stayed positive and strong during the 3 years. The workers got to express their feelings, thoughts, and concerns about the situation and their lives with their family.

 

I don't think that anyone else's voice should be heard because this was focused on the women garment workers. They had to deal with the fact that they got paid so little and it was hard to support their family. The women's got the chance to speak out and get their voices heard so that other people knew what they were going through. This was a very interesting video to watch and something new for me to learn about the garment workers and their lives working for Forever 21.

Week 9 Blog

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21 before this movie.  I was a bit shocked, but another one of my impressions was "What company does not have sweat shops anymore?" If you look at where your clothing is made, there are a number of them that claim the Philippines, China, Ecuador, and many more third world countries. Forever 21 just hits at home. Sweat-shops are wrong of course, but how is it that they expect a change when there is always other people willing to take the jobs that they are protesting against? Companies can just go find another group to exploit if one complains too much, thus making those who complaint out of job. It is a complex structure that would require more work and unification to achieve rights. I believe that the broader publicity may have helped the workers in the campaign if it understood what was going on. The fact that the protestors had signs in Spanish may confuse some people, and I felt that they protested in their local communities more than anything. They should have expanded their protests to other cities surrounding the California area, and again, more people would have helped. They needed more unification, and I felt that they did lose hope in the video.

 

I found that this video was indeed an intersectional depiction of the campaigners. It goes into class, and their status, and looks at how their job affects how they live and struggle.  From family, to living conditions, to wage pay, it all contributes to how they live, and shapes who they are.  Some other aspects that could have been address are its affect on the children and their perspectives. I personally believe that children that grow up in situations such as this, grow up a lot faster than middle-income children. They are faced with responsibilities that most teenagers in American don't even think about. Like the little "chunky" boy who has to translate for his mother, she also noted that he wanted to get a job to help out the family. He looks like he hasn't even fully developed yet, and here he is thinking about money and contribution.

 

I believe that with the story from the garment workers, it does have an emotional affect. You get a first hand look into their lives, and realize how difficult it really is. I believe it was very affective and heartfelt, and if there were any other voices, I think that hearing from Forever 21 itself would have been interesting. The customers that continue to shop there would have been interesting to look at too. It would have probably make the situation even more complex though because consumers shop there because it is cheap/fashionable because of low wage pay in sweat shops, so the question is whether or not the general public is willing to sacrifice cheap clothes to pay workers what they deserve...

Week 9 Blog

Before watching the movie, I had not heard of the "Forever 21 Boycott." It is interesting to hear about a boycott against a large known retailer. I am wondering if any other large retailer has gone through a similar process. Do other large retail stores have sweatshops that do not pay minimum wage or don't care about their employees? I do believe that if their campaign had had more publicity more people in America could have seen the affect that these employees were going through. However, with greater publicity, people could have felt pity for these employees but not truly understand what they were experiencing or the message being conveyed in the media.

Overall, I do believe the movie addressed intersectionality very well. They interviewed the women, looking into both their private lives and how the sweatshop affected their own families, as well as their public lives and how it took away any free time. The movie compared the lives of three, I believe, lower class women to each other as well as other people affected by these sweatshops. The movie addressed where they originally came from and how when they left their home, they were looking for a bigger dream in America but ended up having to work for less than minimum wage in unfit conditions. However, the movie did not address the conflicts that men faced, either who worked in the sweatshops or whose wife worked in the sweatshops. Interviews with the men would have given a different perspective and maybe another side of the story that the women's perspectives left out.

Additional voices that could have been included in the movie were the maintenance employees who had to make sure the equipment was running properly. Since they would have also been contracted out by Forever 21, were they being paid less than necessary and receiving no benefits. Also, it would have been nice to hear what the cashiers, store managers, and up to the top executives thought about this boycott and if they knew that the stores clothes were being made in unsuitable sweatshops by people who were paid very little. I know in the movie they tried to conduct an interview with the President of Forever 21 and other higher up managers, but they refused to answer.

 

Blog 9

I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21, and I was quite shocked when I heard about it. Forever 21 has been one of my favorite stores for the past few years, and after seeing the documentary, I now see the store in a negative light. I definitely think that a broader policy would've helped workers with their campaign because if more people were aware of what was going on, they would have second guessed buying from Forever 21. The campaign did spread out nationally, but I think that if they were able to reach more people, it would've prompted others to take action. Also, I noticed that they protested speaking Spanish a lot of the time, and I think that this could have been a way that people didn't know what was going on because of the language barrier. I think that the documentary was an intersectional analysis because it focused on Hispanic women who were all of the working class. I believed that they could've talked more about men's roles in the garment industry and how they face problems as well. I would also like to know the challenges of being an undocumented immigrant as well as being a documented immigrant and how the labor conditions vary.

I think that it was beneficial that the garment workers only spoke in Spanish during the film because it gave a direct look into their lives, and if it wasn't spoken in Spanish, it would have been like an "outsider looking in" point of view. The fact that they spoke in Spanish allowed the viewer to be placed in their situation. I do not think that other voices should have been included because the documentary was based around the struggles that the garment workers were facing and other voices would have took away from that. They did have a brief clip from the president of Forever 21, but he denied responsibility of what was going on. Any other voices would have denied what was going on as well and would take away from the main focus.

Blog 9

 

            Before seeing the movie, I had no idea that there was a boycott like this against Forever 21. I found it interesting and after figuring out that it was this type of store, I started to reflect and question the stores that I shop at. O just wondered if the types of retailers that I shop at have gone through this similar dilemma and if their workers are being paid fairly, from the very tip-top down. I think that a broader publicity would not have helped the workers more because it had to start where the oppression and unfair acts started. I think that if they were to have gone into other places and protested, other people would not have received the message as clearly and would not have understood it.

            Overall, I think that this movie does a really good job of intersectionality. I think that they only thing that they leave out is the views of the men -meaning the husbands of the women that had protested. They also did not interview men and I would have liked to have seen that, in order to get both views of the gender perspective. Other than that, I think that they did a great job by going to their place of origin, digging into their public vs. private lives and showing how they compared to other people within society.

            I think that there should have been other people's voices heard within this campaign. I think that the voices of the shop workers on up to the CEOs should have been addressed, even though they tried to get them to interview. Also, I think that the janitors and the mechanics of the machinery should have been included because without them, these garment workers would not have had a place to work.

Week 9 Blog Assignment

After watching the film "Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles, I was quite surprised to be honest.  This may be naive on my own part, but I was not aware that we had a major sweat shop problem in the U.S., for some reason I only thought that was a problem they mostly had in China.  However, this movie opened up my eyes to the issues of sweat shops in the U.S. and I'm very glad I saw this film.  Before the film, I was not aware of the boycott against Forever 21, and if I had been aware of this it would have impacted my shopping patterns at the store in a negative way for their company.  I was actually just at a Forver 21 store yesterday to return a purchase I had made a few weeks ago.  To my surprise, Forever 21 doesn't let you return, you only have the option of an exchange or in store credit, I chose the credit.  After seeing this film, I really don't want to shop their anymore. Even though in the film they came to an agreement, I still feel what they did to these workers in the first was terrible and should of never happened.  I think that broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign. Perhaps, I wasn't paying close enough attention, but I was never aware of this problem, and I know all my friends who shop at Forever 21 weren't either. If there had been more publicity around this issue, I think that more people would have joined in and helped the workers win their case.   

I believe this movie is an intersectional depiction of the campaigners because it incorporates race, class, and gender.  It also touched on the workers places of origin and their family history.  I think it would have been interesting if in the film they talked to more male employees and to the female employees's kids.  I think the children of these garment factory workers would have provided an interesting aspect to the film.  I know the head people at the company of Forever 21 refused to be interviewed for this film.  However, I think it would have been useful to the film if they had interviewed people who worked in Forever 21 stores and customers who shop their to get their opinion on the situation.  This would have added a completely different perspective then the one that the workers game.    

Week 9 Blog Assignment

NOTE: I will not have email access tomorrow, since i will be working inside a polling place as na election judge from 6AM-10PM.

Due to technical issues with the movie I planned to show, you will, instead watch Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles. After watching the movie, please respond to the following questions:
Were you aware of the boycott against Forever 21 before seeing the movie? If so, did this awareness impact your shopping patterns? Do you think that broader publicity would have helped the workers in their campaign?

The movie addresses various aspects of the campaigners' lives and identities, including place of origin, family structure, and, of course, class. Is this movie an intersectional depiction of the campaigners? Are there other aspects of their lives that you think should have been addressed?
 
The story of the Forever 21 campaign is told almost exclusively in the words of garment workers. Should other people's voices have been included/ Why (and whose) or why not?

Since we will not have time for extensive discussion of the movie, I encourage you to include  other relevant comments or questions about the movie in your post.