Blog Post for Week 5

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I found the most interesting article from this week was the article on soap. I'm an English major so I've had to study a lot in the Victorian era my the British Literature classes I've taken in the past. One interesting thing I found from the article was how the usage and advertising of soap had changed the face of what it meant to live in the Victorian era. I've read a lot of Victorian era novels and articles and one thing that I noticed in my reading was how sterilized the relationships between people as well as the actions of the characters are. In my British Literature class I'm in now, we discussed how in many Victorian era novels sex doesn't happen, babies just appear. As well as no one ever talks about washing or bathroom use except maybe the mention of washing one's face in the morning. I also found it really interesting when reading the McClintock article because I thought of the book The Secret Garden. In the book, Mary Lennox is the main character who grew up in India for a long period of time before her whole family died and she moved to England. In the book she is always very offended if anyone thought she would appear "black" when they heard she was coming from India. The amount of times black people were put down in the book is almost an immeasurable amount. Black people are always thought of as dirty or just as "the work". This is true for a lot of books throughout the Victorian era. By reading the McClintock piece I realized how much British people especially put much more than needed thought into how clean they were as compared to how clean people were from different ethnic groups. This step in marketing soap has forever changed what Western culture thinks about being clean. Today, walking around a store means being bombarded with hundreds of types of items to help clean a person. There are many times when my friends talk down to people who don't shower as often as "what is considered to be acceptable". I find the way soap was originally marketed and advertised to be very cruel to black people or people from the lower classes. It's interesting to also see how those ideas have developed in recent years.

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You mae such a valid point on the issue of cleanlines. It is so curious how we deduct meanings from small attributes such as cleaniless or put-togetherness. You are right in saying that advertisments have made advancements in promiting clealiness all around us. It's like, we can never be "clean" enough. As though we are all living these filthy lives that needs soap as a magical wand to clean everything away. Soap HAS changed what Western Culture thinks about being clean, and now we just buy products because the commercials look nice, or the bottles are pretty. We dont really analyze whats in soap, we take other peoples word for it. For all we know, we may not even be cleaning ourselves. Just rubbing bars of good smelling hard dough on our bodies. All in all, i am in agreeance in saying that cleanliness is only thought of as a high class commodity, rather than just a hygiene ritual. After all, thats basically where it started out at.

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This page contains a single entry by MorgenS published on February 21, 2013 3:48 PM.

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