Archive for the ‘ Culture ’ Category

Crossing the Line: Couture or Exploitation?

Parents are arguing that there is a thick line between art and exploitation. However, French Vogue seems to think otherwise. Photos of 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau, has caused an uproar in the fashion industry. From the pounds of makeup to the provocative poses, the doe eyed mini model has created a new image for preteens. The question is if this image is setting a positive example for other young girls.

CEO of Concerned Women for America, Penny Nance, disagrees:

“This is clearly child exploitation and her parents should be legally charged.”

Other critics felt the same about this issue. Editor of Feminsting.com, Chloe Angyal, stated: “This isn’t edgy. It’s inappropriate, and creepy, and I never want to see a nine-year-old girl in high-heeled leopard print bedroom slippers ever again.”

The other side of the debate is far more complicated, perhaps a culture clash? French critics have come to Blondeau’s defense and argued that her photos are artistic and not sexualized at all. In fact, some have even accused readers of having a pedophile mentality for looking at an adolescent in a sexual way. In contrast, French publications reported this incident in a different manner.

According to the Nouvel Observateur, “Rightly so, Veronika [Thylane's mother] wonders what is going on, “These photos were taken in December! I understand that these photos can be shocking. I was present during the shoot and I was shocked …about the price of the necklace she is wearing! It costs three million Euros!”

The French media did not focus on the portrayal of Blondeau because they believed that the content of her pictures were simply irrelevant. So are French girls raised differently than American girls? Absolutely!

French sociologist Carol Mann explains:

“There is no real teenage culture in France, no Larry Clark nor Hillary Duff. Somehow, one goes straight from childhood to a semblance of adulthood.”

In other words, French society is more accepting to this type of modeling because French girls grow up to be women a lot faster than American girls. Seeing mini-skirts and tight dresses hanging in a child’s closet is nothing out of the ordinary. Popular French clothing lines like APC and Maje design children outfits to be identical to the adults. Americans are not raised to understand French customs and vice-versa, however maybe this issue needs to be discussed further.

Where do you draw the line?

Breyana Kelly

Interracial Acceptance

 We enter an era of ever increasing interracial friendships and marriages.  Cultural difference are becoming embraced and appreciated in many  different facets of American life.

This racial acceptance exists because the American youth is significantly  more exposed to different racial groups than their parents and  grandparents were. People are learning to interact and embrace different  ethnicities. The University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy  released a study showing that young adults who were 15 -25 years of age  are “more tolerant and open-minded than previous generations”.  Many  college students are required to take courses on cultural diversity. And  when choosing a university, young students research the school’s diversity statistics.  Also, the schools attempt to create organizations that consider every culture and race on the campus. They promote cultural diversity in recruitment techniques through scholarships and grants.

Elementary school students are constantly exposed to cultural activities that promote diverse friendships among them. With television popular children’s programs such as “Dora the Explorer” and “Little Bill”, children learn to recognize, accept and relate to people of all races. Through cultural exposure and education, the youth is increasingly accepting of people of other races.

Opinion polls show overwhelming popular support, especially among younger people, for interracial marriage. On June 12, 1967, only 44 short years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ended a Virginia statute barring whites from marrying non-whites. 15 other states also overturned similar bans after this decision.

As USA Today states, “Since that landmark Loving v. Virginia ruling, the number of interracial marriages has soared; for example, black-white marriages increased from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 in 2005, according to Census Bureau figures.”  Interracial dating and marriages are becoming increasingly accepted.

In the business environment, companies are respected for promoting diversity. It is beneficial because employees from different cultures can provide unique input and opinions. Each person can provide vital viewpoints that others may not have the knowledge of. Diversity helps a company remain competitive in the global economy. It also adds a creative marketing edge to have input from people of different walks of life.

PRB.org stated the following regarding the New US Census, “The 2010 questionnaire lists 15 racial categories, as well as places to write in specific races not listed on the form. The 2010 Census continues the option first introduced in the 2000 Census for respondents to choose more than one race. Only about 2 percent of Americans identified with more than one race in the 2000 Census, but the percentage was much higher for children and young adults and will likely increase in 2010.”

With the new US Census statistics it will be clearer than ever to compile new, relevant data regarding interracial living in America. From this information, we will be able to determine which states are the most diverse and relate it to numerous other studies.

This increasing acceptance leads to fulfilling friendships and relationships. It is exciting to imagine the world 50 years from now, embracing culture and unity.

By: Brandy Bynum

Censored Playlist

An old quote says “you are what you eat,” so I wonder are we also a product of what we listen to? Maybe not but others may think you are. A recent study at the University of Cambridge explained that what we listen to is a direct reflection on our personality, goals and other personal characteristics.  For example, we assume that the jock only listens to the latest top 40 and hip-hop music while the nerd’s iPod is sure to be loaded with classical artists like Mozart and Beethoven. 

“This research suggests that, even though our assumptions may not be accurate, we get a very strong impression about someone when we ask them what music they like,” said Dr. Jason Rentfrow, who led the study.

Pulling up to your annual job cookout playing Lil Wayne sends a completely different message than if you were playing Jill Scott. Being stereotyped by the music we listen to is inevitable. However, as women we must remember to always send a positive message even if it is through our music selection. So before you roll down the windows and blast the music, take a second look at your song selection before you press play.

By: DJ Eskada