Cultures have unique ideas of beauty, such as long neck length.
, social construction
, cultural relativity, ideal beauty, 06 to 10 minsYear:
1997Length: 9:56Access: YouTubeSummary: What is beauty? Is beauty an objective feature or is it in the "eye of the beholder"?
According to a 2012 competition
hosted by Lorraine Cosmetics, the most "natural" and "objectively" beautiful woman was determined "scientifically" through such measures as facial symmetry. While the incident ignited a public debate about the ability to "scientifically" measure beauty, a review of the research shows that people's sense of beauty varies across time and culture. In this video, famous anthropologist Desmond Morris notes that while there is a "biological language of sex" in which people are attracted to others through physical characteristics, this process is mediated through a "complex cultural adventure." Throughout cultures across the world, people exaggerate the features of beauty that their culture deems attractive. A study looking at beauty across 200 different cultures found hardly any qualities that existed across all cultures. The video documents several of these physical features on women, including neck length, foot size, and lip size. It illustrates the cultural evaluation of beauty and the (often painful) techniques used to achieve the unnaturally extreme forms of beauty. What notions of female beauty in your culture might be similar to or different from conceptions of beauty found in the video? Viewers may also note the heteronormativity of the video, in which beauty is explicitly stated to attract members of the opposite sex
. Submitted By:
Multi-racial and multi-ethnic identities are on the rise
, social construction
, 00 to 05 minsYear:
5:16Access: New York TimesSummary:
This video accompanies a New York Times article
about mixed race students on college campuses in America. Profiling students at the University of Maryland
, young adults speak out about multi-racial and multi-ethnic identities, relationships, and "racial distinctions of behavior" (as one student puts it). Driven by increasing immigration and interracial marriages, young people today represent a significant and unprecedented demographic shift in the United States. Students respond to this changing environment by raising awareness about multi-racial and multi-ethnic issues and creating a safe space for a multi-cultural community on college campuses. This clip would be useful for initiating class discussions around racial and ethnic identities, social constructions of race, as well as a critical conversation around racial and ethnic behaviors, interactions and performances (stemming from the student's remark about "racial distinctions of behavior"). Finally, students can use the clip to contemplate the future of race and ethnicity in America, and the potential for change. Do students think racism will disappear as America becomes increasingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic? Submitted By:
Tags: multiculturalism, psychology/social psychology
, race/ethnicity, stereotypes, 00 to 05 minsYear: 2009Length: 0:55Access: VimeoSummary: In
this clip from Up in the Air
, George Clooney rattles off several stereotypes of people in an airport (including Asians, people with infants, and the elderly). When his co-star (Anna Kendrick) replies "That's racist," Clooney responds with "I'm like my mother. I stereotype. It's faster." This short clip demonstrates stereotyping, which begins in the physical world, and is used to simplify and control judgments about everyday situations. Students can be encouraged to think about how individuals belong to a wide range of group memberships, ethnic and cultural groups, large-scale social categories (sex, gender, race, age, social class, religion, etc.), occupational and other groups, but as shown by this video, stereotyped groups are reduced to a single physically-apparent status. This can then be linked to the broader social structure, noting that when there is a history of conflict or social inequality between two groups, people tend to rationalize discriminatory behavior through stereotypes; people then use stereotypes to change or maintain the status quo. Suggested readings to pair with video: (1) Taylor, D. and McKirnan, D. 1984. "A Five-Stage Model of Intergroup Relations ." British Journal of Social Psychology
. 23: 291-300. (2) Turner, J., Hogg, M., Oakes, P., Reicher, S. and Wetherell, M. 1987. Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-Categorisation Theory
. Oxford: Blackwell. Submitted By: Simone Belli
Robert Jensen draws on W.E.B. Du Bois to discuss race and racism
Tags: du bois
, colorblind racism, institutional racism, post-racial America, unconscious racism, white privilege, white supremacy, 21 to 60 minsYear:
In this lecture, Robert Jensen, author of The Heart of Whiteness
, argues that the U.S. is a white supremacist society, both ideologically and materially. He begins with a passage from W.E.B. Du Bois's Souls of Black Folk
where Du Bois reflects on being asked by whites how it feels to be a problem. Jensen turns this question around and argues that the problem of racism is the problem of whites. He asks instead, "For those of us who are white, how does it feel to be a problem?" This video is useful for supplementing discussions related to racism and particularly white privilege, and the clip might work well in tandem with an interview Tim Wise recently gave
on the Tavis Smiley show. The actual lecture is about 28 minutes, and the remaining 24 minutes is a discussion with Jensen's students.Submitted By: Kendra Barber
Tags: consumption/consumerism, marketing/brands, media, multiculturalism, race/ethnicity, 00 to 05 minsYear: 2010
Access: YouTubeSummary: Although this commercial exhibits multicultural marketing strategies (like this Sprite ad), casting a racially/ethnically ambiguous spokesperson, what's most intriguing about the ad is that the marketers actually name the marketing strategies employed throughout the commercial. I find this clip is useful to use with students who critique sociology for "reading too much into" a particularly situation. Also noteworthy is the product name; marketed as having "you" in mind, this new Kotex product is called "U by Kotex." But we might also point to the (not so) subliminal messaging: "you buy Kotex."
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp
Tags: consumption/consumerism, marketing/brands, media, multiculturalism, race/ethnicity, 00 to 05 mins Year: 2009
Summary: This commercial nicely exhibits multicultural marketing strategies, portraying a largely racially/ethnically ambiguous (i.e., "multicultural") cast in order to broaden the consumer base and make implicit claims that appeal to colorblind race logics. The commercial serves as a nice companion piece to: Minjeong, K., and Chung, A. Y. 2005. "Consuming Orientalism: Images of Asian/American women in multicultural advertising." Qualitative Sociology 28(1).
Submitted By: Valerie Chepp