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Reading Responses

What things signify in Culture and How They Signify Them, Physically and Metaphysically

Something extremely important to our understanding of culture and history is not what material objects from different cultures and society are, and not only what they indicate or represent, but rather how they indicate and represent these things. This material physical item raises questions in my mind that get into what and how this crayon represents. I believe this crayon could signify an age of art and creative culture, a spiritual and religious societal presence, and most interestingly to me, a possible economic/market system. The question is though, how? How does this crayon represent any of this at all? We can’t know for sure but we can do is make observations and educated opinions.

 

I think this writing/creative utensil allows us to infer that the mesolithic culture indeed placed value in art, and the value could’ve been seen in a number of areas. It’s archaeologically proven that oftentimes ancient cultures used art to express their religious affiliations. For example, the Egyptians used hieroglyphics to portray deities and language. The people of the book (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) all use language, which is a form of art. Jews sing their holy book, Christians tell it in stories, and Muslims present their holy text with poetry.

 

I believe there’s an economic aspect to this piece of art because wherever value is found, demand is found as well. Today African art such as sculptures and poetry are sold for vastly wide price ranges, and that’s because we as people value the creations and the cultures of other people. This could indicate that during a time without technological and economic advancements such as the ones we have today, art could’ve been used as a means of exchange, or a consumer good purchased with a means of exchange.

 

It is almost without a doubt after doing further research that mesolithic people had an artistically creative aspect instilled in their culture. These people were creators, artists, people with faith, and people with a means of exchanging economic values.

Physical Objects and Their Metaphysical Significances

Beyond physical objects’ appearances as well as the judgments we can make at face value, there lies a far more analytical meaning behind these objects. Behind every physical object is a deeper significance. Not only does each object represent something, but it symbolizes a solution, a story, a piece of historical evidence, a reason, and a process of creation. In this article we see what the author refers to as an ancient crayon. While the assumption that this object is a crayon is observational, it isn’t observational enough. A crayon is a wax based substance and this “crayon” is clearly composed of a more dusty, rocky sort of ingredient. More importantly though, is what this object means to our understanding of history and its indefinite cultures. In this context, we can assume that art was a very important aspect of Mesolithic times and culture.

A writing utensil allows me to infer that wherever this utensil was found, was a region or a society that used said utensil for the construction and design of art, in some form or the other. Based on world history and human geography, we now that Mesolithic people did in fact create images using rocks, stones, and other platforms, as well as using utensils for staining or carving images. A simple google search shows this to be true. I think this writing/creative utensil allows us to infer that the Mesolithic culture indeed placed value in art, and the value could’ve been seen in a number of areas. It’s archaeologically proven that oftentimes ancient cultures used art to express their religious affiliations. For example, the Egyptians used hieroglyphics to portray deities and language. The people of the book (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) all use language, which is a form of art. Jews sing their holy book, Christians tell it in stories, and Muslims present their holy text with poetry.

I believe there’s an economic aspect to this piece of art because wherever value is found, demand is found as well. Today African art such as sculptures and poetry are sold for vastly wide price ranges, and that’s because we as people value the creations and the cultures of other people. This could indicate that during a time without technological and economic advancements such as the ones we have today, art could’ve been used as a means of exchange, or a consumer-good purchased with a means of exchange. But most importantly, this artifact makes me certain that Mesolithic people recorded events that are now historical evidence to us. Their designs that they drew and carved onto stone and rock are representative of the occurrences and the spiritual experiences and beliefs that these people experienced.

It is almost without a doubt after doing further research that Mesolithic people had an artistically creative aspect instilled in their culture. These people were creators, artists, people with faith, and people with a means of exchanging economic values.

 

Opinions on “Pink ‘Pussyhat’ Creator Addresses Criticism Over Name”

After reading Julie Compton’s article on the NBC News website, “Pink ‘Pussyhat’ Creator Addresses Criticism Over Name”, I realized yet again, we [Americans] are faced with another social issue I didn’t even know existed.

Essentially, a form of women’s equality activism has taken heat over their choice of symbolism. These women who are a part of the movement, make and wear pink hats called the “pussyhat”. This movement was a sort of rebuttal after Donald Trump was inaugurated, especially after he was exposed for making the extremely sexist and blatantly aggressive comment “I just grab her by the pussy” while doing a segment with Billy Bush, one of the Access Hollywood hosts.

While this movement is positive and has picked up support everywhere, some had criticism for it, and it’s not who I expected either. Transgender people everywhere felt that this movement was extremely excluding to those who are transgender, and that making the hat pink was a sort of disregard for transgender people who identify in different ways. Essentially because this hat is pink and is called the “pussyhat” which is meant to be a play on word regarding the female vagina, transgenders feel that they are excluded from this movement despite the statistics showing that transgender people are victims of sexual harassment.

My struggle with the content of this article came directly from what I would say is my own ignorance on the topic of transgender people. Because of my very basic interpretation of gender identification and my ideology regarding its direct correlation with biology, my opinions were getting in the way of my interpretation of this piece. This stems directly from my lack of knowledge on the topic, far more than it does from my opinion or ideology. I’m someone who considers themselves a liberal, so I used that mindset to try and understand this topic from another perspective, which then helped me develop my final thoughts on this piece.

After putting my biased aside as best I could, I concluded that this outrage by transgender people is somewhat a reach. While reading and annotating, I found myself saying numerous times that this movement shouldn’t be criticised for what it lacks but rather supported for what it contains. The way this movement is set up, is it takes a negatively connotated word and by creation and activism, the word [pussy] is turned into something to be proud of. I related this movement with the n word (n*gger) and how it was used as a way to rebuttal racist white people. When Krista Suh says “we wanted to reclaim the word” my claim is evident. When you make something hateful into something positive, you show how unaffected you are by hatred.

Because of the hat’s very female oriented features, transgender people felt as if they were in the shadows of this movement rather than front line like women were. My criticism of this though, is that this movement is designed for women, in a fight for women’s equality, and a fight to stop the sexual harassment and sexualization of women. With all due respect, this isn’t a transgender movement. This movement was created by women, for women. I find the argument that this is injust to transgender people to be quite ridiculous. The criticism here is almost like if a man who was sexually harassed showed up to this march and decided to cause an uproar because the march didn’t include a blue penis hat because men have been sexually harassed before. While it is true that some men have experienced sexual harassment, it would be ridiculous to make that argument during the time of the march, because the march isn’t designed to push for the equality of men, it’s for women and for women’s struggles for equality and ending misogyny.

While it is evident that transgender people experience serious discrimination and inequality, I think it is important that each movement be of its own. I think transgender people should start a movement for their cause, rather than try to make this movement about women, about them. It is clear that states such as Texas are making it difficult to achieve equality for transgender people, it is also clear that transgender people have their own issues to worry about that call for their own movement. Transgender woman Elaine Rita Mendus agrees and claims she “absolutely understands the use of the pussyhat.” This shows that while the pussyhat movement is somewhat exclusive to women, it is okay that it be this way.

Transgender people have every right to fight for equality, and every right to be outraged at the acts of Donald Trump which hinder the equality process for transgenders. I still believe that transgender people need their own movement. It could only help in the fight for equality. This piece also made me realize that, as a politically aware person, and even as a liberal, I still do not know nearly half of the depths of the transgender social issue. I think that a separate movement would help benefit transgender people because it’d allow them to educate people like me on the topic, and that is the first step in the fight for equality.