Saturday, May 07, 2011

i love that every time i return to this blog, the recent post has something to do with a thought that recently passed through my head or an experience i've just lived. the other day walking down the street, i noticed someone beating a rhythm with a random object, oblivious to the stares, and i was reminded of that time - could it be so many months ago - that i was walking down the street in Athens...i forgot i had even written about it in "Beats".

i don't watch tv in the states, principal reason being that i don't have a television. secondly because commercials drive me mad. i have been watching tv here, one to keep up with spanish, two to fill the emptiness of my apartment for lack of a music source which would otherwise fill it, and three to do what i judge others for - to turn off my brain after an exhausting day.

in such a process i have noticed the following: every single commercial for anything domestic - cleaning products, household kitchen appliances, household items, etc. features a woman. it is nauseating how these gender stereotypes are reinforced. i know it's the same in the states (i do watch tv about twice a year when i visit home). one commercial for a stove features a standard family of mom, dad, and child. mom takes the cookies out of the oven, and child and dad come running to have some. i know men who bake. but something tells me it would not occur to advertising companies to have dad take the cookies out of the oven.

i recently read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. i highly recommend it. i was intrigued by her struggle as a feminist and as a food lover to come to terms with the connections between what has happened to US kitchens in the last 50 years, and the gains in the US feminist movement. the movement exhorted us to undomesticate ourselves, to get out of the kitchen and into the workforce. of course, most families need two incomes to afford anything, but the reality is, how do we feed ourselves? this necessary thing for us to continue functioning was taken over at the same time by the food industry. Kingsolver explains better than i will the terrible conspiracy of subsidizing corn and soybeans, and using it not for food but for meal for animals which aren't supposed to eat corn and for food-like substances that fill all the packaged food with extra and poisonous calories that have turned US people fat and sluggish. apparently this generation is, for the first time, predicted to have a shorter life span than their parents. it is interesting to think what happened when women left the kitchen. of course, except for wealthy families contracting brown-skinned women as live-in nannies, women are now both in the workplace and in the kitchen and who isn't exhausted at the end of day? who wants to go to the garden to pull carrots and shred them for a soup after working the whole day? i guess this is opening many other cans of worms...i just remembered a Barcelona friend of mine telling me she was completely perplexed by the US work day. in Spain there is work for several hours, then rest for several hours, then work for several hours, then rest for several hours.

the food issue is a big one for me, even though i dedicate myself to antiwar forpeace activities, the food issue is always lurking in the background. if we don't have food sovereignty, then our bodies can be manipulated and it might come to a point where we just don't exist anymore. if the food situation is so disastrous, there won't be any other issues to fight for. the entire world has a problem of rural-urban migration. food is too overwhelming for me.

another observation i can make from watching tv in Ecuador is from the movies that are shown. on this point, there is absolutely no mystery as to why people think that in the states, everyone lives in a mansion, has a swimming pool and even the fries taste of freedom. take "The Girl Next Door" for example. this is the type of movie that hollywood churns out like Cuenca bread shops, and it's the type of movie that's shown on tv all the time. hollywood movies don't care about the poor or middle class, so those images are never on tv and of course people think the US is money-land. besides this, the movie was also nauseating. the female protagonist had her life chosen for her first by her porn star pimp and then by the student body president morally righteous nice boy next door.
what was on next? 90210.

the status quo is disgusting to me. the normalization of oppression, the banality and superficiality of relationships, the incredible profit from destruction of life...i take comfort i am not alone in my disgust.


At 8:43 PM, Blogger Dale Albanese said...

Not alone in the disgust at all. But still a minority. Television is the same here in Taiwan - if it's not sensational gossip-based news stories of celebrities, politicians, and your evil neighbors, it's lousy US shows that propagate horrible stereotypes of Americans. Audiences here, young and old, have raised their hands when I've asked if they think all Americans 1) own guns, 2) eat hamburgers daily, 3) are very "open" (euphemism for promiscuous), etc. Most of this comes from television. At least I save money on cable.


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