In my Major Post #3, I describe/talk about how there is a lack of ethnic studies (specifically Asian-American). I pointed out how in middle and high school we learn things from a “white perspective” and how when it does come to Asian history, it is either shorted, sugar-coated, or ignored. The thing is I could just sit there and talk about how all of this is happening, but why not actually see if this is true?
For my project, I wanted to go back to my high school and quiz 14 different Asian-American students about history. I wanted to quiz them on stuff from that you would see in a high school history book (white perspective) and then quiz them on Asian-American history to see how much they really know.
The set of questions I hope to answer are: Are we teaching ethnic studies in school? How well are we doing it? If there is a lack of ethnic studies, how does it affect students? Why is there a lack of ethnic studies? What can we do to incoperate more ethnic studies into high schools?
I hope to document these interviews/quizzes by video.
Daniel: Hello Crystal, can you tell me what your favorite piece of garment is?
Crystal: What do you mean?
D: Um, garment as in your favorite outfit.
C: My favorite outfit would have to be my prom dress.
D: Can you describe it to me?
C: Its a halter dress. Most of the fabric is cream. However, the halter and the front lace is black. Oh! The dress is knee length.
D: Send me a picture later hahaha.
C: Will do.
D: So why is this your favorite outfit?
C: This dress is my favorite because I won Prom Queen in it and that night was really magical.
D: Oh really? What attracted you to this outfit and to wear it that night?
C: I was searching over a month for a prom dress and I couldn’t find one until two weeks before prom. It caught my eye because it wasn’t a typical prom dress where it was super long and I really liked the colors too.
D: Where did purchase the dress?
D: How much did you buy it for?
C: Roughly $85? Its the most I’ve ever spent on a dress!
D: Hahaha, no way. I think that’s pretty cheap when it comes to prom dresses these days.
C: I guess I got lucky..
D: Are there any accessories that you like to wear with this dress? Like what did you have on that night with the dress? Necklace? Shoes? Hair?
D: Oh inter-
C: Wait! You can’t forget my crown hahaha. 🙂
D: Hahaha definitely!
Alison Laurie says, “.. clothes are acquired, used and discarded just as words are, because they meet our needs and expresses our ideas and emotions”. Fashion is about making a statement whether you purposely plan your outfit for the day or wake up in the dark and throw something on. Everyday the outfit we wear says something about us. By planning your outfit out you’re saying, “I care about how I look and how people perceive me” or by throwing on something random, “I just woke up and I’m lazy to care about anything right now”. No matter what angle you look at it from, its a statement. Laurie uses the comparison of words and clothes because you’re expressing yourself. Instead of using words, you use clothes. We learn new words to express how we’re feeling just as
we buy new clothes to say something about ourselves. As for Crystal’s case, she went out searching for a prom dress that would make a statement, “I’m here to have fun for the night because it’s our last time as seniors”, but also “There is a possibility that I could be prom queen so I need to find a winning dress”. The dress “reflects what we are or want to be at [that] moment [that it] will be purchased and worn”. Not only the dress, but hairstyles, accessories, jewelry, and make up are apart of “vocabulary of fashion”. For example, if someone wears a scarf on a windy days it creates the word; cold. If they pair that up with with some jeans and ugg boots; really cold. Finally if they wear a eskimo jacket with all of that, it says; I’m freezing. It is the look that makes the statement, but it is the shirts, pants, shoes, accessories that create the statement.
Thousands of clothes are produced everyday and you rarely see someone with the same outfit as you because people mix-and-match different shirts, pants, shoes, bracelets, necklaces, etc, to say something about them. Fashion matters because it is a way of describing ourselves non-verbally. It give a glimpse to people who you are and what you’re all about, which equals a statement.
I just wanted to bring up some issues about our educational system and some other topics that most people aren’t aware of. Aren’t you just sick of learn false and half-assed information? Because I am!
God this video is embarrassing.
In Lizabeth Cohen’s A Consumers’ Republic “Conmmerce: Reconfiguring Community Marketplaces”, she layouts how shopping malls were created, their marketing plan, and the effects they had on communities. You could read all this information she writes and believe it, but why not actually see it action to decide if it is true.
After making observations at Westfield Valley Fair Mall, we can see that it holds very similar traits to ones Cohen describes in her writing. A shopping mall like Valley Fair fits perfectly in “satisfying surbanties’ consumption and community needs” that has been “strategically locked at highway intersections” (258). Even on the Valley Fair website it says, “Westfield Valley Fair is conveniently located near the intersection of I-880 and I-280 in Santa Clara” (Valley Fair). The location is a great choice as citizens (shoppers and workers) of the Santa Clara/San Jose have easy access to the mall. This is the concept of “bringing the market to the people instead of the people to the market” (261). The mall is able to almost provide everything that is needed in one’s daily life, so the marketing quote could be: Why drive from place to place when you can make one stop and shop at the mall? With a great location plus a variety of luxury items to ordinary items, shopping at Valley Fair can save time for many consumers.
The obvious contribution Valley Fair offers to the Santa Clara/San Jose community is money. A highly successful shopping mall like Valley Fair that has thousands of people walking in and out its doors everyday benefits the town due to those thousands of people. The customers tend to be high-middle class or middle class, which ups the town’s image. “A town well enough to attract a shopping center was rewarded with a higher property values and a big boost to its property tax and sales revenues, resulting in improved local services and potentially lower tax rates for residents”, according to Cohen (266). The members of the community are able to (in a sense) profit off of having Valley Fair in their town since businesses tend to pay a lot more taxes of the town’s total revenue (266).
One secret possibility that Valley Fair holds for consumers and members of the Santa Clara/San Jose community is how to conform. When I was walking around the mall, all you see are white mannequins dressed in a certain style and in the ads of the stores white models. Cohen states “most branch department stores and new shopping centers worked to secure a white middle-class clientele” (265). With the stores reaching out to only the white middle-class and catering to “white styles”, many other ethnic shoppers are agreeing with this idea of becoming “white” by purchasing these clothes.
This brings up what is problematic about Valley Fair. This mall seems to center around high-middle class and middle class white people (majority women) who are in their early 20’s to late 30’s. The models and mannequins are telling you that you need to look a certain way and be a certain way if you want to be like them. The way the floors are structured keeping the “high class” at the bottom and the “lower” class at the top along with the food court in the back, which brings up the point on how malls try to filter out “disruptive rebels, racial minorities, and poor people” (265). To make the mall feel more welcoming to all ethnic groups, they should broaden their models to other races. Use African-American models girls at Forever21, Asian boys models at Express Men’s, or Latino models for Abercombie. The diverseness would make people feel that they can belong and can be themselves instead of trying to fit into these images society constructs for us. One way to make this change happen is first of all to make everyone aware of the situation, find supporters who agree with your idea, and start by writing letters to the head company of Valley Fair. However, Valley Fair might not have a say in how the stores display themselves. Move on to the next target, the individual stores themselves. Write letters or voice your opinion out on YouTube because without supporters, nothing is really going to change.