Conflicted by Culture: Current Issues with Dress Codes and “Appropriate” Attire

midriff shot of women standing aside onanother
From: http://girlsgenerationwallpaperss.blogspot.com/2013/10/girls-generation.html

By Remington Jensen

Whether you’ve have had a School Resource Officer question your overall health on the appearance of your outfit or have possibly been sent home due to observable bra-straps, it’s plausible that you’ve seen the rise in strict dress codes, especially those in schools.

Though schools aren’t the only location that dress codes are enforced; workplaces, public spaces, and even homes are all authorized by those who can control what others wear. In strict households this could be a parent who doesn’t enjoy the openness of an outfit, at work it could be a Human Resources member, in public even the government has the power to deem what is or isn’t allowable to play

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Dominican Republic 101

By Vicky Diloné

Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month is upon us! Here in Idaho many would assume that I am only Mexican. While I am extremely proud to be Mexican, I am equally proud to be Dominican. I would love to show you, the reader, the complex and beautiful history of Dominican Republic.

The Good People

The Taino were the first people living in the Dominican Republic. They were a part of the Arawak people who originated from South America. Their name means “the good people” and they were described as peaceful, resourceful, and spiritual. They called their island Quisqueya, meaning “mother of all lands” and shared it with Taino people of Haiti. Christopher Columbus described them in his writings:

“They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will…they took great delight in pleasing us…They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal…Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people…They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing.”

Continue reading “Dominican Republic 101”

¿Hablas Español? (Do You Speak Spanish?)

By Vicky Diloné

I am always proud to talk about my Hispanic heritage. I grew up watching my parents host salsa dancing parties at home, eating tacos de lengua and mangú, and spending a couple of summers in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. But there was one thing I did miss, the language. Like many first-generation Americans, I didn’t grow up speaking the language of my parent’s home countries. They would talk amongst themselves in Spanish but to my brother and I, they would speak mostly English with an occasional Spanish word thrown in.

I don’t blame them at all for this. Spanish was my brother’s first language. But when my mom took him to the pediatrician for a regular checkup, they told her he wasn’t hitting the markers for normal development, mainly in speech. You see, when they tried asking my brother questions he would only respond in Spanish. The doctor told her that he wouldn’t develop properly if they didn’t choose one language to teach him. It would confuse him and he wouldn’t learn either one. So following her doctor’s advice, she only spoke English to my brother and I. We now know that this is ridiculous. There have been a number of studies showing that being fluent in two languages can increase intelligence, even in young age. Continue reading “¿Hablas Español? (Do You Speak Spanish?)”

The Taboos of Tattoos

A Victorian woman with tattoos from neck to toe
Circus woman La Belle Irene

By Chloe Rigg 

Tattoos.

Whether you think they’re trashy or artwork, they’ve been a part of society practically since the beginning. Historically, women aren’t shown as having tattoos, but they have become less taboo since the late 19th century. In 1882, the first American tattooed women, Nora Hildebrandt started an exhibit displaying her neck to toe tattoos with a reported 365 different tattoo designs. Thankfully, today’s tattooing practices aren’t quite as painful as a single needle (not attached to a machine) being driven under the skin a single pin prick at a time.

Today, tattoos aren’t exclusively for sailors or gutsy women.

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Witches Exposed

Three colonial girls cowering from witch
An illustration depicting Tituba, an accused witch

By Chloe Rigg

Witch.

A term which brings similar images to many peoples’ minds. Usually, it’s the image of a green faced, wart-covered crone who rides a broomstick with a malicious cackle. Other images include colonial witch trials, and a young woman being burned at the stake. The history behind witch trials are certainly dark and full of fear. We can learn astonishing trends in society when one asks the question: “Were the witch trials a form of gender bias?” The perspective I’m going to discuss is that the “witches” in the witch trial were an excuse to execute women for sin.

The Salem Massachusetts witch trials took place between 1692-93. During them, over 200 people were accused and 20 were executed for witchcraft. 20 people might not sound too overwhelming. However, for a village of only 500-600 people, the deaths would have impacted most citizens. This American witch trial mirrors the European “witchcraft craze” driven by Puritans, who for almost 300 years executed over ten thousand people. The majority executed were women for suspected witchcraft.

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Layers of Silk, Cow’s Blood, and Beauty Standards.

Renaissance artwork depicting seven nude women standing in a row
Renaissance artwork by Hans Baldung titled “The Seven Ages of Women”

By Chloe Rigg 

Pear.

        Apple.

                     Hourglass.

These words seem to have no connection at first glance. But, they are actually different female body shapes. These classifications tie into modern beauty standards and body image. Today’s society wants women to strive to have porcelain skin, be tall, and skinny but with some curve. These body standards exclusive to the diverse multicultural world we live into today. One might think that beauty standards have always looked like the traits previously described. Looking back into history through different cultures will prove this completely wrong. What society defines as beauty is a fluid idea that could change at any moment.

So, what traits portrayed the “ultimate” beauty throughout history?

Continue reading “Layers of Silk, Cow’s Blood, and Beauty Standards.”

Male Circumcision in the United States and Consent

For the past two weeks I’ve talked about consent in the context of sex and how consent relates to individuals who are intersex. This week I want to broaden the discussion on a child’s right to decide what happens to their body through an exploration on circumcision.

During the Victorian Era, circumcision became a widespread practice as a treatment for masturbation. At this time, it was the belief of many doctors that masturbation led to many diseases, and that by removing one of the most sensitive parts of the penis, it could be prevented. Male circumcision was not just prevalent in the United States, but in all English-speaking countries at the time, such as Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the practice decreased significantly in all of those countries except the United States in the following years. Now, between 60 to 90% of American boys are circumcised, depending on the region they live in, but only 16% of boys in Great Britain are circumcised, even though both countries were influenced by the ideas in the Victorian Era. So why is the United States still engaging in this practice? Continue reading “Male Circumcision in the United States and Consent”