Response to Parveen’s Athletic Intruder’s Reflection

I found it interesting that Parveen and my opinions were quite similar. I like how this reflection did not degrade or favoured a certain gender. I also found it very interesting when she stated, “Men that don’t work out and don’t have the “ideal male body” and muscles, are they considered feminine or are they still masculine?” I never thought of it that way. Reading that line opened up a new way of thinking for me. Masculinity is definitely increased when a man attends the gym, however I do not think that not attending the gym necessarily decreases one’s masculinity.

It is also refreshing to read Parveen’s opinion on the ideal body. I do agree that that the idea of an ideal body should cease to exist. It would then help diminish these persisting issues of low self-esteem and eating disorders. Only in a perfect world will have that possibility. Do you see a perfect world coming to existence anytime soon? Because “I do not,” says my cynical mind.

I think the only other option is ignoring the hype, which I can understand is sometimes hard to achieve. If people just ignore society’s ideal body, then, quite possibly, this perceived social norm will begin to lose its ability to influence people’s minds. However, it is evident that this will not be achieved anytime soon. For instance, as Parveen mentions, one of the speakers that visited was seemingly endorsing a particular body type. The speaker owns a fitness facility if I remember correctly. This means that, in a way, she is given the power to influence people’s opinion on what an ideal body should be.

If society’s ideal body ceases to exist, this should also bring a stop to the comparison given between men and women in the world of fitness. The diminishment of these nuisances in fitness will then only bring both confidence and a healthier lifestyle to many.

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Response to Kinga’s Just Play

In Kinga’s reflection, she discusses the implications of playing a virtual game, specifically the Sims. She goes on to say that this game allows someone to take control of every aspect of the virtual people’s lives. It is interesting that she states, “You have all control, and if you get bored of playing with one family you can quickly move onto one that you want to play with.” This implies that people are very susceptible to boredom. Perhaps, this susceptibility is what makes these virtual games such a success in the market. I do agree with Kinga’s point that “people like to escape into a world in which they have all control over.” As I have mentioned in my reflection on the same topic, I think people’s lives are so controlled that they themselves crave it. Dominance and power play a big role in satisfying this crave. These virtual games provide these traits.

I also understand her reluctance towards the addiction to these video games. While I do not want to sound sexist, but the only reason I can come up as to why I continue to be uninterested is because most of the more popular games that I am aware of predominantly cater to men. A natural aversion is developed because of this. For me, at least. She also mentions that she knows people that cannot go a day without playing FIFA. Well, as I often see my brother play on his Play Station or X box, I can surely relate to this.

While I do not want to assume that these people’s lives are boring, I think it is safe to say that the people who are quite addicted to games such as the Sims, more often than not, envision their life to be quite similar to the ones they control in the virtual world. However, if this much time and energy can be exerted in building these virtual lives, is it not possible to focus these efforts onto the real world? It would surely be more satisfying than a virtual one.

Haptic Visuality

To be perfectly honest, I am still quite confused as to what haptic visuality really is. For some reason I keep resorting back to Oliver Sack’s article entitled, To See and Not See, wherein the topic of seeing with your hands was discussed. Is that what haptic visuality is? Laura Marks states in her article that, “Haptic visuality sees the world as though it were touching it: close, unknowable, appearing to exist on the surface of the image” (Marks, page 3). Now, while some may find this quite easy to understand, I still cannot quite grasp its meaning. That is why I will try to analyze its meaning while writing this reflection, wrong or not.

It could possibly be that the reason why there is such a thing as “haptic visuality” is because as Constance Classen and David Howes states in their article, The Museum as Senscape: Western Sensibilities and Indigenous Artifacts, “The deceptions of sight are corrected by touch” (Classen and Howes, page 4). This shows how the sense of sight alone is not sufficient to fully comprehend what is currently being visually consumed. This means that there is an innate need for people to utilize their sense of touch when simultaneously using their sense of sight. It is because one may not fully grasp what they are visually consuming, if one does not have an idea of its tactile feature.  If I really try to get serious about this analysis, then I should have started with what the words themselves meant on their own. Haptic means touch while visuality pertains to the sense of sight. Being put together then suggests that both of these senses are strongly intertwined. For instance, while blind folded, one cannot touch an object without visualizing its appearance. This also brings attention to the fact that people are often dealt with “optical illusions.” Seeing as people are essentially being fooled by what they are seeing, it could mean that tactility could help in making sense of some these deceptions.

The people in class were given several images that entailed optical illusions. The class then were given sheets to answer and one of the questions was what I felt after the activity. One kept resonating in my mind which was frustration. It was frustrating to know that my eyes which act as my windows to reality suddenly became tools that can fool me, which brings to mind the question of, “What is the purpose of optical illusion?” If what it solely does is confuse people, what good can it possibly bring? Would it bring some kind of satisfaction to someone when an “illusion” does not work? Because this means that their sense of sight is not “fooling” them. For instance, while doing the activity I heard many people say, “I don’t see it!” This means that no, it does not bring satisfaction because it only increases someone’s curiosity. Meaning they would look at the image until they see the illusion. Then it only brings the person back to being frustrated because their sense of sight fell victim to an illusion.

Quite possibly, if I do more research on what haptic visuality is that I can finally be aware as to what it is. Did my understanding come close to what it actually means? I only ask as I would really want to be enlightened.

Women at the Gym

The reading on Chapter 6: A Woman’s Place is in the… Cardiovascular Room?? Mainly discusses the issue of men dominating the world of sports and fitness. The title itself says where the women’s place is in the gym. A cardiovascular room is the part of the gym where equipments such as treadmills, stairmaster.. and the like are. This can mean that the reason why women are being “placed” in this area is because these equipments in the CV room are less strenuous than say.. the weight room where the person’s sole focus is required. The chapter also discusses that women that go to the gym are actually able to read magazines and books while on one of the equipments in the CV room. This only emphasizes the argument in this article which is that women are subordinate in the fitness industry. The article also discusses what women perceive as their ideal body. Most answered, “Very think, non muscular bodies” (Bolin and Granskog, page 150) while some answered, “a medium-sized person with moderate muscularity” (Bolin and Granskog, page 150). The article states that most women feel that “weight room activities are physically empowering” (Bolin and Granskog, page 152). I could not agree more.

This reminded me of the 3 speakers that came and discussed fitness. One speaker, in particular, spoke about bodybuilding and how the look of femininity is changing. While I did not necessarily agree with her ideal feminine body type, I do think that it is quite empowering to learn that most of these women are able to lift weights which are normally seen as too heavy for a feminine body. Another speaker said that she helps her clients achieve unconventional goals such as picking up their wallet on the floor. This, to me, makes me realize even more how important being physically fit is. Not only does it help one achieve a certain look, but the agility it provides can shape someone’s everyday life. The speaker also emphasized the connection between the mind and physicality. I do believe that this is true because even if your mind says you can do 500 push ups in a row, it does not necessarily mean your physical body is able to do it. I think that it is a gradual process. It is good to listen to your mind, but I think it is more important to listen to your body when it comes to fitness.

I do think that I am very aware of body-image. While I have nothing against people that say, “Oh I eat junk everyday, I don’t care how I’ll look,” I do not think that I am one of those people. I always find it disconcerting when people roll their eyes when I start talking about calorie count, sodium content etc. That is why it is sometimes hard to tell people “no, thank you” when they offer me chips, chocolate, or candies. It is because I feel that an explanation is always needed. I feel that they would automatically categorize me with someone who is “so influenced by society and media.” Is it not possible that I just simply care about how I look and I want to feel and be healthy? This article made me realize even more that being physically fit is not simply about achieving a certain look, but it is more about  achieving “physical empowerment” (Bolin and Granskog, page 152). Having the ability to defend themselves and acquire agility are the best rewards that being physically fit can provide someone.

Internet Addicts

          There are several aspects in life that can be considered addictive and I do not believe that anything good can come of it. As the information society continues to develop, it is not a surprise that such a thing as “Internet Addiction” has sprung to life. In Kimberly Young’s article, Internet Addiction: The Emergence of a New Clinical Disorder, she researches about the problems that Internet addiction can cause a person to have. The first sentence in the article states, “Anecdotal reports indicated that some on-line users were becoming addicted to the Internet in much that same way that others became addicted to drugs or alcohol which resulted in academic, social, and occupational impairment” (Young, page, 1). Again, this information is not something I have not heard about or even witness myself. However, for an actual research based on the implications of the Internet to be performed only proves the seriousness of the matter. The purpose of the technology, in this case the Internet, was to bring convenience to people and make their lives easier, was it not? Now it seems to me that instead of bringing convenience, it only opened another opportunity for people to fall victim to another distasteful habit. People, including myself to a certain extent, have become dependent on the “power” of the Internet and could now very well not live without it.

            Is it not sad to be faced with the reality of having “Marriages, dating relationships, parent-child relationships, and close friendship noted to be poorly disrupted by excessive use of the Internet?” (Young, page 7). How bad can reality be that we have to resort to virtuality? During class, a BBC documentary was shown where the topic of gaming addiction was discussed. At one point, it was mentioned that a child died of malnutrition because a couple actually forgot to feed her while busy protecting their virtual child from the enemies. Turns out, they were the enemy of their own child. The power that technology has over people is proven in this situation. The couple were so addicted to the game that they have lost sense of reality (which I believe was also mentioned by one of doctors in the documentary). Many people have now become dependent on the Internet as their sole source of entertainment and, as cliché as it sounds, escape. It may be true that if used smartly, Internet can be very beneficial. However, it seems that in this current technologically enhanced society, the negative aspect dominates the positive one creating an aura of “danger” towards the Internet.

            I will not deny that the Internet plays a big role in my life. It is a huge source of entertainment for me. I remember recently when Rogers had a glitch in their system and most of the city had no Internet access for hours. I realized even more then how it was very hard to avoid boredom without the Internet. Although, I do not consider myself an Internet addict, I still felt as if my choices were extremely limited, whereas with having the Internet, my choices were endless. While I do recognize the benefits the Internet has such as access to a vast amount of information, I also recognize that it could also become a nuisance. It can make someone very productive and create a successful tech-based company such as Facebook or Twitter or it can simply make someone an Internet addict with a questionable future. I think in many circumstances, people’s lives are controlled by someone whether it is the government or their parents. That is why I think that the “control” that the people acquire when utilizing the Internet is what fuels this addiction. It could be that they feel a sense of freedom that only the virtual world can provide.

The Sense of Hearing

If I were to choose a sense to give up, I think it would be my sense of hearing. I know it would be hard but I just could not imagine life without ever again seeing the face of my loved ones, never feeling the comfort when held, never having the opportunity to create memories through my sense of smell, and never having the pleasure of satisfying my appetite. With giving up my sense of hearing, I think it would be less difficult for me to adjust. It is because there are times that I find silence to be better than noise. I sometimes even look forward to a chance of spending a day at home where I can read a book and just enjoy the serenity of the atmosphere.

I mentioned that it would be easier to adjust if I choose to lose my sense of hearing because I feel as if I experience it every day anyway. For example, when I am on the bus, it is not as if I dutifully use my sense of hearing and process everyone’s conversation in my mind. I can sometimes even block out their voices and just enjoy the ride. I see it as having the courtesy of giving them their privacy, even if it is apparent that they do not want it. Honestly, riding the TTC everyday can also be a source of entertainment. The willingness of people having everyone else overhear their current life drama is sometimes both absurd and hilarious. I just choose not to oblige them. One can see the comfort in losing your sense of hearing when those people happen to seat beside you.

Also, living in a multicultural country like Canada, one will most likely come across someone who does not speak the same language as them. I think not understanding what is said to you correlates with not hearing anything. People often divert to their language to say something that would most likely give offense to someone. This gives them freedom to share their thoughts and also a chance for the other person not to understand and hear what they might have been conversing about. This shows how people are able to have a conversation without me actually understanding what they say. It is hard to process sounds and words that are unfamiliar. When this happens, I see it as another way of not hearing people around me.

There are musicians who produce silent music and artists who make silent movies. As absurd as it, in my opinion, to enjoy those types of art, if I do lose my sense of hearing, at least there are still ways for me to enjoy music and movies. Actually, I do not even think I have to resort to silent movies. I know that there are close captioning devices that allow people with impaired hearing to watch movies. I think society has adapted very well with the needs of people with impaired hearing that many of them can actually live a normal life without feeling inadequate. It is one of the reasons why I would choose to give up the sense of hearing.

I am not saying that life would not be hard without being able to hear, it is just that, as I previously mentioned, I value my sense of sight, touch, smell, and taste more. I hate to sound repetitive but losing my sense of sight and not seeing my loved ones again would be unimaginable. Not being able to feel comfort in touching, smell the familiar scents I have become accustomed to, and losing the ability to taste would create such an uninteresting life. I think it would be easier for me to live life without my sense of hearing as it is apparent that I still will be able to do most of the things that I found entertaining in life.

Sensing Culture with Food

David Sutton’s article entitled Food and Senses discusses the fact that cooking is not just about preparing food, but is also about culture, distinction, and spirituality. After reading the article, I searched for a cooking video that I can relate to this reading. I found Rachel Ray’s cooking tutorial on a Chicken Vindaloo, an Indian cuisine. The reading suggests that cultural food can either bring pride or embarrassment to people, especially immigrants. He then gave an example, deriving from Manalansan’s research on immigrants preparing their cultural food. It was of a Filipina feeling embarrassed of the smell that her cooking created in her home. While, I think the Filipina was not embarrassed of her cultural food, her embarrassment was drawn from her anxiousness about her office supervisor’s acceptance of her as a person who is not fully westernized. It is then that I realized that society really does dictate what is socially acceptable. For instance, Rachel Ray’s Chicken Vindaloo, is in fact, not a typical Western cuisine. However, a tutorial on how to make it is shown to the people in North America. It is because society decided that Indian cuisine is something exotic and something to be experienced.

Sutton also mentions food and its “tastes and the influence of socially shaped flavor principles in making innovations acceptable or unacceptable” (Sutton, 2010, page 11). This reiterates the fact that certain innovations in food are influenced by social issues. By showing how to prepare Chicken Vindaloo, Ray also shows that people’s tastes have now changed. Their fridge is not only stocked with eggs, cheese, and other common food staples, but are actually also stocked with cilantros and other spices. People now not only consider the taste of the food to be important, but also now think of the garnishing of the food as an important aspect as well. Thinking about it now, even my tastes have been influence by the Western society. In my culture, it is common to have rice with every food imaginable. That is why before coming to Canada, I usually had rice during breakfast with eggs or whatever is prepared. But now, I find that I can actually consider a bowl of cereal and milk as a satisfying breakfast.

In the cooking show, many spices were used to prepare the Chicken Vindaloo.  Ray provided a recipe, but gave the audience the freedom of changing the ingredients to their preference. This is considered acceptable, as in Sutton’s article, he mentions that “no two cooks can ever produce the same flavour” (Sutton, 2010, page 9). This is true as when I visit other people’s home and am offered something to eat, usually their version of the dish that I usually have at home taste different even if the ingredients were relatively the same. By using the spices, Ray’s goal is not only to enhance the taste but also to create a smell that can engage someone’s appetite. The smell is also an important part of the food, even the sizzle of the garlic when sautéed creates a satisfying sound. This shows that each of the 5 senses is engaged when preparing food.

Reading this article gave me the knowledge that food is not only to sustain the body, but can actually determine class structure. Everything from the food’s temperature to the moistness can determine someone’s masculinity or femininity. Although I was vaguely conscious of these facts even before reading this, I was still fascinated with the way every part of the process is perceived. One might use a certain ingredient to add flavour, but another culture might see it as something that determines one’s role in society. This reading then shows that food is not only to be consumed by the body, but should also be considered as a part of one’s individuality.

Sounds and Silence

The theme of the readings seems to be about musicality and the sense of hearing. I, for one, am not what you would call a musically inclined person. I do not play any instrument nor am I able to read notes. That is why it was particularly impressive when the professor made the class listen to sounds derived from taxi cabs and the Gamelatron. Listening to the Taximan, which Wayne has put together, was unbelievable. I would never have thought that sounds from such an ordinary experience, such as that of riding a taxi, can create music. I may not be an expert, but the meticulousness and patience that have been put into this is just impressive. The same goes for the Gamelatron. These different sounds from different instruments are put together and it is done for everyone’s enjoyment. The whole class experienced firsthand how the sounds of the Gamelatron are created. The class was divided into four groups and each group was asked to produce sounds which differ not only by speech, but also in speed. We were not quite successful in creating the definite sound for not everyone had the kind of training needed. However, the class was then able to listen to a performance from which our activity was derived. After listening to it, not only did I get goose bumps, but I also realized that this kind of music that the Gamelatron produces cannot be created without the kind of meticulousness and patience like Wayne and, I am sure, every other great artist creating great music have.

In the article by Helmreich, he discusses his experience in the submersible, Alvin, the sounds heard, and the different meanings of immersion. However, as I was reading this article, it became too scientific, in my opinion, that I started to get somewhat bored and focus rather on the most interesting part of it which was the sounds underwater. I assume that the sounds underwater come from either the flow of the water or the bubbles that form and pop in the process. Since this reading was mostly about science and the like, I then remember my former teacher saying something that somewhat relates to what Helmreich wrote about sounds. My former teacher said that the crack that we hear when we crack our knuckles and other parts of our body is actually bubbles or gas that burst in the fluids of joints. This then brings me to the thought that air is always needed to create a certain sound even underwater. Helmreich says, “Submerging into the ocean almost seamlessly merges with a sense of submerging into sound—and into a distinctively watery soundscape” (Helmreich, 2007, page 1).To me, immersion means deep involvement. I think the ultimate immersion in the experience of Helmreich and his two other companions is the fact that they were submerged underwater with no choice but to hear the sounds that surrounded them. They were, in a sense, locked up inside this submersible to analyze the sounsdscape underwater which creates a sense of immersion.

The article by Schwartz discusses the impact of both noise and silence. Schwartz brought to mind that today noise is less valued, in the sense of commodity, than silence. For instance, as Schwartz said people are more eager to buy “quiet cars, quiet dishwashers..” (Schwartz, 1995, page 2). This is interesting because most of us would think that noise should be valued more. For instance, people pay for concerts, go to clubs, and watch movies expecting to hear different kinds of noise. Maybe it is because people experience too much of noise that they seek an escape from it? For instance, people tend to now go on holidays or honeymoons to remote places such as islands or small towns. It is because now they tend to look for quiet and peace. Schwartz also discusses the days when people only had to worry about the church bells. Schwartz says that in certain European cities, ringing the bell is actually prohibited. This is apparently because “it is out of place in a modern city” (Schwartz, 1995, page 3). I wonder why even then people think of silence as more socially acceptable. Would it not make more sense if people use noise and make something out of it? An example of this would be Wayne’s Taximan. Some people, including me, would never have appreciated the sounds the taxis made, if someone like Wayne did not value noise more than silence.

The article by Felicia Hughes- Freeland discusses the importance of dance in the Javanese theory. The article says dancing is “spritiual rather than for entertainment and pleasure” (Hugh-Freeland, page 56). It also says that dancing is “cultural consciousness” (Hugh-Freeland, page 56). I agree with these statements because although I most of the dancers that I know may not be familiar with the Javanese theory, I see the passion that they put into their craft. I also know that they do not simply dance for entertainment, but rather it goes deeper than that. It can be a spiritual experience for them. Also, they have a way of carrying themselves in public. They have a certain finesse in them that other people do not have. This is what I interpret when Hugh- Freeland discusses about consciousness. The Javanese gives a lot of value to dance. It is because the theory is that it can shape one’s lifestyle. I agree with this because dance can really teach someone about social consciousness which is important in becoming a part of a culture.

Sense the Poet in you

God’s breath was the smell of ambrosia

Scent was the intangible, invisible relationship that flourished between God and man

To ignore your sense of smell is to ignore a part of the world around you

Hell was associated with the smell of filth and dirt

But where do all these perceptions come from?

We seem to be shielding ourselves from expanding our senses because of this

A feeling is a knowing, desire or understanding that comes from within a person

The most vivid and dynamic picture of the world can be acquired through the utilization of the entire array of the senses

We explored our surroundings by experiencing them with all our senses

Create a new sensory experience..

Explore the beauty of the sensorium to its full and utter potential..

It is what we are taught to do from a young age with our own senses

The incensed atmosphere is warm, welcoming and calm

My body vibrated with fear and excitement

The act of clapping sends a quiver in my body and at the same time I am either cheering in happiness or screaming in frustration

Do we have a sense of happiness, and a sense of anger? Is there a sense for joy, or a sense for sadness?

They attempt to link sensation with emotion

The sense of exploration could lead to a new revolution

Now this to me is very interesting and liberating

Engage Your Senses

In Guerts article entitled, On Rocks, Walks, and Talks In West Africa: Cultural Categories and an Anthropology of the Senses, the readers were introduced to the Anlo-Ewe term, seselelame which means, “feeling of the body” (Guerts, page 179). From reading this article, I have come to appreciate the confusion which the linguistic world brings. The way Guerts explained it, seselelame is a single term which can mean many different things. The article says, “You can feel happiness and you can feel sorrow in your body.. seselelame describes all of these things” (Guerts, page 185). In my understanding, the Ewe language has a term which has the ability to convey five of the senses which are sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell. Guerts also provided an example with the use of the term lugulugu. In their culture, this term is used to convey a great distaste and aversion. Again, such a term can convey different meanings. After reading this article, it is realized that the power of speech can largely influence people’s lives. Being from a Filipino culture wherein single terms can also mean many things, I found this article very relatable because I can understand that often people are forced to limit their modes of communication to that of speech.

In Classen’s article of Breath of God, the odour of sanctity was explored. The lives of these saints were all described with hardships but at the end were given gifts that allowed them to help people through their fragrant scents. After reading about this, not only did I appreciate the importance of the sense of smell even more, I was also reminded of the scents that bring me sorrow. Coincidentally, these scents were also the ones described in the article that gave the saints the ability to help people. For instance, it was described that the saints bore fragrant scents of roses and sweetness. I started to dislike the scent of roses after going to my grandparent’s funerals. Sometimes, I would walk by and catch their scent and I would feel such fear. I would always associate this scent to death and sorrow. That is why I found it interesting that, in this article, instead of bringing death, these scents actually brought such harmony to people. Nevertheless, my opinion to these scents can never be altered.

The article by Classen and Howes entitled, Sensible Objects: Colonialism, Museums, and Material Culture, the sense of touch is largely explored. Often in museums people are prohibited from touching the objects being displayed. However, as stated in the article, in the mid-nineteenth century, people were allowed to touch the object which then allowed them to fully engage their senses and further analyze the beauty of the object. In the article, it is stated that, “Touch was believed to have access to interior truths of which sight was unaware” (Classen and Howes, page 202). I agree with this statement as when people are limited to using only one of their senses, often they are ceased from experiencing things which can lead for their curiosity to be unsatisfied and for their confusion to be spiked. I would also like to compare this article to the one of Dejarlais’ about the importance of sight. I wish Classen and Howes were given the chance to explain to Dejarlais that the sense of sight is not everything. In fact, as stated in this article, engaging all of one’s senses can further increase the chance of someone “acquiring knowledge” (Classen and Howes, page 201).