The body is the bearer of cultural value within consumer society; cultural values refer to standards that are commonly acceptable or unacceptable, significant or insignificant, workable or unworkable, and right or wrong within a society or community. What we do on a daily basis is determined by normative social constructs i.e. we base our actions on what the society around us deem to be normal and acceptable.
Doing our hair on a daily basis is a show of human nature adapting to normative social constructs. It is a show of how humans have a need to express themselves better with each passing day; truth be told we all want to be better and make attempts on continuous improvement. For this reason, we comb our hair, set it, apply gel, blow dry it, dye it, and do a whole lot of other things just to improve our looks and present ourselves in a much better way in front of our peers. This paper is going to give insights on how The body is the bearer of cultural value within consumer society; it will explore the above-mentioned idea with respect to the approaches and concepts presented in life every day; there will be engagement in close consideration of the everyday routine, practice, or ritual of .
The Body as a Bearer of Cultural Value
Doing our hair every morning is a practice that is usually in a bid to identify ourselves; the way we want others to view us. The body refers to the physical structure of human beings; it is a substantial amount of our own personal being (Goffman, 1990). On the other hand, the bearer of cultural value is a statement that speaks in relation to the body; it generally refers to the values in a societal setting whereby there is an identification of which individuals get respect or honor. For instance, kempt hair earns one respect whereas hair that is badly done brings shame to the bearer of the said hair. The values that apply in this context revolve around the cultural norms that a community puts into place with respect to the way hair should be done; all the same with regard to matters of hair and styling, values are much more general and abstract in comparison with norms. Overall, norms can be deemed as the rules ie constructs for the manner in which we ought to conduct ourselves with regard to societal demands in specific instances, whereas values help us in finding out what ought to be regarded as pleasing or unpleasant.
Consumer culture refers to a particular system whereby consumption of products; (hair products in this context), is determined by a set of behaviors that can be found in all places and times. Consumer culture in and of itself is under the domination of the using of commercial products. Generally speaking, consumer culture is an entailment of all situations that revolve around the usage of commodities i.e. goods and services. Consumers on a global basis bear a pattern of beliefs i.e. a belief system which is preceded by values, customs, and meanings which they share with a number of individuals that may comprise their peers, over and over again existing at a level that is implicit and taken for granted (Garfinkel, 1964). Mostly, with regard to hair products and any other products we use to make ourselves look good, humans align themselves with what culture dictates; the buying of products is often imbued with meaning and inspired not only with economic or practical factors. This is to mean that economic rationality is often overrated by what we believe in our minds to be right for us.
The body being the bearer of cultural value is an idea that can be explored using the example of doing of hair in the morning. Normally, we groom ourselves with regard to things we have seen in magazines, the streets, and in social interactions with people we know or even strangers. The social media and other forms of media like print and television bear a heavy influence on us and the way we groom; matters of hair included. We are biased and influenced heavily by what others have to say about our style; most individuals will almost immediately change their hairstyle if they are told they do not look appealing by their peers.
Hair and beauty salon culture (barber shops included) is a very basic concept that is squarely founded upon the values of consumers and those of their stylists; values in this case refer to the standards or core principles that guide the manner in which people do their hair every morning; either by themselves or with the help of those that style them; the above mentioned principles help in summing what a persons identity stands for and whatever it is that makes it unique and special.
The carrying out of a routine such as doing hair on a daily basis presents through its front, conceptual opinions upon those who see us; all in a bid to remain relevant. The doing of hair as a routine constitutes the manner in which a practice is socialized, modified, and molded to fall in line with the expectations and understanding of the society within which things like hair styles are presented. Through a representation of ourselves via hairstyles, we can get to understand our own socialization processes (Shields, 2003). The human tendency to want to offer people around them an impression that is much of an ideal is a myriad ways. The idea that a simple issue of fashion such as performing a hairstyle routine gives presentation of an idealized perception of the state of affairs, of course; a very common spectacle.
Several studies by sociologists show that if human beings never attempted to look much better tomorrow than they are today, how could they train or come up with self-improvement from the outside inward? Changing ourselves in any way from the outside inward involves changing with respect to normative social constructs. We may look to change ourselves with regard to dressing, mannerisms, and a whole lot of things; we do this in a bid to show those around us a much better or idealized aspect of ourselves.
How the Body is Valued through the Process of Consumption
We do our hair every morning in an attempt to polish our general appearance, to make our bodies to look good (Billington, Hockey & Strawbridge, 1998). With regard to daily routines of making hair, the body is valued because it takes a number of products to enhance the appearance of hair. These products include hair combs, hair pins, blow dry machines, hair gel, shampoos, hair sprays, dyes, moisturizers, hair conditioners, and hair relaxers; they are bought with a considerable amount of money with respect to consumer preferences. It is worth noting that humans place value on their bodies in the course of using hair products i.e. consumption. The human body and the manner in which it is attended to happens to be a pure reflection of the values constituting consumer culture in selected routines, practices, and rituals.
I think that most of us as humans are dependent on what our peers think; we are dependent on what the society thinks to determine what is right or wrong, what is ugly or pretty, who is right for a hair style or not among other things. We rely so much on normative social constructs i.e. what the society regards as normal such that we fail to consider the fact that sometimes normal is overrated. Most of the exchanges between human beings have an underlying symbolic component. The reactions of our peers normally provide a framework within which our personal psychological cues are evaluated and hairstyles are not an exception with regard to this fact. We are all dependent on the appraisal we get from the society; with that in place, we sort of feel comfortable in our skins. For instance, as shown in the course of this paper, people learn how to describe a particular hair style as good in the course of face to face interactions with other members of the society who appreciate them or have the same style of grooming. Such reinforce the idea that the effects of grooming in a particular manner are commendable. Another example is within salon contexts where a changed hair style turns out to be an important gesture since there is a common perception that the initiator of the gesture is looking for better fashion and to look good.
Billington, R., Hockey, J., & Strawbridge, S. (1998). Exploring self and society. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan.
Berking, H., (1999). Sociology of Giving. London, GB: Sage Publications Ltd.
Garfinkel, H. (1964). Studies of the routine grounds of everyday activities. Social problems, 11(3), 225-250.
Goffman, E. (1990). The presentation of self in everyday life. London: Penguin.
Kiesler, C. & Kiesler, S. (1969). Conformity. Reading Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.
Shields, R. (2003). Lifestyle Shopping. : Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
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