Response to Charuga’s Reflection: Lets Play

After reading Charuga’s reflection titled “Lets Play” I noticed that many of her comments and insights are something I could relate to. Growing up on a small suburban street in Thornhill I was always allowed to play a sport on the road, bike, talk to neighbors and even play tag on the street. Though we don’t believe these games take critical thinking they really do.  When Charuga talked about competition when it comes to gaming I always thought of myself as being a highly competitive player. I always wanted to win no matter what it was that I was playing. Whether it was a sport played outside, an online computer game, a video game or even a track and field race, I always wanted to come out as number one. Though things would not always go the way I wanted them to go, I noticed that being competitive also meant to be a critical thinker. For example: whenever I would play rollerblade hockey on the street I would have to consider making different moves and doing different plays with teammates in order to get across my opponents to score a goal.

I also noticed that Charuga mentions gender roles. This is very interesting since it is not something I noticed before but thinking about it now, as a boy I was always given toys that are now deemed manly or boyish. From a young age I was given toy cars and remote control cars and even when it came to video games I was always introduced to sports, racing and shooting games. If I were a girl I would have probably be given Barbie’s, Sims, and dress up like games. Though we do not notice that games create critical thinking for us they make us who we are in the future in a sense.

She also mentions that gender is a social construct and by looking at acts of play such as playing House it is obvious that it starts at a young age with boys having the option of playing with cars and girls with dolls, at the age I was not even aware that social institutions were shaping each and every one of us to fit the gender roles. After reading Charuga’s reflection on play, I realize that it has an immense effect on who we are later in the future.  


Response to Mariams Reflection: A Woman’s Place is in the Cardiovascular Room??? Gender Relations, the Body, and the Gym

After reading Mariam’s post I found that I agreed with many of her thoughts on women in the cardiovascular room. When she mentioned her dad teacher her and her sister to train in athletics such as swimming, it took me back in time to when I was younger because I was always pushed to play hockey since it was my favorite sport. I started out in a league when I was about 5 years of age and continued on till now. Though I do not play in a league today I was chosen first round pick into an OHL team, the London Knights. When I was given the opportunity to move on with my hockey career it took a toll on me since it was not something I wanted to pursue as a career, however I did feel like it was a very important aspect as I grew up.

Not only did it help me keep shape, it also allowed me to train with my team in a gym where I noticed women and men working on their personal physics.  I also remember one woman who was a body builder and she was always looked upon as being different. When Mariam mentioned  that women are definitely stereotyped as having to fit a certain ‘look’, I felt as though this was notably true especially seeing the woman body builder at the gym I went to. Women need to be ‘feminine’ and over the years for some reason muscles have become the antonym of this word. This is something I have noticed since I still go to the gym today however I feel as though people are more lenient towards seeing women with a bit of muscle on them. Though this is not my type I still believe that women could do as they wish and should do what makes them happy. Even if someone looks at a women with a built body and takes it in a negative way, I feel like she should not care since she knows its something she wants and is happy with her self.

Mariam also mentions that a healthy lifestyle is not just about mentally feeling great but also being able to perform physically to the best of your ability. This is something I too agree with because one who is not in the greatest physical shape could still be feeling mentally great and vice versa. 

Reflection: Internet Addiction… The New Clinical Disorder

            Internet addiction is a new growing clinical addiction in which studies have started to focus on more and more over the years. Businesses, families as well as students have started to rely on the Internet more and more taking into consideration that the internet has broadened so much over the past few decades. Many multi-million dollar businesses which exist today would not subsist if the internet would not come about.  In todays generation the internet is something every individual relies on. Whether it is researching something you are interested in, looking for your latest news stories, viewing movie trailers, communicating with friends and family or even looking for somebody to date, you could find these things by just sitting in front of your computer screen.

            As a student I feel as though the internet is what got me through many classes. Always researching essay topics, talking to classmates online, submitting my written works online, communicating with a teacher/professor, the internet is always something I would rely on especially when it came to my studies. I wouldn’t consider myself an internet addict since I am out of the house for about 80% of my day, but when I do go on my laptop I notice that I get distracted easily with social networking as well as watching videos or listening to music which hooks me onto staying my computer for a long period of time.

            In the reading “Internet Addiction: The New Emergence of a New Clinical Disorder” by Kimberly Young, I noticed that she mentioned how excessive internet usage could create issues in ones ‘real life’, “Marriages, dating relationships, parent-child relationships, and close friendships were also noted to be poorly disrupted by excessive use of the Internet. Dependents gradually spent less time with real people in their lives in exchange for solitary time in front of a computer (Young, 243)”. Reading this makes me feel as though Internet addicts totally exclude the outside world since to them the internet is what’s most important. Not just the internet but often times I hear on the news about social network addictions such as facebook. Many people use these sites to communicate with others of whom they are not so close with however feel the need to bond with them on a daily basis over spending time with those who are close such like family, companions etc. Young also discusses that those who are hooked onto the internet cannot seem to disregard the addiction, “Despite the negative consequences reported among Dependents, 54% had no desire to cut down the amount of time they spent on-line. It was at this point that several subjects reported feeling “completely hooked” on the Internet and felt unable to kick their Internet habit. The remaining 46% of Dependents made several unsuccessful attempts to cut down the amount of time they spent on-line in an effort to avoid such negative consequences (Young, 245)”. This is a little bit shocking to me because when I personally sit on the computer for long hours, I notice side effects that occur which stop me from staying online.

            Although internet addiction seems to be something that many are concerned with, I feel like it is an addiction similar to smoking cigarettes. The internet is something that will always be available to those with internet service just like cigarettes will always be available to those 19 years of age and older. I feel like one must notice the disadvantages of using the internet excessively to stop the addiction or to at least cut down on the amount of hours spent online per day. 

What does it mean to be to Masculine?

            What is the meaning of masculinity? When many people think of this term they think of one who is strong, muscular, strong, bulky and aggressive. When we see women who are muscular we always tend to look at them in a way in which they are different.

            Being one that has always been into playing sports, going out to the gym occasionally with a buddy and playing hockey in a high competitive league, I always knew how hard the work was to look a specific way. Eating healthy, going to the gym nearly everyday, lifting weights and performing intensive cardiovascular workouts kept me busy but also left me exhausted at the end of each day. Whenever I would go to a gym, I would notice women who were dead lifting weights that guys at the gym were unable to do themselves. My friend and I would always talk about it however, these women are doing it for themselves. In my opinion, everybody has a different perspective on what a healthy lifestyle is. When we got into groups to talk about the guest speakers who came in, I noticed that many people in my group were saying that being healthy is being happy which I personally disagree with. Even if you are considered a fit person, you could still be unhappy due to other obstacles in life.  

            After reading “Reflexive Ethnography, women, and Sporting Activities” by Anne Bolin and Jane Granskog as well as “A Woman’s Place is in the . . . Cardiovascular Room??
Gender Relations, the Body, and the Gym” by Shari Dworkin I came to the realization that many people think it is out of the norm to look a certain way. Some say that women body builders look to masculine and that it is unattractive however, it is who they want to be and how they want to be and by their standards, it is considered to be beautiful. The second guest speaker who had spoken to us about her body building career seemed as though she was very into her self and her friends of whom were in the same industry. She was nearly promoting to look this way, nonetheless classmates seemed skeptical because they thought it were deemed to masculine. Women bodybuilding is slowly starting to diminish as women’s fitness contests are taking over since they look at more feminine characteristics. “Ms. Fitness contests feature women who are toned, cut, and athletic while adhering more closely to emphasized femininity than do densely muscled bodybuilders. Unlike bodybuilding, female fitness contest participants combine light to moderate muscle gains with a number of cheerleading and gymnastics moves, and also compete in a beauty round… (Dworkin, 152).” This makes it a more feminine sport and causes women to not bulk up as much as they would in bodybuilding competitions. The term masculinity means a lot in our society especially when it comes to ones physical appearance. Many think it is not the norm for a woman to carry the characteristics of a man. 

See It to Believe It

Optical illusions could be described as visual images that differ from reality. When we first looked at optical illusions in class, what came to mind was Criss Angel, the Mindfreak. I have watched his show numerous times and I thought it was fascinating how one could go through so many crazy stunts without suffering even a small injury. After reading the article, “Haptic Visuality: Touching with the Eyes” by Laura U. Marks, I noticed that she touches base on one of two common types of visualities. “Haptic visuality sees the world as though it were touching it: close, unknowable, appearing to exist on the surface of the image (Marks, 80).” This made me think of the video that was shown to us in class. Beau Lotto explained in his show that seeing colour is one of the simplest things our brains could do, yet when you see colours on different coloured panels, our brains seem to get confused as to whether or not the colour is the same or different on either panel. This is just one of many examples he illustrated to us in the film however, I feel as though if we would use our haptic vision on this illusion in specific, we would notice the differences and similarities among the different colours.

In Bruno Latour’s article, “What is Iconoclash? Or is there a World Beyond the Image Wars”, he looks at vision from a different perspective all together. He speaks about the differences between Iconoclash and Iconoclasm and defines Iconoclasm as something you are already aware of, for example, the sky is blue. In class we were given different optical illusions to experience, however one in which I had received did not work regardless of what I did. It was an illustration of a bunny beside a basket and apparently if you were to move the paper sideways, and focus on the bunny, the bunny would jump into the basket. I feel like this was a sort of iconoclasm in that I knew it was a 2 dimensional picture. No matter what I did the image would stay the exact same. Another picture which we received was an elephant with 4 legs. I overheard people in the class recounting the number of legs it had and thinking it had more however because of my awareness that an elephant only has 4 legs, the image didn’t change causing my experience with the optical illusion to fail.

In the end I did realize that sometimes our eyes play games on our minds making an image an optical illusion however sometimes these illusions do not work on us depending on our state of mind. 


Smelling Something Isn’t Everything

Having to answer which sense I would give up is a question that arose to me as soon as I heard about this course. Thinking about my day to day routines and thinking about which senses I find most useful and necessary is difficult because it takes some thinking… taking into account that many of the senses are related to one another.

Taste and smell are nearly conjoined, however when the sense of hunger kicks in, I could never say no to some good food. When I was little I was over weight and though it may have been the junk food that was at fault, I was never one to say no to food that I truly loved. The thought of pizza, McDonalds, pasta or even food that I was used to at home (traditional russian food), triggered memories to my taste buds that nearly made my stomach ache. Food is one of life’s basic needs, and taste would not be something I would ever want to give up. 

Vision is nearly a gift from god. Although some humans are born blind, statistically we can all agree that it is the most important sense of the five traditional ones. Vision relates to all the other senses. It gives us a sense of being and it allows us to do many things in which the blind would not be able to even consider. Closing my eyes and not being able to use my sense of vision creates a feeling of paranoia in me. The fear of violence and crime or something going on nearby makes me feel scared not being able to see. Relating sight to Desjarlais’ 27 ways of seeing, also signifies an immense importance to this sense in specific.

Of all five senses, smell is one I would choose to dismiss. Ultimately, what made me decide to give up smell was my father. He broke his nose when he was little and since that occurred he has not been able to scent anything. He does wish he was able to smell, however he always says, “its not the end of the world”. Whenever we take a roadtrip and smell a skunk, he never smells it which could in fact be a good thing. Everybody tries to avoid terrible odour such as; the smell of sweat, skunk and foods that we do not like perhaps. Sensing an aroma whether its good or bad is not something that would affect one personally as other senses would. I figured that odour has the least amount of impact on a person and so if I were to give up a sense I would give up the sense of smell.

Simplistic Commonalities – Everything that is good, is good for Everyone

Notably among the top chefs in the world, Gordon Ramsay teaches viewers how professional techniques can be applied in your household kitchen on his Cook along Live show. Using your average kitchen’s ingredients to satisfy even a Michelin stared chefs’ profound pallet. In the clip for this reflection, Chef Ramsay takes one of the easiest things to cook and describes in great detail the common mistakes people make when making scrambled eggs. In the early part of the video, Gordon says ‘every time we get a new cook in the kitchen, we ask them to make scrambled egg, and if they can make the perfect scrambled egg, you know they know how to cook properly.’ As a test that most would think they would pass in the kitchen, would probably come out with a bland and tasteless egg but Chef Ramsay takes it that one step above. With breakfast being my favourite meal of the day, I couldn’t help but be enthused about how something so simple can be transformed into a better version than what I’ve normally been accustomed to.  

To serve with his scrambled eggs, Ramsay adds a thick slice of sour dough bread drizzled in olive oil, fat cap mushrooms and vine tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. He does this to still have the egg be the focus of the dish but also give the plate some visual flare. ‘Taste is something we anticipate and infer from how things look, feel to the hand, smell (outside the mouth), and sound. . . .Our eyes let us ‘taste food’, and this has been a chef’s outlook on all of their dishes as taste is only half the battle. Teaching the viewer how to leave the egg not being watery and rather fluffy and full of flavour by whisking and seasoning at the right times to leave you mouth-watering and tasting every flavour thrown in. Quoted from the reading, ‘Douglas gives attention not only to flavor, but also to texture, temperature, color, and other visual patterning elements, once again group-ing them into sets of oppositions that structure particular meals and the relationship among different meals’. Ramsay sells us on the taste that the heat from the pan provides the egg and leaving the egg more broken up and lighter in color gives texture to change your perception of eating this differently cooked egg. 

At the very end of the clip, Chef Ramsay pokes fun at the fact that he uses cooking to impress his wife. I could sense from his voice that he likes to use aroma as precedent for a happy and healthy marriage. It sets the tone that he is a man of many talents and considers himself to be a worthy spouse suggesting that ‘flavor becomes a social agent in itself and food a “trap” (p.48). More proof to taste being a stimulant sexually is Cowan’s link to ‘sweet tastes with sweet feminine dispositions and salty ones with male dispositions, and power with pleasure, suggesting the difficulty of contesting such for-mulations both because of their “naturalness”and their seeming “triviality” (p. 181). So like your normal guy, Chef Ramsay likes to also serve other needs by using the manipulative sensor that is taste.