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Lecture 6

Week 6 Readings P1.docx

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SOC 2070
Linda Hunter

WEEK 6 READINGS PART 1: BERESKA CH. 6 Chapter 6: Looking Deviant: Physical Appearance - physical appearance is the stimulus for the social typing we do every day, and to which we subject every day - social typing based on physical appearance goes beyond our own individual likes and dislikes Voluntary and Involuntary Physical Appearance - 1950s – slicked back hair and leather jackets were deviant - 1960s/1970s – men with long hair who wore beads - twentieth century – tthtoos viewed negatively - by the end of the 20 century, tattoos and other forms of body art like piercings were less stigmatized, and in many other cultures, body art has been commonplace for centuries - all of the above are voluntary forms - other forms of physical appearance are involuntary in nature like height, the size of one’s nose, shape of our eyes or visible disabilities - these people are often stared at, laughed at, teased or excluded from opportunities - some forms of physical appearance combine voluntary and involuntary aspects o i.e. body weight  choosing how much you eat and how much physical activity you get (voluntary)  psychological factors, social factors, and biological factors may influence those outcomes (involuntary) - body projects (Shilling, 1993) – refers to the ways that each of us adapts, changes, or controls characteristics of our bodies, and whether those characteristics are voluntary or involuntary o i.e. if you have poor eyesight, you may get glasses; if you do not like the look of glasses, you might get contact lenses. o Four different types of body projects:  Camouflaging  Makeup, clothing and hairstyle  Extending  The case of using contact lenses or a cane (to overcome one’s physical limitations)  Redesigning  Reconstruct the body in lasting ways (tattoos, plastic surgery, piercings)  Adapting  Parts of the body are removed or repaired o Weight loss, body building, laser hair removal - Physical appearance constitutes what Howard Becker called a master status, a category we immediately place people in upon first seeing them WEEK 6 READINGS PART 1: BERESKA CH. 6 Body Modification - tattoos have a history - archaeologists have found evidence of tattooing and piercing on bodies - early Christian and medieval eras, some Europeans had tattoos representing their religious affiliations and dedication - although body modification was socially typed as deviant in Euro-dominant societies, the public’s fascination with ‘primitive’ cultures meant a growing interest in it - body modification left the carnival community and entered society at large over time o 1950s – tattoos had become an established means of symbolizing masculinity and brotherhood in working-class communities and the military o 1960s and 1970s – emergence of a number of youth subcultures - since that time, females and middle-class communities – body modification among top 6 fastest growing industries in the USA - 22% of university undergraduates have tattoos, and 51% have piercings other than earlobes What do Modified Bodies Tell Us? Characteristics of Body Modifiers: Risk and Motivation - the presence of tattoos and piercings is associated with a broader range of risk o Roberts and Ryan (2002) suggest that youth with tattoos and piercings are more likely to come from single-parent homes, belong to the lowest income quartile, have parents with high-school diplomas or less, and have peers who use various substances - Much of the risk-oriented research highlights psychological and behavioural risk, analyzing the association between body modification and other problematic characteristics such as risky sexual behaviour, substance use, violence, eating disorders, education difficulties and suicide. - Research that explores the relationship between body modification and other types of risk is inconsistent - Tattooed and pierced bodies tell us about the psychology and the behaviours of individuals who have them – debate about precisely what characteristics such individuals have - Researchers with a more objectivist orientation also draw attention to the potential harms of body modification - For some people, aesthetic motivations predominate; they acquire tattoos or piercings in order to improve their appearance or because they think body modification is attractive to the opposite sex - Issues related to identity inspire others o One type of identity is social identity, the portion of the person’s identity that is based on the groups to which the person belongs o Secon type of identity is individual in nature and many studies of adolescents and young adults have found individual identity WEEK 6 READINGS PART 1: BERESKA CH. 6 formation and development to be the primary motivation for body modification – they wish to express themselves or feel unique The Self and Society: Understanding, Meaning, Resistance - the physical body reflects the individual’s understandings of self and society - from a dramaturgical perspective, the decisions about whether to engage in body modification and the precise nature of any body art are all part of constructing our ‘front stage’ selves and ‘back stage’ selves - interactions with family members and peers are significant – disapproval of these people makes body modification less likely - having body art that they know their parents disapprove of or having to continually hide it from their parents can have an impact on people’s perceptions of self - individuals are more likely to actively seek the opinions of their peers when deciding whether to engage in body modification - when an individual is on the front stage playing a professional role, the audience may react negatively to the presence of tattoos or piercings - patients who had engaged in body modification themselves had more positive attitudes to whether a physician does or does not have piercings – even then, 33% considered a facial piercing to be inappropriate Women and Tattoos - females with tattoos remain stigmatized, being perceived as more promiscuous, less attractive and heavier drinkers - overall, tattooed females are perceived more negatively than non-tattoos fe
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