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Lecture #6.docx

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Maggie Cummings

February 26, 2013 Lecture #6 BODIES AND BEAUTY: A CROSS-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE  The way bodies become cultural and meaningful o Ideals around beauty and bodies  Azawagh Arabs in Niger – want to be as fat as possible What is beautiful in the Trobriands?  Related to broader cultural values  How is Trobriand beauty related to: o Physical characteristics? – value smooth skin, lighter skin, shiny skin (with coconut oil); idea face is round, shiny like the full moon; nothing particular about body shape and size  Adornments make you more beautiful by emphasizing your relatedness to father and place in Trobriand society  To not have earrings = fatherless o Cultural understandings of appropriate behaviour?  Purpose – to attract lovers  Not showing overt emotions – important adult skill  You can’t force people to do stuff, you must learn to persuade  This is what teens must learn in their courtship rituals o Magic? (beauty magic)  A way to influence people  Spells make you even more irresistible – spells can make an ugly person beautiful  Also helps make you look influential Body Ideals among the Azawagh Arabs  Want to be obese  Most beautiful thing to have is stretch marks  Why are fat women so sexy? According to Popenoe, it can’t be explained as: o A cause of personal anguish o The result of environmental factors (eg. scarcity) o The result of economic factors (eg. poverty) o An overt celebration/expression of desire and sexuality  Women’s fat bodies crystallize various cultural logics and values, and turn them into something tangible, including: o Gender complementarity (men and women are completely diff
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