Mobile Phones more common than Toilets

Here is a question to think about: How many people have mobile phones in the world? How many people have access to a toilet in the world? If you do research and take a look at the numbers, they are significantly different. Why is that the case?

According to Jen Barr, the author of article, “Oh shit, mobile phones more common than toilets,” many people around the world today have access to a mobile phone of some sort, so we need to make toilets available to everyone. However, in many urban places, the infrastructure for managing human waste is either inadequate or completely absent, causing people to deal with their waste somehow.

In countries like China, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh, and India, waste is handled by other humans with very limited or no protection at all. Therefore, this inequality or lack of access to better sanitation conditions leave people living in these countries at a high risk for serious diseases and conditions.

According to the article, currently 2.5 billion people lack access to safe sanitation and over 1.1 billion people defecate in the open. These numbers are unbelievable. I understand that many countries do not have a state manage system in which the state government maintains the waste system, but still.

In conclusion, many people still lack access to sanitation and toilets in developing countries. Meanwhile, living in the United States, we have access to toilets as well as mobile phones. We should consider the conditions in other parts of the world.




Women and Power

Christianity features images of women holding priest-like poses, while wearing the robes of a priest. But the Catholic church refuses to state that women held the religious position known as the priest, while allowing that they did hold leadership positions. The name would never be that of a priest, however; it would always be a modified interpretation to take away from the prestige of the word in the eyes of the church.

The Catholic church’s unwillingness to state that women served as the holy position of the priest signifies that there is some cultural stigma regarding women. Women are certainly not as prominent as men in the Bible, evident in the gender makeup of the Twelve Apostles. Today women still are not allowed to serve as priests in most divisions of the Catholic church.

Throughout history, women have been shown as powerful and masculine, such as Joan of Arc as well as English queens. So why not, in religion, can women be shown as powerful? I see it as women being depicted as unholy in the eyes of the church, stemming from a past belief that has morphed into a modern segregation of women from religious power. Women are often seen as weak in the Bible, a notion that is true in physical stature, but women are now challenging their gender roles; the percent of women graduating with a college degree has now surpassed that of women.


Is ‘Young’ Still In?

“I’m not a kid, I’m a young adult!” This phrase seems to be a part of most western adolescents’ lives. The author of the article Why “youth” is an outdated myth, Ted Polhemus attempts to prove that some aspects our western culture’s idolization of the concept of youth are coming to a close. Yet he also provides examples that show how youth is still a desirable marketing angle-especially among the elderly.

I think that the youth culture in our culture possesses a fairly unique dynamic. If surveyed a group of teenagers, I predict that you would find that most of them don’t like being referred to as a ‘teen’. As a teenager I can attest to the fact that being called a ‘teen’ can feel very belittling. As a high school student, being asked if you are a college student is one of the best compliments you can get.

At the same time, songs like “We are Young” by Fun. and “Young, Wild, & Free” by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa are popular anthems of youth. These songs both revolve around the carelessness and irresponsibility that an ideal version of adolescence supposedly provides.

I think marketers try to target these highly attractive aspects of youth in order to make older consumers long for the “good old days”. This is why Polhemus provides the example of ads for things like life insurance being marketed with examples of older people doing extraordinarily youthful activities. While younger consumers think that by buying their product, they will finally have that ideal life that all teenagers are supposed to have.

As Polhemus suggests, youth culture has not come to an end. Youth culture will most likely continue to act as a selling point for young and old alike. However, that does not necessarily mean that the youth of today still strive to be young.

Our Wallets, Our Stories

What we, as people, carry around with us every day can say a lot about who we are. One would not think that we could tell anything about a person just from what they might have in their pockets, purses, or wallets, but this is not true. What a person carries with them every day, as they go about their routines and lives, has the ability to speak volumes about what is important to us, and where it is we might come from.

The things people take with them throughout their day may have something to do with what they believe is most important in their lives. As anthropologist Erin B. Taylor discovered in her research of one couple living in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, not everyone chooses to carry the same things with them. While nearly everyone seems to think it is vital to carry some form of identification and access to money with them, the manners and ways people do this can be different. Some people choose to take legal documentation with them, while others might choose the easiest or simplest form of identification. Some may choose to carry large amounts of cash on themselves, while others prefer to not carry cash and would rather keep a bank or credit card in their wallets instead. There are even those who travel frequently that will keep other currencies on themselves, for the sake of nostalgia or other purposes.

While what people keep with them throughout their days might not seem significant, these items have the potential to reveal a person’s background: a person might carry items that have sentimental value or are culturally significant. Other things people keep may just be for practical reasons, but there are some items that can reveal where a person is from, and where they might be going. There is anthropological significance to this subject in that what we keep on us throughout the duration of our lives can be pieced together to create our stories, and tell the world around us what it is that we value most.

Taylor, Erin. “What Do the Things You Carry Say About You?” PopAnth. 7 Apr. 2014. Web. .

A World of Online Identities

Anti-racism movements on tumblr are under debate. Are they actually helpful in abolishing racism or do they only have the appearance to do so? James Jang brings up the idea of “tumblr identities,”  in his article, which are written personas that people make online and use as their other self.

In lab, we discussed how online profiles or personas that people use on facebook can be deceiving when it comes to courtship or friendship. One reads a profile or looks at pictures and finds out a superficial facade of a person. Some may make their online world as close to their real life existence, but others make up a new side of themselves when they are on a computer. In my perspective making contact online isn’t nearly as good as meeting someone face to face and interacting with them. Computers and the online world act like a shield, so people can be as fake or as different as they like because it is not truly their real self and their facial and body gestures cannot be seen. Even if you are honest in making a tumblr identity, for example, how much of yourself can really be translated into a profile page on a website? Much like a book cover, I think only the superficial side of a person can be written out, leaving the real information hidden under a pretty picture they create for themselves.

This is an important concept because our world is morphing into a very technological age. We rely on technology for medicine, communication, and interaction. This idea of having anti-racism and other activist groups focusing their efforts online using tumblr identities is an important topic because it signals that we as a human race have moved even further into the relative safety of the online realm and are starting to believe online identities hold more power in our lives.


Is macklemore a modern-day archaeologist?

Not quite. However, in Dawid Kobialka’s article “Popping tags: Thrift shopping with Macklemore”, an interesting parallel between thrift-shopping hipster culture (if it can be called that) and the practices of archaeologists. As Kobialka states:”thrift shops are, as it were, cultural heritage sites in which are staged and saved artefacts from the past.” While these thrifted artifacts from the past may be both more recently and more figuratively buried, the basic idea is comparable. By repurposing clothing from one era to fit your modern idea of personal style, you also automatically bring its history with you. Kobialka also touches upon another important aspect of the thrift-shop movement. The way in which you repurpose a piece of vintage clothing is an act of creativity. It is a way of saving money and getting clothes that nobody else will have, sure. However it’s also a way of wearing your cultural history. Wearable objects are still objects, and accordingly have their own sort of language. For example: If you wear a pair of 80’s doorknocker earrings (pictured below, because pictures are fun), other people generally will understand that your jewelry choice is a reference to a different decade.



(just look at those earrings)


They won’t be baffled at your odd earrings that have no place in modern fashion. You could wear an entire goodwill outfit, with an early 00’s plastic lace choker,  a grungy 90’s plaid shirt, gaudy 80’s doorknockers, and some 70’s bellbottoms and others in our culture would understand that those pieces are a part of our collective cultural past.  They might not approve, but they would understand the language of the objects you were wearing.