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Artistic Expression and Everyday Life

Updated on February 25, 2011

I think its true within any culture, you will always find that one person who is torn between their traditional customs within their own culture and their desire to be viewed as an individual.  I found it interesting in “Body Art as Visual Language”, Schildkrout discusses not only permanent body art but temporary body art as well. I found it interesting because everyone knows temporary body art is just that, temporary. Many people often feel that its unimportant to even mention this type of art seeing as how it isn’t long lasting. What I came to realize is that many times, it’s not meant to be long lasting. Often temporary body art is used in different types of cultural ceremonies all around the world.  This isn’t including makeup that the majority of women worldwide either use or experiment with at some point in their life. What’s important is that body art is always changing (Hirschberg, Hirschberg p. 107) People reinvent themselves every day. We see it in the entertainment industry all the time so its nothing new. A lot of the time body art, such as tattoos signify belonging to a group of some kind from gangs to team sports where all members want to be connected and show unity.

I Found "Leaky" to be quite interesting because it just goes to show how uneducated many people can be especially in regards to their own health. So many people think that just because something worked for someone they know, then automatically it will work for them too. There is no such thing as the perfect body. Those who you think have a perfect body, don’t believe they have a perfect body as well. We live in a world where each individual judges his or herself constantly. We all have something we want to change, the key is going about it the right way. I find it quite sad that in Brazil, cosmetic surgery is about displaying wealth (Hirschberg, Hirschberg p 216). That’s pathetic, it’s been my experience that people want surgery to better themselves, not to show people around them that they can afford it. Talk about having a narcissistic personality. I myself have considered plastic surgery, but for myself.  Its always going to be our level of thinking and societies superficial values that cause trouble. I mean, what do you see when you turn on the TV today? Both men and women who look emaciated. Half of the time I just want to beg them to eat something.

At first I thought it sounded rather odd relating her and culture together in any sense. I find it interesting that hairstyles determine ones level of attractiveness. In many ways, it’s not all that different from other cultures. In American cultures, looks go a long way in attracting others. I guess it’s all about the context in which you think about what makes one feel attractive and what members within a culture consider to be attractive. I did think it was odd that her identity was tied to her hair. That’s something I’ve never heard of before. I’ve seen females respond differently and have different attitudes towards their hair, but nothing like this. To me, Journey by Inner Light was about one woman’s struggle to maintain acceptance and balance within her own families culture while at the same time trying to be or appear to be an outsider. She had her own voice, her own strength, and her own desires but she still felt trapped and conflicted.

In my opinion, I felt that each story was about individuality whether artistic or not. We all have things that we want to change about ourselves, someone want to change to be different and stand out. Other ‘s want to fit in while maintaining their individuality and others want to express themselves differently in order to show not only themselves, but those around them that they can be different and yet still be the same person.


Hirschberg, S., & Hirschberg, T. (Eds.) (2009) One world, many cultures. United States: Pearson Education, Inc


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