ethnographyproject

ethnographyproject - Lieu 1 Virginia L ieu Professor Laura...

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Lieu 1 Virginia Lieu Professor Laura Hubbard Anthropology 3 November 18, 2008 The Effects of Consumption on Ethnic Identity during Coming of Age Does what you buy and consume influence how people view you and with whom you identify? After doing research and fieldwork, I have formulated my own answer to this question and I will attempt to prove it. Coming of age, the transition between youth to adulthood, is a time, in America, focused on physical appearance, formation of identity, and social acceptance. Especially because coming of age is a time when one wants to “fit in,” there is an intense concentration on personality and exterior form. During my investigation, I observed the shopping habits of young Asian American females in various stores, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Forever 21, in San Francisco. I will attempt to prove the effects of consumption on the formation of ethnic and racial identity.
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Lieu 2 When I first entered the American Eagle on Market Street in San Francisco, there were only four Asian girls, three of which were buying cardigans. All four were wearing similar clothing: denim jeans, a Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch hooded sweatshirt, and Converse tennis shoes. They were all shopping separately and alone, and seemed to be very intent on their shopping. All were wearing little or no jewelry; they all had similar long, straight shiny hair and light skin. The store was a medium-sized store, with lots of “woody” décor. It was very well-lit from lights hanging down from the ceiling and on the walls were pictures of female models, dressed in American Eagle apparel, some of whom were in very provocative poses. All the models were white. During my observations, I spoke with Eva, an 18 year old female, who was trying to decide on what color cardigan to buy. When I asked her why she was buying the cardigan, she responded, “I’ve seen a lot of girls wearing them. They make you look a lot cuter and more innocent.” When asked why her skin was so light, she responded, “My makeup is a shade lighter than my skin. It looks a lot smoother and pretty.” My experience at American Eagle led me to the preliminary conclusion that the store was designed for primarily white shoppers; this can be seen by the pictures of only white female models on the walls. The girls felt
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Lieu 3 compelled to make themselves appear less like their original ethnic group and more like the targeted customers of the stores, or, white females. The second store, Abercrombie and Fitch, across the way from American Eagle, cast a stark contrast to its neighbor. Dark and not well-lit, Abercrombie was filled with pictures of shirtless white male models displaying their bodies. It was a much larger store, with a downstairs section, and was organized in a very confusing
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This note was uploaded on 09/21/2009 for the course ANTHRO 3AC taught by Professor Lightfoot during the Fall '08 term at Berkeley.

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ethnographyproject - Lieu 1 Virginia L ieu Professor Laura...

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