a203-11f-10-CulturalMaterialismAndText

Cheerleaders mean women femininity in speaking

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cheerleaders “mean” women, femininity - in speaking, Americans use football as a metaphor for war, politics, business, romance - people root for their home teams - yet no one expects to significantly profit in the long run - and no one actually gains or loses much status - even though they scream, cry, get violent, get overjoyed… - football can be seen as representing life, war, politics, gender roles, etc. - it is a “story” about how life works - the vital role of teamwork - hard work and training pays off - life is competitive, - with winners and losers - determined by their skills, abilities, and attitude - but life’s competition is (or should be) fair, - with a “level playing field” - and clear “rules of the game” - resulting in clear winners and losers - and always with another chance to come back and do better next time - Americans “tell” this story to each other - and “read” when they see a football game and root for a team - do Americans really think this way? - George Carlin on the language of baseball and football - General David Petraeus, Sept. 7, 2007, letter to personnel of the multinational force in Iraq: - "We are, in short, a long way from the goal line, but we do have the ball and we are driving down the field." - Alan Dundess, an anthropologist at UC Berkeley, wrote a famous paper “reading” aspects of American football as referring to homosexuality - which was then popularized in the media - he actually got death threats! - apparently some people do “read” gender messages in American football, and feel pretty strongly about them
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Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Cultural materialism, culture as text p. 5 - Why is “Lingerie Football” apparently funny or interesting? - Photo of game between Dallas Desire and Los Angeles Temptations - it is funny precisely because it upends the gender imagery we expect - humor is often about pointing out or violating assumptions or unstated rules - laughter releases the tension caused by being faced with contradictions - comedians (like George Carlin) often do something very close to anthropology, in seeking out contradictions and the assumptions they reveal - if seeing the picture of lingerie football in class seems inappropriate or makes you even a little uncomfortable, - that is a hint that it really is touching something real about how we think about football and gender… - and that the idea of “reading” football as a “text” about gender in American society might be at least partially right…
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