J Lo, Salsa and Zapatista

Posted by: | March 31, 2009 | Comments Off on J Lo, Salsa and Zapatista

I really enjoyed the readings we did this week. Despite knowing that all the stuff we covered earlier in the term was still prevalent to culture, I feel like the things that are talked about in this articles (Zapatista movement, Latina celebrity and salsa music) by Guillermo are closer the preconceived notions of culture I had thought of before this class when dealing with Latin America. Obviously after being through this course I know that these are not the only things that constitute culture, but instead a multitude of things can be considered cultural.

It was humorous to read about Jennifer Lopez’s rear end in a scholarly situation. At times however, I felt like these articles only covered surfaces issues in popular culture, instead of getting into deeper social issues. When looking at the salsa music article argument, that salsa music crossed borders from Latin America to the UK, many social constructed were perpetuated through the songs. For instance many drew conclusions that Caucasian performers were musically talented, while stereotyping Latin performers as more rhythmic and therefore they must have played drums and percussion instruments.

In the article that focused on JLO moving to North American main stream, the issue of stereotyping genders were highlighted. Jennifer Lopez’s success and sex symbol status in America challenged the thought that in order to be beutifle you had to be thin, as she is not that thing but more voluptuous. The fact that Jennifer Lopez was considered beautiful with her large butt challenged these views.

What I gathered from all three articles was that culture is not easily defined but is easy to create, through social construction. The Zapatista movement leader formulated a character to present himself in public light and the movement was called a performance. JLO was successful because Hollywood constructing her image in the media. Salsa music is something that anyone can learn as long as they have instruction (or construction) from a trained individual, even then it does not necessarily mean that they are performing it right, and in many cases people can become better than their masters. It is even easier to how these movements can be consider popular culture, as they tend to cross many boarders, in Latin America, but more importantly the world. In the end does this mean that culture is becoming popular culture and the loss of individuality, I think not. Instead I think that certain items, performances and icons will always be considered Latin it is just a matter of the disperses that they get in the rest of the world.


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