While reading Mike’s article on Play he starts off by describing the definitions of play from each author which I found was a great idea and engages the readers, it allows for readers to understand each definition that the different authors have. He discusses that Huizinga says that the tension creates disorder and order and I found this very interesting especially the section about gambling. It is beneficial because it creates social bonds and communities and I definitely agree with this point, even just looking at virtual games where individuals engage with others and create bonds with these people. Another interesting point in his article was when he says that not everything can be learned by reading which is true there are many different types of learners, some are visual and some need to have that hands on experience, I myself find it hard sometimes to understand something just by reading it and I like demonstrations so that way you know that your grasping the concept. At the end of his blog post he posed some interesting questions such as how would play revolve around levels of communication, emotion and flirtation? I think this is a great question although I do not have the answer for it but it’s interesting to see that your thinking outside the theoretical analyses and thinking about humans on a day to day basis. Overall the post was very well done and found that the post is interesting to read.
In response to Priya’s article on Play I found it interesting that she had mentioned that play is important, almost essential part of life, I definitely agree that without play life would not have creativity. As children we all go to the park, play dress up or house, and as we grow older we all play video games. I’ve grown up with an older brother therefore I was an individual who played a lot of Xbox and thinking back to my childhood I believe that if play did not exist life would almost be meaningless and boring. I strongly agree with her statement “Humans need to play and are meant to play” as it is embedded in our culture, we have grown up having the mindset of playing, as children the best part of the day was recess or going to the park just to get dirty and have the time of our lives. I find that even now being an adult, going to the park is still something I would enjoy; it brings out the kid in everyone and can still be enjoyed.
She discusses that after participating in the weekly activity she had understood how play could be addicting, I thought this was very interesting. In addition what I found to be very much true was the fact that she had mentioned when an individual is overly happy the moment that person comes across a person of the opposite mood that feeling of happiness is suddenly gone and can change your mood. I’ve experienced this working with customers on a day-to-day basis; just one grumpy customer can make a big difference. Overall I found her piece to be quite interesting and I found many points that I had agreed with, well done.
Femininity and masculinity can be defined as one referring to females and the other males but where do you draw the line between what is feminine and what is not? I have been to the gym on numerous occasions and what I noticed was that there are very few to any females in the weight room. Women are always focused on cardiovascular rather than weight training and while reading Dworkin’s book it was said that this was done on purpose which got me thinking about how true this statement was. I have taken a course at York University and within a class we watched a documentary called Killing Us Softly in which they discuss the media and how the advertisements of women are essentially killing us. With all these images exposed to young girls of women being slim no fat or flab, no muscle and in a way it causes psychological damage in the sense that these girls want that body, they want to be the socially constructed “norm”. I can see where Dworkin is coming from in, its become an issue where we have been exposed to these images and in ways brainwashed ourselves to believe that this is the body you need, the body that is what is attractive. I have seen it at the gym and even at yoga, there are hardly any men that attend yoga and when asked in class by one of the guest speakers, “who goes to yoga?” the majority of the hands were females. Yoga has been constructed to be a female sport and many believe that it isn’t as intense as playing football or lifting weights, it’s seen as feminine. These are all social constructs and what has defined masculinity and femininity. The guest speaker Maria who is a body builder had shown images or women who had more muscles than some guys that I know and it was admiring that she had stretched the line of where femininity stands. She showed a picture of a woman Robin and said she was beautiful and I would agree with her, having muscles does not make her more masculine however I myself would not go that far to gain muscles but I am not one of the many women who avoid the weight room, I think its time for women to realize that having muscles is not negative but at the same time it goes the same way for masculinity. Men are being pressured to look bulkier and as the male guest speaker had said his motivation was his command officer and because of this man he wanted to get bigger and started to work out. Although I was not too fond of his exercise his speech ties in with Dworkin’s book, just like women who are pushed to work out to maintain this ideal body, so are men as this is all socially and culturally constructed. After reading the short segment from the novel and by linking the speeches given by our guest speakers it has allowed myself to realize that gender essentially is socially constructed. Men and women should and can do everything equally, but society has taught us otherwise.
While reading Flanagan’s article on Play and started to think about my childhood and how often I would play outside whether it was playing in the park, or playing dressup or house or playing video games with my older brother. I had no idea that performing these acts of playing, as a child would involve critical thinking and we are using our senses yet we have no idea that we are critically thinking while doing all these things as a child. Play is a social aspect in that it is a tool that helps individuals understand the world as it is, it requires thinking and we then develop skills that we use for the future that we may not even have realized we were developing these social skills. Malaby discusses that play was designed to get away from everyday experience and I then started to think about Playstation and the online gaming where you can face competitors from around the world, and I realized when gamers get involved they essentially escape from reality and enter a virtual realm.
During class we had an activity in which some individuals got to act out a scenario and the rest of the class had to walk around and mimic the individuals passing by. I noticed that some were too shy to participate and at the end I noticed everyone had chosen to mimic the person standing against the wall, participating in this activity it involved thinking though we may not have noticed it but you had to think and observe who had the scenario, who was acting out of the ordinary. I had no idea that simple acts of play require thinking because I was just so used to it. Games also have an effect on your emotions for example those that win feel excited and a feeling of accomplishment for example Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim, essentially your playing and when an individual wins they feel happiness or the opposite when they lose.
It was interesting to see that the article discusses games that we are well aware of growing up, I myself found it interesting that gender roles were created at such a young age. As Simone de Beauvoir had stated, gender is a social construct and by looking at acts of play such as playing House it is obvious that it starts at a young age with boys having the option of playing with cars and girls with dolls, at the age I was not even aware that social institutions were shaping each and every one of us to fit the gender roles. After reading these articles I realized how much of an impact play has on us throughout our lives.
Often times we find our eyes playing tricks on our minds and a common example would be an optical illusion. We often can get fooled when looking at such images, it could be an image with many circles in which you stare at it for quite some time and then suddenly the image starts to move. In Marks’ reading she discusses that our eyes should be used like our sense of touch, observing from close contact. From thinking about this one observation made by Marks it got myself thinking about the video that was showed to us in class and what I noticed was that while watching the different optical illusions that were presented in the video, I started to think about haptic visuality. I wonder if we had the opportunity to look at the experiments up close would we have been fooled?
According to Bruno Latour however, optical illusions gives us an embodied understanding of the differences between iconoclasm and iconoclash. Iconoclash being for the purpose of power therefore there is less emotional connection and iconoclasm we are aware of what is happening. I then began to think about a particular piece of paper that had an illusion and that was the picture of the elephant that had a different number of legs and when you count, the number changes but I knew the answer was four. I could see why people would see five legs or even more but because I already possessed the knowledge of an elephant having four legs it was hard see the illusion it did not possess that power to trick me. Say a child for example, had he or she had seen the picture they may have been tricked by the illusion because they are not yet familiar with the object. The meaning then has a different meaning to myself and to others, which I found interesting. In iconoclash you can’t control how it will have an effect on you and there are some illusions that I do not have control over such as the moving images. I find that optical illusions there is no real emotional connection therefore it has power over anyone.
Thinking about Latour’s ideology that words become worlds I started to think about situations outside the classroom and found that I had not paid attention to this before, I did not realize that the more senses you engage the more you remember I did not quite understand his meaning behind it but having seen optical illusions I now know how it can affect and be affected.
Our senses play a key role in our everyday life and each and every sense play hand in hand with one another. These sense allow us to understand the world but one of the sense that I would give up would be my sense of hearing mainly because there have been many inventions in which it has allowed for those who are hearing impaired therefore I would think it would not be so hard. When it comes to vision however that may be a bit difficult as mentioned in Oliver Sacks, Virgil gets surgeries done to fix his eyesight but by the end of the article it was discussed that he pretty much goes blind which can be questionable whether these surgeries can be trusted or not. From looking at this example I would definitely not want to give up my sense of vision, vision is a part of almost everything that we do and without vision life can be a lot harder. I can only imagine how it would feel to be a blind person, you can only ask them how they feel or what they see but we will never be able to determine how they themselves feel.
I wonder however, just from the first section of the course we have learned a lot about senses and how they are somewhat connected with other senses for example the sense of taste and the sense of smell are interconnected with one another. I remember as a child I would hate cough medicine and I would plug my nose and drink the medicine but because I couldn’t smell it I felt like I couldn’t taste it, I would quickly drink water and flush the taste out so I couldn’t taste it after I unplugged my nose but I would value my sense of taste and smell the most because I love food and I love tasting and smelling different things. So what I’m ultimately trying to get at is if certain senses are interconnected with one another would the feeling of losing a sense be the same? How do we understand our senses fully if we are not able to fully understand how it would feel without our sense? We can only imagine how it would be like from others experiences but to feel how these individuals feel can only be a mystery to us.
One of the pros about losing a sense however is the fact that it is said and believed that once an individual loses a sense, there other senses become much stronger as seen in the article by Oliver Sacks. “His tactile (and olfactory) appreciation seemed far finer than our own.” Not just in the article but anyone who has lost a sense often speak about their other senses being much stronger therefore could it be said that we will only realize our senses full potential once we have lost one in order to truly value our sense?
An interesting show that explores food and the senses into more depth is the show MasterChef, in this show a selected few home cooks compete to win the ultimate prize of being named the next MasterChef and there chance at getting their own cookbook. The way the winner is chosen to advance to the next round is based on how the food is displayed, it has to look good, be visually appealing to the judges therefore there is a contrast of colors and in a way displays food as a form of art. They base their choices on the top tastes of the dishes and throughout the cooking process; the judges go around and smell each individual dish.
While watching the show judges ask some of the home cooks what had inspired them to be cooks or how they even got the recipes and most would say that they picked it up from their parents cooking. The competitors would say that the taste of their food or choices they made reminded them of their mothers cooking therefore there is a link between memory and the senses in relation to food. Memory is the source of motivation within this show as most of the dishes chosen to cook are based on good memories either from being a child or reminded the cooks of home. Referring back to Sutton’s article it was discussed that memory and emotion can tie in with cooking styles. It was discussed that a Songhay woman expressed her frustration through a sauce that was made and had tasted awful in an attempt to display her anger.
Many of the home cooks had different cooking styles and had different preferences in tastes depending but from watching the show it is clear to see that emotion is a key factor in determining their choice of foods, and for one of the competitors Christine who is blind, she had to overcome obstacles that set her back from the other competitors, she had to taste everything and feel her ingredients which displays a different cooking style and shows how she uses her senses more thoroughly as opposed to the other chefs who are able to see and display a visually appealing dish.
From looking at this show it is clear to see that like Sutton says “sensory experiences of food are invested with meaning, emotion, memory and value”.