SWU Summer Program–Day11

2013.8.1—Today was devoted entirely to the cultural collaboration project.

In the morning, Nico came in and gave a lecture on motherhood in Japan, paying particular attention to the concept of “good wife, wise mother.”

He also stressed that the stereotypical salaryman/housewife image of a Japanese family never applied to a majority of the Japanese population. His lecture examined the pressure placed on mothers by society to conform to a certain image, as well as the way that motherhood can be channeled into political activism, as happened after the Fukushima disaster, when a large number of mothers became involved in the food safety movement. One student was particularly interested in the idea Nico brought up about how people internalize rules and police themselves to the point where they do not need an authority figure standing over them in order to conform to norms.

The afternoon was devoted to analyzing gender in commercials. Students were shown several commercials which were either outright sexist or relied heavily on gender roles and the idea of beauty to market their product.
Students were then broken into groups and given a task: design a commercial (for shampoo, deodorant, etc.) for a product aimed at a specific gender without making reference to sex, beauty, gender roles, or gender stereotypes. After every group performed their commercial, students analyzed each group’s work asking questions and pushing their ideas further. Students said that the task was fun and light-hearted — most of the commercials used humor — but still engaging and thought-provoking.