Culture May Shape The Interpretation of the World

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Imagine two different people who went to Vancouver Fashion show at the same time. They went to the same places, participated in the same activities and observed the same show. However, their understandings and interpretations of the fashion show should not be the same because their understandings of the event are shaped and influenced by their own culture and traditions. Culture can be regarded as a shared system of meaning and value, which are usually variable, that influences and shapes our interpretations of the world. (Yoshimizu, 2014, p.1).

During my fieldwork at Vancouver Fashion Show, I found that it is sometimes hard for me to completely stand from an outsider perspective of view, questioning and analyzing my own cultural values and identities. Therefore, some of my understandings and assumptions of the research outcomes are shaped and affected by the dominant ideology. In this analysis, I will discuss how my stereotype about the traditional women’s character and identity, especially the talking style, is greatly challenged during my research process.

My view of women’s talking style is influenced by my preexisting schema of the conventional expectations of lady’s talk, which is defined as “reserved”, “soft”, “tolerant” and “ appropriate”. “Cursing” and “humor” are regarded as a normal and appropriate behavior for men but not for women. What impressed me most during the show was two Chinese beautiful girls’ sharp and sarcastic talking style. Their talk style not only involved “insults and personal attacks” but also used excessive amount of curse words. They directly criticized two young guys’ appearance and dressing style as “out of fashion” by using a list of sharp and aggressive words. This made other Chinese audiences...

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...ted due to the rise of women’s social status. Many people are no longer using the stereotyped evaluations towards women’s characters and identity. Overall, modern society has greatly changed in the standards that people normally use to evaluate women’s talking style. This change indicates that modern Chinese women are gaining the right to determine and create their own preferred ways of self-expression. (Almeida, 2002, p.249).

Although culture is regarded as a shared system of meaning and value that influences and shapes our interpretations of the world, it is constantly variable. Our understandings of the world are not only shaped by our previous cultural schemas and traditions, but are also influenced by the new experiences we encounter, the people we meet and the knowledge we learn from these experiences and phenomenon we perceive and observe. (Yoshimizu, 2014).

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