Taste

Elana Levine and Michael Newman defined the idea of taste and the role it plays on culture and socioeconomic groups. Levine and Newman quote philosopher, Immanuel Kant,who argues “taste with the judgment of beauty, and identified beauty as a universally acknowledged quality found in nature and in fine art”. According to Kant, the decisions we make as consumers are based off of beauty and subsequently symbolize our taste. Levine and Newman acknowledge the “privileged social positions” that are required to make something beautiful and desirable for the masses’s taste. Cultural powers such as Hollywood movies and the music industry use their elite social positions to control the masses into thinking certain things are beautiful and influence consumer’s taste. According to Levine and Newman, the masses are “subjecting themselves to the quasi-fascistic control of capitalists” and have lost all sense of individuality. Ironically, its interesting to consider the lack of individuality, since millennials are known for wanting a sense of individuality and authenticity in themselves, their peers, and their brands. It is interesting to think of the social and power implications taste has on society. Those with an elite cultural status have the power to influence taste, which causes concernover the tastes and culture of those with medium to low cultural power. However, Levine and Newman argue that “cultural forms embraced by those of low status were really culture, not just commercial menace”. This made me think of Miley Cyrus and Kylie Jenner wearing corn rows and dreadlocks. Traditionally, these hair styles are considered as forms of Black culture, since they are often worn by African Americans. However, these styles are being culturally appropriated by two white women with elitesocial and cultural power. One could argue that Cyrus and Jenner wore these hair styles because cornrows and dreadlocks are true forms of culture. I decided to use this photo of Miley Cyrus because it is represents how those in high social power steal true culture from those with low social status for commercialization purposes. Additionally, this audio from Miley Cyrus’s song “23” shows her rapping, which arguably is another form of cultural appropriation.

 

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