Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Frames. This is complicated.

Yours truly is in an international business seminar, with a great professor and a diverse, involved class.  The class itself is usually quite good, informative, learning takes place, much of it through the discussion and sharing of perspective - and interestingly, considering the context (business class), there is quite a bit of populism and anti-freetrade sentiment.  Lively discussions.

The readings, on the other hand, can be quite different.  Frustrating even.   For example, talking about the rose industry (and paying lipservice to questions of environment and labor rights), the text goes, "...thanks to free trade, a New Yorker can now buy a bunch of fresh roses for his beloved on February 14..." or "On February 14, however, most consumers are oblivious to these issues; they simply want to show their appreciation to their wives and girlfriends with a perfect bunch of roses." [emphasis mine]

Two things.  There's the obvious framing from the traditional, straight, male perspective.  Meh.  This framing is self-perpetuating, though.  Obviously, anyone and everyone can take Valentine's day in their own way, by giving a rose or just saying 'I love you' to a loved one or two or more.  Gay, straight, male, female, queer, single, etc.  But the constant, persistent, never-ending framing of the holiday in this way surely carries with it meaning for the participation of groups outside of that frame.

It's complicated and a lot of it beyond my judgment, understanding.  But you can't help but notice things like this.

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