Other cultures may see something familiar in the global popular culture associated with the modern lifestyle of the American teen. Six consumer products - frozen mocha, bubble gum, hamburgers, Coke, bikinis and blue jeans - are examples. All come originally from earlier eras of ‘globalization,’ drawing on products and ideas from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, native American nations, and Africa. Here’s where they originally hail from:
Mocha: The name of the Yemeni port from which coffee (an Arabic word) came to the Middle East and thence to Europe in the 17th century. Tea is of course a Chinese word.
Gum: A survivor from the ancient Egyptian language, arriving in English via Greek. The logical competitor - the Aztec word ‘tzictli’ or ‘chicle,’ referring to the actual gum base - survives in the candy trademark ‘Chiclets.’
Hamburger: Literally, ‘person from Hamburg,’ is a German way of preparing beef. Most will eat them with condiments: ‘ketchup’ is an Indonesian or Malay word originally referring to fish sauce, ‘mustard’ is French, and ‘tomato’ is also originally Aztec.
Coca-cola: Combines the Quechua [i.e. Incan] word for the coca plant and the the Malinke name for a West African nut used to flavor the drink.
Bikini: Recalls the unfortunate coral atoll in the Marshall Islands used to test nuclear bombs in the 1940s and 1950s. A French fashion-firm came up with the name for the bathing suit in 1946.
And blue jeans: Some years back, the Academie Francaise resentfully admitted ‘blue-jean’ into the French language, as a ‘mot d’origine etrangere.’ But in fact, the term ‘jeans’ arrived in English in the 16th century, as a Marseilles dockside slang for denim-wearing Italian sailors from Genoa. (‘Genes’ in French). ‘Denim’ too is French, referring literally to fabric “from Nimes.”
21st-century America dictates global popular culture, perhaps - but the origins of our own exports are colonial and complicated, reflecting things Americans once adopted from abroad, then changed and repackaged for reintroduction into the “modern” world.
(via DLC: “Trade Fact of the Week”)
“It wasn’t until I had a child dealing with gender variance (defined as “behavior or gender expression that does not conform to dominant gender norms of male and female”) in my classroom that I realized how important it is to teach about gender and break down gender stereotypes. Why did I wait so long? I should have taken a hint from that kindergarten teacher years ago. As I thought about how to approach the topic, I realized that the lessons I was developing weren’t just for Allie. She had sparked my thinking, but all the children in my class needed to learn to think critically about gender stereotypes and gender nonconformity.
Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.
— Lisa Bloom, “How to Talk to Little Girls” (via HuffPo)