How People of Different Social Classes Value Their Personal Items Differently By: Mitchell Pokrywa

How People of Different Social Classes Value Their Personal Items Differently
By: Mitchell Pokrywa

Each and every person has different values for different things, and it is evident when comparing people of different social classes just how different that margin of value is. Someone who is super rich values things differently than someone with not as much money would value certain possessions that they have.
When watching The Queen of Versailles this became evident to me with the interviews they had with the family, as well as the interviews they had with the nanny. During the interviews with the family you can tell how distraught they really feel about being under pressure of losing their dream home and having to cut back on the things they have. However, it was obvious to me and I think anyone else watching that even with the cutbacks they had to do they were still able to live more than comfortably and they had no real reason to feel so distraught about the situation they were in. The only reason they felt distraught was because they didn’t want their social standing to come into question and were greedy in the fact that they wanted to keep living they way they were before (The Queen of Versailles).

However, when they interviewed the nanny about how she moved some of her things into the kid’s playhouse, she explained how her family never had owned a home and having this space was special to her because it was her idea or symbolism of her own home, and she was brought to tears when explaining that story (The Queen of Versailles). The point I am trying to make is that despite the problems the family was going through, they still had more then everything they could have ever needed, but they were acting like they were in crisis. The nanny was more appreciative of the small things she had and what those things meant to her. The difference between their value of each other’s belongings was evident in the way each person discussed what things mattered to them.
bag
This is my punching bag and to me it is more than just a punching bag. It is my release. After I have a long day or a bad day, this is where I escape. To me it means I can put everything else aside and focus my energy and clear my mind. I value this item a lot and it helps me get through a lot of things.
tv
This is my television, and it is also very valued by me. I use it all the time and without one I would feel like I was missing out on a lot of things. I feel like this is a necessary item to have and is very useful to obtain knowledge and information.
dog
This is my dog and he is very important to me. I value my dog as a member of my family and treat him as such. He is a loyal companion and he means a lot to me. I would never do anything to harm or hurt him. He serves as an important part of our family.

This post was completed as part of an assignment interpreting the “material culture” of home, and how objects, keepsakes, and ephemera from our domestic lives contribute to our social identities. For additional information on the assignment, please visit:https://americanstudiesmediacultureprogram.wordpress.com/the-concept-of-home-spring-2014-the-archeology-of-home/

The Relationship between Housing Quality and Worker Morale and Motivation When Leaving Home to Move into Work Provided Housing

The Relationship between Housing Quality and Worker Morale and Motivation When Leaving Home to Move into Work Provided Housing
By Mitchell Pokrywa
The relationship between housing quality and worker morale and motivation is one that can be looked at from two different perspectives which I think can have two totally different impacts on the individual. When a person or family is uprooted from their home to move into work provided housing individuals can have varying reactions. Two specify on the two extremes one can either be excited for a new start or on the opposite end of the spectrum one can have feelings of nostalgia for their old home and life.
The two ways I believe one would interpret the system of work provided housing and the incentives that come with is to either use it as a tool of motivation to achieve better housing by becoming more skilled at your job which would make a person more valuable to a company which is reason to deserve better housing. The other way is to see it as a way of discipline if you do not increase your value to the company over time what was given to you can be stripped from the company. Depending of the type of person you are, the way you interpret the system can provide with different results out of the work provided housing system.
“Not all company towns employed such dramatic forms of social control. Industries that needed to attract skilled workers found it to their advantage to create towns where their power was less evident” (Crawford, 30). For a person who sees this as move into provided housing as a new start that person may see this provided housing as an incentive to work harder to achieve better success and skills at their job to obtain better housing from the company.
“They exercised total authority, imposing a system of arbitrary rules the violation of which was punishable by heavy fines. If a miner refused to pay he would be dismissed, his family evicted from their company house” (Crawford, 30). However for a person who is not viewing this move in a positive light and is feeling nostalgia for their own home, this person may not see this as a positive chance to obtain more through better work but as a threat of losing the provided housing if they do not work hard enough. For someone like this I do not feel that they would mend well into this system because of their deep feelings of nostalgia for their old home and way of life.
“You went to work at dawn, got home at dark, and they took out of your pay the rent, and then they operated a grocery store, which was a company store, and they took the cost of your groceries out of your pay, and so on, until you virtually had, you know, there was a sort of self-contained world.”
This article suggests that in this particular company town everything is contained within the town and all the wages are circulated within the town which means that the money given to the workers is essentially all given back to employer. What this represents to me is that this company town is using its power to assure that it makes the most profit from the employers. This doesn’t allow the employees to have the freedom to do what they please with their earned wages. The company is forcing the employees to spend their money within the town using this as form and enforcement on the employees to assert their control over them which can cause mixed reactions from certain employees depending on the personality of the person.
Excerpt from “[Interview of Virgil Charles],” [1995]. Click image to read interview

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This is an image of a company grocery store and this picture shows how the employees all were forced to spend their money within the constraints of the company town showing the power that the employer had over the employees, using the company town as a form of discipline over the employees.
“[A Typical pioneer town],” [1880-1920]. Courtesy of [The Library of Congress: American Memory: Immigration, American Expansion].

“José and Mónica had one of those houses that the Imperial Sugar Company used to give to the workers a long time ago over there in Sugarland. It was a company town, and they lived in a company house. They had about five rooms, that’s all. We were too big a family for that house. Mónica and José had six children, and you have to remember that we had Ignacio and Beatriz and their little Charlie with us, as well as our whole family, including another very small baby: our youngest brother, Andrés.”
When reading this article I took that the family in this company home used this provided company home as motivation. It seemed to me that clearly the provided housing for the family was not adequate for the family in it and the family needed more space. I feel that this shows the company did not provide them with what they needed and this could be used as motivation to obtain better housing through acquiring better skills for work to become more valuable to the company.
“[Lydia Mendoza, a family autobiography],” [1993]. Click image for article

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The picture above is a picture of a company housing of Dupont employees and it shows how the towns were structures and how some of the dwellings differed from others. This to me can be seen as incentives to see what you have and what you could have based on the quality of your work.
“[History of the American West],” [1912]. Courtesy of [The Library of Congress: American Memory: Immigration, American Expansion].
This post was completed as an assignment for the American Studies course, “The Concept of Home.” A list of the readings that informed this assignment can be found here: https://americanstudiesmediacultureprogram.wordpress.com/assignments-the-concept-of-home-spring-2013/

How the Roles of Women and Men in the Home are Portrayed in Media By Mitchell Pokrywa

How the Roles of Women and Men in the Home are Portrayed in Media
By Mitchell Pokrywa

The Roles of women and men in the home have been portrayed differently over time, but a lot of things remain the same today. When you see ads for cleaning products or ads for tools, what do you almost always typically see? You see a happy woman using the cleaning products and you see a strong man using the tools. The point is that these products are trying to target those specific audiences because, for a long time, these types of products have been associated for use by only one gender in the home.
For the most part, the role of a woman in the home was to be a housewife – to cook and to clean and take care of the children. Richard Nixon stated, when describing homes in Moscow, that they were equipped with modern appliances to make the life of a housewife easier. When he stated this, he was saying that there are appliances that are only operated by housewives and that the types of responsibilities associated with those appliances are to be done by a woman and not a man (May, 155).

A man’s role in the family is to provide – to go out and work and make the money for the family. The man is never portrayed as a homemaker because those jobs are not a man’s responsibility. The jobs around the home that are a man’s responsibility are the jobs that require tools and fixing things, or jobs like cutting the lawn. Have you ever seen the commercials for John Deere or for lawn products? They almost always portray a man; showing how proud he is of his lawn. These are the types of activities that are targeted as a man’s job. Reed Funk stated that he only had a slightly above average lawn because he did not want to mow his own lawn after working with grass all day (Steinberg, 65). This showed me that the lawn is considered a man’s area because while he was away at work his wife was not cutting the lawn. Therefore, it is considered the responsibility of the man.

The ads I have below show how the media portrays who is responsible for what in the home, and show how people accept these advertisements as the correct concept of home since they still remain similar today.

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“Lady Berkleigh Pajamas,” April 1950. Courtesy of http://www.adflip.com/.

The ad above struck me as interesting in its portrayal of the woman in the home. It is an ad for women’s pajamas from the 1950s, but what is most interesting is the phrase on the left which states “tailored to a man’s taste.” This shows that the main reason for a woman to buy these pajamas is due to the fact that these pajamas would please her husband regardless if they were pleased with the pajamas themselves. The fact that that is the main focus of the ad points to the idea that the woman is considered to be her husband’s property and that her responsibilities in life are to do what she can to please her husband. By buying these pajamas she can do that, because they are tailored to his tastes and not hers.

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“Cut Rite Wax Paper,” March 1948. Courtesy of http://www.adflip.com/.

The ad above is another interesting ad that portrays how the media defines what they believe is the woman’s role in the home. This is an ad for wax paper and it shows a woman storing food in the wax paper. It also specifically says that more women use this brand more than any other. This is significant because it is only addressing women in the advertisement, giving the idea that the people who use this product are only women because the jobs done with this product are only jobs that are done in the home by women. A man wouldn’t need to be addressed in the advertisement because he would not use a product like this in the home; it is portraying that only women have use for a product like this.

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“La-Z-Boy Recliners,” November 1967. Courtesy of http://www.adflip.com/.

This ad was not exactly as straightforward as the first two, but the image struck me as interesting. This is an ad for La-Z-Boy recliners and in the image there is a man and woman, presumably husband and wife, and the man is sitting in the recliner while the woman is sitting on the floor. This ad seems to be targeting men with imagery showing that this product is geared more towards the working man who deserves a big comfortable chair to sit in after a long day of work, and by showing how this is a man’s chair and not a woman’s chair.

 

This post was completed as part of assignment on how the idea of home and the concept of domesticity has been used in marketing during different historical moments and in the present. For additional information on the assignment, please visit: https://americanstudiesmediacultureprogram.wordpress.com/the-concept-of-home-spring-2014-selling-home/.