Built Like an American

“…’becoming American’ can be said to involve an epistemology of the body; privileged body types function as connotative codes that structure a cultural order. ‘Americanness’ is frequently reified through deployment of what Amy Kaplan refers to as ‘the ‘look’ that United States media and advertising industries disseminate as some kind of ideal toward which all people living in America and counted as American must aspire’ (1997, xx)…. This binary relationship between body types helps to structure and define the ‘all-American’ self against its others. While this coding process is polysemic in that it engages diverse discourses, it nevertheless functions within a hierarchy of values that relegates certain bodies to prominence and others to relative status….”

Myra Mendible, FROM BANANAS TO BUTTOCKS: THE LATINA BODY IN POPULAR FILM AND CULTURE, p. 6

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