These are my observations: American culture as a whole focuses widely on appearances; our culture is driven by materialistic means. I myself do not have one specific style that I wear my clothes. I consider myself to be eclectic and trendy. When it comes to style I delegate the most importance. Style of course even extends to the manner in which I wear my hair. My hair is usually down and done. If a stranger were to look at me I would assume they thought that I care about the way I look on a day to day basis. My gender also plays a significant role in dictating my personal style.
American women are to be perceived as sophisticated and beautiful while also maintaining cultural duties and societal rolls. Gender does play a role on my culture, I believe that my brother is able to do more things and activities that I would never be able to do. He also gets away with a lot more than I do. Since I am a female I am also expected to clean and do chores when I am with my mom. Along with housekeeping, meals are usually cooked and served by my mother. We usually eat as a family at least three or four times a week.
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Meals are held in the formal dining room on special occasions and holidays, but generally our meals are eaten in the non- formal eating area of the kitchen. Being that America itself is a cultural melting pot American culture explores the food of many other cultures. While these meals may not be entirely authentic to the cultures from which they come, they are one way in which the American culture effectively explores foreign states. During the holidays, true foods authentic to American culture are served such as turkey, stuffing, and casseroles.
During the holidays large amounts of food are usually prepared. Holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and if you live in my house, the Super Bowl are general occasions for abnormally large meals is a formal, familial setting. My home is almost built for these types of gatherings, while all the while attributing to a suitable appearance for outsiders. My family home is a two story seven bedroom house, one for each family member, five bathrooms, a gym and a finished basement. I wouldn’t consider the house to be decorated in any specific cultures; we have different decorations for each room.
However Christian religion is shown throughout my home, almost every widely used room has a cross hanging from the wall, or an angelical work of art. The most widely used room for entertainment, aside from the dining room, is the living room. Due to the openness of my home, the living room is the central meeting place. From the living room my family often plays music to be heard throughout our home, or broadcast television and movies for us to all watch. All of these attributing factors speak of my culture at face value.
However, what does the American culture ultimately stand for? Many would argue that American culture has given way to technology. While I do within my own family. The most important objects in my family are generally technological. Technology fuels the work and lives of almost every American. Stephen, my step-dad, depends incredibly on technology in order to maintain a company. My three step-sisters are always keeping themselves occupied by watching television, or playing games on their phones. My mom works from home, so she uses her electronics for communication.
My sister takes online classes for college so she uses most of her time doing school work and correcting papers, as well as working. Even now as I type this paper I myself am depending on technology. Aside from school work, I mostly use my technology for music and communication between my friends and me. This technological dependence does not affect what my family ultimately hopes to achieve in life. Happiness is probably the main priority in our family. I believe that everything else is useless unless you are happy doing what you want to do.
During holidays, the idea of happiness being at the root of American culture is on full display. There are two very important celebrations in my family. During Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we celebrate this holiday by going to church and having a dinner with all of our family. Another holiday that we celebrate is Thanksgiving, this holiday is very important to my family because we all ether and give thanks to God for everything that he has given us. Through these two holidays we are able to give thanks to God and display our happiness for the blessings given to us in life.
In conjunction with striving for and maintaining happiness, there are two major expectations that my family places on me. One expectation is to excel in academics due to the advantage that an education will give my later in life, and also in part due to expectation previously set by my oldest sister. My family also places a high emphasis of health and fitness and expects me to maintain a certain amount of athleticism. Through milestones set by our culture we are made aware of our success is accomplishing expectations.
One milestone that our culture celebrates is age thirteen because it is your first teen year. We also celebrate the sixteenth year of age because you have become a young adult instead of a teenager, which means more responsibility and less childish things, as well as driving and being able to get a Job. Another milestone that we celebrate is turning 18, which generally signifies being graduated from high school and going off to college to start your own life. Many milestones with in our culture are associated with celebrations of life and progress.
After all, isn’t that the basis of our culture? The essence of American culture stands for the advancement of the culture. American’s are forever striving to excel, impress, and achieve. While we learn from ourselves, and more in depth from our culture, we are ultimately displaying characteristics that will grow the culture of other states. Despite the fact that we are separated by borders, seas, languages, and cultures the people of the world are after all one in the same learning and growing from one another.