Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Of Yoga Pants and Ideologies

So I have this activity in Social 30-1.

I ask kids to go to this website called and enter the term "ideology" and see what comes up.  Spezify uses some kind of algorithm to search certain areas of the web comes up with a visual display of images, quotes, websites and videos around your term.  

It's kind of an interesting activity as many different things come up and no two kids get exactly the same result.  You might get a meme of Will Smith, the cover of a textbook about Chairman Mao, or a thought provoking quotation or a beautiful photo. It gets students thinking out of the box or so I hope.

I've had this activity in my online course for a few years. I never get any comments on it. Then a few days ago a kid emailed me and said "I don't get the point of this spezify thing. I did it and all I got was pictures of yoga pants. That is not helpful to my thinking."  So I tried the thing and it worked normally. But I figured something was up, dug around a bit and sure enough if lululemon doesn't have yoga pants called "ideology." Five star yoga pants no less.

What's the connection between ideology and yoga pants? Clever branding is what I am sure the genius marketers at lululemon think.  I mean, how cool are ideologies? They can imply that yoga (in expensive pants) is the core of your belief system.Core values that influence the political and economic system you believe in. And if their consumers have no clue what an ideology is, by co-opting the term maybe they will seem politically aware.

I wonder if Rachel Notley wears ideology yoga pants as part of her Sunday workout?  Or does she wear something union made? And when she runs, do her body guards go with her?

Spezify "Rachel Notley" and see what comes up. Ugliness that make me ashamed to be an Albertan. Ugliness that reminds me Rachel was not wrong when she said Alberta is "the embarrassing cousin no one wants to talk about."  She might have been referring to Alberta's record on the environment, but with every word and every meme produced by Alberta's Wildrose supporters, I am reminded that Albertans have plenty to be ashamed of.

Ideologies are not pretty things. No matter what pants they are wearing.