Saturday, October 17, 2015

The New Romantics: Love and Consumerism in the Modern

(Originally written as uni assignment and titled: Romantische Liebe 2.0: Liebe und Konsum in der Moderne)
Written by: Patricia Novanti





Love. One simple word. A never ending stories, interpretations and concepts. Today the concept and idea of “Love”, such thing as “Soulmate”, “The One”, “Mr. / Mrs. Perfect” is pretty hard to grasp. What is love even mean? Is it even real? Can I order it online and get it delivered to my house within 5 working days? Since when does love become something so complicated, so repulsive? Literature and Art show us how easy love is, how natural and beautiful. Where did we do wrong?


Let’s take a little detour and have a little look on the history of love.


Long time a go marriage is considered as a medium that connects two families into one, a kind of collaboration, if you will. Say, you are a king and would like to have a better relation with the nearby kingdom, marrying your daughter to their son sound like a perfectly good idea. Marriage therefore inherit a functional value, be it political or economical.

Fast forward to the 18th century. A lot of changes has taken place, from the social structures to the marriage arrangement. Slowly there were whispers and talks about this new thing, a romantic love they said. It was written all over books, carved into dainty sculptures, shown in theaters. It was told from mouths to ears, from one village to the next one, spreading so fast like a virus outbreak. This romantic love now has an All-In-One function, a one stop shopping for Love + Marriage + Sex. The person we shall marry is the person we love, a friend, a care-taker, a mother or father to our child. The romantic love is not rational, she is chaotic but she is natural. We know her not only through leather bound books or copies of Shakespeare’s plays, even in the pop culture we might stumble upon the essence of romantics. In the 90's with boyband culture, a song from Backstreet Boys perfectly encapsulated the idea of romantic love,



“...I don’t care who you are / Where you from / What you did / As long as you love me…”



The attraction in romantic love is so abstract, so vague, hard to explain and put into words. Important keys in romantic relationship are exclusivity, perpetuity and interdependence. The concept is, that there is someone out there who is 100% right for us, who will accept us for who we are.
The reality though isn’t as pretty as Disney movies. The “perfect love” is 7000 miles away from us, he is across the ocean, he has a mole on his face, or even worse: he has a girlfriend.
We then ask ourselves, does this love thing really exist? Where can I find it?

Slowly we noticed yet another changes in our lives and society, it’s everywhere, from the technology to our ideology. All these new we call “modern”, or the modern society.
With the industrial revolution that first started in England and France and now almost the entire surface of the earth people are urged to move to cities, in pursuit of better living, like such thing as The American Dreams. Another character of modernization is mobilization, rationalization, division of work, individualization, globalization and growth of information, technology and capitalism. 
What follows after mass production is mass consumption.
Love, now is also a commodity, love is also being consumed.
After all, since the beginning of time love has always been inherited an economic value, but today the play between Love and Capital is getting even more complicated. Eva Illouz coined the term “Consuming Romantic” for this phenomenon.
She mentioned cars have quite a big role in this consuming romantics. Cars move people, cars mobilize. Love that before is a private matter, something that is shown and done inside the house. With the rise of industrialization, more and more cars are being produced and introduced to our everyday lives. Cars take lovers to the cinema, to go dancing, to fancy restaurants. Mobility enable the bloom of tourism and other leisure and recreation industries, something that is now considered as base of social construction of the modern love relationships. Leisure activities is where love meets consumption. Love today is expressed through dates, going to cinemas or romantic getaway to Bali.


Different from the past, people in the industrialized countries, or the the Periphery and Semi-Periphery according to Wallerstein’s World System Analysis, are now able to live better, to be able to afford their basic needs and granted the opportunity to reach for the higher needs. With the shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism, people are able to work less, given more free times. This allows Selbstverwirklichung, self-actualization and building a more extraordinaire biography than it was possible in the past. Other than that today we are given abundant amount of products to choose from. We buy water with nice packaging (cough Fiji Water cough) and stuffs we don’t even need because of their shiny pictures in magazines or ads on TV. The key is to trick people into buying the idea that is shown in pictures through exchange between money and goods. Romantic love is often used in the packaging and advertisement to sell products. Romantic love is often idealized as happiness, as something beautiful.
In today’s modern world consuming stands in the middle. Consumers also can dictate what is to be produced. People consume things not only to cover their basic needs, but people also consume to define themselves, as a mode of self-presentation. I buy fair handle organic coffee because I care about others wellbeings and to prove that I am a better humanbeing than you. Consuming is now an act of building and showing your identities and so much more. Consuming is an act of showing affection. Isn’t that the new romantics to spend monthly paycheck to splurge on someone who gave their heart to us?
After all, how could I let the people at the bar know that I am interested in them if not through the act of buying them a fancy drink?
Gifts are being exchanged, on Valentine’s day, anniversaries, or even with no reason at all. Love is materialized, if you like it then you should have put a ring on it. Rings, Roses and Teddy bears are now marketed as something romantics.
The original idea of romantic love that we knew since the 18th centuries is now labelled as the new romantics, Love 2.0: it comes with nice packaging and a price tag.


Society and its components change constantly. It is hard to keep track of all the things that are happening and it’s hard to label or name the society we are in, not only because of the constant change but also because they way we view the world may differ from other people. Zygmunt Bauman propose that we are living in the Postmodern  or what he called as “ Liquid Modernity”, a step further from the modern society.
Today we still crave the idea of romantic love. The idea is very good, but perhaps too good to be true. Maybe love is just an advertisement, a propaganda or an utopia.
Maybe and just maybe, if I buy that toothpaste my teeth will turn sparkling white, so bright my prince will be able to find me! I shall be happy then.

But in reality love is hard to find  and most of us just give up the idea of it. After all, in the present, it is me and myself that is all that matters.

But sometimes there are lonely days, maybe when it rains, maybe on the walk home from work, maybe at the park during afternoon jogging session, or when a certain song being played on the radio, maybe in the shower or in the depth of a sleepless night.


We give love another chance, but this time with caution and a little hesitation.

In 2003 Zygmunt Bauman published his book, Liquid Love, and even after 12 years it still is relevant. Today with the ever increasing amount of serial monogamy and where “Dating Culture” is a thing people talk and write about, we still eager to believe of a thing called love but also clever enough to handle it with more or less rationality.
In the time of self-actualization, we put ourselves first, before anything else. We need our free times, we need space. So even when someone special come along, we are still used to that disposition. On one hand we want a significant other, on the other we want to collect experiences and live to the fullest. To be trap between security and freedom is then the underlying consequence.
We find ourselves in a relationship with someone yet invest minimal effort, because only so will we be able to avoid the pain when it eventually comes to an end, and only so we are able to move on.
Now “love” or romantic relationship is being consumed. To be with other people, to collect number of partners and experiences −that is ironically the complete opposite of the romantic love that values the quality of relationships.

In the Postmodern, like Bauman said, everything is liquid. The unity of love, marriage and sex in the old romantics has vanished. To sleep with someone doesn’t mean to love that person, or to have desire to live with them forever; One Night Stands and Friends With Benefits is now normalized. Bauman’s Liquid Love is fragile, filled with anxiety, afraid of commitments, weights and the future.
Capitalism, Consumption, Individualization or as a whole: postmodernization is affecting human relationships, love, affection and leading us to an even more depressing state of being.


Friday, February 6, 2015

The Beginner's Guide To Brew Your Own Kombucha




So #eatclean and #stayfit is your goal in 2k15 and you're running out of money to support your ~~*groovy hippie*~~ lifestyle because organic foods and drinks are SO expensive.
Don't give up just yet, go dump diving or something. Or make your own kombucha!
Kombucha is loaded with health benefits which you can google or click here to educate yo'self. 

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink so it's basically good for your guts. And it's cheap and easy to make! I'm super clumsy and my life is a series of unfortunate events -but if I can make my own kombucha, I guess you can too!



You'll need:
- glass container
-coffee filter/paper towel/towel to cover the brew
-elastics to secure


-black tea bags or loose (you can choose other tea, but black tea is best)
-white sugar (do not use other sweetener, honey or agave!)
-water
-kombucha mushroom, also known as SCOBY or Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, I know this sounds really gross and scary but it is a magical createur that will transform regular sweet black tea into a liquid health goodness (I get mine from eBay, or you can ask around a hippie community? You can make your own SCOBY from kombucha liquid but let's face it, ain't nobody got time for that!)
-starter liquid which can be kombucha you get from stores or use vinegar and water




What you need to do:
-disinfect your container with boiling water and vinegar, let cool
-boil a liter of water
-add around 8 grams of tea (1 tsp = 3 gr), a tea bag is normally 2 gr
-let seep for 15 mins
-add in the sugar, about 100gr (1 Tsp=20 gr)
-let the tea cool completely (!)

-pour the tea+sugar mixture to the container (strain if you use loose tea)
-add in a cup of the starting liquid (either kombucha or vinegar+water)
-with a clean hand (wash with warm water and vinegar) out the SCOBY into the container
-cover the container and use elastics to secure
-place the container in warm, dark place. like your ex lover's heart?! -I mean kitchen would be ideal but i have flatmates and I don't want them to see the SCOBY and freak out, so I keep it in my room.

-you may check your brew after 1 week, try if the taste is to your liking
-you can let it brew for 1-2 weeks (until the taste is ok for you), 3 weeks max because it probably will get too sour to drink
-so if you like the taste of your kombucha you can remove the SCOBY and the newly formed baby SCOBY (everytime you brew kombucha, the SCOBY will give birth to a cute bby gremlin of SCOBY)
and drink it. Or...


-if you want to have your booch fizzy because you're craving soda, you need a second fermentation in which you remove the SCOBY off the kombucha drink and store it in an air-tight bottles. You can also put different flavors if you wish when bottling your kombucha. Use thinly chopped ginger, or frozen fruits and your imagination - the options are endless!
-put the bottle in warm dark place and let it ferment for few days (2-14 days)
-when you like the taste you can strain it or drink it right away.
-store in fridge to stop the fermentation.
-enjoy your own brewed kombucha and instagram it and brag about it at the next dinner party and brew some more and give it to all your friends!




*do not use metal object like spoon or fork to discard the SCOBY or to taste the brew
*it's totally cool if the SCOBY is floating on top, sideways or make itself comfy at the bottom of the container or have like brown strings attached to it, however if you see molds: abort the mission! Discard everything and start from the beginning with a new, healthy SCOBY and be more careful, also: revise your life.
*use the baby SCOBY for your next brew, the mama SCOBY still can be used or stored with a bit of kombucha liquid before you use it again
*I would gladly share my SCOBY baby if you're interested in brewing your own kombucha
*because of the fermentation, kombucha gonna contain a tiny bit of alcohol (about 1%), not that you need to worry about it, but I just feel like putting it out there.
*I got my glass container and bottle from Ikea (the Korken series), about 2,50 euro each.
*use organics if possible, but normal black tea and sugar works perfectly fine too.
*singing Ed Sheeran songs to your kombucha will not make it sweeter - the shorter the brew period the sweeter it will taste. The longer you let it brew, the more sugar will be consumed by the SCOBY. 
*happy brewing!



the SCOBY floating on top // day one of brewing










Saturday, January 3, 2015

how to: super cute lipscrub



you need ONLY 3 ingredients that you most probably already have in your kitchen if you're a normal human being:

-4 tbs castor sugar
-2 tbs organic (lol) coconut oil
-a drop of food coloring (optional)

mix shit up, transfer&store into a cute teeny jar, voila! you got yourself a cute lipscrub that is comparable to lush product with fraction of the price! without even leaving the house! you can practically making these in your undies while watching seinfeld.

put about a pea sized of product into yr lips, scrub scrub for about 3 mins, while doing that go on and listen to ed sheeran to achieve the maximal soothing effect, when you're done scrubbin' wipe off the residue with a tissue OR just lick it off. I did and haven't died yet, plus it's tasty.

The scrubbin' get your lips smooth and the tiny bit swelling is great because your lips would feel fuller and looks hot like kylie jenner's --only, like way natural.



you can of course get creative and use brown sugar, olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil if you don't have coconut oil on hand. i bet adding peppermint extract would be great as well, or cinnamon (because it helps to make the lips plumper).

Monday, November 17, 2014

kapadokya // istanbul








1) shadow selfie 
2) church room in the monastery
3) rock living
4) looking out (running out of ideas to name the photo)
5) the chicken village
6) proportions
7) on the road
8) welcome earthlings!
9) wearing totoro neckpillow and asking for milk on the plane because i'm a baby
10) potsmoderism?
11) sleeping child (ok, a dog)
12) the basillica cistern
13) the blue mosque
14) distance
15) maghrib
16) love is an open door 
17) mezze and menemen (aka my true love in a form of tomato spiced rührei)
18) the calm after the rain
19) surveillance
20) communication
21) çay
22) hostel noir
23) a little hint
24) and a little hope

Friday, November 14, 2014

On Solo Traveling

This isn't my first time.
I can do this.
I'm doing this.

I kept repeating those lines on the bus ride to Berlin, on the plane, stranded in Kiev Airport, until I finally reached my final destination, Atatürk Airport in Istanbul.

Traveling, solo or with companion is exciting. You wake up early, beating the alarm clock, because that's how excited you are to go out there and see things you haven't seen before.
Sure airports, lay overs, plane ride, crowded train rides, or long overnight bus rides are depressing, but I always crave for that feeling, along with that exhale when you finally got there. The place you been eyeing on Lonely Planet guide, google image and tags on Instagram.
When I finally arrived in Göreme, Cappadocia I couldn't stop smiling. The whole place blew my mind, it was much prettier than those filtered insta pictures in real!

But sights and places are not the only things that makes the trip, often the people, companions matters.
Sometimes I feel like I could just replace familiar faces who I could've shared these experiences with with people I met along the way, and I did. Brisk meetings, deep conversations, laughs, good-byes.
It is so easy to meet people when you travel alone - and this comes from this rather unsocial girl.

This girl at the breakfast table striked up a conversation because I was wearing my Twin Peaks shirt. We talked and talked and found out she's a vegetarian too. And it t's such a great feeling to bond with people with similarities.

The two aussie girls I met at the dorm room are both 19 and traveling Europe to figure out what they want to do next (I'm secretly jealous I didn't have the chance to do the same when I was younger), the one girl, Molly and I also shared similar taste of music and I ended up introducing her to few of my favorite bands like Beirut and Foxygen.

I met Adam one morning also at the breakfast table. He was doing something with a alumunium cylinder tube thing, so I asked him what he's doing, and he answered with still a bed voice, "making my own coffee," - what a hipsterscum, I thought. Seriously this bearded dude would go to the lounge every morning, grinding his own coffee beans, put it in a filter tube and basically making his own coffee when there's obviously coffee served on the table. Ok, I was conflicting with myself to either think it's either cool or snotty kind of behaviour he was engaging.
But yeah, turned out Adam is a barista who spent a year in Denmark and now traveling en route home. And he actually offered me (!) a cup of his precious coffee. We also went hiking together and unravel our shared love on Sriracha sauce.
One woman, who also joined us hiking, Steph is a journalist and a writer. I had nice deep conversations about so many things with her, from the german language, feminism to hipsters in her hometown in Portland (it can't get more hipster than that). We were in the middle of a conversation when the shuttle picked me up to go to the airport. It was sort of sad. But people always come and go, you lose some you gain some more.

And there was also Gopal, an indian guy from Singapore. One evening, we hung out at the lounge also with the aussie girls and this other guy from London and he was sugar high. It was the most fun I've had in a long time. Such lovely crowds. We played backgammon together, and they basically discovered food delivery service in Göreme that later is praised by other fellow backpackers at the hostel, because the place is basically freezing once the sun goes down and ain't nobody got time to go out to get foods. We also laughed our asses off this immature joke on a turkish bus company named kamil koç, I contributed by making this terrible line that goes, "How do you get there?" "I'm riding kamil koç (read: something inappropriate)". Yep, we are immature.

It was just such lovely time at the hostel, good vibe and cool people. That was the case for Cappadocia. In Istanbul, I was mostly a lone wolf, maybe a lone kitty. It's easy to feel some type of einsamtkeit when you're all alone in a big city, think Scarlet Jo in Lost in Translation. Except that she's 10000x prettier, met Bill Murray and basically still having a fabulous arty time in Tokyo, while me, nodding softly when the waiter asked, "table for one?" and basically just going from one neighborhood to another petting probably half population of cats of Istanbul (and there's tons of cats in Istanbul!), yeah okay, that's actually not so bad.
But along with the high number of cats population, the amount of cat calls I got is also extremely high. Around my time of travel, the video of girl walking for 10 hours in NYC also went viral, which made my anger bubbling even more reading all the dumb, ignorant comments. But that's off-topic.

Summing everything up, like everthing in the world, there's always goods and bads. And in the end, the world is a book and those who don't travel only read a page traveling is cool (or at least it helps into tricking your friends to think you lead a cool life), you get to finally update your facebook and instagram account with cool pics, you probably meet cool people and get the chance to try cool things.

Most important is that when you travel alone, when often time you would get lost navigating between the small dim-lighted streets, you would eventually find your way back.
While traveling alone, lost, you may lost, but in the end you found yourself.
Because again, yourself is the coolest companion you could ask for.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

About hipsters

I'm currently reading text for my communication studies class and suddenly it crossed my mind that in this society where pop culture rules, people who choose to get off the mainstream, people who actually read classic literature and not into top 40 music, people who go to museum and art exhibition, some people who are "different" than the others, "the normal group" are considered as a hipster. I'm almost sure the word "hipster" has a negative connotation? Not one person want himself to be labelled "hipster" and some people use the term to mock someone who tries to do anti-mainstream things.
This society and that includes the mass media sculpt our thinking process. Entertainment is more appreciated than education or art. How sad is that.
I've been called a wanna be hipster or into hipsters and my reaction was to get bit upset about it. All this time people around me and the media makes me think that hipster is a no-no. Some people also claimed hipsters to be the worst kind of people out there.
I mean sure there are some people who are typical hipsters (in the way they dress, thick rimmed glasses, beanie, american apparel are some examples of what most people think what a hipster person would wear - or based on their hobbies of reading, knitting, brewing beer at home, or any other typical hipster characteristics) who tend to think themself as better human than the rest, but a bad personality could also be owned by someone who is not a typical hipster at all too.
My main point is just the reality is sad that when you want to be different and appreciate things that are not considered a popular culture, you are being labeled something with a negative conotation (like the term hipster).