Comparing Society and Culture... to a Tootsie Pop!

So my teacher gave me a fun assignment that I thought I would post here and see what other people thought. The first paragraph will contain the definitions of society, culture and personality/the individual. The next is the fun part! :)

This one is tough to really work out in my head and explain- at least satisfactorily to me! Society refers to the idea that we live among other people who have some forms of power to permit us to do some things and stop us from doing others. Culture is defined as the intellectual influences that enable us to see some possible avenues of behavior and refuse to do or see other ideas... and personality is the individual response to the cultural and societal influences around us and how we individually interpret these avenues and expectations and conduct ourselves accordingly- or not based on our own decision making, learned or innate cues, etc... These three terms (society, culture and personality) describe separate ideas that in some ways can be teased out separately from the other two terms. Yet, like triplets, while they are separate entities, each of these terms describes ideas and behavior that are interwoven together and so... they cannot totally be separated except on a vague and less informative basis. Society and culture can help define people and even how they see themselves, but personality can change and mold culture... which can change society. Or personalities can change social 'expectations' and in doing so change the larger picture of culture and society. So each of these ideas clash and mesh depending on different factors.

OK- know for the fun!

I first have to admit... that I didn't do the tootsie pop or blow pop eating exercise. I know of very little candy that is gluten free so I didn't even think of risking it. But... I will give it a shot! I must also admit that the most jarring and significant quote from this week's reading was in chapter four and was 'statistics don't bleed'. Gosh, how true is that! Only emotions- whether positive or negative can truly convey the feelings behind statistics. Truly, a number is nothing much by itself toward understanding.

But back to the tootsie pop. The outer candy shell would remind me of culture and society. The color and flavor would stand for culture and the sugar and sweetness would stand for society. When just glanced over, there almost doesn't appear to be a difference between the two and when licked, you might only separate them slightly. The flavor of strawberry might be separate in your mind from the 'sweet'- only if you are mindfully licking of course. :) This candy shell is thick and you might be very tempted to just eat the shell and throw the middle... or the individual away. Also, you can buy many different colors or cultures and so flavors and levels of sweetness may vary. But while the individual tastes different and looks different... it adds the best perspective on the lollipop or culture itself. For the culture and society can change, but the variety and diversity of the individual remains the same- high quality, long lasting and memorable. But neither the culture or the society would be interesting without each other. The flavor of culture is bitter without sugar... and the sweetness of society is frankly boring without diversity. The individual brings out the flavor and sweetness of the culture/society... and makes it worth living in. Also , as the individual is different it is flexible... in ways that society and culture may not be. Only through the flexibility of the middle or the individual... can the culture or society change.

It is so important to understand how these groups or ideas work together to present a complex picture of diversity, beauty and tastiness that give us a true picture and understanding of the whole- which raises the value and importance of the information to us. Otherwise, we might be tempted to ignore or not 'eat' the information as we will be ignorant of the joys and knowledge that can be found in the patient lick, lick, lick of information to get us to the most knowledgeable and interesting core.

So what do you think? Would you describe it differently? How so... and do you agree with my analogy or to simplistic. Be creative and have fun!


  1. Good job! I liked how you descried culture and society to a tootsie pop! You brought out some very good points and went into a lot of detail.

  2. Thank you very much! I had a lot of fun with the assignment. You will have to eat the tootsie pop for me :)

  3. How funny is this...I only like the outside.

  4. You are too funny Carolyn. I love you :) Have some hard candy on me!