The existence of various objects in the contemporary world and in particular in the United States of America has been based on their relevance to material culture. Various objects have gained prominence in the American society and culture. Their manufacturers and their meaning for Americans were the key factors of such a popularity. This research paper therefore aims to explain the relevance of the lipstick as an object and its roles in various American traditions, events, lifestyles, rituals etc. The research paper will therefore place focus on a methodological order which starts from the collection of objective data for the cultural analysis of the lipstick as an object. It is also through such methodologies that researchers will be capable of understanding the popularity of the objects in the American culture with reference to the satisfaction of some specific local and cultural needs.
1.1 Types of objects
There is a wide range of material objects. These include video game consoles, big mac, baseball, lipstick, swimsuits and guns.
1.2 Methods of analyzing various objects
There are various methods for analyzing objects. These include Kopytoff, Flemming, Camp, Pearson, Belasco, Harrison, Caughey, Kellner and Deutsch.
1.3 Why the lipstick was chosen as an object in relevance to material culture?
Specifically, this research paper will focus on the analyzing of one particular object (the lipstick) and the method that is used in utilizing it. As a combination of various methods, the methodology that will be used in analyzing the lipstick as an object should be able to give the author the study materials which may include its history, textual analysis, deduction and design among others.
1.4 Flemming's methodology
Material culture refers to the study of artifacts, values, beliefs, attitudes ideas and assumptions of a particular society or community at a given period of time. Artifacts are the body material that is required for conducting such a study. In the article “Artifact Study: A proposed Model” (1974), Flemming outlines four major operations which are supposed to examine five properties in order to yield crucial information regarding the particular artifact. For instance in the analysis of the lipstick as an object, the five properties which ought to be considered are the history, the material, the construction, the design and the function of the particular object. The four operations, according to Flemming, which need to be considered in the analysis of an object include its identification, evaluation, cultural analysis and interpretation (Flood, 2009).
Through the analytical model presented by Flemming, the objects are analyzed in several different stages. It is through the interpretation stage that Flemming explains how a particular object like, in this case, the lipstick, should be evaluated based on its cultural and contemporary values of urbanization, mobility, ecology, nationalism, mechanization and feminism. Objects, according to Flemming and other theorists are therefore regarded as being reflectors and repositories of culture and cultural meanings or implications.
1.5 Lipstick as an object
Lipstick is a cosmetic product whose history dates back to ancient civilizations; this object went through various changes conforming to trends of fashion of different epochs. Lipsticks are made of pigments and dyes in oil-wax fragrances. Thus, the major ingredients that are found in lipsticks include alcohol, oil, pigment and wax. The lipsticks are mostly sold in tubes of 3 inches in length and 1.3 centimeters in diameter.
The object that was chosen in this research study was the lipstick while the method chosen for analyzing it as an object was Flemming’s method. Considering the cultural aspect it can be said that lipstick as an object is used in enhancing human life not only in America but in the rest of the world as a whole.