Velasco, Marta

Marta Velasco

Marta Velasco responds to the question: Does some knowledge only belong to a particular community of knowers?


Object One: Good Wife Guide

The Good Wife Guide is a brochure of 11 rules published in 1953 by Pilar Primo de Rivera[1]. The brochures aim is to inform and teach young women how to be the type of wife required in Spain at that time.[2]

From birth, individuals are enculturated into a society. Most catholic societies, at a theological level of knowledge and as evidence from the church, sustain the conviction that a man’s role is to lead, and that women should be married, taking care of their house and children, and obeying their husbands. One way in which the content found in this brochure enriches this exhibition is by illustrating that only this communities have the knowledge regarding what the correct role the different genders should have in a society, which is not shared with those of other religions.

Nacionalcatolicismo is the name given to the ideological identity of Francoism. This oppressive dictatorial regime was linked with the church and acted imposing its beliefs and posture to the Spanish population. Women were destined to depend upon their husbands obeying and taking care of them; the brochures 10th rule is a clear example: (“Don’t complain if he’s late, if he’s going to have fun without you, or if he doesn’t show up all night. Try to understand his world of commitments”)[1]. Different ways of thinking were censured or avoided violently as they showed a different view of women’s roll in a country where divorce was punishable by law. This lack of means deprived Spanish women from knowing or believing in their rights to speak up, (“Let him speak first, remember that his issues are more important than yours”)[2], knowledge only owned by women in democratic countries. This is another way in which this object contributes to this exhibition.

Object Two: Scarface content ratings

Content ratings categorise de suitability of media to its consumers assigning them an age group based on specific values. Created by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1968, they aimed to help parents choose whether a film was appropriate for their family[1]. This object shows a rating of +18 for the movie Scarface based on characteristics found in its content such as sex, violence, drugs, and smoking.[2]

Everyone’s values regarding education are influenced by their culture, religion, etc. One way in which this object contributes to this exhibition is by demonstrating how David Gurney, a Common Sense Media member, has determined that the presence of drugs, sex and violence attribute a +18 rating to this film. Gurney, and the Common Sense media team, compose a particular community of knowers that possesses, what they consider to be, the `correct´ criteria. Consequently, they decide upon the `correct’ values, on education everyone should stand by; values which might not belong to others.

These values and the different communities that support them can shift. When Scarface was released in 1983 it was criticised by its violence and drug usage and rated +18. This object uses these same values, which differ to those of parents and children as seen in the reviews[3]. Nowadays topics such as drugs or sex are not taboo anymore and have become more openly-discussed knowledge to, and among, younger generations, and as a result some streaming platforms have now started to rate this movie +16. This is another way in which this object enriches the exhibition as it shows that knowledge about these topics, that only belonged to an adult community of knowers as considered by the ratters, now belongs to broader, different community.


Object Three: Western Wasabi 

Wasabi is a spice first discovered in a Japanese medical encyclopaedia from 918 AD for having been used as a medicinal plant[1]. Wasabi is only grown in Japan and the Sakhalin Island[2] since specific conditions are needed for its cultivation. This object is a sample of what is commonly referred to as western wasabi, as most of the commercialised wasabi is a mixture of supplements such as horseradish, mustard, and food colouring.[3]

This object demonstrates the scarcity of Wasabi, characterized as the most difficult plant to harvest in the world[4], and contributes to this exhibition as it shows how only Japanese farmers can obtain practical knowledge about the cultivation of the actual wasabi, knowledge that farmers from different ecosystems are not able to get.

Another way in which this object enriches this exhibition is by indicating that, due to the limited availability of wasabi and the fact that once grated it loses its favour after 15 minutes[5], only residents of Japan and tourists will be able to get to know the true nature of this condiment, including its medical benefits. But in both cases, they must have the necessary economic level as there is a shortage of this product and as a cause its price is very high, reaching up to $ 160 per kilogram[6]. This only leaves a small part of the population holding that experiential knowledge, and a majority bound to substitutes and, therefore, excluded from this particular community of knowers.


Works Cited

Chicago Tribune. “La paradoja de la guía de la buena esposa”. June 15, 2017.

Diario de Sevilla. “Como eran las mujeres en el franquismo”. December 9, 2019.

  1. Dow, Douglas. “Motion Picture Ratings”. The First Amendment Encyclopedia. 2009.

Gurney, David. “Scarface”. Common Sense Media. March 1, 2022.

Wowsabi. “The untold health history of wasabi”. May 16, 2018.

Escuela de Hostelería de Leioa. “Wasabi”.

Fine Dining Lovers. “Wasabi vs Horseradish: Are They the Same?”. November 22, 2020.

Gittleson, Kim. “Wasabi: Why invest in `the hardest plant to grow´?”. September 18, 2014.

Kikkoman USA. “Wasabi Sauce”.