Tag Archives: young adults

That’s So Camp


A is one of my best friends. She is a senior in high school from my hometown. She enjoys writing poetry as well as knitting.

The context of this piece was during a facetime call in which I asked her to share some pieces of folklore with me, and she referred to this collection as “camp.” I asked her to elaborate on the phrase for the collection and to explain its meaning. 


Me: “Where would you say you got ‘camp’ from?”

A: “I like it a little bit when people don’t initially understand what the hell I’m talking about. And that was one of the phrases where if I said it, people would just be like, ‘What the hell does that even mean?’ I just like things that are very subjective to interpretation. And ‘that’s so camp,’ depending on how I say it, is just something that can be very subjective and it can be an insult or a compliment or just an observation. I’m pretty sure it was after an award ceremony, maybe the Met Gala and the theme was ‘camp.’ That was years ago and I remember being like, ‘That is such a good definition,’ I need to start using that and now I think it’s a staple of my vocabulary.”

Me: “What does it mean to you?”

A: “I feel like it’s very hard to describe verbally. I would say camp is when you can tell someone is trying to do something where there’s a very large amount of effort present, and the execution is more questionable. So like, sometimes outfits are camp in that sometimes they’re good because they’re camp and sometimes they’re bad because they’re camp and it’s just about how you sort of pull it off.”


I also use this term — “camp” tends to refer to things that are a little weird or off-putting, but not always necessarily in a bad way. For example, things that are eccentric are camp. Anything that is camp also tends to be somewhat amusing. They can be artificial or self-consciously ironic. In a sense, it refers to things that are so bad they are good because of the intention. Today, there almost seems to be a revitalization of the appreciation for things that aren’t perfect, and even more so, things that are intentionally imperfect. Irony, especially amongst the younger generation, has taken hold as a point of appreciation. There seems to also be a lack of desire for people to point out that one thing is absolutely cool or uncool, and “camp” is a way to fit in between that. With such a loose definition, it’s easier to judge ambiguously, which can serve a good purpose at a time when our statements are much more highly scrutinized.

Quinceanera- Porcelain Doll Tradition

Informant information 
Nationality: Hispanic American
Occupation: Teacher 
Residence: Nevada
Date of Performance/Collection: Apr 4, 2022
Primary Language: English 
Other Language(s): Spanish

My informant is my mom’s coworker and she is of Mexican descent. The context for this piece was talking about quinceañeras.

M- I had a quinceañera and there was about close to 300 people at my quince and like the big things that I remember is they get you this porcelain doll and that doll represents the last doll you ever have as a child so at some point during the quinceanera you’re sitting there with your doll and somebody comes whoever you choose will come and have a crown and your and your like heels they bring your heels and your crown to you you handover the door and you get your heels and crown which represents you letting go of your childhood and becoming a quote unquote “woman or a young lady” I have a she so my best friend her daughter is my goddaughter him and her family that I seen I guess it’s just certain parts of Mexico they have different you know but when the when the kids turned three they have like a mini quinceanera so she’s down the hall with her three daughters she ordered them a dress like a custom dresses made and it’s literally like does the whole church thing and has a huge party for her daughters and they literally like literally moon Quinceañeras and I can’t remember what it represents but her husband at the time his family was like that was their thing that was their tradition so that’s kind of cool. 

I have never attended a quince but I understand how important it is in a young girl’s life. I think the symbolism of trading the doll for the heels is really special. Some of my friends told me that they planned their quinces for years before they had the party.