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Name Instructor Class 16 October 2012 Authenticity and Nostalgia in the Retro Fad of the Twentieth Century The fashion industry recycles styles every now and then, but somehow, many modern consumers are stuck with the retro mode. Their love for girdles, garter belts, and retro-themed movies, music, the arts, and literature continues to rage on…
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Download file to see previous pages The retro fad is brought too far, if it only represents a replication of the past, but this paper believes that modern retro is not about reusing old styles, but a revival of retro thinking that severely distrusts changing social, economic, and political conditions, and clamors for a need to redefine the relationship with the past, by modernizing its aspiration for authentic identities and depicting nostalgia for vibrant cultural norms and socioeconomic stability. The ongoing retro fad reflects the deep distrust of its users in changing social, economic, and political conditions, so the past helps them feel secure and hopeful. Retro, in this case, is not merely being “in” by being old. Retro stands for the values and goals of its original consumers. Guffey describes that retro signifies a skeptical perspective in life: “…retro attitude…carries a darker suspicion that recent social, cultural, and political developments are profoundly corrosive” (10). In the post-2008-global-recession and post-9/11 times, some people are beginning to doubt basic social institutions. Marriage rates are inversely related to divorce rates. More people are divorcing and delaying marriage and having children. Many people complain of their depressed socioeconomic statuses, despite the efforts of Obama to revitalize the U.S. economy. Some people harbor fear for other minorities because of racial prejudice and their opinions regarding illegal immigration. All around and inside them, instability expands. The only way that people can feel secure again is to go back to the recent past, where values and conditions are more stable and reliable. On the contrary, Reynolds denigrates the pretensions of the retro fad and calls it an “emblem of the poverty of abundance” (115). This paper believes otherwise because the retro signifies not only material possessions, but the desire for social stability. Several people want to live in the past where they can expect what they expect, and not be troubled by uncertainties. In addition, the retro helps people feel positive. This is not the same as being idealistic, but looking forward to better times. Thus, retro style emphasizes retro attitudes that distrust the present and looks back at the past for hope and growth. By going retro, people do not only feel more confident about their present conditions, they also aspire to redefine their relationship with the past by appropriating retro values with modern demands for authentic identities. In the article “Dressed in History: Retro Styles and the Construction of Authenticity in Youth Culture,” Jen? argues that the youth uses retro styles to give authenticity to their sense of self. The youth, in particular, employs retro as part of the formation of their identities: “Authenticity is especially important to young people and is used as a tool in constructing identities through consumer behavior” (Jen? 388). Some of the youth think that the world is more artificial now than in the past because of its obsession with wealth and social prominence. By going retro, they seek to be more authentic and truer to their identities that are far from the superficial material norms of their society: “Appropriated as a tool of self-performance, the supposed authenticity of the object merges with the subject” (Jen? 396). They aspire to explore and to develop their identities by finding something that represents ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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