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Dress and gender. Arab women managers and identity formation through clothing - Research Paper Example

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Experts in the field of fashion and psychology have contended that clothing gives information about the wearer’s identity, while also delineating and communicating social identity of the wearer to the surrounding observers…
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Dress and gender. Arab women managers and identity formation through clothing
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Download file to see previous pages Experts in the field of fashion and psychology have contended that clothing gives information about the wearer’s identity, while also delineating and communicating social identity of the wearer to the surrounding observers. Therefore, one can conclude that clothing is a mode of communication (nonverbal), which creates the first and a lasting impression of the wearer, on the observer. It is almost impossible to wear clothes without revealing to some extent the personal and social identity of the wearer, and his or her view of the world. The present study explores all existing links between clothing and personal identity, and derives that a close relationship exists between the two at different levels, while taking into consideration the wearer’s gender, age, social class, religion, ethnicity and symbolism of clothing.
“I speak through my clothes” — Umberto Eco (quoted in, Hebidge 1979, 100) Within prevalent cultural and social norms observed worldwide, clothing largely reveals the wearer’s personal identity and his or her attitude towards the world. This attitude is directly represented by the wearer’s character, which is created through his or her personal identity (or personality). There are various uses of clothing, wherein besides covering one’s body, as Buckley and Roach suggested it is also used for satisfying “human needs and desires. It may function as a means of protection” (1974, 95), while simultaneously acting as a strong nonverbal mode of communication. The clothes that an individual choose to wear tend to acts as a motivation for the wearer, steps up his or her level of confidence, and increases self-respect. Observations have revealed that various kinds of psychological emotions are created through the choice of clothes that people make and in their beliefs as how the world views them through their choice of clothing (Cox and Dittmar, 2005, 237-265). Therefore as Crane maintained “clothing choices provide an excellent field for studying how people interpret a specific form of culture for their own purposes” (2000, 1). Researchers reveal that in conservative and rigid societies (as in many of the Asian countries) cultures develop in a manner that not only allows promotion of meaning in the traditional form of clothing, but also in the process through which socially approved clothing is created. In such conservative and traditional societies, aspects like origin of fabric are given equal importance as how the cloth is worn and by whom (often clothes are strictly gender specific in such societies) (Barnes and Eicher, 1992, 29-43). Thus, clothes also reflect one’s social identity, along with revealing one’s personal identity. In contrast, European culture, through the course of history, has shown far more flexibility in terms of changing patterns in clothes' fashion and style statement. Such changes show the uncertainties that always existed within European social relationships, and were evident in phases depending on changing times and varying influences, which in turn often created recurring imbalances within social identities. Creative instabilities related to clothing have arisen from contentions between age groups (like young and old), gender (male and female), sexual orientation, worldliness vs. domesticity, sports vs. work, restraint vs. freedom and rebellion vs. conventionality (Davies, 1992, 18). Therefore, even though the wearer may regard clothing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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