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How Social Views Shape the Way We Dress - Essay Example

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How Societal Views Shape the Way We Dress The story of Adam and Eve being banished from the Garden of Eden first implied the need for clothes to cover their naked bodies. This was upon their realization that they were naked and suddenly became embarrassed about being seen so vulnerable in their nakedness…
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Download file to see previous pages Another one is to fulfil social expectations and impact people’s standards of living (Corrigan, 2008). Although clothing is a basic need for survival in terms of biological needs, it is society and culture which dictate how we design and wear clothes based on many factors. Some of these factors are class or status, gender, occasion, religion, time, occupation, comfort, age, ethnicity, geography, power, economics, etc. (Corrigan, 2008). For this essay, we limit our discussion to the factors of comfort, age, gender and status, and how these affect the way we dress. Comfort How we dress in our comfort zones usually reflects which styles we are most likely to adopt when there is no societal pressure to look our best and just be comfortable being ourselves. Corrigan (2008) contends that clothes can be an expression of an individual’s bodily oppression/liberation or state of health considering the style a person uses as allowed by the degree of freedom permitted by society. For example, the use of a starched collared shirt or a whalebone corset may be worn by a generation of “repressed” individuals held tightly by their clothes. It serves as a reminder of how disciplined they should be and not be frivolous in their ways. Being constrained in the way one is dressed holds their bodies in socially acceptable shape. If one does not have such a shape, then plastic surgeons are on hand to directly correct the offending body part that makes the person socially unacceptable (Corrigan, 2008). In this perspective, clothes play a huge role in terms of discipline and social uprightness. Another way one can view it is such clothes of restraint are typically worn by people of higher status. Dress that is constraining in one way or another connotes more prestige because it is associated with mental labor instead of physical labor. “The tie versus the open collar, expensive delicate materials as against cheap robust cloth, shoes designed for grace and elegance rather than the health of the walking foot. Clothing is not entirely adapted to the demands of bodily comfort because that would set the body above the abstracting intelligence attracted by form, line and texture – the intelligence that sees itself as managing the world rather than as producing ‘stuff’ at the behest of others (Corrigan, 2008, p. 160). From this, it can be conjectured that comfort can be sacrificed by people only to show others that they are “dignified.” It is ironic how this explains why people attend social functions struggling to walk in uncomfortable but glamorous shoes and gowns that make them look as if they live in luxury and comfort; even at that particular time, physical comfort may elude them. Age Dressing according to age is considered socially appropriate. It is shocking to see women well over their fifties clad in skimpy clothes that are more suited to younger women. At the same time, the young are expected to wear more colourful and “fun” outfits that bespeaks of their youth. Sometimes, adolescents trying to emulate their much older idols may wear clothes that make them look older just so they can feel more associated with them. Boys do not have as many issues as girls when it comes to dressing up, and have limited choices in terms of garments to wear. Girls are more prone to “objectification” by society. Objectification theory contends that constant exposure to objectifying experiences leads young women to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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