The clothing one wears can be a status symbol.
It is a way for us to communicate to the world who we are and who we wish to be.
It can even determine whether or not one may fit into certain social groups.
We have so many choices when deciding how we wish to represent ourselves through our clothing styles. Yet many others do not have this opportunity because poverty prevents them from doing so.
I have come to think of ‘fashion’ as a means for capitalistic exploitation of others. Much of the clothing that we consume is produced by cheap overseas labor, where mainly women and girls endure horrific conditions to produce our ‘fashions’. We’ve all heard the news about the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh where over a thousand workers died, right? I hope so. Here is a blog post that speaks of this tragedy with an interesting view concerning clothing choices, and it also speaks of alternative ways in which some of us may choose to identify – a different sort of ‘status’, I suppose. This status can be thought of as living intentionally through informed decisions.
Here is an online yes! magazine article that gives a slightly different view of clothing choice. This article explains how the exportation of cheap grain affects world markets & the living conditions of people in other countries, while at the same time it (conviently for us) produces cheap overseas garment factory labor so that we may purchase inexpensive fashion clothing. U.S. grain, (cheap on the world market because of our unsustainalbe farming methods & tax dollar funded government farming subsidies) is flooded into the world market, displacing farmers in other countires who flee to cities where they find that they have little choice but to be exploited as cheap factory labor.
Our tax dollars create poverty situations in other nations so that we may then benefit from cheap overseas labor to produce inexpensive goods for our pleasure and consumption. In this economic ‘relationship’ we, the citizens of the U.S., maintain a position of power and privilege over others.
These articles speak of a certain aspect of social stratification – that of inequality between nations – and how some nations (such as ours) maintain an oppressive force of economic power over people in other nations – a power that allows us the privege of fashion choice at the expense of others’ ability to simply meet their basic needs.
We, in the U.S. have the privilege of choice. With that privilege, I am ever more increasingly choosing to make consumer choices by living intentionally through informed decisions.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
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