Hey! How is everyone?
There is an issue in the First World that, honestly, pisses me off. It’s this whole idea of “Fashion”. It’s one of those enculturated things that only those who don’t abide by the idea recognize as a problem.
I myself don’t abide by the idea. I’m not talking about style, of course, but Fashion, with a capital “F”. I find the whole concept utterly idiotic and potentially dangerous psychologically to a hell of a lot of people.
“How can Fashion be dangerous, Nathan? It’s just popularizing of a style.”
Of course, it’s not obvious if you buy into it, and, sadly, the vast majority of people do buy into it. It’s a lot like how so many privileged people are utterly oblivious to their privilege, or how so many men don’t realize that catcalls and whoops can be dangerous to women.The idea of Fashion is insidious.
Now, the Industry is not to blame for this. It’s only about money. The effects of pushing “the latest look” are not consciously thought about. They don’t sit around wondering how they can add to the bullying many people already experience enough of. They just want to make money. The industry is full of a lot of talent, coming up with some great looking clothing and hoping to get what they make advertised and sold. And I actually have no problem with that aspect. It’s not the industry at all that causes the problem.
The problem is the culture. We seem to be under the impression what you wear makes you who you are. So if someone wears clothes that do not conform to what’s “in”, people will target that person and bully them.
I have to use a recent example dealing with myself.
I do have a personal style. It starts with a personal body image problem. I’m not comfortable with my body. So, while I diet and exercise, I look for and wear baggy clothes, in a (usually failed) attempt to hide my body from the public. Of course, living down south, in southern Florida, wearing jeans and a hoody all the time is not exactly possible, especially when I prefer cold to heat. So I have to compromise with baggy t-shirts and long, baggy shorts. I have found that shirts noting things I like (music, guitars, Batman, etc.) tend to be baggy, and so I get a plus: I can wear baggy shirts and give money to the musical artists and comic book artists that I like. Yeah, I have a good amount of Batman and Led Zeppelin shirts. But this does not bother me in any way, because I like Led Zeppelin and I like Batman, and I honestly don’t see any problem with that.
For shorts, a few years ago I discovered cargo shorts, and I love them. I have this thing where I have to have stuff in my two front pockets, but they also have to have an equal weight in them. So I always have very specific things I put in my two front pockets. But then I’ll have extra stuff. Cargo shorts provide these awesome extra pockets that I can use to put that extra stuff, and, strangely enough, those lower pockets don’t need to be even in weight.
Cargo shorts are also quite comfortable. I like that they go just below the knees, meaning they’re baggy. I like the cloth belts that come with many of them, as well. They generally keep me cool in the summer, and, down here in Florida, are still perfectly comfortable even in winter (where it only gets “cold” for a very short time out of the year).
I also wear hats. I don’t own a lot of hats because they’re expensive, so I’ve been wearing a Florida hat that’s red and black. It’s tattered and old because I wear it every day. I like hats because they protect my eyes from the sun without giving me headaches like sunglasses do.
As for what I don’t like… I do not like to dress up. When left up to me, I consider “formal” to be nice jeans, a nice, pressed, solid-colored t-shirt, and new-looking sneakers. I don’t like slacks, or suits, or tuxedos. I don’t like dressy button-downs. I hate ties. I have never, ever found a pair of dress shoes I found comfortable. And I find dress socks to be thin and uncomfortable. I will, of course, dress up when the occasion calls for it, but if the occasion does not call for it, then I simply will not get all dressed up.
And I don’t see any problem with any of this. The clothes I choose to wear on a daily basis should not affect my life in any way.
And yet, in small ways, it does. Although I haven’t been outright bullied since I left grade school, I still, to this day, get made fun of by people who, quite frankly, should know better, for the clothes I wear. Sometimes it shocks me how many college students still have a middle school mindset when it comes to how they judge others.
But this issue of being bullied for what I choose to wear is something I’ve dealt with my entire life. And of all the things I did in grade school to bring it on myself (and I did do a lot), the clothes I chose to wear was not one of those things.
See, without realizing it, the Fashion Industry, with its catalogues of what “cool people” are wearing during a specific season and so on, just provide another piece of ammo for bullies to use against their targets. If a target is wearing something deemed “uncool” by the greater Fashion Culture, it can be something that bullies hone in on, using it as yet another reason to attack a target. I dealt with this very thing for nearly 18 years of my life. My “fashion sense” (or lack thereof), was a favorite thing for bullies to use against me when making fun of me.
I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. I don’t understand why fashion is so damn important. I don’t understand why people insist on wearing all the “looks” that are “in”. I will never understand why people care.
There are so many problems in this world: Religion threatens to rip apart first-world society, and is already destroying third-world society. Politics is fucked up on so many levels. The gap between the rich and the poor gets ever wider as the middle class disappears. The vast majority of the world exists in conditions of severe poverty. Diseases, both physical and mental, still ravage humans on a constant, daily basis. We still don’t have a cure for things like AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia… hell, we haven’t even cured the fucking common cold!
With all of these problems, why would any person worry about whether or not their wardrobe is “in season”?
To steal a line from Jeff Foxworthy, I wear what I’m comfortable wearing. If you can’t look at it and keep your lunch down, that’s your problem.
Deal with it.