Clothes, ethics, politics and fashion


Clothes are in some expression of lifestyle. Sportswear is an expression of liberation from formalities as suits and formal dresses are reserved for special occasions. Saggy pants are starting to create controversy due to authorities crackdown in many places, especially the USA.

Young people try to assert themselves by wearing clothes that distinguish them from their seniors, they sometimes see as behind the time because of do-and-don’t- do approaches to them. As a form of rebellion they go as far as wearing what looks to the traditionalists as indecent clothes as way to make a statement.

The ethics of what to wear is a problem, not just in conservative societies but in liberal ones. In Norway, there are attempt to dissuade students from wearing revealing clothes at least in school. In France, women aren’t allowed to wear Hijab in the place of work and other public institutions. In UK, there was the controversy about the ban of the Niqab.

In many Muslim countries like Turkey, what to wear is a political statement. More and more women are wearing the Hijab as an expression of their Islamic identity, which in fact was one of the factors leading the Islamic party PDJ to have successive political victories. Now the government and the presidency are led by the Islamists. Ironically, in this dominantly Muslim country, the secularists led by the military have made many attempts to ban the hijab, especially in schools and universities.

Clothes in general remain a kind of personal and public statements. Wearing clothes differently is a way to make one’s existence felt. Like ideas, they can’t be to everyone’s liking. What matters is how to keep respectable. Clothes are essentially meant to hide one’s private parts. Wearing clothes just to suggest them is an offence amounting to public indecency. In private one can do a lot of things like wearing whatever clothes or not wearing them at all. What to wear in public is a different matter.

As clothes are a part of any society’s culture, maintaining it amounts to designing clothes that fit it. What matters is that there shouldn’t be draconian measures stifling all forms of freedom to choose what wear, as long as clothes aren’t provocative or shocking.

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