Sunday, August 22, 2010

Should fashion and politics go hand in hand?

Week four’s “Women, Citizenship and the Politics of Dress in Twentieth-Century Philippines” by Mina Roces brings attention to the politics behind and conveyed by fashion. Roces writes about Filipino traditional garb and how it is usually worn by women rather than men. Instead, men would wear Western-style clothing. Roces feels that this distinction conveys a very biased idea about Filipino women: that they are backwards compared to the progressive men. Although fashion may seem like a personal choice, that choice is not only influenced by others but also influences others. Fashion is a statement, and in this case, Roces feels like the statement made by traditional garb is a negative one.

Of course, fashion politics is not limited to the masses. The world loves, more than anything, to dissect the fashion choices of celebrities, and politicians are not off-limits. During the 2008 Presidential campaign in the U.S., the fashion world zeroed in on the clothing choices of the women involved. One article from ABC News entitled “Politics of Fashion: Styles of McCain, Obama, Palin” dissects the wardrobe choices of Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin. The article came to different conclusions about each woman. McCain was deemed fashionable but sometimes unapproachable with her Oscar de La Renta dresses. Now, to individuals who do not have an eye honed for picking out Oscar de La Renta from Gap, McCain will just seem well-dressed which is not a bad quality to have. Moving on to Palin, the article noted that she was “anti-fashion” which is definitely relatable to her target voters of working moms but also not easy on the eyes. Ideally, politics and fashion should not mix but Palin, with her frumpy clothes, does not really look like a woman someone would want to aspire to be. Lastly, Obama was deemed fashionable and relatable because her clothing choices were not too couture but still very modern and trendy. What’s important to note is that before any of these women say a word, the world will see their clothing and these women will want that first impression to be a good one. Everyone knows that we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover... but, we’ve also all been told to dress for success. Personally, I’d rather play it safe and dress for success.

Compact Challenge update: Being consumed by all the work for ASA 114 and ASA 141 does not give me much time to consume, not that I’m complaining. Summer school in Davis is a surefire way to save money, given that there are nearly no places in Davis to shop. I haven’t had much of a chance to buy anything new much less shop for anything that isn’t food. I have seen more than a few secondhand stores downtown and, once this compact challenge ends, I may visit these stores to see if I can stay involved with the anti-consumer culture.

Sylvia Lee

Blog #4

Outside source: []

Inside source: Mina Roces. “Women, Citizenship and the Politics of Dress in Twentieth-Century Philippines.” Reader.

1 comment:

be green 101 said...

There are places to shop in Davis but I'm not going to tell you where they are. 5/5