In this week’s reading of Ann Marie Leshkowich’s "The Ao Dai Goes Global: How International Influences and Female Entrepreneurs Have Shaped Vietnam’s "National Costume", she explains how the Vietnamese national costume (Ao Dai) is a hybrid costume influenced by different parts of the world. Its wear is associated with the proclaiming national identity and also a "vision of cosmopolitan chic" by exploring new trends and styles. Before reading this article, I assumed that all national costumes for every country are only influenced by its own culture and not by other foreign countries. I actually see very little similarities between this contemporary ao dai to the traditional version.
I find it funny that the ao dai represents the people of Vietnam, but it has evidence of other cultural influences. Shouldn't it have Vietnamese origins? So I became curious to see what the American national costume was, but I couldn't find a precise answer. I did come across a blog where there were national costumes created for the Miss Universe 2011 Pageant and I saw the Vietnamese ao dai to be hypersexualized and appropriated. It is very risqué compared to the traditional version. The other contestants also wore very provocative versions of their national costumes. I feel like the women are exotified because they wear what men want to see. Why doesn't a country draw a line between that? Why do they want their women representatives to look like a sexual object? I feel like it ties into Leshkowich's idea that the national costume of ao dai is to globalize their economy and knowledge because the Miss Universe pageant is a global event. In the case of the Miss Vietnam 2011, I feel like she is representing Vietnam to be cosmopolitan chic due to its sexual appeal.
It has been 18 days into the Be Green Challenge and I am already suffering from chronic episodes of withdrawal. I realized that I like to make up any reasons just to go shop. Like this past weekend, I rediscovered my set of Remington Heat Rollers and loved the curls it made. After that I made an excuse to try to buy a larger roller size, but luckily I prevented myself from getting it due to its cost. Before making the trip to my local Target, I kept asking myself "Do I really need it?", "Why should I spend money on something I don’t need?", and "Is this worth it to break the challenge?". I know I made the effort to make the trip to Target, but at least I didn't purchase anything. So I would say that I effectively prevented myself from buying anything this week even though I had current episodes like that.
For this upcoming Thanksgiving week, I plan to keep myself busy with physical activities like walking my dogs at the park and going to museums in San Francisco to occupy my time and to diverge my attention from Black Friday. I know it’s going to be the toughest week of the challenge because it is spending season.
Ann Marie Leshkowich. "The Ao Dai Goes Global: How International Influences and Female Entrepreneurs Have Shaped Vietnam’s"National Costume." In Re-Orienting Fashion.
"Miss Universe 2011 National Costumes." Web log post. Oh No They Didn't! N.p., 09 Sept. 2011. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.