• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Is Fashion clothing a form of social control?'

Extracts from this document...


Alex Taylor 'Is Fashion clothing a form of social control?' Fashion, defined as being the style popular at a given time, can be seen in every corner of the world in one form or another. Fashion is not only a very dynamic concept but is also seen to be specific to the location and context that it is in. Each culture has its own form of traditional fashion that can be seen in the more modern forms of fashion. As a result of increasing globalization many of these cultural barriers have been breached and the fashion within spills over into worldwide fashion. For example we might now see international footballers wearing a sarong in an attempted fashion statement. Role models are a key issue within the concept of fashion, and will be looked at further on in the argument. Clothes are a clear form of division within society, whether it is between class, gender or even sexual orientation. Anyone living in society can read into these signifiers and mostly have an understanding of what they represent. The clothes that we wear can often act a barrier between groups of people. The aim of wearing a certain type of clothing could be said to achieve a sense of belonging to a social group. As fashion changes, groups may wish to make a statement about their beliefs through their clothes, or lack thereof. ...read more.


This could be seen as a considerable discrimination in some respects, however, it seems the choice of women in the workplace to try and stand out from their female colleagues by dressing up rather than conceding to wear a standard suite. From an early age it is taught young girls that they must act in a lady-like manner, including how they present themselves. 'In order to become a wife and mother, a woman has to have a man; a goal represented to teenagers as essential yet almost unattainable. To get a man, a woman has to regard herself as a commodity whose value is based on her appearance and presentation.'(Shilling, 1993, p.64). It is not the case however that women simply dress up in order to attract the male gaze, more often the case is that women have 'become subjects of a (female) voyeuristic gaze' (Lury, 1996, p.147). Narcissism among women goes so far as for them to be constantly comparing and competing with their female peers. So, often it might be said that women dress up to be seen by other women rather than, as suggested before, for men. Behind fashion is a vast industry of producers and designers whose livelihood depends upon the commodity capitalism that is seen in our society. Their aim is to induce upon the consumer the idea that they must continue to buy new products in order not to become unfashionable. ...read more.


So, it seems that the only control the consumer has is that of an undetermined level of self-control. People are often restricted to a specific budget that they then are unable to deter from. In this postmodern shopping age of malls and galleries where commodities are available on credit from the bank, most people are able to exceed their advised budget. A trend shift between men and women has also been seen in recent years. Men now have a great deal more choice than they may have once had in the time where the choice was between either a suite and bowler hat or a laborers overall. Now there is just as much emphasis on what men wear as women, with designer shops dedicated to just that. The paradox within fashion of course with all of this mass consumerism and individuality is where one can then say that peoples fashion groups them into different sectors as a society. Whether fashion represents individualism or not, there is not enough emphasis upon its importance within society as a form of control. It seems that in every sense people are manipulated and used in terms of fashion and consumerism. People are branded and grouped in terms of what they wear and how they are seen by others, it is 'the endless process through which the body is decoded and recorded' (Connor, 1997, p. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Anthropology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Anthropology essays

  1. Anthropology and Tourism Industry

    Nash also says that (1991, p84): ''Anthropologists have tended to see tourism transactions as involving significant power differences in favour of the more developed tourist generating centres'' Smith (1980)

  2. Cosmetic Surgery in the Philippine Setting

    What the history of cosmetic surgery has taught is that becoming as educated and aware of all aspects of aesthetic procedures and better ensure a safe and satisfying surgical experience. The history of cosmetic surgery is destined to continue to change.

  1. Strange Maladies: A Look at Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder.

    By combining psychology and anthropology, a scientist can search for a universal biological cause that can create various behaviors and their cures. Before that can be done, a true understanding of a person's state of mind and complete a cultural case study must be done, in order to fully understand a person's view of OCD in different cultures.

  2. Are menstrual taboos simply a form of womens subordination?

    It is not possible to pin-point any specific reason or explanation for menstrual taboos with regards to different cultures. In Blood Magic it says "The "menstrual taboo" as such does not exist. Rather, what is found in close cross-cultural study is a wide range of distinct rules for conduct regarding menstruation that bespeak quite different, even opposite, purposes and meanings.

  1. In which ways does caste differ from class as a form of social hierarchy?

    is able to determine their own social position through his or her own talents and competencies rather than on class or wealth. Firstly, the caste system is a complex one to analyse in terms of comparing it to the western social class system.

  2. In what ways does caste differ from class as a form of social hierarchy?

    It is important to emphasise here that these descriptions of the basis of both systems are only brief do not intend to give a detailed understanding of their underlying workings - they simply intend to explain the primary distinctions between the two.

  1. What is Postmodernism? Fashion in Postmodernism

    also suggest that postmodern art supports "reflexivity and self-consciousness, fragmentation and discontinuity (especially in narrative structures), ambiguity, simultaneity, and an emphasis on the destructured, decentered, dehumanized subject." Postmodernists have always been concerned about the organisation of knowledge. Compared to modern culture, knowledge was seen same as a science but opposite to narrative.


    It includes information and communications technology and the application of technology by organizations. However there exists a second dimension to the external environment of an organization. These are the levels at which the influences occur alongside the PEST categories. The levels are Local, National and Global (Long).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work