Young People Slaves Of Fashion Cultural Studies Essay
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It is true that young people are quick to follow anything around the world which appears 'hip' or 'in'. It is in their nature to want to be like young people in other parts of the world. They are quick to relate and to follow what they think is fashionable. By fashion, are included dress, taste in music, language, hairstyles, drug-taking and even moral values. Except in the most traditional of societies, it is impossible to control the coming of fashion from other countries. With television, books and magazines bring so easily available, the world has shrunk and what is discovered as 'fashion' in one part of the world spreads like wildfire everywhere else.
Youth, usually referred to as teenagers, are rebels because of restlessness within. They want to assert their individuality and the values of their peers, and break away from the influence of their parents and their parents' generation. It is this restlessness that makes teenagers keeps close to their groups. They seek relationships and in the process get carried away by the need to be with group in order to gain acceptance. More often, the influence of the group and the need to be up-to-date with fashion has no bad results and sometimes, the influence can even be good. But as often as not, what happens is that there is blind adherence to the standards set by the group and being slaves to whatever happens to be in fashion at the time. This can be undesirable because there is little reason involved. The situation may be such that the youths in the group do what is in fashion and what the group leader decides to be 'hip' and little thought is given to consequences. Groups of youths who go about vandalising public and private property because they think that it is fashionable come under this category. Often the result is apprehension and punishment by the law and a criminal record that would ruin one's future.
Hence, we see that the tendency to be slaves to fashion can lead to a lot of danger. Yet it is true that for generations after generations of youth, the same tendency is present. Can anything be done to curb this spirit? In very regimented societies, youth are controlled by the tenets of custom and religion and in some cases, force is used to make sure that the rules are obeyed. Breaches of the rules are severely dealt with as if the youths are common criminals. Of course, this is the other extreme. Controlling youths with force curbs the good that could come out of the force and energy that drives all of them in that age. It would be a waste indeed for instead of being used, the energy is stopped from flowing.
Youth is just a passing age and one where naturally there is rebelliousness. Everything should be done to ensure that the adults understand why youths behave this way. Methods to guide them at the time when they are becoming slaves to fashion must be found. There are many harmless outlets that youths could be channelled to at the time that they begin this obsession with fashion. Some of these could be doing social work, learning new skills and even working. Perhaps, parents can build up a relationship of trust before their children reach teenage - sometimes called the problem age or the difficult age. What needs to be realised is that the tendency to be slaves to fashion is actually the crying out of a deeper need to be understood, recognised and loved. If parents, schools and other bodies can hear this cry above the mere outward expression of the adherence to fashion, or better still, stand by the youths before the rebellion begins, a lot of good can be achieved.
"Models catwalk down the runaway in clothing newly design for the new season, critics look on judging the clothing range while the media flashes away", it's just another typical fashion show scene. However the world can be liken to this fashion show, fashion in a larger sense referring to a prevailing customs, usages, and styles. And just like the fashion industry is enslaved by the unspoken rule of giving the people the newest trends, the people of the world are also being enslaved. Enslave in the sense that they are being compelled to follow what is popular and the common fad, in other words, in fashion.
Some young people may argue that every human has a will to choose and decide. Just like the models of the fashion show can choose to take up the contract or not, the young peopl is allowed to decide whether to follow fashion. Humans are made as thinking creatures, they contemplate and decide. In choosing fashion they do the same, and they are free to stop following fashion the moment they want too. For example, young people choose to buy the latest designs of clothes, for most people, it is a conscious choice when they pick up the apparent apparel and pay for it. In no sense is the person being forced to buy it, but more often than not it is because of the liking for the product. Fashion in the larger sense can be likened to the analogy, people decide to follow it by no force, but due to conscious decision and liking. Thus, the youngster is not a slave of fashion.
Others may also argue that the modern society does not entirely follow fashion. Thus, if they do not follow fashion, they cannot be a slave of fashion. Like in the fashion show, some pieces of clothing fashion are questionable and not of the common fad. In similar aspect is the breaking away from social norms in the world. Within a changing the world, people are slowly starting to break away from what used to be considered as social norms, traditions and what is commonly accepted no longer has a hold on people. This is seen in the example of family units. Family units, commonly seen as the basis of society, are changing. Through the passage of time, the world is starting to see a change in family structures. There is a break away from the traditional father being the breadwinner, and the wife staying to take care of the home. More noticeable is the reversal of these family roles in some modern family. Furthermore, there is also an emergence of completely new family structures, for example the same sex marriages, which would have been deemed unacceptable in many cultures in the past. This shows that people are going against the trend set and are resisting the influence of fashion to stick to what is common and famous, thus they are not slaves of fashion.
However, this influx of a break away from the social norms is an influence by the masses. It happens due to the change in thinking and the acceptance of the people to such changes. Simply, due to the acceptance of such new ideals by the masses have path the way for these changes. In such sense, one can arguably say that the change can be considered as a new fad instead of a resistance against fashion. These people only see themselves breaking away from one fashion, but do not see themselves moving to the next. Unnoticeable, as the effects of fashion are subtle, and we have displayed its effects unknowingly in our daily lives. From picking out cloths to wear, we pick something we want to be seen in. "does this match my top?" the simple question we ask while picking out dressing tells a lot. It means we want to be seen in something acceptable to public eyes, we want to be fashionable. The trends we follow ultimately carry on into all parts of our lives. From a survey done by The Pew Internet and American Life Project. Half of the teens surveyed say they sometimes fail to use proper capitalization and punctuation in assignments, while 38 percent have carried over the shortcuts typical in instant messaging or e-mail messages, such as short forms and emoticons. Overall, 64 percent have used at least one of the informal elements in school. The students following the trend of shorten form writing in blogs, text messaging, Facebook and other non-academic writing ultimately followed into their school work. Thus, the subtle effects of fashion have enslaved us, even without our knowing.
Also the youngster is a slave to fashion due to celebrity influence. Celebrities can be deem as the fashion designers of the modern world. They are the people who have influence on the lives people lead, as people follow them as the role models of society. For example Disney's pop-star Miley Cyrus, better known as Hannah Montana has recently made her way into 2008's TIME 100, Times magazine's firth annual list of the world's most influential people. Interestingly enough, the entertainer is the youngest person ever in the TIME 100, more likely due to the youth votes she has received. This shows firstly, that even a young teen can be in a place of influence due to the celebrity status and secondly that young children, even pre-schoolers are not spared from celebrity idolisation. Showing that age is not a barrier in the enslavement of fashion, from the young to the old people model their lives after celebrities they admire and get caught up in following them. Thus the youngster has fallen prey to the enslavement of fashion.
Furthermore, the media has helped spread the influence of fashion. In the fashion show, the media spreads the information to the public, with pictures and write up. Likewise, our media has helped spread the fads and trends to the people. People are constantly being bombarded by the media, sensational news are played and replayed over and over, subtly telling the people to follow them. And with success, this news is greatly sought after. "My son did say the word paparazzi the other day, and he's only 2." a quote by Gwyneth Paltrow, shows the attention given by the media to celebrities, in a bid to find sensational stories that people take interest in. with the demand of such news being high, it can only mean that it's what the people want to hear, and what they hear they shall follow. The power of the media with respect to fashion can also be seen in the rise of the MTV generation and the rise of pop culture. Indeed, the media has brought the culture to the public and under media influence did the people start following these trends and fads. Thus the modern society has become a slave to fashion due to the inescapable influence of the media.
In conclusion, one can tell that it is hard to escape from the clutches of fashion. In the increasingly modernize world we live in, fashion has become an invisible force that moves people to make certain decisions, and it looks like the enslavement of fashion is here to stay. While the lights are turn off and the fashion show ends, everyone leaves still as elaborately dressed, just like the show had paraded to the streets. For none would like to be caught in anything less then stylish, even if it's considered comfortable to them, the world is the same.
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