Cultural Studies Paper on Clothing and Culture
In every place across the world there are things which are used as determiners on the ways in which people live. In the Hindu culture, even though clothing is not deeply rooted in the traditional practices, it helps in providing an individual with self-identity, acceptance and belonging. However, when you look at the Bangladesh culture, traditional cultural practices are reflected in music, literature and clothing (Whyte and Jui, 64). In the Islamic nations, clothing is a modest way of reflecting their cultures and values. Men and women are expected to dress up in a certain kind of way and this is deeply rooted within the traditional cultural practices. Dress provides the feeling of self-identity, acceptance and belonging amongst the peers. Therefore, the paper aims to reflect these cultural differences based on my cultural and partner’s background as Indian and Bangladesh.
Dressing and Sense of Belonging
If you look around you, it is evident that in some communities clothing is used to bring about the sense of belonging. For instance, in the Muslim communities, you will find men in lungus while women putting on saris (Takeda 10). Anyone who does not put on like them is considered as an outcast or a tourist visiting the area. A good example is the case of school uniforms which creates a greater sense of belonging and identity. While in high school, we were all expected to put on uniform and everyone had to wear the same design and similar shoes. It looked strange, but it brought out a sense of belonging and unity among us students.
Children always plays together especially in the neighborhood where they live. As a Hindu, we were taken to parks where we could play and socialize with our friends. However, this is different from the ways in which my partner grew up. In Bangladesh, money was used only to acquire basis needs thus things like socializing were not important. Children could socialize by visiting their cousins or going out to play with friends in the neighborhood (Hamadani, Derakhshani and Fahmida 130). As a child, I loved artwork thus was part of performing arts groups where we were expected to wear certain garments which reflected the theme of our discussion.
The fashion trend that I conformed to as a teenager involved putting on long trousers and a long top, cover my hair with nice piece of cloth while at other times I could tie it up in various ways. I found this style fashionable because it not only gave me a sense of belonging, but at the same time I was comfortable and felt stylish in it. I was a fashion follower thus had low impression of others who did not follow any trends in dressing especially ladies. I noticed that they did not care about their identity while at some point I felt that they did not love themselves enough.
Fashion and Time
Fashion is something within an individual, thus I do not believe that my fashion trends will change overtime. As an adult, you are expected by the society to be modest and be a good example to the youth (Franceschelli 1). Those adults who do not dress well are isolated meaning that their social life is not good while their health status can be affected because of rejection they get from the members of the society. This is the same among different cultures and this was confirmed by my partner.
Modification of the Body
In the Hindu culture, modification of the body is allowed and not considered as sin thus I managed to pierce my ears as a child and as an adult did it again. However, in Bangladesh culture, the piercing of the body is viewed as sin, thus my partner has never modified the body since childhood and as an adult.
The media has an influence on almost everyone especially youths and young children. Since I am a lover of fashion trends, I must confess that it influenced my decision to modify my body in a certain way. For example, while watching TV films, you come to identify how some women look and this drives you to modify the body. Although, the same is not accepted by my partner.
To sum up, after discussing with my partner memories of our childhood backgrounds, I found some similarities in our backgrounds especially in regards to clothing and self-identity. At the same time, there are events in life that gives an individual a feeling of belonging.
Franceschelli, Michela. “Being Modern and Modest’: Identity and Negotiations.” (2016).
Hamadani, Jena Derakhshani, and Fahmida Tofail. “Childrearing, motherhood and fatherhood in Bangladeshi culture.” Parenting Across Cultures. Springer Netherlands, 2014. 123-144.
Takeda, Jun. “Spices In Sri Lanka, India And Bangladesh With Special Reference To The Usages And Consumptions”. Bulletin Of The Faculty Of Agriculture, Saga University, no. 93 (2008): 1-30.
Whyte, Mariam, and Jui L. Yong. Bangladesh. Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2010.