Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Can clothing really be offensive?

Why should it matter what someone wears?
I suppose it matters for a number of reasons. I’m not saying that it’s good or bad but it matters because clothes have become badges. Clothes invariably speak volumes about the person wearing them. Like it or not they are a statement about the type of person we are.

Can clothing really be offensive?
I don’t have a problem with the human body. I felt sorry for that poor chap who attempted to hike from Lands End to John O’Groats naked and kept being arrested. If people want to walk around naked or in various states of undress they should be allowed; subject of course to necessary public hygiene measures. The human body, or exposed parts of it are only offensive if you let them offend you. By the same token if people wish to cover up then there is nothing wrong with that. Offense based on aesthetics is a baseless and shallow reaction. Clothing per se, by its very inert nature, fails to be offensive. What tends to cause offense is the meaning that people attach to clothing. Usually it is a political or religious in meaning. I suppose when clothing manifests itself as the representation of an ideology then it ceases to be clothing and becomes a uniform. Then it is what the uniform represents that is or is not offensive, depending on your point of view. If people wish to dress in a peculiar or idiosyncratic fashion, or be swayed by some magic man with a beard then so be it. The only time it become unacceptable is if it’s used as a means to oppress. But again that has little to do with the clothing as such. I do not believe that the law should be used to proscribe clothing, and the countries that have gone down this road are misguided. Equally people and organisations should be allowed to choose not to ‘do business’ with individuals that refuse to show their face. I think it is fair to say that face to face transactions should be face to face.

Essentially what I’m saying is let’s just relax about what people wear; after all there are much more important concerns to focus on.

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