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There have been countless times I’ve had to explain what I do for a living and have received mixed reviews. Lots of people assume I design and construct clothes, I love the high fashion industry, I plan on being manager at the mall or owning my own store, I am extremely feminine, not very intellectual, don’t have to work that hard in my type of classes, and a host of other things when they compare my line of study to others in the natural or social sciences, the business world, law, medicine, etc. For every one or two people who “get it” and understand that I study the significance of linking culture, society and history with dress, there are ten people who don’t “get it” or worse, think it’s frivolous (not too say all of the above pursuits are frivolous).

Then I come across a story like Dad kills girl over head scarf dispute, and I am so upset at what I’m reading, and also at how I know people will react to a story like that.

As previously mentioned in the post before this one, I’m way tired from final exams, and really cannot articulate the way I feel about a situation like that in the article with clarity and grace. But, it reminded me of the varied research studies I’ve read about wearing headscarves and other cultural and religious dress, the opinions from within and outside of a culture on such dress, and the significance of dress as a symbol of solidarity, freedom, expression, vitality, and just about every other facet of human existence. It’s reading sensational stories over-summarized on AOL that gives me a little late-night reminder that my studies are worthwhile, as creating, developing, and maintaining an understanding of the relevance of dress is an important part of human understanding.

Maybe that sounds heady or heavy handed or even conceited, but I’m not trying to say what I do (along with so many mentors and peers) is SOOOO powerful and crucial. I’m just saying, the little area of the world we’re working on is more than just telling people when their butt looks good in a pair of jeans they’re considering buying.

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2 Comments

  • Lauren December 12, 2007 10.22 pm

    Right there with you! I get all the same assumptions on what I do, too. “Wow, you must get to go the shows in Paris all the time.” 🙂 LOL. As if!

     
  • Emily December 20, 2007 08.38 pm

    Great post, Mon. It’s nice to feel relevant and as though what you do has impact. . .

    I, personally, am fascinated by what you do. And can’t wait to see you in a week or so!

     

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.