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Tuesday, August 4, 2009
How often have we looked at someone from another culture and assigned meanings to their dress based on our culture. We oftentimes stigmatize others based on our cultural backgrounds and socialization. This subconscious act is one that we all need to check and realize that we are being ethnocentric! Dress is a tricky phenomenon, it is the most visible communicator of messages regarding one's demographics. However, decoding the meanings associated with someone's dress and appearance is a difficult and challenging task. We feel equipped to do so because we become so comfortable in our cultural stereotypes that we forget that in such a multicultural country such as the US it is almost impossible to pin point the meanings of someone's dress. My post is motivated by an article I read about a Sudanese woman facing trial because she wore a pants in public. Wearing pants in Trinidad and the US and more westernized parts of the world is common place, however, in many Moslem countries dress is very much synonymous with the widely held religious beliefs. After reading this article you may have that ethnocentric thought of "Thank God for living in a country where I am free to express myself!" But remember, while you think your world is normal and "right" others are looking at you thinking that your dress represensts a lack of modesty and respect.