Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Sine-Wave of Society

Has anyone noticed that in fashion (I know, you are probably asking yourself "why is he talking about fashion?" but don't worry I'll get to a point here) trends tend to follow a standard deviation pattern (like a sine-wave)? What I mean is that, for instance, now in 2008 the fashion trend for women is towards skin-tight clothing, skinny jeans, etc. etc. In the eighties and early nineties, clothing was much more loose fitting and baggy (Grungy).

The interesting point is that before the Grunge-Era, clothing in the seventies was very similar to what it is now. It seems that society follows a pattern in that department, and it is a pattern that shows societies boundaries. Clothing will never come to the point of everyone wearing nothing, and it will never go to the extreme of wearing 10 or more layers of clothing (for sheer heat control purposes).

It seems that society has certain extremes that it will not cross into. Society is limited by factors that we do not even perceive sometimes. Even though we would like to think of ourselves as free to do what we please, we have certain deviations from the norm that we will tolerate, but there is a limit. Beyond our limit are what we would classify as "different," or "unusual." Personally I do not see anything wrong with people that want to be different and act outside the norm, but others find it necessary to classify these people as "weird," and what-not.

For instance, a person that refuses to wear any clothing are called Nudists. They are beyond the cultural/societal norm, and are deemed as outside the realm of acceptability by society as a whole. That is not to say that some people are perfectly okay with them, but that in popular culture, and media they are portrayed as outcasts. The same can be said for people that dress in Gothic-style clothing.

But why are there limits to what is acceptable? We live in a free democratic world where everyone should be free to do what they want, without harming others, but we have these restrictions. Some imposed by laws (such as being nude in public), but others are just reinforced by our perceived notions (such as discriminating against Gothic people). It is definitely an interesting question that should be considered more carefully.