I'm not very keen on footnotes, hence my title is a follow up and refers to yesterday's post.
As so often happens, the browsing of my favoured mainline online British media offers further thoughts and, although I readily admit to not being a dedicated follower of fashion - it's not one of my kinks - I do find narcissistic behaviour occasionally fascinating.
Apart from those who live in abject poverty and only have the clothes on their backs (and, hopefully fronts), we wear clothes suitable for the different roles we play as we go about our daily Iives. We are actors in our personal dramas and 'disguise' ourselves to suit the occasion. To don costumes to advertise our moods and declare "look at me, I'm wonderful" would suggest that fashionistas aren't happy in their own skins.
It's consumerism as identity.
It's not surprising therefore that religions are getting in on the act. Today's Observer has an article about a new to UK modelling agency Models of Life (MOL) which is the first organisation of its kind operating in Britain that seeks to mix Christianity and the catwalk.
"To be a model is to set an example," they say. "MOL aims to raise the standard of models to a new height: beauty achieved from the perfect balance and unity of spirit, mind, and physical body."
Sounds like bullshit to me and Laurie Kuhrt, chairman of the Association of Model Agents, which represents the UK's top agencies, agrees.
"If they're genuinely trying to make contact with people with a view to turning them into good, honest Christians, I don't have a problem with that," he said. "But modelling is not about exuding inner beauty, it is about selling goods and services. When we recruit people it's solely because we think they can do big advertisement campaigns and appear on catwalks. If they can't do that, we lose a lot of money."
Love Me, Love My Thing
Annisa S. Febrina is a journalist fairly new to the Jakarta Post whose articles are generally interesting because she writes well and about interesting topics. That is why I found myself reading about shopping, a topic which I'd didn't realise I could be attracted to until I came to the ending of her article in which she quotes American sociology professor Harvey Molotch, known for studies that have reconceptualized power relations in interaction, the mass media, and the city.
About shopping he says that in displaying their consumption aspirations and accomplishments, individuals exhibit to one another and confirm for themselves they belong to particular groups.
Annisa also quotes a writer called Daniel Miller, though which one I'm not sure. Whoever he is, he amplified Molotch by saying this about buying goods at a shopping centre:
"The bulk of provisioning an ongoing relationship, an underlying constancy complemented by a mood, a compromise, a smile, a punishment gesture, a comfort, all the minutiae that make up the constantly changing nuances of a social relationship".
In other words,"Objects are social relations made durable."
Fellow expat blogger Unspun thinks, tongue firmly in cheek, that if we look hard enough we can find meaningful messages and great insights between the clothes, handbags, shoes and watch advertisements that mortals like us cannot afford.
And this is part of what he found: Today, mankind does not live on bread and water alone but exists on an unyielding pursuit of utter contentment through acquisitions of luxurious goods and lifestyles.
Sad, really, but there is a choice.
In a truly socialist, even communist, world where conformity is a valued discipline - not that I'm advocating one - we would all wear utilitarian uniforms. I'd quite like a jedi robe and here's how to make your own.