Clothes are a key ingredient of politics.
What is politics? Often I like to bypass all the deep, thoughtfully written, and grey old political books. Instead I like to think about what politics means in real terms.
The story of Adam is a wonderful story. It’s a story full of deep and rich meanings that keep on giving. Remember the part where Adam and his wife sew leaves together? Very significant.
This is the birth of human clothing. Humans are unique in this regard. What other creatures independently wear clothes or put artistry into what they wear?
Now, human clothes are mandatorily worn in public. When we leave our houses we (excepting nudists!!!) put on clothes. It’s an amazing phenomenon.
That public space where we wear clothes is now politicized. There will either be enforceable laws or expectations about what is acceptable to wear or not to wear. Am I right?
Indonesian national dress.
Even in very liberal countries men are expected to cover one part of their anatomy, while women must cover two parts of their anatomy. Differences are maintained between men and women, most of all for reasons of procreation and blood-ties. Dress is politically motivated.
Notice how dress even enters into this picture!
Supposing a nudist refuses to wear clothes: it is still a political act. They are re-acting against the political act of wearing clothes. They are still political and recognize that clothes are vital for a political identity.
It’s easy to imagine, with a little help from history books, people wearing different clothes fighting with one another. If they had roughly the same ethics as regards how they dress, then it is termed a civil war (remember the American civil war was largely over the production of cotton!). Even nowadays, dress is an important factor in how people see one another politically. Can you think of any examples?
Why do we see so many people nowadays not wearing national dress? The main reason is that we have become de-politicized. We are less likely to think in national terms and more in terms of what social groups we belong to. Common dress is an indicator of a political consciousness. Nevertheless there are still regulations as regards dress and it is important to emphasize that.
Dutch boys wearing clogs and national dress. It is less likely to see these cultural tendencies nowadays.
So, next time you venture outside, just remember that you are a political player!!
Currently, I am researching a book on Carl Schmitt and hoping to dress the pages up with words. Any comments or suggested corrections to this post are welcome. I have already authored one book Mysteries of State in the Renaissance. My Amazon page is here.
Picture of Indonesian girl: “Aesan Gede Songket Palembang” by Gunkarta – Mahligai “Inspirasi Pernikahan Adat Palembang”, Edisi ke-5 2007. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aesan_Gede_Songket_Palembang.jpg#/media/File:Aesan_Gede_Songket_Palembang.jpg