Culture emphasizes fashion

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By Leah Wishert

Picture yourself sitting in class wearing your favorite pair of TOMs, dressed in freshly-washed skinny jeans and an awesome new shirt found on sale at Target. Suddenly you look up to see the student who sits next to you walk into class.

You are caught off guard and feel a twinge of desire creep up inside your gut when you notice that she is wearing a trendy new blouse. You want one. You need one. Or do you?

Everyone has experienced a variation of this scenario.

American culture tries to teach that outward appearance is everything. Sure, personality does come into play when getting to know someone, but what a person is wearing inevitably attracts others to them or pushes them away.

Society tells this generation they can always use more stylish outfits. Instead of garments being for protection or for basic human needs, they have become about fitting in.

This is not to say that dressing nicely is wrong or that people cannot use clothes as a way to express themselves. Rather, this should not become the main focus.

There is nothing inappropriate about having plenty of nice clothing in the closet. The dilemma is that through the media and advertising, people are told they need more.

The yearning to have the newest trends filling their closets eats at Americans. Eventually we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of never being content with what we have and constantly wanting more.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend an hour a day shopping, seven hours a week 365 hours a year. This adds up to an average of three years of a woman’s life spent on shopping. Imagine how much money is squandered within this period on things that will be outdated in just a few months.

Imagine the other ways women could be investing their time and money. Would the world not be a better place if three years’ worth of time, energy and money went toward an organization that helped others? Outward appearances are not everything. People must choose to be satisfied with what they have.

We have to decide not to judge others based on attire and stop using it as a way to define ourselves.

Seeking a way to refocus energy and resources toward others not only helps those in need, but it causes people to stop spotlighting themselves.

Next time you hear that nagging voice in your head saying, “You need that new dress,” think about whether you actually do before you become just another shocking statistic.

Author: The Bells Staff

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