Gender Roles Essay
Published 02 Sep 2016
The Gender roles, Class identity and the Industrial Revolution of the Sewing Machine
Centuries have thought us that in order to live, one must work with his blood, sweat and tears so that he / she can provide for himself / herself that can make her survive her life, for an entire year, maybe for the entire month, probably for the entire day, or there might be some instances that he needs to sustain his thriving status just for every hour.
People have continuously working for their own sake. They do not stop trying to find anything just to satisfy the urge of assuring the needs that will provide them their survival in their lives. They have tried anything from planting wheat and rice to sucking stenchful and unmistakeably very irresistible mucus in the sewers.
Humans will never stop looking for anything that can produce and provide their needs. This is the curse given to him – to never stop working in their entire lives. If one is not able to perform or to comprehend with this curse given to us unlucky humans, one does not have the right to survive in this world.
No one is encouraged to be lazy and bum – headed in this material and commodity wound up world. And no one should or else, it would be a hell for someone.
That is why certain ways of providing the needs of people emerge like bubbles. Or should not I refer them as bubbles because some of them do not look like endearing at all? First, there was agriculture, which made farmers meet what they wanted to have and what they wanted to satisfy. There came the industry of services, which exhibits a characteristic that workers do not have the cost of materials to provide for their living. They use mostly skills for that. And finally, there came the industry of manufacturing. That satisfied humankind’s need for material things for their daily living. Of course, the field of industry of manufacturing needs mass numbers of people.
At this point, let us concentrate in the area of the garment and how it changed the society in the previous periods of time.
Clothing is one of the necessities that humans needed in order to take on every day of their lives in an acceptable manner. Without this, humans will not have anything even the least for their physiological defense against the harsh environments. Thanks to the invention of clothing by whomever who first thought that humans look awful naked (or is it awful), humans will never need to cover up using their bare body parts from shame.
The industry of garment has changed forever society. Indeed it introduced to us the division between class identities.
When we observe our society, we can see that those who appreciate fashion are those who are capable of providing not just their needs, but also those who can satisfy what they wanted for their own pleasure. They are the ones who sees the art behind the wonderful creations produced by the conceptual object we call fashion.
On the higher classes of people, they think of themselves as very fabulous looking when they are wearing the products of the current trends and fashion. It exhibits power and exaltation that seems to be that nothing will stand in their way just like some sort of people who does really have power.
However, when we look on the darker side of this flowery looking side of our society, there are those who cannot go on with the flow of what the higher people experience. Those are the people who cannot afford anything even cannot provide for their needs. They are those who do not have any time to mingle with people talking about this luxury but rather would think of what will they eat later in their dinner.
There has already been a big division that separates classes from each other and it is can be easily distinguished. Just take the look in fashion; it is one of the manifestations of the ever continuing gap between the rich and the poor.
Garments and garment industry would also exhibit an impact in the gender discrimination in the society. Of course, we know that every garment represents the sexes all over the world. But also it showed us the shadow behind this almost we can say as a work of art.
In some parts of the world, garments of women have been a representation or a manifestation that quite, I do not say that it is totally but yet this is not my opinion, that women do not have a right place to be as renowned as how man is treated by the society.
According to what I have read from the book of Lipovetsky entitled the Empire of Fashion, it was observed that female garments from some Asian countries were not that as given importance as opposed to male garments. They say that the Kimono, a female traditional dress from Japan, and China’s female dresses did not change a lot for a very long period of time. It really showed that there has been radical gender discrimination, even just by observing objects associated with them.
This has been a very illustrious issue in our society ever since but it seems that it has been winding down these past few years. But yet, even though there is already a cure found for this disease of our society, a mark was still inflicted and left a scar in the hearts of the people.
There are still parts of the world that live in the traditional period just like what was in the western world in the early centuries of civilization; that they do not still acknowledge the right of women to have their own rights. Well, time will just tell what will be the next implications.
Even garments can talk for themselves what can be observed from the status of the people in a period of time.
Although it has been continuously reiterated that garments showed a bad implication in the reputation of women, it still has its brighter side for them. It will be discussed later in this paper. As a preview, this helped them to redeem their gender to be as productive as the men, that they are not just housing people.
Let us continue on discussing the issue of discrimination among the gender classes. As what was explained earlier, garments showed a definite discrimination to women. But besides this fact, people might have already realized that this way of treating sexes unequally does not help make a society thrive.
On the advent of the 18th century, in Europe, the importance of women has been finally addressed and expressed through the way the garments should be for women. According to the history of fashion, the clothing for women that time demonstrated an abrupt changed that would change the realization for women forever. According to the book written by Gilles Lipovetsky that talks about one portion in the history of fashion:
The new costume for women was also fitted, and it exalted the attributes of femininity; the garment lengthened the body with a train, while it emphasized the bust, the hips, and the small of the back. The chest was highlighted by the lowered neckline; the stomach itself is accentuated. (Lipovetsky 20)
Through here, one could clearly see the upward progress that is occurring through time in the terms of gender discrimination. Well, very slowly, the division between the sexes is being erased even gradually. People finally realized that women deserve much importance and treatment as what males are receiving – a breakthrough in human civilization.
And now that the discrepancy between the sexes have already been eliminated, well I am not saying entirely but at least in the progressive countries, this industry of garment can now me much fruitfully nurtured. Also according to the book made of Liptovetsky:
At the deepest level, the second phase of modern fashion continues and extends the most modern contributions of the hundred years’ fashion, namely, a bureaucratic production orchestrated by professional creators, an industrial logic of mass production, seasonal collections, fashion shows with live models used for advertising purposes. (Lipovetsky 88)
This is one evidence that garments are not just intended for wearing, but it was already introduced as a statement and expression of beauty and art and that it also powers up the fanaticism among the people. People already see it as one that can create exquisiteness so there must be an urge to give importance to this phenomenon. Now, different kinds of people already give aid for the progress of this particular industry. They show people trends and what they must follow in order for them to say that they are getting in the flow of this new aged craving.
That is why different ways of promoting this sense of art are getting more and more rampant in this period of history.
Numerous fashion magazines have sprouted out promoting stylish and different fashion statements that anyone has different choices for them to choose from depending on their tastes.
Different personalities have made their name that was driven by this occurrence. People such as fashion experts are the ones monopolizing this industry – the gods that can predict the future of the industry because they hold the power of creating and dictating what they want and what they know will be the boom in the fashion trend.
There also go the fashion supermodels, which by just displaying the trends using their bodies, which we cannot blame because that what was given to them.
It portrays another field in the realm of artistry which is the beauty of clothing.
Besides the glittering and shining reality of the industry, we cannot remove the fact that in every light, there is a shadow. This has been an industry that seems can never be stopped, but there are things that are not visible to the eyes of those who continually worship the industry. How is the garment industry being run? Who are those who were asked to stay at the low and then power this industry?
Since then, as soon as humans begin to conceptualize the word “work”, there has already been an unstoppable degree of unfairness in human resources utility or what we call slavery. Since then, at the bright of everything, there is some undeniable fact that there are some people who suffer just for the good of those capable in the society. In this case of the garment industry, they are those who work in the factories day and night, those who were not treated fairly that opposes the fact that they should be because they are the ones running the industry.
According to the article written by Andrew Ross in entitled No Sweat, there has been a major increase in terms of the international industry market in out time today. Well, that is true. When we look from different angles, in different places, we can see that the marketing of different products, not only garments, have shown a reasonable breakthrough. Just take for example how advertising has driven the entire industry. It has driven it crazy like an unstoppable train. It cannot be and probably will never be brought to a halt. Some of the points about advertisement will be discussed later.
It was also said that there has already been a fair deal occurring during this boom of the industry. That no one has ever been aggravated in this deal. But why are there still people suffering from poverty? People who cannot find anything that can help them provide what they need. People who seem that fate has turned its back to them.
This has been a problem of the society for centuries time now. There seems to be no cure to this continuing nightmare between the higher and lower class. Those who are in the high class of the society just think of themselves and what they can gain not taking into consideration those who are being left behind the scene. They are just trying to deteriorate their reputation as the provider because they run their industry in such a manner that there are others who are badly treated. They must be thankful that there has still been poverty ongoing and there are still many who do not mind the issue of this inequality.
Industries are continuing on providing unequal treatment to their workers. Just like for example, the unfair salaries given, inadequate insurance policies and safety.
Although these people are continually working for their sake, it seems that they are still not getting what they wanted. It is a double blow to their needs and morality.
This is what is being pointed to by Ross’ article about the garment workers. The industry is thriving but how about those who work and let us just say those who really run the industry. They are still not satisfied and still keep on calling the attention of those at the top for a better treatment.
Mostly, those garment workers are women. They are those who work on – stop in front of a sewing machine just to make a living. There is a statement being raised on this particular
issue – the issue regarding the rights of the garment workers. Are their rights being given importance? Are they not treated just like the way they must be treated rightly in order for them to have an expression that they are being given the right thing for them to continue on?
Hidden from the knowledge of those who patronize garments, some people almost risk their lives just for a single garment to be made. Mostly they come from the third world countries, countries that the problem of poverty is badly rampant. Most of the people there choose to be at the bottom just to have their living.
Bangladesh is one of the third world countries. And most of its profit comes from laborers. According to the article written by Ross, among Bangladesh girls, they say that you are lucky enough whenever you end up being a prostitute than a garment worker. (Ross 113)
This is one inevitable fact being faced not only by the garment industry but as well as the whole industrialization. Their rights are not anymore being respected and yet there is still a major downturn on what is given to them.
And also, some of the major industries do not allow workers to form their own union. Well, the union is one of the major media where workers can express their sentiments regarding their situation in the industry. This is one major spank to those who are just trying to make a living.
There has been an explosion in the flow of income into the industry, but there is also break down when we talk about the workers’ sake. This is one issue that some rightists are trying to solve nowadays.
The explosion of industrial wellness has affected many aspects of the society. There comes the people’s way of living that has been changed entirely since the advent of industrialization. There comes the issue on how the economy already behaves at this period of time. But one of the aspects that were very affected by this is the branding or advertising of the products. It became a very relentless storm.
According to Naomi Klein’s article, she stated there that economic theorists tell that for an industry to grow, it must not just create products, it must create brands.
Companies have exploited the psychological effect being made by this strategy. Although they produce exactly the same product as the other companies, they are still heading to overtake companies. It is all because of the countless taking of advantage of advertising.
To prove that, this is one statement that Klein has reiterated in her article:
The advertisers are getting more and more on demand to companies because of the increasing demand for it to support new out coming products. (Klein 5)
This is one manifestation that advertising has been one of the major media for companies to find a way of creating and making possible that they will gain an immense profit flow. Then because of this, another industry was again put into the scene of industry and that is called advertising.
Through advertising, any company can create exposures for their products, make it famous to people that they will take it to the extent that it will leave a mark inside their brains.
Because of the advent of advertising, many companies have come up with different ways how to deliver their advertisement. In Klein’s article, she stated different ways of this:
In other Scandinavian countries, you can have “free” long – distance calls but the thing is there are ads that will interrupt during your phone call; And sometimes, bonded at the back of some concert tickets are Calvin Klein perfume sample strips. (Klein 9)
This is one good evidence that tells us how powerful advertising has become in terms of having a partnership with the manufacturing industry.
This has been one major event that struck human society down by a single blow, the advent of the industrial age. This will be a part and forever will be a part of human lives in the coming future.
- Lipovetsky, Gilles. The Empire of Fashion. 1994
- Fine, B. and Leopold, E. World of Consumption. 1993
- Ross, Andrew. No Sweat – Fashion, Free Trade, and the rights of Garment Workers. 1997
- Klein, Naomi. No Logo: Space, No Choice, No Jobs. 2000