Governments and Fashionsby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
How have various world governments manipulated fashions for political purposes over time?
Governments tried to change the hearts people by changing their clothing styles. Just like some religions force the wearing of turbans, skull caps, or dresses, governments have tried to strengthen national identity through modifications to fashions. Examples are found in the modernization of Turkey with the national hat and Russia with Peter's tax on beards. During the communist revolution in China men and women were forced to wear drab, gender neutral clothing. The French revolution also brought a change of clothes to downplay the wealth of the landed class (and thus avoid the guillotine). Biblical Christianity follows 1 Peter 3:3-4 which says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”
After the Chinese revolution of 1949, Chinese women gained more rights and greater freedoms as they became property of the state rather than property of their husbands. To force the illusion of communist victory, Mao declared that women and men would be equal and he forced both sexes to wear gender-neutral padded clothing (in opposition to Deuteronomy 22:5) and demanded equal labor in the factories and fields. The state now officially thought of the women as equal members in society. Some visible signs of this were legislation that prohibited foot binding, oppressive marital practices, and legalized divorce. These changes initially gave females an increasing sense of self-confidence, as they were encouraged to join the work force, become a communist official, and pursue educational opportunities all for the benefit of industrializing the state. This demand for sacrificial citizens was in stark contrast to centuries of being less than second-class citizens. After the death of Chairman Mao women slowly awake from the national delusion to protest the one child policy and restrictions in female fashions.
A historical example of a person trying to change the hearts by changing the appearance is Peter the Great. The streltsy, who had made a bid to depose Peter the Great in favor of Sofia, were killed and defeated before Peter's return, but the tsar acted with exceptional violence and severity. After investigation and torture, more than 1000 streltsy were executed and beaten, with Peter himself performing as one of the executioners. Also, after returning home, he demanded that courtiers, officials, and the military conform to Western standards of appearance, ordering them to cut their beards and wear Western-style clothing. His envy of the West even showed itself in elaborate architecture of his new cities like Petersburg. With the beginning of the new century, Peter the Great changed the old Russian calendar to the Julian calendar used in the West; henceforth years were to be counted from the birth of Christ, not the creation of the world, and they were to commence on the first of January, not the first of September.
This humanistic passion of the Enlightenment had been building up since the middle of the 18th century. Artists and writers on art declared that the ancient Greeks and Romans provided models of beauty and inspiration. The political aspect of this taste came forth more gradually over time. First the Greek notion that political liberty was the best process of learning the arts, then the rigorous civic-mindedness characteristic of the Roman republic. In France, when the Republic was for the first time ever proclaimed in 1792, it seemed to many as if history was repeating itself. Reference to antiquity was natural to the French revolutionaries when they sought to create forms and images of their own time. The 1820s in terms of fashion was perhaps the most significant of the 19th century. The 1820s is in many ways similar to the 1920s. Both decades were a period of peace following major European wars. And in both decades, huge amounts of changes were noted in fashions. It was during the 1820s that the long pants usually worn by boys in skeleton suits became widely adopted by adult men. Even more significantly, a profound change was notable in men's fashions. Until the 1820s, European men dressed flamboyantly with rich materials and bright, colorful clothes. There were times in fact that men dressed more flamboyantly and more provocatively than even the women of that time. This varied over time. There were eras and places where dress was restrained, such as the Puritans and the Dutch Protestants of the 17th century. For the most part, however, men's fashions were often flamboyant. This quickly changed in the 1820s. The increasingly successful middle class being created by the Industrial Revolution began dressing in serious, somber black suits. There wealth beginning in the 1820s would be displayed through their wives and children, who did not adopt the black and other somber colors of their husbands.
In conclusion, it is clear to see that some governments or people try to change the hearts of people by changing their fashions. The primary examples discussed in this essay were Peter the Great, and the revolutions in France and China. Fortunately, "the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Sam 16:7).
After the Chinese revolution of 1949, Chinese women gained more:
Peter the Great demanded that who conform to Western standards of appearance?
c. the military
d. all of the above
A passion had been building up since the middle of which century?
In France, men's fashions were often:
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