I don't know why I hadn't realized this before, but since my conversion to the conservative schools of thought I no longer choose my clothes based on what message I want to sent to the people around me. Its was a staple of most of my teenage years up until my move to Salt Lake that my t-shirt I was wearing was on me for a reason. Its pretty much a staple of the protest left and the patriotic right that you've got to get our your voice anyway you can. I just don't feel that anymore.
You know, I actually had two shirts of Mao from China. My dad got them on a business trip to Beijing. Thinking of it now, thinking of the millions that died under Mao, isn't wearing a shirt with his likeness and his slogans on it akin to wearing a Hitler tee with “The 1000 Year Reich” on it? Well, in the West, not really, since socialism and communism are still considered to be a legitimate ideologies despite the approximately 120 million killed under its name.
I'd wear Mao and Che a lot, especially during my most radical years at college. I actually had a friend and classmate, who considers himself a “liberal” according to his Facebook, scold me on wearing the face of the infamous Argentinian. He told me about the people Che killed, but at that time I had considered those deaths necessary for the greater good of the destruction of capitalism. At that time, the revolution was the end, revolutionary violence the means. Who cared who died as long as it wasn't the “good” people.
Even after becoming a libertarian and working at the Dr Phil show, I had the need to show some kind of rebellion when weekends rules changed. I bought a hat and a few shirts from the Industrial Workers of the World, a anarchist union, and wore them for a few days, but it was pretty childish and futile. I was pissed more at the fact my job was way more difficult and degrading than I thought it would be. Still, after that, I stuck to wearing BDU pants and politics/military t-shirts, as if wearing them made me any tougher or made my thoughts any different. Even at 22, my mind wasn't fully expunged of childish views on clothes and image.
It wasn't until after settling in Salt Lake City that my wardrobe became less a political statement than something I was wearing. I had tossed the Che and Mao shirts before I had moved to Los Angeles, and before leaving L.A. I threw the IWW shirts and stuff into a trash bag, hoping to give it away before the move, but its currently buried somewhere in my storage closet. Today, I wear a white t-shirt and blue jeans nearly everyday.
I wonder if your clothes and what they say, or don't say, can really reflect your maturity or your demeanor? For some, I bet. For me, well, since I'm not advertising anymore, I think it would be a bit harder.
Anyway, just thought it was an interesting thing.
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