Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Where my clothes are from

1) Boycut Underwear - Egypt
2) Bra- China
3) Yellow Dress- India
4) Polka Dot shirt- Indonesia
5) Sports bra- U.S.A.
6) Jean Jumper- Hong Kong
7) Monkey Slippers- China
8) Pointy toe kitten heals- Romania
9) Plaid Skirt- Turkey
10) Blue Jeans- China

I wondered looking at my garments and where they are from is what do people in the countries where this labor is outsourced think of that particular garment. Do they think what I'm wearing is scandalous, immodest, perfectly acceptable. I'm not quite sure. I thought my yellow dress looks like the dresses young girls where in India before they begin to wear adult attire. My kitten toe shoes were purchased in Europe and made in Eastern Europe. Are many garments worn in Western Europe made in Eastern Europe? I do not know. I don't think my plaid skirt would be too popular in rural parts of Turkey. I cannot tell if I'm appropriating another culture wearing clothes made from that country or if my consumption forces other countries to appropriate American capitalist consumer culture. I guess there is not good way to discover that. My participation in the global production of clothing is slightly like Orlan's "cultural appropriations;" however, I do not go as far as she does. If I were to wear an "authentic" African shirt, most people would probably find my outfit not too radical. If I were to wear a sari around campus, I would probably get some unusual looks. There is a degree to which one can appropriate another's cultural image and still be within the bounds of acceptability. What makes Orlan's work so controversial is that she completely appropriates the look of the "Other" even down to the skin tone. She pushes the envelope because it's as if she is trying to become the other. She's rejecting the privilege of her white skin. I think the major link between the Orlan and my clothes is that while Orlan appropriates a look, I'm appropriating labor. It makes me feel quite sleazy to say such a thing, but that's what happening.

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