For an individual to be well assimilated into a new culture, he or she should reject the culture of her or his home country and concentrate on the customs present in the new country. In this study, I shall discuss the clothing culture of the Rastafarian women, Turkey women, Indians, Egyptians and the Roma people. I shall also discuss the importance of visitors and immigrants assimilating the clothing culture of the countries they visit or live in.
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Women in Rastafarian communities wear decently at all times. According to their religion, it is a taboo to wear second hand clothes. In case they are admitted in hospitals, they wear disposable theatre gowns instead of hospital garments that are already used.
In Turkey, women who dress in head scarves are banned from public employment, being elected in parliament, serving as instructors in private schools and tertiary institutions, working as lawyers, and in some instances, they are banned from doing business. A large number of women have been banned from university education in Turkey as a result of wearing head scarves.
Women’s attire in India varies depending on religion, local culture and climate. Traditional Indian attires for women are the Lehengas and Saris. Saris are stylish and well-designed outfits. The traditional attires for Indian men are the Kurta. Indian men in the South put on long, white pieces of cloth while in the North, most men wear shirts and t-shirts.
Among the Roma people, there is no customary male wear. For women, they put on customary costumes made up of a long skirt tied at the waist, an apron, a bolero vest and a baggy, low-cut blouse. The complete customary female costume is still regularly used by the Vlach Roma. Roma men have a culture of dressing well and adopting good fashions.
They mostly dress in business suits but with no ties. Caps are also fashionable among the Roma men. Young people take on the local styles, such as sneakers, windbreakers and caps. Young girls may dress in jeans, but if visitors arrive, they wear a dress. Thus, dressing in Roma is an indicator of age and social status.
In Egypt, there are several cultural norms that regulate clothing. For women, they are supposed to put on head scarves. A head scarf is a long piece of cloth that covers the hair and the neck. In the early Egyptian society, a scarf was seen as a symbol of social status. The first scarf wearer in Egypt was Queen Nefertiti. She put on a scarf-like part of cloth under her iconic crown. Today, scarves in Egypt are won for religious purpose. The Muslim religion requires that women tie their hair and neck with a scarf.
As seen from the above examples, dressing puts across a person’s sense of belonging. It is a way of communication and a cultural symbol, open to different interpretations subject to an individual’s perspective (Simon, 1995). Since different societies have different dress cultures, it is important for visitors and immigrants to adopt the dress culture of the country that they are in. This will show a degree of unity and respect to the society that they are in.
Floya (1992) explains that immigration can arouse feelings of aggravation and resentment, particularly in people who feel endangered by the transformations that large figures of immigrants may create. Simon (1995) also explains that people are normally biased on those who are dissimilar to them.
Assimilating the dress culture of the new country will make the habitants of that country feel that you are a part of them. This will lessen societal tension and make it possible to communicate with others despite the differences in ethnicity, race, beliefs or state origin (Floya, 1992). It will also restrain the habitants from blaming the visitors for any political, social or economic changes that the country may encounter.
In conclusion, it is important for visitors and immigrants to adopt the dress culture of the new country that they are in because dressing is a way of communication and a cultural symbol, open to different interpretations subject to an individual’s perspective. Assimilating the dress culture of a country will make the habitants of that country feel that you are a part of them.
This will in turn lessen societal tension and make it possible for a visitor to communicate with others despite the differences in ethnicity, race, beliefs or state origin. If I were to visit a foreign country, I would retain wearing my chador. This is because it’s a symbol of my faith. When am in it, I always remember my religious vows. If I was restricted from wearing it I would feel dehumanized and oppressed.
Floya, A. (1992). Ethnicity, class, gender and migration. Aldershot: Avebury.
Simon, H. (1995). Four types of symbolic conflict. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2(2), 255–71.