TOPIC: ISSUE208 - "The way people look, dress, and act reveals their attitudes and interests. You can tell much about a society's ideas and values by observing the appearance and behavior of its people."
WORDS: 582 TIME: 01:00:00 DATE: 2008-10-15 13:36:31
In this statement, the speaker points out that people's appearance and behavior can reflect the individuals' attitudes and interests as well as the whole society's ideas and values. As to every single person, I admit that how he/her dress and act can reveal his/her personality to some extent; however, I do not consider people's appearance and behavior as the major factors to represent a society's thought or ideology.
To begin with, I concede that everyone chooses their clothing and behavior according to their individual characters so that their appearance can reveal the inner mind. It is a useful experience that we can briefly judge a person's interests by his/her clothing and behavior. For example, some people with specific hobbits often share similar clothing. People who favor sports often wear sports shirts and shoes so as to be convenience to join in physical activities. People who love Hip-hop tend to wear clothes in bigger size, and they always wear caps whenever in day or night, wherever inside or outside of a building. Now, many clothing company corporate with stars in every field and print their signatures or symbols on the cloth in order to attract more customers. As a result, we can distinguish Lakers' fans from Rockets' fans because their shirts or coats can tell us which team they support.
Nevertheless, how a person dresses also depends on other factors, such as one's social position, personal property, profession, etc. These attributes have nothing to do with a person's attitude or interests. President Bush is definitely a fan of US National Basketball Team in Olympic Games, but when our president went to watch the match in Beijing, he still wear a formal suit- such seems not good appearance in a stadium. Because he represents the government of United States, he has no choice. I can assert that almost every woman wants to own Chanel coats and Louis Vuitton purses; however, not every woman can afford these luxuries. Now Chanel and Louis Vuitton are not symbol of personal tastes or favorites, but symbol of success and wealth. Similarly, many large companies required their clerks to wear formal suits at work, so their appearances are not their own choices but uniforms. From these suits we can never clarify a person's thought and interests.
When we compare people in one specific nation with another, we can observe the two groups of people did have significant difference in their clothing and behaviour. Yet, in my view, these differences are attributable more to fashion instead of a society's ideas and values. Common sense informs me that fashion and popular styles change fast. Taking the city I live in for example, ten years ago, the most popular clothing for young women was long skirt. One the contrary, nowadays, most young girl wears mini-skirts, no matter in summer or in winter. In the society changes as fast as ours, fashion and people's appearances can change dramatically in a decade; however, the ideas and values changes relatively slowly. How we define virtue, justice or goodness is just like our ancestors. These standards are no decided or reflected by the mere fact how people dress and act.
In conclusion, although the appearance and behavior of a single person can reflect individuals' hobbies or attitudes, this method cannot be applied to analyze nations or societies. When we compare two nations, we need to consider more on their different language, moral standard, media, and politics, which have more deep meaning than the citizens' appearance.