Clothing

While clothes are often used to express oneself through fashion, clothes themselves hold no moral significance.

Recently, M&M has decided to revamp their characters, making the characters more inclusive. They have removed the typical high heels and go-go boots from the brown and green M&Ms, replaced with sneakers. This rebrand promoted a conversation around the fact that clothes are often used to display a person’s morals.

Clothes do not have moral standing. A person wearing a sweatshirt is not more virtuous than a person wearing a crop top. The clothes a person chooses to wear do not reflect their morality, it reflects their style and values. For many people, clothes are simply a way to express themselves and can be used to help fight gender dysphoria and body issues.

Clothes can be a way to display a person’s values. A person who values sustainability and ethics may choose to buy only secondhand clothing, same as a person who values fashion may choose to keep up with current trends.

While values may be expressed through clothing, the pieces of fabric themselves have no moral value and should not be used to determine a person’s morals.

Clothing has a complicated and complex history. In Western culture, historically more “moral” women covered every inch of skin. When thoughts around women’s liberation began to change in the early 1900s, so did women’s fashion.

During World War 1, as women began to work in factories and on farms, skirts got shorter and corsets were exchanged for brassieres. Post World War I, when the fight for women’s suffrage began to pick up steam, many suffragettes used their clothes to fight against the fashion industry, calling it “the acceptance of female oppression.” Since then, women’s fashion has evolved into more modern styles, and clothing has transformed from a way to convey one’s morals to a way to express one’s sense of self.

While traditionally male clothing has not changed a significant amount in the past 100 years, it has seen a decrease in formality. Suits and jackets are reserved for more formal events or professions, rather than everyday wear. It is also important to acknowledge that men’s clothes, while policed, have been less of an indicator of a man’s morals compared to women’s.

Clothing can hold cultural, religious and personal importance, but the clothes a person wears shouldn’t be used to define their morals. Every person has their own definition of modesty, but it doesn’t make one person immoral if they choose a more revealing piece of clothing any more than a conservative piece of clothing making someone a better person.

Clothing cannot hold a moral significance because clothing is simply a tool used by humans to express themselves, not a tool to decipher how moral a person is.

Changing the M&Ms shoes to be more “inclusive” ultimately is a meaningless act because high-heels do not convey a different morality than sneakers, they are simply shoes.

When a person attaches a moral standing to a piece of clothing, they are implying that a piece of fabric says more about the person wearing it than the piece of clothing itself. People who choose to dress modestly, either for religion or other personal reasons, aren’t inherently prudish, simply making a choice they feel comfortable with.

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