All About the Symbols

By Lindsey Pounds

It’s no secret that we live in a chaotic world. We live in a time of fast-paced changes. These changes have been good, but some have not. Our grandparents would never have thought that some of the current changes our world is experiencing would ever come about. Our world is constantly being shaped by the spirit of the times, also known as the Zeitgeist. The changes we experience not only help to frame the world around us, but these events create symbols that we will always remember. Let’s take a look at the dominating events that are shaping the spirit of our times.
The world can be a very scary place at times. For example, the Charlie Hebdo shooting taught us that things such as our freedoms of speech and press are no longer necessarily safe. This event made a lot of people more cautious about what they say or print, even though we as U.S. citizens have these freedoms. Another alarming event that sent us all into a time of terror occurred in June when a shooting occurred at a Charleston church. It was impossible not to notice pictures of the shooter and how he proudly displayed the Confederate flag. This goes to show that symbols may have multiple and different meanings to different people, whether we realize it or not.

As chaos is happening in our world, our boundaries are slowly coming down and we are becoming more open-minded to the change around us. Bruce Jenner grabbed the nation’s attention with his televised interview with Diane Sawyer about his male-to-female transition. When Caitlyn Jenner was introduced for the first time, it held the attention of the world. For the first time ever, people started thinking about this topic. This event symbolized the blurring of the line between masculinity and femininity and was a major advancement for the transgender community.

All this change we experience around us begins to filter down into big events in our lives. Back in June when gay marriage was legalized, this symbolized progress for our country. The advent of gay marriage may impact more people on a daily basis than any event that has occurred this year. This type of chaos brought about progress in areas we never considered before, like cherished institutions such as weddings.

Living in a scary time in a scary world, let’s take a look at how apparel copes in this time. After the Charleston shooting, states began to ban the Confederate flag because of the negative symbolism it represents.  Not only are states banning it, but retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon as well. With the rise of Caitlyn Jenner, we are also noticing a rise in the tomboy style, representing androgyny.  Lastly, the legalization of gay marriage has increased the profile of the rainbow pride symbol, giving everyday apparel a boost of color. The rise of gay weddings will surely make bright colors very prominent in weddings as well. The events of our time help give these symbols meaning.

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