Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fashion and Marketing: Individuality vs. Conformity

Fashion and Marketing: Individuality vs. Conformity Fashion Marketing Individuality vs. Conformity. Section 1: Introduction A seemingly intractable paradox underlies Westerners choice of fashion in the twenty-first century. On the one hand, the democratic and social progress made in the West in the past fifty years has led to radical revaluations of, and profound reversals of attitudes towards, issues such as   gender, class, race, social stereotypes, cultural identity and so on: in short, the Western citizen of 2005 has far greater personal freedom for expression than could have been conceivable for a Westerner in 1905 or even 2005 (Craik, 1994). The modern student of Western fashion trends might therefore reasonably expect to notice in the clothing choices and styles of twenty-first Westerners ever greater diversity and individuality to notice a kaleidoscopic and multi-coloured efflorescence of personal freedom in fabric and cloth. And, indeed, in many instances in Western society there is a profusion of individual styles mirroring newly liberated individual personalities. Yet, on the other hand, des pite this potential for individuality, the fashion student notices, paradoxically, that Westerners are exhibiting an ever greater homogeneity and similarity in their clothing choice for instance, the ubiquitous presence, amongst certain definable social groups, of trendy brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Zara and FCUK. The principal force behind this homogeneity is argued to be (Miles, 1998 Radford, 1998) the massive and all-consuming power of giant global fashion houses and their resources for mass branding and advertising. To many fashion critics and scholars these hugely powerful companies have come to swamp the potential for personal and individual expression that was made possible by social changes in Europe and America in the past fifty years. In a further paradox, it was these very changes themselves, and the liberation and emancipation of consumer power and choice which they released, which provides the consumer markets and spending-power which make these huge companies possible. In other words, for the gender, class, and social revolutions of the twentieth century to happen this required the protests and emancipation of Western masses; but this very freedom itself created a mass homogeneous market that could be exploited by fashion corporations themselves made possible by these changes. I n   a final paradox, Rosenfeld (1997) and Davis (1993) argue that modern man is free to choose the clothes he wears and so is himself responsible for submitting himself and his individuality to temptations of mass production and consumerism   that surround him. The fascinating question before this literature review is then: why is it   that Westerners, granted at last a large measure of personal freedom for expression, ‘choose’ nonetheless to submit themselves to mass trends and to enslave themselves to perhaps an ever greater extent than when such freedom was not obtainable? Of further interest is the question: how have particular cultural groups, and fashion trends, resisted mass consumerism of fashion, and gone on to use these new freedoms to establish exciting and original expressions of their personalities? Section 2: Sources A few words about the origin and authority of the sources used for this literature review   are perhaps necessary before turning to the main themes of the review.   The principal type of source discussed in this literature review are academic books and journals; in addition, some internet sources are employed also. The academic books referred to in this review are amongst the seminal texts in the literature of fashion and marketing, their authors world-class experts in   their fields, and therefore the reliability and authority of their material is extremely high. The fashion student can have high, if not complete, confidence in his employment of these sources to illustrate his themes and arguments. Likewise, those texts from other fields in this review, such as Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud, 1900) or Lacan’s Language of the Self (Lacan, 1998), are usually included by critics and scholars in their lists of the most important works of the twentieth-century. They too then may be used by the fashion student with a high degree of trust in their authority and reliability. A note of caution might be sounded however about   the employment of internet sources in any literature review. Whereas the process of publishing work in an academic book or journal is a lengthy one, requiring considerable cost and numerous stages of scrutiny by fellow scholars and experts, thus ensuring the quality of those sources, nonetheless, the standards required for publication on the internet are often lower and less vigorous. The vast profusion material released daily on the internet requires the conscientious student to subject the internet sources he employs to greater scrutiny and doubt than might be the case with academic books or journals published in the traditional paper-based way. Consequently, the internet sources used in this literature review have been vigorously scrutinised and tested for their reliability in the fashion described above.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Section 3: Review The following literature review is discussed according to the following thematic schema in five parts: (1) The Paradox of Individuality and Conformity, (2), Global Trends and World Markets, (3) Semiotic Theories of Fashion Promotion Visual Communication, (4) Popular Cultures and Distinctive Identities, and, (5), Sociological Philosophical   Views of Class, Gender, Social Stereotypes and Cultural Identity. The Paradox of Individuality and Conformity The contemporary situation in Western fashion and personal clothing choice is one of apparently irresolvable paradox: Westerners are today endowed with ever greater personal freedoms, extending naturally to their choice of personal clothing and one would expect this freedom to lead to a plethora and profusion of individual styles and manners of dress: these freedoms should result in less conformity of style than was present in say 1905 when gender, class and social prejudices compelled and forced a person to dress in a particular way and style. Yet, despite these abundant new-found freedoms, Western clothing choice in 2005 seems to display ever greater conformity and homogeneity. That is, Westerners are ‘choosing’ to dress more and more alike one another Westerners’ expression of their personalities through their choice of style is showing ever greater similarities to one another. How then could this be possible? This question is discussed at the general level in great depth by F. Davis (1993) Fashion, Clothing and Identity and by Fiske (1990) in Introduction to Communications Studies.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Global Trends World Markets The most persuasive and frequently given answer to the above   question is that the rise of huge fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Prada, Zara, amongst many others along with their massive resources for branding and advertising, have drowned-out the recently attained freedoms of Western individuals to reflect their personalities in their choice of clothing. This point is powerfully made in D. Crane’s seminal text Fashion and the Social Agenda: Class, Gender and Identity in Clothing. (Crane, 2004). Crane argues that just at the critical historical moment (the end of the 20th Century) when Westerners were finally endowed with greater personal freedoms in fashion and personality expression than ever before, that these freedoms were immediately smothered by forces such as globalization and capitalism which gave birth to vast fashion corporations whose financial resources and advertising capacity have become too great and powerful for individual expr ession to poke through and flower. This point is corroborated and reinforced by numerous other scholars and authorities in fashion and marketing. F. Davis (1993) in Fashion, Culture and Identity, L. Rosenfeld (1997) in Clothing as Communication, and J. Craik (1994) in The Face of Fashion; Cultural Studies in Fashion all endorse Crane’s central premise that individual freedom of personality expression through clothing and style is suffocated by the capitally fuelled force of the major fashion brands to overwhelm this expression through relentless psychological pressure, carried by advertising, to conform to the style and choice ‘imposed’ and ‘decided’ by these companies and not by individuals themselves. M. Barnard in Fashion as Communication (1996) makes an interesting refinement of this basic premise by suggesting, in a further paradoxical statement, that it is the very freedom of gender, class, social status etc., of the past fifty years which has led to ever greater conformity to popular styles and to an even greater imposition of style than existed before such freedoms were possible. In other words, to echo a sentiment expressed by Nietzsche in 1888 (Nietzsche, 1888) and Freud in 1900 (Freud, 1900) human beings have natural herd instincts which are present whether people are free or not, and these instincts generate the need for leadership and imposition from one source or another. Thus, whilst before the 1960’s style conformity was forced upon Westerners by gender and class stereotypes, nonetheless, after the 1960’s when these stereotypes were lifted, Westerners became susceptible to a new ‘authority’, ‘imposition’ and ‘leadershipâ €™ in the form of vast fashion corporations whose choice of style and expression is propagated through intensive branding and advertising. According to this philosophical view, endorsed by Bruce Stella and Pamela Church Gibson (2000) in Fashion Cultures Theories: Explorations and Analysis, the personalities of Westerners today and their choice of expression of their personalities through clothing, is largely decided by fashion corporations and advertising companies thus resulting in the uniformity of style and expression which is so evident from a casual glance at our high-streets today.  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Semiotic Theories of Fashion Promotion Visual Communication A interesting example of the practice of a semiotic theory of fashion promotion is that discussed in A. Rhodes’ and R. Zuloago’s paper ‘A Semiotic Analysis of High Fashion Advertising’ published in 2003. The chief motif of Rhodes’ and Zuloago’s work is that ‘Fashion advertising is an excellent example of identity-image producing media’ (Rhodes   Zuloago, 2003: p8). They state at the outset of their paper that ‘The nature of the product is tied directly to identity those objects with which we encase our bodies for public display  ­- and fashion is acknowledged as a cultural language of style’; a little further on they add ‘Taken as a whole, high fashion media and advertising describe a spectrum of identity, unified in general types of signifiers young women, high   status, high sexuality and through the constant repetition and variation of images on these themes serve to create this identity spectrum.â €™ (Rhodes and Zuloago, 2003, p1). Thus, in their paper, Rhodes and Zuloago seek to define the symbiotic relationship between high fashion and the cultural and social identity of one particular social group: young, rich and sexually confident women. Rhodes and Zuloago argue that the advertising campaigns of companies like Prada, Donna Karen, Armani, Dolce Gabanna and others like them, speak so powerfully and seductively to these women, and that the images employed penetrate so deeply into their consciousness and social orientation, that they come to identify their personalities almost wholly with the product. Rhodes and Zulago recognise, nonetheless, that whilst the influence of major fashion brands over social groups like the one mentioned above is immense that these groups too, by their social characteristics and newly liberated personalities, constantly force the fashion brands to invent new styles and designs that evolve to reflect the changing consciousness of these particu lar and individualistic groups (Rhodes Zuloago, 2003: p5). The symbiosis is nearly total; and similar relationships between major brands and other social groups are evident throughout modern Western   culture.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Popular Cultures and Distinctive Identities R. Radford points out in Dangerous Liaison: Art, Fashion and Individualism (1998) that the mass conformity of modern fashion style and personality expression is not of course universal, and many original and fresh styles punk, gothic, ethnic, etc., have arisen from the social freedoms of recent decades, both in reaction to the preceding centuries of restricted expression and also in reaction to the monotonous uniformity of the mass-branded   and consumer-based style. As suggested in the last sentence, Radford distinguishes between styles which are (1) a reaction to the restrictions of former centuries, (2) those which are defiances of the modern branded uniformity, and, (3), those which are a reaction to neither, but rather are healthy and original efflorescences of cultural uniqueness and individual expression. In the first category Radford places the astonishing growth in popularity of ‘gender-liberated’ products like bikinis, short-skirts and casual clothing which were, in other centuries, repressed by the authorities either because of gender prejudices or inequalities, or because of antiquated ideas about the morality or sexual imprudence of certain items and styles of clothing. To take an instance of gender discrimination cited by Radford (Radford, 1998: pp. 142-148), it was not socially or morally permissible for women in former times to wear beach attire (bikinis, swim-suits etc.,) that revealed or celebrated anything of the sensuousness or beauty of the female figure; women were therefore universally condemned (in Western countries) to wear a single type plain, non-sexual beachwear. But since the lifting of this social prejudice and stigma, there has been a profusion of designers, from Gucci and Dolce Gabana to Zara and BHS, who have produced modern designs which allow women to celebrate the sensuality and beauty of   the female figure. Women today enjoy the same rights as men to wear what they like either to the beach, to the disco or to work; thus, in this instance, despite the domination of the fashion brands, women now have the opportunity to, and do indeed exhibit in practice, a greater expression of individuality of personality than was possible or permissible before the last decades. In the second category, Radford places fashion styles like punk and gothic: styles which rebel   against the conformity of modern mass-consumer culture and relish in the controversy and upsetting of convention induced by the difference of their style. Studded clothing, fluorescent coloured hair, male make-up, cross-dressing etc., are rebellions against the usual fashion paradigm and make the personality statement that some people disagree with popular sentiment and convention and express this in clothing styles that are often shocking and scandalous (Barthes, 1983).  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In the third category are individualistic styles, such as ethnic, which are neither reactions to historical repressions or to modern mass conformity, but which are rather healthy flourishing of individual personality or philosophy. For instance, contemporary Western style permits a greater exhibition of ethnic clothing or pride in national dress than was acceptable fifty years ago. F. Davis argued as early as 1988 in Clothing and Fashion Communication that clothing could be a vehicle for greater racial tolerance and for multi-culturalism and racial integration in modern Western society. A concomitant of this toleration is a celebration and pride in the wearing of clothes of national dress; clothes that display part of the person’s personality repressed for decades.     Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Sociological Philosophical Views of Class, Gender, Social Stereotypes and Cultural Identity Jacques Lacan in Language of the Self (Lacan, 1997) gives a fascinating philosophical and psychological interpretation of the individuality vs. conformity paradox, filtering it the prism of class, gender and social stereotypes, to argue that human beings are essentially language-animals and can be manipulated if one finds the key to the use of this language. Lacan argues in his seminal text Language and the Self (1997) that the social freedoms attained by Westerners in the past half century have given them Westerners unprecedented opportunities to reflect their innermost ‘self’, their basic human constituency, through new cultural media such as television, the arts, and by derivation, fashion and our choice of media. Lacan argues further that the ‘self’ of previously repressed groups such as women, homosexuals, African-Americans and so on is now able to manifest itself in cultural forms that had previously been repressed for centuries, and which are now burs ting out in the diversity of artforms prevalent in our society today. Nonetheless, through his   principal scientific and philosophical investigation into the language-animal, Lacan argues that Westerners have been seduced by the clever and innovative marketing campaigns of the major fashion brands, who use slogans and images to target specific social groups. Thus Lacan explains the phenomenal seduction of modern Western man to the worded slogans of designer labels and celebrity endorsed products. Lacan suggests that the advertising campaigns of major fashion brands seduce the consumer’s unconscious directly and that this explains the phenomenon of mass conformity to such a homogeneous type of personal expression through fashion as is evident in our society.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Section 4: Conclusion In the final analysis, the literature of the fashion and marketing texts on the subject of individuality vs. conformity, and the influence of branding upon this relationship,  Ã‚   reveals the following points. Firstly, that a curious and complex paradox deeply underpins the dynamics between individuality and conformity. To the one side, the liberation of women, homosexuals, formerly repressed racial groups, underprivileged classes and others, in the second half of the twentieth-century, has led to a huge mass of people in Western society who have previously unimaginable freedom to wear whatever styles and types of clothing they believe best express their individuality and uniqueness. For instance, gender prejudices removed, women can now wear trousers ; race prejudices declining, repressed groups can wear a city suit or opera tuxedo; in many other instances Westerners are free to dress as however their mood, philosophy and occupation inclines them. On the other hand, the ceaseless ascent to prominence and immense power of the great fashion houses and fashion brands has led to a blanket of homogeneity being spread over the personal expression of many Western consumers. Philosophers like Lacan, and psychologists like Freud and Nietzsche, suggest   that man has an innate herd instinct that compels him to conform to the trends of the crowd and to seek a higher authority and leadership to decide and impose his personal expression upon him. According to this view, despite the newly attained freedom of Westerners, they have substituted for the old imposition of gender and class barriers the new authority of the mass product and the famous brand. Thus ‘personal choice’ and ‘freedom of expression of personality’ through clothing are   merely illusions that do not   correspond to modern reality. Furthermore, the conformity of modern Western dress is, according to D. Crane (Crane, 2004), even more intense today than in other centuries, s ince in 2005 particular styles and mass produced clothing items Crane gives Levi’s jeans as an example permeate all classes and genders of society and therefore have a ‘total sphere of conformity and influence’; in other centuries a particular item or style of clothing would only dominate one social group; today brands like Nike, Zara, Levi’s, Armani and so on, can penetrate the personal expression of every social group from top to bottom. Nonetheless, the flourishing of reactionary and rebellious fashions expressions such as punk and gothic, as well as the profusion of small individualistic designers and such styles as ethnic suggest that the mass produced fashion items have not and will not dominate totally and may even be forced back a little as personal expression is allowed to bloom in the new forms and clothing styles of the twenty-first century. Our final words might be these: that the question of conformity vs. individuality now hangs in a delicate balance and equilibrium, that Western society pivots at a vital moment in the history of its ability to be able to define itself. The opportunity exists for   Westerners to dazzle the world with an efflorescence of new styles of clothing that reflect the cultural diversity, racial integration, and class assimilation achieved in the past fifty years. The danger remains nonetheless that these achievements and potential expression will be swamped by the relentless mar ch of mass consumer fashion and our seduction to it.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Section 5: Bibliography   Academic Books, Journals Articles Barnard, M. (1996) Fashion as Communication, Routledge Barthes, R. (1967, 1983). The Fashion System, New York: Hill and Wang.   Bruzzi Stella Church, P.G. (2000). Fashion Cultures Theories, Explorations and Analysis, Routledge Craik, J. (1994) The Face of Fashion; Cultural Studies in Fashion, London: Routledge. Crane, D. (2004). Fashion and Its Social Agenda: Class, Gender and Identity in Clothing. Oxford   University Press, Oxford.    Davis, F. (1985). Clothing and fashion as communication, in Solomon, M. R. (ed.) The Psychology of Fashion, Massachusetts: Lexington Books. Davis, F. (1993). Fashion, Culture and Identity, Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. Du Gay, P. (1996). Consumption and Identity at Work, London: Sage.   Fiske, J. (1990). Introduction to Communication Studies, London: Routledge Freud, S. (1900). The Interpretation of Dreams. Penguin, London. Lacan, J. (Reprinted 1997). Language of the Self, Baltimore, MD.: Johns Hopkins University Press Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, Self and Society, From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviourist, Chicago, IL.: University of Chicago Press Miles, S. (1998). Consumerism as a Way of Life, London: Sage Publications Nietzsche, F. (1888). Ecce Homo. Peter Gast Books, Basel. Quirk, R. (Et al.). (1989). The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Radford, R., Dangerous Liaison: Art, Fashion and Individualism, Fashion Theory, vol. 2, issue 2, Oxford: Berg, 1998, pp. 151-64.   Rosenfeld, L. B. and Plax, T. G. (1997). Clothing as communication, Journal of Communication, 27: 24-31. Smith, A. (1759/1976). The Theory of the Moral Sentiments, Edinburgh.   Internet Sources Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, Self and Society, From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviourist, Chicago, IL.: University of Chicago Press   Smith, A. (1759/1976). The Theory of the Moral Sentiments, Edinburgh.   Rhodes, A. Zuloago, R. (2003). A semiotic Analysis of High Fashion Advertising. Feminism: Sexism and Society Feminism: Sexism and Society Feminism as a concept is one with a variety of different views. While to some it may seem like a rightful assertion of what they believe society should be, some believe it to be unrealistic and too idealistic. They believe that by relying too much on the principle of feminism, they are overdoing it, thereby resulting in the loss of the effect of the concept as such. Feminism as a concept emerged during the late 19th century, where the important demands made were that of more rights in the public sphere, the right to vote, the right to own property, and obtain a reasonable education. (footnote book). As time went on, and women felt more and more comfortable with asserting their rights openly, newer topics like sexuality, reproduction, domestic violence, domestic labour etc, came into prevalence (footnote book). Feminists then believed that the major thing lacking in society was the fact that masculine ideas were being used in both the political and social fields. (footnote book). The concept also aims to be relevant in the present day context. Feminists have tried to tackle issues such as single mothers handling a household, lower wages, especially in the present day, poverty and lack of education for most women, even today.(4) Feminism in India has also been gaining some momentum with the new age. Womens magazines, women oriented television shows etc, are helping this new wave of feminism in the country. This paper attempts to look at the variety of ways that woman oriented mediums aim to promote feminism in our country. It also tries to decide whether these mediums are promoting or in fact contesting the concept of feminism. WHAT IS FEMINISM? Feminism is basically an idea that aims to end all forms of sexism that exist in the world presently. There are however, several variations of what this sexism actually is, and the different ways by which it can be resolved. Also argued, is the role of a man or a woman in society, and what implications each gender has in society. Nevertheless, the feminist perspective provides interesting views on matters such as reproduction, sexuality, labour, poverty, racial discrimination The meaning of the term feminism has differed greatly throughout the world. While in the U.S and the U.K it started out as being mainly a political wave, demanding for the right to vote, in other parts of the world writers have mainly looked at the injustices faced by women, although the nature of these injustices may not entirely be certain. In 1892, the first International Womens Conference was held in Paris. Only after this, did the word feminism start to be used in its serious sense in society. Second and third wave feminism was mainly generated to look at the shortcomings of earlier theories of feminism and avoid the domination of ‘white women, in the field. A sincere attempt was to be made to look at the views of coloured women and others as well. An attempt to help the situation would be to look at feminism as a set of ideas and beliefs rather than looking at it as a political ideal. A lot of occurrences take place even outside the political sphere that ascertains the need to improve a womans position in society. Although feminism may have started as focusing only on the legal and political aspects of a womans life, it has broadened to the more social issues now. Oppression is the feminists key issue. Feminists fight to resolve oppression and ensure justice. Oppression is unjust and a woman, like any other person in society has a right to ensure that they obtain justice. Another area where feminists argue the need for equality is the economic sector. It is believed that with the increase in economic equality, the society can become a better place to live in. However, it may also be said, that at times sexism also works against men. There are instances where men also may come under the radar of being victims of sexism. But, it is commonly agreed upon that women usually suffer the brunt of inequality more than the men do. Sexism, also just does not examine several harms that are committed, but looks at the fact that someone is harmed because she is a woman. There is no one single form of oppression that a woman faces, and that several forms exist and manifest themselves in a variety of ways even today. Even though there are variations in the way feminists differentiate themselves from one another, an agreed framework is being sought after to monitor equality and growth of women. There will most definitely be a set of principles that all women will look to fight and ensure parity for women in society. Such principles may include, equal wages, reproduction etc. (book 15). One of the main requests of feminists has also been to give women more recognition in the public sphere. This is the only way that women would be looked as being worthy enough to be respected even at home. (15). Liberalisation, also to a certain extent helped the cause of feminism. Liberal thought had its roots in rendering individual rights and giving an individual all the importance as may be necessary. The argument of being treated at an equal level with the men in society, sprung mainly from the liberal theory. Since the liberal theory believed that the only just and fair system was one that did not discriminate among individuals under any circumstance, feminists adopted this idea to their advantage. (26) Thus, feminism is a doctrine aimed at ensuring that women are treated on par with men in society. Although the interpretations of this doctrine may vary from person to person, the main idea is common to all- that is the progress of women in the society at the same level as men. FEMINISM IN INDIA India, as a country from time long before, has been neglected in the sense that it is a third world country and is capable of offering only so much. The concept of feminism holding a high ground in such a country would not be feasible. Womens Studies in India have been looked as a socio cultural subject as well as an effort to trace the role of women in the country and how it has changed. Footnote,M1 As the 19th century dawned in India women were more open to creating new roles for themselves, some that men had not thought about creating for them. Pg 6. The advent of the colonial rule was what proved to be most influential to the feminist movement in the country. With the coming of the colonial rule, women were exposed to what could be a life suited for them. There was a lot of debate concerning the fact that very difference between a man and a woman is what made women more apt for social roles, like that of a mother. However, women started organizing campaigns and joined organizations, their role as a mother was used to argue the fact that for this very reason they should be given access to education and overall emancipation. Also, during the colonial rule, Gandhi had an effect on the growing perception of feminism in the country. He was hailed as the founder of the Indian feminist movement. His definitions of the qualities of a woman were used by a variety of women during the pre- independence feminist period. Women during the pre- independence period based most of their theories on the likeness rather than the difference in ideas they might have. In post- independent India feminism achieved a slightly higher status than before. Women here asserted their rights to be treated equally and fairly within society. They dismissed the need for gender based structures in society and division of labour based on sex. They believed that there existed only a biological difference between men and women and that under no circumstance should that affect the ability of a woman to be able to perform on par with men in the society. The role of being a ‘mother and a ‘daughter was widely emphasized in the earlier Indian times. This however changed and became more to do with depicting the helplessness of these women. There were pamphlets, exhibitions held to show the vulnerability of a woman and how it was being exploited by all people in society. This in turn led to feminism being more open and resulting in there being a change of the image of a woman from someone helpless to someone economically strong and independent. While in pre- independent India it was accepted that a woman was socially backward and had only a certain fixed place in society, in the mid seventies, this changed drastically. All issues regarding unequal wages, pushing women into unskilled areas of labour were sought to be contested fiercely. It was believed that no woman, especially in that time was to be subjected to inequality. Another reason why the issue of feminism gained heavy importance was that by nature, the Indian society was male dominated and most causes of problem arose out of this very difference. The sphere of what feminism would also look to abolish was also greatly widened. The body of a woman, which had been looked at, socially, as something very disposable was now treated with much more respect. Even legally attempts were made to provide solace and justice to those women who had been raped, that had not earlier been available. This was further broadened into marital rape and rape of prostitutes alike. Women were to be treated as rightful members of society and had to be treated with equal dignity and respect. Towards the latter part of the twentieth century, women were to be given the right of self determination. They were looked as being capable of making their own decisions and therefore should be given a right to make all major decisions themselves. After independence attempts were also made by the congress to make sure that women got equality under the constitution. Feminists were in fact the first ones to start and recognize the need to codify personal laws in the country. Suggestions were made even by Dr. B.R Ambedkar to make sure that women were given a strong status in society. The age of consent to marriage was increased; the age of when a woman can be married was also increased. Several reforms were also introduced to ensure the right of a woman to a divorce and property. (96) The Hindu Marriage Act, The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act were also seen as being significant in ensuring all personal laws were codified and women had a right to claim their rights even in a court of law.Movements like the Shahada movement also became popular after the rise of feminism. The shahada movement aimed at resolving domestic violence, especially in the low down areas of society. If a man beat his woman up, he had to apologise to her in public.(101) In addition to this, there were also anti-price rise demonstrations in Bombay and Bihar. With the advent of such movements, women became more comfortable with trying and portraying themselves in public and showing that they were also capable of doing something revolutionary in society. (102)Issues were raised to contest that a family was primarily looked at as a unit of consumption than a unit of production. Furthermore, women were looked at as being the main source of this consumption. So, whenever there was an economic problem, with respect to goods, a woman was always deemed to be at fault. (104). In modern India also such issues of a womans position in society is taken into account. Even now there are disparities regarding whether a woman should be allowed to work and step out of the house or not. It was also realized that what maybe feminism for women in the urban community may not be the same for those in the lower or rural communities. What has been analysed by many women today as being problems in the urban society may differ from those that are considered to be problems in the rural communities. A woman from the labour or working class of society will have a larger set of problems than say a woman living in the city with a job.(106) Therefore, although there are irregularities regarding the actual position of an Indian woman in society, one thing that is certain, is that their role has been increasing steadily in society.,M1 WOMENS MAGAZINES IN INDIA Food, gossip, relationship advice, beauty tips, you name it; a womans magazine has it. With the new age of liberal women, womens magazines are also gaining huge popularity among the masses of women. The womens magazines are an ideal way for a woman to spend her free time, and at the same time get advice on something she probably would not find elsewhere. These magazines have become so popular today that every bookstore and every library has copies of them. No woman, in todays day would deny having read any of these magazines at one point. There are several leading womens magazines in the country now. Femina, Womens Era, Verve, Good Housekeeping, to name a few are the leading magazines sold in India currently. The trend of womens magazines was started mainly to infuse a new perspective in a male dominated society,as mentioned by a recently bought about magazine- Feministing. The issues dealt with in these magazines are that of educational opportunities for women, food, maintaining a home, relationship advice, advice to single mothers etc. The magazines look at issues that otherwise a woman would not be too comfortable talking about with to her family members. These magazines also provide suitable solutions for various issues a woman may face. For example the magazine Femina, has divided its magazine into various sections, which include- food, health, beauty, relationship, homemaking, travel etc. Beauty and health sections, give you tips on how to maintain a healthy figure and to eat right. The relationship section gives you advice on all matters regarding relationships including how to start one, how to end one, issues regarding mother-daughter conflicts. Travel destinations are also explored thus givinG

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