Having grown up in the poorest part of Dorchester, Massachusetts, I have definitely witnessed the negative repercussions of living in poverty. I have witnessed my family, friends, and neighbors suffer, as living in a food desert and in unsanitary conditions not only harmed their health, but also their spirit.
I am lucky enough to have parents who were knowledgeable about the effects of the awful physical and environmental conditions we lived in. My brother and I were therefore protected from the harmful effects of the uncleanly and dangerous environment of our neighborhood. I have heard of homes being infested with bugs, rodents, mold, and other harmful substances. But these people have little to no resources to deal with it!
Come to think of it, they probably don't even know how harmful the state in which they live is. The people living in these conditions often ignore it because they have more “important” things to worry about, such as paying bills and making sure there is food on the table. I believe that many people who lack quality education, like many people from my neighborhood and others like it, lack the awareness of doing their research and considering things other than rent price.
They disregard “the concepts of place and environment [that] are essential to understanding the physical and mental health outcomes in society [and that] they are broad, multidimensional constructs” (Unhealthy Cities, Fitzpatrick & LaGory 7). They are unaware of the importance of doing research on the quality of schools in the vicinity, on local crime rates, the availability of healthy food, or the safety of their new neighborhood because their minds are solely overtaken by how much the rent would cost. This is what it ultimately comes down to for minorities who live in poor urban areas.
There are many factors that contribute to the poor health of Dorchester that are pointed out in the article “Urban Versus Rural Health”. Under the “Urban Context”, we learn that the physical environment is densely populated, which increases the facilitation of spread of diseases. There are little recreational opportunities for children, which in turn increases the rate of high-risk behavior amongst young people.
This is what accelerates crime rates, and compromises the safety of people who live in poor and densely populated areas. The lack of sanitation could increase the likelihood of people developing sicknesses such as Asthma from homes that are dusty and moldy. These conditions are life-threatening to people who possess such health problems. My neighbors often have to rely on home remedies and over-the-counter medication instead of going to an actual hospital because they either don’t have health insurance or can’t afford the medical bill. These factors put the health, safety, and overall happiness of city-dwellers in danger. Ultimately, their socioeconomic status prevents them from having access to truly healthy lives.
In order to combat the predisposed quality of life that poor people are born into, there must be a spread of awareness. This awareness would then create the incentive for a call to action. There could then be more access to affordable organic food rather than only a McDonald’s or Burger King. Civilians could have the chance to live in sanitary homes and walk on clean sidewalks. Children could have access to more parks, community centers, and other programs that foster their physical and mental growth. If everyone was born with the same chance to live a healthy, wholesome, and nourishing life, the world would be a much better place.
Fashion. It is something we see every single day and cannot escape. It is a part of our everyday lives. Even though I do not consider shopping for the latest fashions a sport, some do. Modern shopping is most of the time just Saturday afternoon entertainment, an aimless way to kill time buying clothes that you don't need. Lucy Siegle, in her book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World, highlights this obsession of excessive buying: "We have more clothes than at any other time in history, but have become less and less fulfilled and secure in our purchases, precisely because we have become such passive consumers" (3).
A question we then ask ourselves is why do people keep shopping for the latest fashion, even though they have more than enough to wear back at home? I agree with this answer: "We have reached a point at which clothes shopping has more in common with a compulsion than a love or respect for style" (Siegle 5). Fashion uses advertisement and imagery to push ideas of particular brands, to hype up fashion trends and create meaningful reasons for why people should buy a certain company's fashion over another's. Although there is a moral aspect in creative expression in fashion, it is also a way of getting people to buy someone's merchandise that they worked hard to create. .
Establishing meaning and purpose behind fashion and creating fashion statements are clever ways of marketing, just as social media has revolutionized marketing in fashion as well. In the documentary, "The Future of Fashion - Section 2", Leandra Medine, the founder of Man Repeller explains that Instagram has been replacing blogs because everyone uses it and it has become a huge influence on the way the world connects. Therefore, it becomes the perfect modern outlet for making money and advertising to all the corners of the world.
Because it is sometimes hard to pinpoint the origins of fashion trends, protecting fashion designs by law becomes difficult, but should nonetheless be imperative. Stealing the designs of others is just as unacceptable as plagiarizing someone's written work and should be grounds for discipline. Designing clothing and accessories requires creativity, originality, effort, time and resources that shouldn't be taken for granted by someone else who is too lazy or incapable of being innovative on their own.
Many innovators and dissidents of fashion presented "The Future of Fashion - Section 2" studied subjects in the humanities. If someone were to have asked me a year ago if I thought there was any connection between the humanities and the fashion industry, I would have said no. During Monday's class, we discussed the important relevance that the humanities is crucial to various types of jobs, and the stigma that liberal arts "gets you nowhere" is ignorant and false.
The liberal arts teaches you how to think, how to solve hypothetical problems, and overall fosters creative thinking. For example, Lyndsey Butler, the designer and CEO at Veda, studied philosophy and religion in college, and she strongly believes that liberal arts degrees are extremely relevant when working not only in the fashion industry, but in any business. It indicates that someone is extremely knowledgable about working with others and empathizes with their needs and wants. It makes sense why these aspects are vital to a successful business in the fashion industry.