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Christine Katsaras
M. Gagich
ENG 102 Section 19
15 November 2013
The Fashion Police: The Effects of Style on the Individual and Social Cultures
You may not like him Minister, but you cant deny: Dumbledores got style (Yates).
While the quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix provided comic relief in
theaters, the definition of the term style was left unanswered. What kind of style does
Dumbledore have? Do his robes give him style or is it his beard that completes his image? These
questions, although rather ridiculous when put in this perspective, are often asked, answered, and
taken to heart. Numerous polls based on style and image are conducted weekly and posted in
fashion magazines where it influences peoples choices of clothing, make up, and even
personality. While style is meant to be a reflection of individual personalities, it is now subject to
harsh criticism because of controversial views based on religion and personal beliefs. People are
bullied, harassed, and mocked because of their styles and views and often have pre-formed
opinions made against them.
Style has become a primary focus in society rather than hard work, effort, and morality.
However, some sources claim style can expand cultural identities and promote diversity. The
influence of other cultures, such as Arab, Asian, and Latino, is seen in fashion magazines such as
Vogue and Seventeen. While the expansion of cultural wear has brought awareness to diversity,
people have developed misconceptions of cultures. Though some articles of cultural clothing
appear cute and fashionable, people of the actual ethnicity have found these imitations racist and
rude. Furthermore, results of these cultural misconceptions have made their way into childrens

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books, construing stereotypical images in the youth. In spite of the reactions, style has been a
focus for teens and adults in the social aspect of society. Consumers spend hundreds of dollars in
order to maintain an image of popularity even if their style does not match their identity. Style is
defined in many terms and definitions based on who is asked about it. Because style is an
opinionated subject, the identities it creates is misrepresented for many. Identity based on style is
a problem in the United States because it causes misrepresentations of cultures, social prejudices,
and misleading identities.
One article written by Thelma Seto, speaker and writer on cultural misinterpretations,
discusses the authors personal experiences of cultural conflict as Seto is a Japanese-American
writer from the Middle East. She believes that the representations of cultures in popular society
is outrageous and insulting. In her article Multiculturalism is not Halloween Seto writes: I
find it personally terrifying to live in a society where racist misrepresentations of non-Europeans
are considered cute or funny or even poetic, either at the front door on Halloween or between
book covers on our childrens bookshelves? She explains that she feels as if the geisha
costumes, turbans, or the recently controversial black face falsely represents the cultures
throughout the world. Similarly, Hani Morgan, Assistant Professor at the University of Southern
Mississippi, writes on the misrepresentations of cultures and gender in childrens books. In the
article Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Misrepresentation in Childrens Books Nieto says:
childrens literature traditionally has not been authentic in representing the experiences of many
ethnic and racial minority groups (qtd. in Morgan).