women’s clothing

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Sexuality, Dress, and Women’s Life Cycles in India

One of the things I do as a folklorist is study body art, or the conscious modification or supplementation to the body. Body art topics range from the more sensational–tattoos, corsetry, piercings–to the mundane: clothing (everyday and special occasion), hair styles, facial hair, and jewelry. Studying the body art of a given time period, culture, or subculture can teach us about the values of a group of people, such as what they find appealing or sexy and why. Body art can also give clues as to how a person identifies in their life cycle: for example, in Western cultures, wearing a wedding or engagement ring can signify that a person is no longer single. Other cultures, however, have different–and sometimes more nuanced–systems for encoding meaning into clothing choices. Continue Reading →