Credit Ian Deng via Unspalsh

Cult of Jean: culturally covering our asses

By Abbie Franklin

The danger of defaults

There is a staple in fashion that I have cultivated an irrevocable, passionate, beyond reasonable hatred for. Many of you are likely wearing them right now. The jean trouser. We must end this madness and stop falling for social norms. Down with the jean! You may be experiencing anger towards this claim but is that because I am wrong, or because you have been caught with your pants down (and jeans on)?

First you are not a workman, you do not need hard durable fabric to sit down all day. Born in the mid-1800s, the jean was initially for the use of gold miners. When was the last time you were outside, let alone underground? Jeans were a uniform, continued in use into the 1920s, popular among cowboys, miners, and labourers. People who move. People who must protect themselves against rough terrain. Around the 1950s Hollywood stepped in with something new and exciting for the sheeple; the jean trouser had officially entered pop culture. The 2010s hailed the monstrous invention of the skinny jean. Talk about cultural gaslighting.

Secondly, jeans are not comfortable. Again, we are a sit-down sort of people. The lives we lead, the culture we operate within, it is not conducive to jean life. They are constricting on the stomach or tight around the thighs. They are not themselves comfortable; they are a comfortable choice. In the morning you think of what to wear, ah yes, jeans and a top. You are going out in the evening but what to wear? Ah yes, jeans and a nice top. Jeans are a force of habit, an illusion of ease that we have culturally bought into.

Thirdly, to buy jeans involves the impossible quest for the perfect size. Why make yourself go through all that stress and self-hatred? There is an expectation and subsequent disappointment when you don’t fit the jeans. People use jeans as a weight target, they are emotionally tied to whether they are larger or smaller than the jeans. Our self-worth can be tied to the jeans, it’s like an absurdist hellscape. Jeans can fit you in the morning but not in the evening. Have we all forgotten our clothes are supposed to fit us, not the other way around? This could be circumvented if we went for options that were adaptable, designed to allow for bodily functions like eating to be performed without constraint. Quite frankly, bring back the tunic. Jokes aside, (not joking) there are so many alternatives to jeans. Try to think of something you’d like to wear instead of a jean, ignoring social expectations, and don’t be boring.

Don’t get me started on blue jeans. Blue is not a neutral colour. I have no more to say on the matter, just think about, look around – it will become clear that blue is not neutral. These decisions we make are not neutral. We are better than this. Our collect default option ought to be a better one.If you are wearing jeans right now, take them off I say, you look ridiculous. If we don’t think critically about our default ways of living, when history looks back on us we are going to have a hard time covering our asses. With the growing horrors of the fast fashion industry, where you shop for clothes is a political move, we aren’t even really thinking about what those clothes are. The cult of the jean is so much more than a style choice, it’s a marker of the sheep mentality that holds us all back. It is time for the illusion of convenience to be stripped. It’s time to rethink our defaults. It’s time to rethink the jean.


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