Greetings and Happy Midweek!
And it’s just a day before mid-month, so it’s time for another of our RAP sessions (Review and Process). In our Global SKILLs training, we emphasize how ‘Review and Process’ are key components of strategic planning and implementation. Each mid-month’s RAP session revisits a theme or previous Connect, going more deeply into what we’ve begun to explore.
In early February, we looked at the topic of ‘dressing for company’ (check out that post in my blog link above). We explored the proficiency task for cultural awareness of ‘dressing appropriately - for a visit, or a business meeting’. Today, I suggest we look more deeply at how our wardrobe choices communicate, specifically in socio-political cultural contexts. For example clothes which display language and images...
I had a t-shirt once with the American flag on the front. I love national flags and how much they teach us about national identities, historically and culturally. Perhaps because I lived for so long outside my country & missed seeing my own flag displayed publicly, I am always moved when I see it, pretty much anywhere. However, due to tense periods of time when that symbol was not appreciated by some of the people among whom I was living, I chose not to wear that t-shirt. One day, in the capital city of Senegal, I was both surprised and delighted to see a local vendor in the market wearing a t-shirt with the image of a large American flag waving on it. I actually stopped and thanked the person for giving me a chance to see my flag. The person was also delighted, and we had a nice chat. It struck me at the time, and I am reminded of it now, that choices of what to wear, or not, are one way we can either be connected, or alienated, in multi-cultural situations.
How about you - have you had a ‘clothes choice’ cross-cultural moment which made an impression - on you or someone else?!
Share about it here or with a friend.
And check out the Global SKILLs links below for some other examples of clothing & cross-cultural communications!
Until next week! Betsy
Global SKILLs LINKs
~ A lovely collection of national clothing examples: https://www.roughguides.com/gallery/traditional-dress/
~ An unfortunate recent situation covered in the media...probably not intentional, perhaps even done to honor the image, but received as an insult: https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/07/africa/jay-z-mosque-t-shirt-critics-scli-intl/index.html
~ An OER (Open Education Resource) on this topic of clothing and communications, from a western point of view (disclaimer: I personally avoid Wikipedia as a reference, but it’s interesting that this OER uses it pretty liberally): https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-communications/chapter/effective-visual-delivery/#:~:text=Clothing%20conveys%20nonverbal%20clues%20about,authority%2C%20values%20and%20sexual%20identity.
2021 ~ Celebrating 40 years of working in
intercultural communications and global community building
Connecting, Collaborating, Cultivating Community