Pants refer to any piece of cloth that is worn under the individual’s outer clothes. Elizabeth Smith Miller is often recognized as the first woman to discover and wear a pant in 1851. She sought to come with a reformed system of women’s dressing code. Her main intention was to help women in U.S.A to be granted the rights to vote in the 1800’s. She also sought to help slaves gain freedom. Therefore the background of Elizabeth Smith Miller and her discovery presents a reformist figure in the phase of a dynamic society. At the time they were referred to as pantaloons. They were also popularized by another suffragette figure Ameria J.Bloomer, who had at that time published a weekly newspaper, “The Rily”, which largely addressed the issues of women. It also depicted her temperance. In addition to seeking women’s equality, her compilation also addressed the issues of dress reforms.
During the same period, most women also increased in participating on issues that touched on their lives. Together with Elizabeth Smith, they championed women’s rights, something that had been neglected for a long period in the society. In conformity to the backdrop of Millers work, a lot of importance can be drawn.First, she notices that the society had neglected the position of women. She is therefore driven to reform the culture which she had thought was devaluing them. The idea of the dressing code is the one that sparked off her methods of approach. Other feminine figures and advocates of gender equality supported her work by actively engaging in the reforming role.
The intention of Millers discovery as it can be seen clearly was majorly to design a mechanism that would ultimately view women as being less chained by the culture of the time. Therefore by coming up with certain policies, dressing code being the pilot scheme would consequently lead to a systematic alienation of women and thus free them from the bondage. After Miller read about pants in an article, “The Rily”, she decided to design one for herself. The wearing of pants by the women, which were worn on top of the dress, were meant to act as a sign of giving women freedom of movement in the society while at the same time safeguarding the modesty that was anticipated of the Victorian dress. This was indeed a milestone that would have created a platform over which women’s grievances would be articulated.
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After Miller unveiled the new style, other women followed the same suit. Although they were highly criticized in the mainstream media, they never relented but continued to pursue their goals. Most of the women who were actively involved were those in the women’s right movement. This shows a direct relationship between her work and that of other female reformists. The members of the females’ right movement had strong opinions. The wearing of pants was symbolic. It signified the deeper ambitions that the women had in attaining freedom.
In the past most of the reformist figures are normally depicted while using certain objects to represent their inner beliefs. They could also vividly portray to the general public the meanings of the believes that they held. For example there was the use of self-portrait by Fridah Kahlo in Mexico and others to portray the suffering the women undergo in the society. Miller and her friends resulted to use of pants as a tool to portray the visions that they targeted; emancipating the females from the bondage of inequality.
Their focus was explicitly stated and they demanded that society ought to free them from the limitations it imposed against the women. To them, the society had placed barriers on the path of their vertical mobility and the only solution that they had was to force their way through and attain whatever they required. The pants at the time the women’s movement were popular; men were the only gender that the society permitted to wear the pants. They were also granted more privileges in the society that made them to gain an upper hand over their counterparts. To counter these anomalies, women had to devise techniques of fighting for their liberation. The pant therefore was the better tool that the women would use to further their intentions. Although it seemed controversial to sight women especially Miller and her fellow feminists with pants, they strongly believed that their move would bear fruits.
The trend of women wearing pants can therefore be perceived as a method in which the women used in order to address their issues in the society. Another example on the use of the use of the pants to convey a message was seen in 1990 when Susan Molinari, a congresswoman in U.S.A, wore pants in front of the house by believing that her speech would make news. Consequently her speech was aired in the news. Katherine Hepman was also a female actress who wore pants while acting in a major life stage presentation. Charlie Arthur also in 1940’s was captured on stage performance while wearing pants. During the First World War, women who worked in the factories also started to wear pants as a method of expressing their agony and suffering in the job market. Rossie, the iconic symbol of women during the Second World War popularized the women pants. All these had deeper meaning regarding the situations that the women were experiencing during the different times in the history. Pants became a symbol of women championing their rights in the society. By around 1950’s, jeans and capris had already become the standard attire for women.
From the historical point of view, more than a century ago, women used to wear skirts and dresses. It was the norm until the late 1800’s.Pants was not common to women in many countries until when they were popularized and they became fashionable in the late 20th century. Men’s work was totally different from the work that women were supposed to do; the modern society presents a totally different society where the women also play a role in earning income. Talcott parsons (1955), held the view that in an industrialized society, the roles played by women should be different from those played by the men in the society to enhance harmony and minimize conflicts. This means that the roles played by men, can also be played by women.
The role of men was taken to be instrumental in providing for the family a livelihood. A woman’s role was expressive and it never went beyond the domestic compound. They were supposed to cook, take care of the children, and engage in agricultural activities and other domestic duties. Their social and economic command was restricted to the art of homemaking. Contrary, men’s higher social status was ascribed by the society by virtue of their involvement in the paid work. This led to the undermining of women. Men gained more command over women because at the time more respect was given to the masculine duties. The long period that men have enjoyed command over women made the women to rise and fight for their freedom. In most cases, men expressed their power over women through inhumane ways such as battering them and other methods of domestic violence.
Women had therefore to seek ways of rescuing themselves by advocating for gender equality. With time change of gender roles started taking shape and women were heavily involved in paid activities. These demand that women be equipped properly due to the challenges and nature of work in general to change their lifestyles. This change of lifestyle began by women changing their dressing codes in the early 1880’s.This was started by Miller, then inherited by other feminist figures and become widespread to other parts of the world until they started to wear clothes that were exclusively designed for men such as trousers.
These reforms have taken place because of the changes in the nature of the work that women have adopted. For example, in most societies they can ride bicycles and play other roles which demand a lot of efforts. This means that they have to wear pants in order to make sure that the sweat is absorbed. Woman’s position in the society pertaining her beauty and the custodian of cleanliness has not faded away. This demands her to still maintain her cleanliness in order to maintain her social status (Rushton & Susie 4).
What is the role of pants?
Pants are normally used for their different roles, such as protection, hygienic purposes, providing warmth to the body (Rushton & Susie, p.4). For example, they are used in absorbing dirt emanating from the body, since they are in direct contact with the body. Pants, therefore, serve hygienic purposes; provide warmth as well as comfort. Good body aeration is achieved by wearing clean pants. Among some communities, they are used for religious purposes. Soiling can arise out of the dirt dispensed by the body and urine, semen, menstrual blood, feces and others. Sweat pants, for example, can be used be worn when an individual is doing exercises or when relaxing.
The sweat pants are normally complimented with sweat shirts to make sure that sweat coming from the whole body is absorbed efficiently. This normally prevents the individual from developing skin related infections. These are likely to arise when the sweat produced by the body is not effectively gotten rid of.
For instance, some men widely use shorts to serve as their undergarments. Other related undergarments that serve the same purpose as the pants include t-shirts, vests and others. There are some contentions on whether the women should wear pants. Christians argue that women are not supposed to wear men’s garments and men should not wear women’s garments either. The wearing of pants by women is opposed among some Christians in the society. Pants play different roles to different people depending on their perceptions.
Doctors have proved that certain dye that is put on some jean trousers are a potential harm to the reproductive system. The doctors argue that if the dye penetrates through the skin, especially of the testicles, it is likely to cause health problems. This is because of the chemicals contained in the dye. More problems can arise if the mixture of some compounds making the garment can react with the sweat produced by the body to form a toxic substance which can cause health complications to the individual (Rushton&Susie pg.5).
Individuals do wear pants to prevent the substances from harming them in case of an occurrence of an accident, as they are working in the dangerous environment (Rushton & Susie 4). Individuals who stay in the sun over prolonged periods of time are likely to suffer from skin cancer, as a result of the ultraviolet radiation. Long pants are normally worn to prevent this.
Pants are also used for protection purposes. When used as protective garments, they prevent the private organs especially of the men from being damaged. The zip of the trousers may accidentally inflict injuries to the penis when closing it. However, since the pants serve the purpose of holding tight the private organs, it is difficult for the zip to inflict injuries to them.
Specific types of pants are used by different professions depending on the nature of the work that these people are doing. Policemen and horse riders wear long pants. Motorbike riders also use the long pants. The pants protect them in several ways. For example, a motorcycle rider is normally protected from being burnt by the hot parts. Furthermore, the individual is protected from getting bruised in case of an accident. Pants also provide an extra covering to the skin. This has the purpose of preventing an individual from being damaged by tools in the industry or from other accidents.
Pants to a greater extent assist an individual to maintain privacy, especially of the reproductive organs even when the outer clothes are torn. They normally assist to hide the private parts in case the clothes are in a bad condition. In most cases, individual makes the pants to serve the purpose of sleeping/ night dress. The pants have also been used in swimming, because of their nature, they are light and it can only wet a small section of the body. This makes pants readily available for many purposes.
From another perspective, the pants can be used for the babies. There are different types of pants that are normally available in the market. For instance, we have the ones that are made of cotton and can be ideal clothes for young babies. They are normally used to facilitate the absorption of the waste materials produced by the baby, including urine, and the sweatpants which are made of cotton are normally used to serve the baby. In addition, the cotton pants are normally used to keep the body of the baby warm. This is made possible by their thick nature which makes them warm. They are also used for the baby because of their capacity to provide aeration.
There have been a lot of debates on the reasons why individuals should wear pants, whereas most societies do not recognize its importance. There have been heated debates on the importance of pants and how they assist the individuals. From the point of view of health, the society has extremely changed at a very high rate and this means that many challenges are cropping up. There is a drastic increase in industrialization, as well as globalization. With these changes being evident in the society today, it is expected that similar changes in the consumptions of chemicals by the body are also expected. In this case, individuals are expected to design mechanisms that will facilitate them from contracting diseases mostly related to the skin. From this point of view, the pants as a source of prevention of most of the skin related diseases, such as the skin cancer emanating from the sun, can be used as a control mechanism to minimize the chances of the individual contacting the disease.
Wearing of pants makes individuals to be presentable, especially because it will minimize the effects of the individual smelling bad because of the sweat that might have been accumulated over time. Most of the pants are very effective in absorbing sweat coming from the body. This makes them effective as the individual will be free of bad odors which can hither to discourage other friends and relatives from approaching him /her.
The rebellion in feminine dressing code and the accompanying transformation of mentality was not some stunning and solitary incident. It was a process that steadily rooted itself in the customs and then began to overshadow the culture. Gradually, women and men became accustomed to increasingly immodest and revolutionary clothing trends. Women have capitalized greatly on the changes in the dressing code to further their social and economic interests; a step that has seen them being emancipated. They are now free to pursue their dreams without hindrances.