Camouflage: Just Fashion or Something More?

Camouflage is used primarily as a defense mechanism. Several animals---rabbits, chameleons, and some fish---camouflage themselves to hide from their enemies and predators. To these animals, camouflage is necessary for their survival. This tactic is used similarly in our military today. Soldiers wear camouflaged clothing to blend into their surroundings, giving them an advantage over the enemy---they even paint their faces to enhance the illusion.
Historically, military themes have been integrated in regular society since the 1940s, specifically after WWII. But back then, the reason for wearing military garb was because it was functional. The fabric was cheap, durable and resilient. After the Vietnam War, when war veterans returned home, they wore their bomber jackets, army boots, and camouflaged apparel. The military like so many other things---art, literature, music---influences our world daily. For example, the 1950s brought the Beatniks, who arose from the Beat Generation, a literary movement that promoted anti-conformity. After the Beatniks were the hippies with their peace rallies, laid back music, and tie dye T-shirts. Andy Warhol, contemporary painter Pia Dehne, and many more artists have used camouflage in their work.
The fashion industry makes lengths to appeal to its largest demographic: young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Camouflage really surged during the 1980s, when it attracted youth culture and those who were anti-establishment. Now, camouflage is available in many colors and in several types of fabric. Camouflage is seen in toys, used as disguise by hunters and paintball teams. It is worn by people of all ages, both genders and all races. From the runway to the streets, camouflage can be seen. Presently, camouflage has a reverse symbolism for the average person. Though the pattern is meant as a means of safety, the average person wears it for a different motivation. The film “Fashion Resistance to Militarism”, interviewed people on the street---their responses to why they wore camouflage were because they saw it as a symbol of strength, rebellion, security, and felt a sense of empowerment.
Wearing camouflage has others concerned that a pattern that is necessary for survival in war should not be normalized as everyday wear. Is camouflage rally helping us or is it in some strange way, damaging? For my runway peace project, I stated that as for wearing camouflage, I find it to be simply an interesting pattern. As for wearing it, I do not think it is meant to cast aspersions on anyone. When we wear anything, we are saying to the world who we are, we put out a message or an identity saying this is who we are. Fashion is all about creating your own unique touches, making it your own. As stated earlier, camouflage is seen as a symbol of strength. When someone wears it, they are saying to the world, “I am strong. I can handle anything.” How is donning camouflage a negative action?
Shouldn't we be more concerned over war's influence in toys and video games for children? All these violent games like Call of Duty and Modern Warfare, could give them the wrong message, distorting their perception of what war is really like. There are guns, blood spewing, other weapons of mass destruction... In the last three decades, the male action figure has gradually been portrayed as having more muscular definition, largeness in size, and has a "go get 'em" attitude---like the Han Solo action figure. Are not these objects normalized into everyday society?
Shouldn't we be more concerned over war's influence in toys and video games for children? All these violent games like Call of Duty and Modern Warfare, could give them the wrong message, distorting their perception of what war is really like. There are guns, blood spewing, other weapons of mass destruction... In the last three decades, the male action figure has gradually been portrayed as having more muscular definition, largeness in size, and has a "go get 'em" attitude---like the Han Solo action figure. Are not these objects normalized into everyday society?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is simply a matter of opinion. Should we continue to incorporate the military into our lives or should we not?





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

KateLA said...
Feb. 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm
I really love your insight-you did a great job writing this! :-)
 
beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 3, 2012 at 9:47 am
Thanks for commenting and giving your feedback!
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback