For the love of Ganesh… ImageOfTheWeek.

For the love of Ganesh... ImageOfTheWeek.

One of Topman’s latest from the Summer 2013 range, is this basic Men’s tee displaying Ganesh, the Hindu deity of Knowledge. However, how many people who buy this tee will know this? How many will understand the background to this image?

Throughout the 21st Century, religious symbols/images have been commercialised and mass produced. The Christian Cross is a prime example of this. You’re not a rock star if you aren’t seen sporting a Cross Pendant… even Bollywood actors have started accessorising, regardless of their religion. This will always be controversial and will always have people on both sides saying it is either blasphemy or just freedom of expression. However, the point I wish to make, free from a religious point of view on my part, is that of Corporate Responsibility.

One defense of this view, would be that of cultural appropriation – adoption of a culture by another culture. However, here, we would be getting into a messy web of differences between culture and religion. Should Ganesh’s image be printed on an item of Indian clothing, then yes, you could say it is cultural appropriation. However, this tee is a modern item of clothing.

So why do I think this is a case of Corporate Responsibility? Because this level of controversy acts against a “regulation of social good” that businesses should ethically adhere to.  I put it in the same basket as Primark selling kid’s padded bikinis. Nothing can really stop it, but it’s just not right.

To me, this tee shirt is a symbol of a religion. Wearing it requires the respect of the traditions and values held by that religion. Mass-producing this image onto a mainstream item of clothing, to me, effectively diminishes the meaning behind it. Although the UK is multi-cultural, it is not yet socially aware enough to be ready for this type of commercialisation. It won’t be long until you see young people wearing it while obliviously eating a beefy Big Mac. This wouldn’t be out of direct disrespect, but out of a lack of knowledge and appreciation. It is about as socially aware as a person, wearing a peace sign t-shirt, casually car-jacking

On a practical note, I don’t think that the tee will do that well and feel that it is a terrible addition to the summer line. After showing the image to many of my friends, the general response has been, “..but who would wear that, though?”. Stick to the retro look, Topman.

Over and Out.

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This Time, Last Year. ImageOfTheWeek

Image

Wellesley College Scream Tunnel ’12 in support of Boston’s Marathon Monday: In respect for those affected for the Boston Bombings 15/04/2013.

Never before have I woken up so early on a public holiday however, it is tradition for Wellesley Women support the athletes of the Boston Marathon. As the half way point, Wellesley have acted as a support system for runners since the 1970’s, providing drinks, hi-fives and more recently, a cheeky kiss.

I never really understood marathons until I took part in the Wellesley Scream tunnel during my semester there. The determination and endurance of the athletes really blew me away and since then I have an up most respect for those who run, walk and wheel their way to the finish line. The atmosphere the event fostered around the Boston area was so infectious and you couldn’t help but feel the sense of community. Unfortunately, it did not occur to me that holding up a “Kiss Me, I’m British” sign would mean getting my cheek covered in other people’s sweat. Clever, I know.

Yesterday, the inspirational event that is Marathon Monday was in full force again. However, 2 devices exploded near the finishing line in Downtown Boston killing 3 people and injuring many others. Limbs severed, lives ruined and faith, broken. I chose this “flashback” picture for my image of the week in honour of those affected by the bombings. It represents the spirit of the Boston area and also how events like this can bring the whole world together through sport. The bombings were directly targeting these representations (as well as innocent people) however I hope the spirit of the event will not be killed.

Over and Out.