Bridge Project #3: Three ways to present an argument
For our Bridge 3 project, we were asked to choose a style of writing ( Op-Ed article, dystopian fiction, or satire) to present an argument relating to a subtopic in our research paper. I chose to write using the dystopian fiction style, focusing on gender association in children’s clothing. I wanted to present a twisted view on what happens when we distinctly differentiate between boys’ and girls’ clothing, and a negative effect it can have when there is no freedom to choose.
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He stared at the blank white wall. Silence, emptiness, a rebirth. He tried to move his arms, still strapped to the chair. The machine hummed as it began to reboot. He closed his eyes, and a tear escaped and traveled down his face. The whir of the machines grew louder, and soon everything was reset.
The separation rite was just a few days away. All the children in Enclosure 14 were chatting excitedly about what to expect in the Society, the thought of reuniting with their parents, and the new life they were going to have. He sat with a boy playing with blocks, listening to the girls whisper energetically, catching on to brief phrases of playdates and dolls. He too was anticipating the day where they enter Society, but there was a hesitation in his excitement. He picked at the lace edge of the white frock, nervous about what was going to happen.
Enclosure 14 and all other Enclosures each housed 320 children before the age of six. The children were kept in these designated areas until they were ready to be seperated and enter society. Everything was uniform in these Enclosures, routine of waking up, eating, lessons and play. The domes were white, walls and floor in the same value, and the children dressed similarly, either in long, white frocks with a lace edge, or a short, white playsuit. Regardless of labels and gender, all the kids sported the unisex children’s clothes, a new order ordained by the Society to simplify childhood. Once the children who were turning 6 were ready to enter Society, then came the separation rite. Each child would step up to the podium when their name was called, and raising their right hand over the orb, the glow of the orb would transport them to into Society. The girls were allowed two paths: maiden, a rosy pink hue where they would become housewives and ladies of the Society, or protecter, a blue grey glow where they would receive their pants and enter Society with a role similar to the boys. Boys however, would only receive the one blue grey color, unless there was a defect, but the Society has never let it happen before.
Patricia stepped onto the stage, hovered her hand over the orb, the pink hue flashed and she was gone.
A similar motion, but this time the blue grey filled the air and she was gone as well.
He heard his name being called. He shuffled across the podium, raised his hand, and the orb glowed. Rosy pink. All of a sudden a large commotion broke out, everything seeming to be moving at once. He felt himself pushed to his knees, wrists and ankles promptly snapped together by restraints. There was shouting all around him, words of aggression, confusion, hastiness swirling around him. He was suddenly yanked to his feet, shoved in a small cell in the back of a car, his shackles chafing his wrists and the doors slamming..
He woke up with a start. He sat up breathing heavily, looking around disoriented and still wondering where he was. It was still early that morning, yet he couldn’t fall back asleep, especially with more nerves than normal. The day of the separation must be getting to him, he thought. But what did that dream mean? It felt so real, yet part of a distant, unbelievable situation. Why would the orb ever glow pink… The alarm sounded, waking time. He pulled himself up, donning the long, white frock. After slipping on the lace-edged socks, he filed into the arena with the rest of the boys from his dorm. The six years old lined patiently into the rows, and soon the ceremony started. As each name was being called, he grew more impatient, yet tense. Soon he was up. He walked hesitantly across the stage, raising his hand over the orb. The orb flickered, and for a moment it seemed there was something wrong. But a blue grey light filled the surrounding air and he felt a woosh of air rush past him.
Standing in the middle of a parlor, he looked around, slightly disoriented. The ornate walls and ceilings were adorned in gold, recliners of expensive velvet placed around the room, the plush carpet soft between his toes. He looked down, surprised. Gone was the lacy, white frock, and in its place was a pair of loose pants with gold stripes down the sides. He pulled at the fabric, finding it slightly uncomfortable. The doors opened, revealing a young woman. Rushing over, she grabbed him tightly into her arms, hugging and patting his head. She stepped back, examining him, hands fixing the hem of his pants.
“Perfect, just enough time to go shopping”, she exclaimed.
A young maid stepped out from behind the woman and explained,“But Madam, there are already clothes in the closet”.
The woman turned around and remarked, “Well no need for those dresses and frills, and more pants wouldn’t hurt him either. It’s all he’s ever going to need from now on.”
When he heard this, the thought of the dresses and skirts being thrown out flashed across his mind, twisting his heartstrings, and he felt a little guilty. However, he was quickly pulled by the woman down the stairs and ushered into a waiting car, pulling them to the plaza.
He stepped out of the car in awe. All around him the stores hovered and customers weaved in and out, flashboards displayed moving styles of the latest season, moving carts carried packages from store to store. The Society definitely did not lack a consumer society. There were stores of all kinds, but distinctly set apart. Those catering to maidens were stocked with bows and ribbons, lace and soft pastels. A shop floated above him. He raised his head, the cargo pants and polo shirts passing by on racks. The woman, who he now identified as his mother possibly, waved her hand and pulled him through the doors of the shop. She wandered over to the racks and started flipping through. He stood there, unsure of what to do, deciding to wander around. He heard her call him over, holding up options, asking him to choose, but neither caught his eye. She looked at him expectantly, waiting for his answer, and he reluctantly pointed to one. After purchasing the new clothes, the mother and son stopped in front of a maidenstore. She strode in, deciding to get some new things for herself as well, and he was left by the entrance. Entranced by the many types of ruffles and lace, he was reminded of the frocks he wore inside the Enclosure. This time, he wandered around with interest and excitement, brushing through the delicate fabrics. A ruffled, puff sleeve dress caught his eye, and he ambled over. Turning to find an employee behind him, he asked politely if he could try the dress on. A gasp escaped her mouth and her hand moved towards the security buzzer. Rushing over, his mother grabbed him and profusely apologized for his lack of thought behind his words and ushered him out of the store.
“Those clothes are not for you. You are a boy, soon to grow into a man. What were you thinking? Maiden clothes, girl clothes? These are not for young boys, and don’t ever think about it again. It could get you into trouble if someone were to hear you again. Make sure you stick to what you are assigned to.”
Yet the thoughts did not go away. As the days passed, he found himself often thinking of the ruffled dress, the light pink chiffon bows, the jeweled shoes. While his mother continued to take him on her shopping excursions, he spoke nothing of it, but pined for them longingly.
The shop was nearly empty, no customers nor employees in sight. Yet again, he was waiting patiently for his mother to find something she liked. His eyes slid over to a short lavender dress, complete with side pockets and lace. Quickly averting his eyes, he glanced around nervously to see if anyone noticed, yet his eyes wandered back to the dress. His mind wandered to how it would fit on his body, how soft the fabric would be, how nicely the color would contrast against his pale skin. Without a second thought, he grabbed the dress from the hanger and rushed to the dressing room, cautiously poking his head in to see if anyone was there. Assuring the coast was clear, he undressed and held the dress up to his body. Sliding one arm through, the soft fabric hugged him as he continued pulling the dress on. The ruffles glided over his head, settling nicely around his waist. The caress of the silk swayed as he turned to admire the dress.
Suddenly the curtain was yanked back. Alarmed, he turned around and found a guard standing, taser ready. He let out a shriek, backing into the corner of the dressing room.
“You have broken the rules of the Society, crossing the line of dress. And as a young boy, there are no maiden clothes for you”, exclaimed the advancing guard, holding the taser ready.
Pleading and begging for forgiveness, he soon found himself against the wall, unable to go anywhere.
The guard ignored the pleas and raised his hand, “Let this be a lesson. I’m sure it won’t happen again once we reset you.”
He looked up fearfully at the looming figure. A shock shot through him, he convulsed and fell to the ground. He felt his arms and ankles secured into the bounds. He felt himself being lifted, but unable to move. His eyes strayed and landed on his mother. He wanted to call out to her, but she stood there passively, as if she agreed and let the guard pass by. Unable to keep awake any longer, his eyes drooped and he slowly closed.
Slowly coming to, he opened his eyes. The room was a sterile white. He tried to move but found his arms were tied to the chair, his legs were bound as well. It was quiet, he turned his head. A machine was on his left, with the words “REPROGRAMMER” imprinted on it. There was a security camera in the top right corner, capturing everything. The machine suddenly whirled and swiveled around to face him. It advanced closer, needle at the ready. He squirmed, trying to move away from the robotic, but to no avail. The machine was almost at his temple, he squeezed his eyes shut, and…
He awoke with a start. He sat up in bed, wincing, and tried to grasp where he was. It all seemed familiar, but there was a pounding in his head.
“Are you alright, son?”, asked the voice to his side.
He turned to face her, the face seeming familiar, yet there was a hole in his memory.
“Yes, I am. What happened?”
“Don’t worry, everything is alright now.” She handed him a skirt.
“What is that? I am a boy, a pair of pants please.”
She smiled at him, content with his request and handed him the pants instead. Turning to leave, she said, “I’m glad to finally have you in your right mindset.”
He lifted his head, gave her a questioning look, and then turned to continue dressing.
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Bain, Marc. “Sex and Gender Aren’t Perfectly Binary. Why Should Clothes Be?” Quartz. April 26, 2015. Accessed March 12, 2018. https://qz.com/381790/sex-and-gender-arent-perfectly-binary-why-should-clothes-be/.
“When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?” Smithsonian.com. April 07, 2011. Accessed March 12, 2018. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-did-girls-start-wearing-pink-1370097/?no-ist.
Williams, Audra, and National Post. “Everybody in Dresses: Why Does Gender Neutral Clothing Always Mean ‘boy’ Clothes for Girls?” National Post. October 31, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2018. http://nationalpost.com/life/everybody-in-dresses-why-does-gender-neutral-clothing-always-mean-boy-clothes-for-girls.
Dystopian fiction revision focus
While my rough draft was more of an outline, I wanted to focus on creating an intriguing story that could hold the reader’s attention throughout and avoid a cliche ending. Building off the ideas I had initially planned, I hoped to create an ending that was different from the usual dystopian fiction, which I feel like is where the main character rebels against the society and then is exiled, or realizes some truth and rebels. Also I wanted to create an interesting hook to the story by starting with an anecdote of the climax.
In relations to Studio, our new project has us designing based on a social issue, that relates to the fashion industry and could help it in some way. For our group, we are designing sustainably for the homeless community. Often times, they do not have the freedom to choose what they want to wear; the need for survival is stronger than the need for style. In this case, both men and women dress similarly, almost in an unisex way. I think this can be applied to the rest of society, the basic need for clothing should be stronger than society’s perceptions of what is “boy clothes” or “girl clothes” and then the society’s exclusivity of those who decide to dress “not according to gender”, moreso for boys than for girls.