3 May 2009

"Sorry Piglet, Pooh said you can't come"


Photographs courtesy of the Guardian.

The idea of uniform has always been something that has intrigued me. The functionality of a chosen uniform may be unique to each, however they will all inherently seek to create a visual identity of singular belonging. Uniforms help to create a feeling of solidarity among those who wear them. The individual feels a part of something, and in there lies a strength and sense of security. In its most basic form, the uniform promotes the idea of a team, yet it can also be used in extreme cases to demote the individual into having no sense of self. It is the freedom in the way that one chooses to wear the uniform that prevents this loss of personality.

Interestingly, inherent to the concept of uniformity there will always be some notion of individuality. The juxtaposition of the two happen to exist simultaneously wherever one notes a uniform. A child may choose to wear their school blazer in a certain way, or their trousers with a certain slouch. A nurse may choose wear a certain necklace with their scrubs, or wear their hair in a certain way to work. It is these small individualistic expressions which hold the greatest of meanings. When confined to a specific singular look of clothing, we will always seek to personalise and express a sense of our own individuality.

As such, I was fascinated when I came across these photographs of individuals in Mexico who had chosen to decorate their masks. In response to the outbreak of Swine 'Flu, surgical masks have been handed out en masse to the populace of Mexico in an attempt to stem the spread of infection. Yet, even with something so basically functional and utilitarian, for the purpose of offering personal protection, one can already note the way in which individuals have chosen to wear them.

The reasoning behind the decoration of their masks, one could possibly attribute to the idea of making a frightening situation far more palatable and hence easier to deal with. However the way I see the occurence is in the beautiful form of human expression. At our cores, we are all driven by a basic need to express our emotions, aesthetic tastes and very selves. Whether this be in the form of how we choose to decorate our homes, or how we choose our clothing, it is our own choices that matter. I personally see these photographs as a celebration of individuality and self-expression, and, lest we forget, fashion.

Currently playing: The Lights And Buzz - Jack's Mannequin

xxxx

59 comments:

  1. The mexican are very originals in their own way...
    I know that because I'm Mexican :)

    ps: I love the way you write this post!

    greetings from the pseudo-infected Mexico ;)

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  2. You're right about about uniforms. They give the feeling of fitting in the group, but there's always something we need to show that after all we're individuals.

    Love those pictures, what cute way to make something less dramatic.

    Great post as always, hun

    xoxo

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  3. love that song! it's so pretty.

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  4. "At our cores, we are all driven by a basic need to express our emotions, aesthetic tastes and very selves." beautifully said.

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  5. What the seeker said(:

    I'll keep this in mind if I ever have to wear these kind of masks!

    xx

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  6. People will always feel the need to express their own self even when faced with uniformity and thank god for that or else we wouldn't be seeing these great photos :)

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  7. That is amazing how they're able to still find amusement and some light in this situation. And you're right, the need for expression and individuality will never dissapate.

    peace&love,
    nicole.

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  8. Love the butterfly, and what you say about lack of uniformity with uniforms - so true!

    xoxox,
    CC

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  9. oh i love this! i would definetely like a studded mouth-cover if i was mexican lol. so unique! xo

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  10. Ah, I remember all the customised masks from the SARS outbreak. I love the fact that fashion comes out of everything. It truly is about expression, and it's also a way of making sense of disaster and managing a little frivolity no matter what.

    Great post.

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  11. wow thats so interesting. even in a time like that fashion still comes into play.

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  12. I think it's great how they took something that could be so worrisome and somber and turned it into something somewhat fun and intriguing. Love it!

    xo,
    h

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  13. This has to be an example of the media at it's lowest. Blown out of proportion.

    I do agree with you they are indeed a celebration of individuality and self expression.

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  14. I like the whimsical twist on something so...I can't find the right word. But I think you know what I mean :)

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  15. that's very creative :)
    for people who think wearing mouth masks is geeky, this can potentially change their opinion!

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  16. how awesome.
    my school is ridiculously affiliated with st. francis prep in ny, so should the flu get worse here, i'm thinking this is a good idea to pick up on..

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  17. very interesting observations on human behaviour....
    x

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  18. Now you've got me thinking about what I would want to decorate my mask with!

    Loved these---they are a bit like a fashion statement, don'tcha think? Do you think designers will get on board?

    Heh, heh.

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  19. I think it's incredible that people find inspiration & art in something so functional! They're great photos & even better writing :)

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  20. I love it. The creativity in something so mundane. The imagination :]

    I think I should maybe decorate a surgical mask, especially since there are multiple cases in AZ.

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  21. Love these photos, and your observations about uniforms and individuality are spot on.

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  22. Great post. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Thanks for posting these pictures. It was neat to see how people could decorate something like a mask. I would probably never have thought of that. I hope you had a nice weekend.

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  23. So current and informative...and very artistic, too.

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  24. I think it has to do with the fact in times like these, who doesn't wanna have fun? I'd sure as hell decorate my mask. Great post though! Nice soundtrack too ;)

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  25. those are the beauties of swine flu. :P

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  26. funnily enough i was thinking on this exact same topic on my way home from school today. my school uniform is possibly the most hideous unifrom in the state (school colours are brown and yellow...that should be enough), if everyone wore it the way it was meant to be worn, noone in the school would be able to escape the judgmental discriminatory minds of others. noone wears it the way its supposed to be worn anyway :)

    that was kind of unrelated but anyway! thank you for that thought provoking post haha :)

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  27. wow, great artwork! it's nuts, but the thought of an epidemic flu' suddenly doesn't feel so bad...

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  28. the precaution from swine is fashionable

    xoxo
    www.glossbossy.blogspot.com

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  29. really cool. and really cool blog as well, just found it!

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  30. this is such a unique idea!

    http://pinkchampagnefashion.blogspot.com/

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  31. thank u:)

    man u write well!

    x
    karla

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  32. that's a very creative way to handel it.

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  33. interesting how ppl find humour even in the most bizarre situations

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  34. I remember when a lot of Chinese people made cute masks during the SARS outbreak. There was a girl who glued whiskers to hers and made herself a kitty. It was so cute.

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  35. when the swine flu becomes a danger around here i'll definitely start decorating my face mask :D

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  36. I love when people does things like this. I really think it's interesting!

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  37. Those pictures are amazing!! I know its not supposed to be funny, but it kinda is,.. Quite interesting how people keep it light and funny in sad situations!

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  38. it's great to have a sense of humor to the fear of this.

    have you seen the mask with the pig snout on it. amazing.

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  39. Woah! Crazy and interesting post! Love it.
    And I know what you mean about searching for those shoes forever, I was doing the same, until I came across them at a vintage store in Brooklyn! I was soo happy haha!
    xo

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  40. Wonderful photos! But I hate that flu already. :/

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  41. I personalized my mask too, but I haven't been able to wear it outside... I might just have to go out for a walk now.
    I thought the sumo wrestler was funny, but I have a thing about having lifelike sculptures in my house. When I'm walking around in the dark, I always think they're real people and they scare the hell out of me.
    I hope you're able to start school again in october! You're probably desperate to start your life back up again.

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  42. The skull is definitely the best one.

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  43. They're very creative! My favorite ones are the skulls and butterflies masks! xxoxoxoxo

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  44. Wow this is so current and creative piece of writing! Nice;D
    They definitely look interesting...although it scares me...but it's just the sth spreading and flying in the air that a bit scary;))

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  45. the butterfly must have taken so long to make...

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  46. funny how people always find a way to put a positive touch on things like that. i do worry about them inhaling the paint on the mask though...
    i thoroughly enjoy your writing ;)

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  47. Wow those are fabulous masks! I love how people take something so simple and become so creative with it. Nobody was that creative during SARS in Asia!

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  48. I always wanted to get a mask and decorate it like that. Unfortunately (or I guess fortunately) it's just not done in the US. It freaked some of the students out when we saw them in Japan...
    Uniforms are interesting things. I had to wear one for one year, my senior year of high school. I think it actually helped me figure out what I liked to wear b/c I was very intentional when I didn't have to wear the uniform.

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  49. i love that idea. why not make the best of the situation, eh?

    if the flu is going to be as impacting as the media is saying it is, i'll have you know that you've inspired me to get creative with my mask.

    veddy nice.

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  50. I think Creativity always makes everything more 'palatable'... ~Great post!

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  51. next: swarovski encrusted masks.
    xx-LJ from SOS!

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  52. lol your title, i really love winnie the pooh :)

    nice to visit ur blog for the 1st time

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  53. ugh i'm sorry but i changed my url for my tumblr
    it's now: http://abottleofyou.tumblr.com/

    the swine flu "epidemic" is getting ridiculous. i will seriously hurt someone next time i hear about it!

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  54. This post kind of makes me want a surgical mask, and I think surgeons should wear these, too. My school might close down because of outbreaks of swine flu around here!

    One kid has been making jokes nonstop. This is his favorite: "I always said there would be a black president only when pigs fly. Sure enough, 100 days into Obama's presidency, Swine Flu..."

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  55. so true observation, quite creative mask, love the butterfly :)xx

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  56. i totally saw those mustache masks while in japan!

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  57. I love the one wit the skulls & butterfly! I think it is really awesome to see such creativity at sucha time! & I agree wit you, people try to show their personality through different ways even wit a uniform!

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  58. I'll stick with my Hello Kitty swine flu mask but as you would know, wearing glasses and a face mask is a recipe for disaster.

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