While clothes are often used to express oneself through fashion, clothes themselves have no moral significance.
Recently, M&M decided to revamp their characters, making them more inclusive. They’ve done away with the typical high heels and brown and green M&M’s go-go boots, replacing them with sneakers. This rebranding has fostered a conversation about how clothes are often used to display a person’s morals.
Clothing has no moral value. A person wearing a sweatshirt is no more virtuous than a person wearing a crop top. The clothes a person chooses to wear do not reflect their morals, but rather their style and values. For many people, clothes are simply a way of expressing themselves and can be used to combat gender dysphoria and body issues.
Clothing can be a way to display a person’s values. A person who values sustainability and ethics may choose to buy only second-hand clothing, just as a person who values fashion may choose to follow current trends.
While values can be expressed through clothing, the pieces of cloth themselves have no moral value and should not be used to determine a person’s morality.
The garment has a complicated and complex history. In Western culture, historically more “moral” women covered every inch of skin. When thoughts around women’s liberation began to change in the early 1900s, so did women’s fashion.
During World War I, as women began to work in factories and on farms, skirts became shorter and corsets were replaced by bras. After World War I, when the fight for women’s suffrage began to gain momentum, many suffragettes used their clothes to fight the fashion industry, calling it “the acceptance of feminine oppression. Since then, women’s fashion has evolved into more modern styles and clothing has changed from a means of conveying one’s morals to one of expressing one’s sense of self.
While traditionally masculine clothing has not changed much over the past 100 years, it has seen a decrease in formality. Suits and jackets are reserved for more formal events or professions, rather than everyday use. It is also important to recognize that men’s clothing, although controlled, has been less of an indicator of a man’s morality than that of women.
Clothing can have cultural, religious and personal significance, but the clothes a person wears should not be used to define their morals. Every person has their own definition of modesty, but it doesn’t make a person immoral if they choose something more revealing than something conservative that makes someone a better person.
Clothing cannot have moral significance because clothing is simply a tool used by humans to express themselves, not a tool to decipher how moral a person is.
Changing M&Ms shoes to be more “inclusive” is ultimately a meaningless act because high heels don’t convey a different morality than sneakers, they’re just shoes.
When a person attaches moral value to a garment, they imply that a piece of cloth says more about the person wearing it than the garment itself. People who choose to dress modestly, whether for religion or other personal reasons, are not inherently prudish, they are simply making a choice that they feel comfortable with.