I always thought about how you present yourself in front of others by the things you wear and how it affects how they think of you. I never really defined it as “Material Rhetoric”. The things you wear do say something about you. Your personal style is almost like your personal art. Your personal style is a way to express who you are to others without having to actually speak any words. Even if you don’t know it, you are speaking loudly with the things you wear. Others take into account the things you wear in an attempt to form judgments and understandings of people. I know I do look at things someone else wears, not to pass judgment but to get a better understanding of the person standing in front of me. You can ask the questions; “Is he/she a hipster?” “Is he/she into fashion?” “Does he/she work in a professional setting?” See how the things we wear can raise questions in others’ minds and help them understand us before even speaking to us.
Beyoncé for instance, she wears these revealing outfits on stage and high heels. Some would think that she just wants to look fashionable, which would also be true. However, her stage outfits represent a woman in charge. Beyoncé often says that she wants to look like she’s in control while she’s on stage. If she wore less revealing things would it probably change her image? Take Beyoncé off stage. Beyoncé always say how her stage persona and who she really is are completely different. She says off stage she’s a lot more reserve, and she’s known she being private and a bit more shy when she’s not on stage. However, when people met her they expect this “diva attitude” because of the way she is on stage. So what if Beyoncé wore the things she wears on stage in everyday life? What if she wore the clothes she wears in everyday life on stage? See how the things we wear can raise questions in others’ minds and help them understand us before even speaking to us.
I would define my “material rhetoric” as very understated. It’s kind of hard for me to ear things that would reveal too much of the person I am because I’m the kind of person who actually likes a person to be unsure of me until they meet me. I think the way I dress is vibrant. I like for a person to feel as if they can approach me if they wanted to. I think I do show personality in my material rhetoric, not so much to where people feel as if they know me, but just enough to where others want to know me. Actually the other day I wore a rosary necklace. In my mind I was wearing it because I thought it was just a fashionable thing to wear. However, when others see me wearing the piece they thought I actually did rosary and that I was catholic. I hadn’t analyzed it in the moment, but they piece was actually speaking to other people. The piece was saying something about me even though I didn’t know it.
- Ryan Harper