The Role of Fear in Contemporary Society

From Fast Fashion to Climate Change: Challenging the Norms For Meaningful Change

Addressing the role of fear in contemporary society is crucial if we want to make meaningful change. Fear resides at the core of our society, holding such influence over our lifestyles that change cannot occur. We are afraid to be the first ones to say something, always looking to others for direction instead of following our own path. Because most of the population supports fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, or Shein, cultural acceptance is created, and the devastating impact of fast fashion becomes insignificant. 

Accepting the norms vs. making progress

Although we may have an idea of the harms of fast fashion, the widespread acceptance of brands like Zara, H&M and Shein makes us feel that our choices are justified. If others accept them, we can accept them too. So, this societal acceptance pushes us to continue supporting these brands. But how can change ever occur if this cycle continues? 

In fact, a new marketing technique in the fashion industry aims to make customers feel safe. However, we are not meant to feel safe; we are meant to be challenged and encouraged to ask questions. Indeed, this is the idea – brands like Zara do not want you to ask questions. They want you to be a robot or a follower so that they can increase their profits. 

But the right brands will help you find meaning and encourage individuality and change. This is our mission.

Questioning authority: power, knowledge and profit

Power does not always correlate with knowledge; it often has more to do with profit. Our society frequently succumbs to the influence exerted by the relationship between power and knowledge. When fear arises, we look to those in power for safety. However, we should not rely on power for safety and awareness since we can be led falsely. It’s important to form our own opinions and analyze information before accepting it. 

For example, climate change is a great fear at the moment. Corporations and government leaders tell us that they’re working on improvements to stop the crisis, but, in reality, they’re the root of the problem. In fact, leaders take private jets to attend climate conferences, completely counteracting the point of a climate conference. At the 2021 COP26 climate summit, 118 private jets for the attendees emitted 1,400 tons of carbon. This demonstrates that much of what we see is a facade.

Taking control of our future 

In examining the dynamics of fear in contemporary society, it becomes evident that our collective hesitance to challenge the status quo extends beyond consumer habits. From the acceptance of fast fashion giants to the alarming complacency regarding climate change, fear hinders our potential for meaningful change. We find ourselves entrusting our future to those who may not have our best interests at heart. 

Yet, amidst this landscape of apprehension, there emerges a call to action — a call to break free from fear and societal norms and take control of our destinies.

✍️ Credit: Post written by Joelle Elliott, an American scholar pursuing studies in Fashion at Cattolica University in Milan; currently interning with suite123

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