Police Brutality, Paulo Freire, and the Culture of Oppression

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“[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”

-Paulo Freire

Greetings from The Dawn.

Today we aim to discuss the nature of oppression and how the events of our time are only a small symptom of a deep, systematic problem. This is not a foreign concept. Throughout history, those who are in power have attempted to suppress and control those who could potentially compromise that power. History also shows that the targets of oppression are overwhelmingly people of color, or more specifically, the colonized.  Philosophers and critical thinkers have long been proponents of the concept of liberating oppressed peoples through pedagogy, for it is only through education that the mind may be liberated from the stronghold of the oppressive institution in which one may find oneself.

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Before going further, we would like to inform our beloved readers that The Dawn is an advocate for all people of this fine Earth, and we do see that the problems facing humanity go well beyond race and culture. However, the reality in the United States right now is that minorities are beginning to mobilize in unprecedented ways and it’s a long-awaited moment in this country’s history. The colonizers can no longer hide behind the false veils they have built around the eyes of millions of Americans over the past several decades. We still live in a colony, in which the elite are descendants of the colonizers and want to maintain the status quo for as long as they can.

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The fact that these people happen to be White is, at this point, irrelevant. Yes, White Privilege is a real thing. American White culture is not. American White culture is a fabricated ideological framework that insists on conforming to standards set by Whites, to be followed by everyone. We can get even more specific and say they are set by White males, but this doesn’t really help anyone, because today, the oppressed people of this world also include those who are considered ‘white.’ We also cannot forget the onslaught of powerful people of color who do nothing for minority communities, who stand by and watch neighborhoods deteriorate and remain silent in order to maintain their own wealth and status. They are just as guilty.

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We must go beyond this rhetorical milieu. We here at The Dawn believe the issue at hand is one of identity–of oppressed peoples rising above the culture they have been forced to adhere to and re-defining who they are in a way that is authentic and powerful. A highly effective way to do so is through the physical body. A healthy, well maintained body with aesthetically pleasing dress is one of the most powerful forms of resistance for a person of color.

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With that said, we would like to speak specifically about the issues many minorities are facing in today’s America. Minorities living in America face a multi-layered problem that we believe is rooted in perception. Perception is power. It can give power and it can take power away, and it is up to the individual to use perception in or against their favor. Pre-colonial cultures were powerful, rooted civilizations with centuries of traditions, and the perceptions of individuals in relation to others was generally congruent with the overriding culture. Post colonialism brought about a myriad of crises; the most damaging being the crisis of identity. This is no less relevant today, as minority culture is not only based on false pretenses, it is systematically built to be destructive.

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“… Without a sense of identity, there can be no real struggle…”

-Paulo Freire

What we are suggesting is that people of color have been so far removed from their cultural bloodlines that they now find themselves in what we would call a ‘cultural void-‘ one brought about and created by the oppressor. This places colonized peoples in an extremely vulnerable position, for not only have they been stripped of their land, liberty, and history, they are now at the mercy of the colonizer, an entity that wants to see that they do not lose control over their claim. A most effective way to do so is to control the identity of the culture through advertising, which is a form of mind control. This affects every aspect of the lives of the oppressed, including diet, dress, music, and language, creating a fabricated culture that is based on the ideas of a few very powerful people.

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This is dangerous for obvious reasons that we will not get into. What we believe is important to note is the fact that identity politics are rarely discussed intellectually, and it is in the best interest of us all to consider the implications of false identities as it pertains to the emancipation of oppressed peoples. What we have right now is a population eating poisonous foods, dressed in ill fitting, offensive uniforms, and listening to electronic sounds marketed as music, but in reality is damaging the delicate electromagnetic brainwaves that regulate the central nervous system. This in turn creates dissonance and upheaval of the body’s many sensitive systems, resulting in anxiety, restlessness, addictive behavior, aggressiveness, and general disease. Essentially, the oppressor is winning, and it it because they are capitalizing on the ignorance of the oppressed.

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“No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption”

-Paulo Freire

Furthermore, the colonizer has succeeded so profoundly that it has created within the colonized peoples a sense of dividedness at the sight of any one individual attempting to break free from the imposing stereotypes and accepted roles that one must play to be considered part of the minority culture. He or she is labeled as “white washed,” as if they have somehow turned their backs on their own people. The irony, however, is that they are only turning their backs on what the oppressor wants. In reality, they are resisting oppression, only to be met with more oppression from the other side. The cycle is one of a vicious nature, and it must be addressed if we are to advance in our ways of thinking and reacting to oppression. Paulo Freire refers to this phenomenon as a form of internalization, brought about by the oppressors themselves:

“The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom.”

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The oppressed are fearful of freedom. This is imperative to understand if liberation is to ever happen. The oppressed must not fear. We must not give in to the pressure to stay silent, to conform, for this is the way to our demise. The Dawn holds authentic self expression to the highest degree, and with true self expression, one that isn’t bound by media or expectations of the dominant culture, oppressed people can stand against the oppressor without even saying a word.

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The image one presents to the world is the first thing one will be judged on. We believe that one must make that image a powerful one. America needs to see more African American men in suits. America needs to see more Hispanic men in suits. America needs to see a more even playing field where women of color are just as feminine as white women. Women of color must recognize their power as women, as females, not as sex objects. Women of color must not adhere to the false expectations of their peers and the brainwashing media. We all have the responsibility to educate ourselves and our children so that they may have the thinking minds needed for the kind of changes our great country requires. We must break these false identities and live as true people if we are to rise against this suffocating state of denial and self preservation.

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We here at The Dawn have seen humans become transformed both internally and externally through dress. We have empirical knowledge of this kind of hidden power one can command simply through their choice in clothing. Of course, the work one has to do goes beyond the outer, but an important and effective way to begin is by abolishing the oppressive and devastating nature of imposed identity. Let your mere presence be a political act, an act of resistance, and a voice for the silenced.

For more information on this matter, we have attached some previous posts as well as some articles by scholars who address such issues.

https://dewthedawn.com/2014/12/16/edward-bernays-and-mass-delusion/

https://dewthedawn.com/2014/12/06/the-political-body/

http://race.eserver.org/misogyny.html

https://aboutabicycle.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/bell-hooks-black-looks-race-and-representation.pdf

http://www.socialismonline.net/sites/default/files/Manufacturing%20Consent%20-%202002%20-%20by%20Chomsky%20and%20Herman.pdf

With that we will depart.

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Be free as the vast blue sky, cherished Ones.

With everlasting Love,

The Dawn

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Alan Watts: Voice of the Century

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So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself. – Alan Watts

Greetings from our new headquarters in New York City! The Dawn is pleased to announce our latest move to the big apple where we expect much activity in all areas of style, fashion, and overall health and wealth! As we adjust to this new transition phase, we have been taking ample time to reflect on the time—this time—if you will. Naturally, the experience of time seems to be that of constant transformation, the ebb and flow of existence that simultaneously defines our being at any given moment. The Dawn believes that each moment, each breath is a sacred opportunity to go right or left, up or down, and it is through this determination that we experience the effects of our decisions.

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Which brings us to one of our favorite philosophers of the 20th century: The Great Alan Watts, whom, during his short time on this planet, brought light to some of the most pressing issues in our current state of cosmic affairs. We will note that Mr. Watts’ presence was not only strikingly unique, it commanded the attention of the masses, for his message is one of immense importance.

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Alan Watts was a major advocate for zen buddhism and was essential to the West’s understanding of Eastern philosophy as both a theological practice and psychological study. Bridging such ideas as religion, history, psychology, metaphysics, and science, Mr. Watts was a proponent of the totality of Being–he recognized the dire situation we humans find ourselves in and managed to articulate it in a way that makes cognitive, emotional, and spiritual sense.

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We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society. – Alan Watts

Alan Watts was not only a lover of humanity, he wanted to help heal humanity, for he saw how we are collectively suffering because we do not know, we do not understand the complexities of this era the way we are meant to understand it. It is for this reason that we have mass despair, mass upheaval, poverty, spiritual emptiness, and general disconnection from out true natures. Mr. Watts gave us the gift of his knowledge, his way of interpreting esoteric tradition so that it became palatable to the Western mind, and for that we are forever grateful.

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We adore Mr. Watts for a number of reasons. He was, in the highest sense, striving for completeness in all ares of life. He understood the concept of balance and Self realization, including the mastery of sensuality. When we speak of sensuality, we speak to the notion of sensual experience, or the act of sensing. This pertains to the outside world–recognizing what is attractive, embodying the utmost of one’s being as it applies to the physical senses. Alan Watts says that there are two realms we humans must master and balance, and those are the realms of the spiritual and physical, and both are, in a sense, dependent on the other.

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What wonder! For this is our purpose here at The Dawn, to help find that balance between the inner and the outer—much of which rides on one’s sense of style, their outward signature to the world. We believe in the deep appreciation and expression of beauty, and we are convicted in the knowledge that finding one’s balance is one of the great secrets of this life. We here at The Dawn have a sincere desire to maintain the passion of Alan Watts when it comes to helping others understand themselves, to know their power as they stand in space–and we will stop for nothing.

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The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it – aliens. -Alan Watts

We leave you with one of our most beloved compilations of Mr. Watts’ teachings for your auditory pleasure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHT5fjMnJyI

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Day Dreaming of Your Glory,

The Dawn

Edward Bernays and Mass Delusion

Dearests,

Today is about how one person changed the face of identity politics: Edward Bernays.

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Edward Louis Bernays is undoubtedly one of the most influential human beings of the 20th century. The nephew of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, he is coined “the father of public relations,” and was one of the first proponents of the use of propaganda on mass populations in order to gain control over what he called “the sleeping giant.” This notion is based on crowd psychology, an idea first explored in the latter part of the 19th century throughout France, Italy, and Germany, in which social theorists began to see a new phenomenon emerge as a result of growing cities, where tensions and political biases were becoming part of the fabric of a once homogenous society.


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They called this phenomenon “The Crowd.” The Crowd referred to the masses, those who were easily influenced by triggers in their environment that could lead to a breakdown in social constructs of behavior, resulting in a larger collective body that could become capable of mass upheaval of the current structure. Since Europe was already going through profound socio-political changes by the 19th century, rhetoric was already flourishing surrounding this subject and many people were eager to find a way to properly study and eventually control this new discovery of human behavior. Gustav Le Bon was one of those theorists, and he proposed that The Crowd was made up of three elements: anonymity, contagion, and suggestibility.

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These three elements basically outline that when an individual is among a large group, there is a natural inclination to feel anonymous and thus free of responsibility, which could lead to instinctual action, which when seen by others will be imitated and the behavior will spread throughout the group. The group will then become a kind of larger collective body; its own organism with one or more leaders directing the flow of the body. These leaders are seen as the heads of the body, therefore their actions will dictate the actions of the body.

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Edward Bernays understood this concept to be an impending threat to the order of society. His New York upbringing connected him with very important people during his time, and Edward Bernays quickly climbed the social ranks to a position of power. He worked closely with Walter Lippmann, a highly influential writer at the time, who had extensive knowledge on the use of propaganda in times of war and peace. It was during this time that Bernays began to experiment with “engineering of consent,” an idea he termed that would soon change the world. Engineering of consent is the notion that people’s opinions could be molded through propaganda without their knowing. This technique of mass persuasion used Freud’s theories of the subconscious and collective unconscious in order to effectively sway public opinion through subtle imagery and suggestion.

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It was through these techniques that Bernays, along with other important figures at the time, convinced the American public to support American participation in World War 1. After the war, the word propaganda had gained a considerable amount of notoriety, and so Bernays cleverly changed the name of his approach to “Public Relations,” and the rest is history.

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Bernays soon became one of the most sought after people in the industry. He helped create the ‘consumer’ by suggesting products that people would not normally want or even disagree with, and by doing so he created a false need. He came up with several techniques in order to subconsciously persuade the people, most notable his use of “third party authorities,” in which he explained as follows:

“If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway.”

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We see this technique being used almost ubiquitously today with celebrity endorsements, physician recommended products, political puppets, and in almost every major industry from food to fashion.

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Edward Bernays had a utopian vision of society. He believed that by controlling the dangerous masses through persuasion, humans can live together in peace, buying the things they want and maintaining a stable economy that would be led by elite corporations that provide the products for the people.

Sound familiar?

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Of course it does, Beloveds. It’s exactly what America has become, except it is far from utopian. Instead, the insatiable appetite of desire, mixed with the need to belong to something larger has placed American society in a gridlock. Classism is now the new racism, and it is defined by commodity and driven by capitalism. Fortunately, the sleeping giant that Bernays referred to is very much a real one, and the hour is near.

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In the meantime, it is our sole responsibility as individuals to resist the hijacking of our identities by creating our own and rejecting the status quo. We must re-present ourselves in a way that is not dependent on any one idea or label. We would even suggest that, at this point, there is no counterculture, as the idea of a counterculture itself has been commodified and is ridden with impostors.

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We stand at a point in time where all must be questioned, re-interpreted, and re-appropriated to fit the new function of humanity. Culture is no longer an organic formation, but a fabricated means to an end. Our duty is to make it organic once again, and the first step is to work on ourselves. This is why we here at The Dawn believe personal style is so essential, as it represents the extent to which the Self has been mastered.

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We urge you to take some time to watch “The Century of The Self”a fabulous documentary that provides an in-depth analysis of Edward Bernays’ legacy. His is a prime example of how ultimate knowledge can and will inevitably lead to ultimate destruction, for they are both sides of the same spectrum.

And with that, we depart.

Be real, and ever-growing.

Daisy Doodles,

The Dawn

The Political Body

It’s obvious that modern civilization is reaching a point of critical mass. The human species is about to make the next step into an existence we have been long working towards. This new way of being has much to do with identity, the individual/collective dichotomy, and the inherent need to belong to something bigger. Clustered within this web of chaos lies a very basic notion that the disconnect we have been feeling is on the cusp of re-integration. This disconnect we speak of runs deep within the psyche and we believe it’s rooted in our sense of isolation and misunderstanding of our origins. As a whole, the human species is in a state of despair, and we understand this to be a symptom of our break from the Divine. God. Ultimate Reality. Yeshuah. YHWH, Elohim, Brahman, Allah–what ever you shall call it, we need the Creator of All That Is to get back on the forefront of our minds, for we are at war, friends and lovers, and the war is between Good and Evil. No longer is it a race issue, no longer is it a religious issue, a gender issue, or any other generated qualifier that further separates people into such groups. This is a futile approach as it undermines what we all share: bodies. Health, sickness, joy, happiness, pain, sorrow, jealousy, kindness, and everything that lies between–all of which are experienced through the Body, which is also home to the Soul and Spirit.

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With that said, there is lots of hope and we here at The Dawn want you to know we are on the side of Good, and very dearly want to see humanity ascend to new heights. We await the new Golden Age and needless to say, we await in style.

A large part of the disconnect we alluded to earlier has to do with our bodies. We have willingly given our bodies to consumerism, especially here in the United States. We live to consume. Our identities are based on consumption. Every ‘type’ of person is marketed to, sold an identity, and is otherwise convinced that their fabricated selves are indeed authentic. Of course, we are speaking generally, but even the most conscious resistors of this reality are broken down every now and then. The marketing machine is precise, and it has figured out how to appeal to our vulnerabilities. It is our duty to reclaim our bodies and our minds lest we allow ourselves to be taken over.

Perhaps the most cunning form of identity theft is the consumption of ‘cool.’ Wikipedia gives an accurate definition of what ‘cool’ is:

In general, coolness is a positive trait based on the inference that a cultural object (e.g., a person or brand) is autonomous in an appropriate way. That is the person or brand is not constrained by the norms, expectation of beliefs of others.

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The irony of this statement cannot be ignored: that we, as a culture, value the idea of autonomy from the norm, and because we place such high value on it, we all strive to that level in some way. Yet we somehow end up doing the opposite and end up conforming to whoever happens to embody ‘cool’ at the time. More often than not, that person is a celebrity. Currently, some of the main celebrities who are being grossly imitated under the guise of cool are Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Robert Pattinson, Russell Brand, and much more we can’t think of at the moment.

Beloveds, these idols that are worshipped are mere puppets of their masters, and we simply look silly when we try to emulate them through dress, speech, and even tattoos. In addition, these beings we look up to are not authentic. They are strictly fabricated in the truest sense of the word, in order to appeal to YOU, the consumer. So that you may admire them and see what they wear and eat and watch how they speak, so that you may feel inferior, which will lead you to literally consume them and create a false identity in their image. This is when our disconnect from The Source becomes dangerous, because the need for acceptance is very real, so we latch on to these celebrities and copy them, or we latch on to other people we deem higher than ourselves and copy them, when in reality we should be seeking that connection through other means that are not necessarily of this world. So the things and people we latch on to become the things and people we identify with, and if we don’t pay attention, we eventually become lost. This is the basis of blind conformity. The whole process is quite perverse, if you ask us. Are you privy to our message?

In essence, we are talking about desire. Human behavior is driven by desire. Cool is desire. And after all, isn’t that what we all seek? To be desired? To be loved? Jaques Lacan famously said that “Man’s desire is the desire of the Other,” meaning we desire to be desired by the Other. This profound truth is exactly why the media is so powerful, and why we humans are so easily persuaded.

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As many of you may be thinking you are exempt from the influence of the media and entertainment industries, we will argue that no one is immune. Anyone born after the invention of television has been psychologically conditioned since birth. Neurologists and other experts are well aware of the sensitivity of the human brain and how easily it can be manipulated into believing fiction as fact. The television, and ultimately the screen, is one of the most powerful ways to trick the brain into thinking what it’s watching is indeed reality.

We ask you to take a moment and think of the ways that you have been conditioned, because the first step to freedom is recognition. How do you consume your identity? Look at the food you eat, the books you read, your hobbies, your job, your clothing, everything. Decide what is real and what is not, what labels you and what does not.

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What we find most often in our profession is that when it comes to clothing, the majority of our clients dress according to a standard or ideal they aren’t even aware of. They simply buy what’s trendy, or what they see their favorite celebrities wearing on TV, or what they think feels ‘comfortable,’ which almost always involves a pair of jeans, in which we will kindly suggest they are anything but comfortable. The phenomenon of jeans is just one example of how advertising convinced an entire set of generations that this one item is synonymous with the word comfort. Such deceit!!!! Another big one is sex appeal. Many women, especially young women, relinquish any true sense of style all in the name of acquiring the Male Object of Desire. A common mistake is that sexy=stylish. This is true to an extent, but one must define sexy. Currently, the trend is tight, short, and more closely resembles bondage–none of which can be deemed as stylish. True sex appeal is a state of mind, and requires very little on the physical plane to be detected.

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The main message we are trying to put out is based on the belief that every human being has a unique expression that must be lived out in order to feel fulfilled. What we have right now is a mass population of conformists trying to show that expression but getting nowhere because they are looking in the wrong places. This leads to dissociation from the true self, which opens doors to a whole set of problems like anxiety disorders, neurosis, and eventually, if left unchecked, a full mental breakdown. It’s no coincidence that suicide rates are so high in developed countries, next to depression, body dysmorphia, cancer, anorexia, and bulimia. These illnesses are consequences of detachment from Self, and alienation from our own Truth. This problem is beyond culture, and the solution is beyond culture. Accordingly, one’s style must go beyond culture. It must transcend what we think we know to be true and emanate from The Truth, that which is the essence of who we are individually so that we may heal collectively. We don’t mean to be such serious downsies, but this is the world we live in, and we must change if we are to see peace with ourselves and each other.

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Incidentally, authentic style is only the beginning when it comes to winning the Good fight, but oh, what a lovely way to step into battle.

Be Well, Dearest Ones.

The Dawn

Simone De Beauvoir and Her Endless Wisdom

French existentialist Simone De Beauvoir was not only a pioneer in modern feminist theory, she had a killer sense of style. Her radical ideas and writing soon became words to live by for many women around the world. Her style very much mirrored her ideologies: the wild feminine spirit mixed with the rigid masculine drive, packaged behind a most commanding gaze.

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She is everything a woman might want to be: cunning, elegant, mysterious, exceedingly intelligent, hyper-aware, vulnerable–the list could go on. Her life in Paris was mostly shared with her partner and writer, Jean-Paul Sartre, but Simone was well known to have had many affairs with women and men, including famed Chicago writer Nelson Algren. Below is a photograph of the two believed to be taken in Chicago, where Simone and Nelson would often rendezvous. She is wearing a dress she bought in South America during a trip there. Note her casual up-do, one of her signature looks, and one she did quite well:

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Simone is best known for her masterpiece, The Second Sex, in which she breaks down the plight of the feminine experience through a social, political, and historical perspective. Perhaps one of her most compelling quotes from that book sums up the relationship between our bodies and our journey:

“The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.”

What words she speaks! You may be asking by now, “What does this have to do with style?” In which we here at The Dawn would reply: “What DOESN’T it have to do with style?!!!” Everything about this speaks to the essence of style. If our bodies are a ‘situation,’ and not a ‘thing,’ this alone has the potential to shift our basic view of how one should approach the art of self-expression. A situation implies transience, the need for change, for growth, for expansion and contraction, much like the process of finding one’s own unique style.

In the second half of the quote, Simone points to a fundamental idea about how we experience life in relation to how we view the self. The body is a kind of armor that encases the dweller inside the flesh, and this dweller yearns to be recognized through the manifest body. Our grasp on the world is the way in which the body and the dweller within the body interpret the total being. What better way than to show that totality than through the outermost layer–the garment! One can think of our earthly bodies as the garment of our soul or spirit, and what we wear simply takes it one step further by saying: “This is what my inside looks like on the outside. This is how my inside understands the world in which I live.”

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Looks like we have said enough for now. The words of Simone De Beauvoir span across the oceans of time and will live on through those who seek truth. We hope you enjoyed our mini seminar on an existential view of style a-la-Simone. Let us leave you yet with another cherished quote, along with a fabulous suit dress:

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Au Revoir,

The Dawn