Tees Are A Commodity
The concept of a t-shirt was first founded during the roman times in a form of undergarments known as the tunic. Since then the t-shirt have evolved rapidly from a form of undergarment to a casual street fashion. Although the t-shirt is now a very popular fashion choice, it is still a crucial commodity to both the wearer and the manufacturer.
Critics often claimed that T-shirt is a just a want, a hyped up object that is popularize by the textiles industry for monetary gains. It can be acknowledged that t-shirt in some case is a hyped up object as seen in the many alternative forms of t-shirt like polos, turtleneck and long sleeve tees which good examples of the industries attempts to portray t-shirt as a form social indicator. However, popularizing t-shirt does not mean that t-shirt is no longer a commodity. Just like how Oats are being made popularize to the Asian, it does not means that oats are no longer a commodity.
Opponent to the view that tees is a commodity argued that t-shirt, unlike food, water and air, are not necessary for survival. It is true that we can live without a t-shirt but we need to broaden our perspective on the concept of survival. Survival is no longer just defined as the continuity of life but also defined as the survival of dignity and self-respect which can only be preserved by wearing a t-shirt to cover yourself up. What the point of living if you have lost your dignity and self-respect to narcissistic onlooker mocking at your unclad body? Yes, t-shirt is not the only way we can ensure our dignity and self-respect, there are alternatives. But ultimately, who can afford these alternatives? According to the UN 2010 report, individual from developing countries spent as much as 80% of their income on food and it is very likely to rise with future food prices spike. With only a mearge portion of their income left, can they really afford the alternatives other than a good cheap t-shirt? I guess not.
If you are still not convinced that t-shirt is not a commodity but a want. Fine, keep that opinion. But, you cannot deny that t-shirt manufacturing is a still a very important industry for some poor countries and some group of people in rich countries. Famous brand like Hanes tees are made-in-Bangladesh where 3 million workers are employed to manufacture the tees you might be wearing now. Somewhere far away from Bangladesh is America where American apparel are made. Globalization have resulted in massive loss of American manufacturing jobs, leaving the poor and unskilled American workers at their perils. American apparel is perhaps their last employer they will ever have. Imagine a t-shirt apocalypse follower by a extinction, what would happen to these t-shirt manufacturing sector? GGed.
In a nutshell, t-shirt is a commodity because it is the best way for the poor to ensure the survival of their dignity and self-respect. The notion that t-shirt is a commodity does not just ends at the wearers, it is also very important to t-shirt manufacturer, perhaps the only viable job providers for the poor. T-shirts were once a commodity and they are a commodity now and they will be a commodity in the future.
Written by: BengLoon