Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins, Joanne B. Eicher, and Kim K.P. Johnson (eds.) 1995. “Introduction to Part One.” Pp. 1-6 in Pp. in Dress and Identity, edited by Mary Ellen Roach-Higgins, Joanne B. Eicher, and Kim K.P. Johnson. New York: Fairchild Publications.
Other animals groom and include social gestures in this practice, but only humans undertake such lengthy grooming/modifications. Cultures vary in how they interrelate or assess appropriate contexts/varieties in body/dress/identity – promoting some as ideal, others as deviant. Modifications may serve to obscure or cover deviations from these cultural ideals.
“Dress, as a part of the identity of individuals, must be understood within social and cultural environments as well as within the natural” (5).