Fashion has long been a platform for individual expression of thought. At the same time, the whims of fashion often spark bizarre trends that spread from person to person—like the Amazon Coat. This plain puffy winter coat became the unexpected (and unbelievable) It Piece in a upper-class New York neighborhood this season. How is it that so many women bought into the trend for a completely unremarkable item? In our autonomous, DIY culture, thinking for yourself holds a prized place. We commend those who don’t simply parrot another’s ideas. We praise the brave soul who is willing to go against the grain, to be the whistle blower, to refuse the status quo. We hold such thinkers up as the ideal. And yet, we still have phenomena such as the Amazon Coat that prove our thoughts are more easily swayed than we would hope.
In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson continue their Ready, Set, Think! series looking at the way our mental frames are shaped by the groups and systems we live within. Despite the way independent thinking is favored in our society, none of us are as detached and neutral as we presume ourselves to be. We do not arrive at any situation free from influence. Our family of origin, friendships, place of work, neighborhood, community connections—all these have embedded presumptions within that operate on a subconscious level, undetected. We are all susceptible to groupthink, whether it’s the whims of fashion or our opinions about social issues. Is individualism always preferred? How does a collectivist frame benefit our thinking? Are we lemmings at heart?
Listen in for dialogue on questions like these, then continue the conversation on Twitter @PersuasionCAPC or in the CAPC members-only community on Facebook. Be sure to answer our question of day: What’s your biggest fashion regret? (Photos welcome!)
Erin Straza: Web / Twitter
Hannah Anderson: Web / Twitter
Episode 160 Resources & Links
“How a coat on Amazon took over a neighborhood — and then the internet,” Vox
The Amazon Coat on Instagram @theamazoncoat
“Cory Booker asks Trump judicial nominee if she believes gay relationships are a ‘sin,’” Christian Post
“Chris Pratt defends church after Ellen Page calls it ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ,’” USA Today
How to Think by Alan Jacobs
Did you enjoy this episode of Persuasion? Give these a listen!
Persuasion 156 | Thinking It Through
Persuasion 157 | Thinking Twice, with Jen Pollock Michel
Persuasion 158 | Good Thinking
Persuasion 159 | Thinking Creatively
Theme music by Maiden Name. Produced by Jonathan Clauson.
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