Head covering fell out of fashion in the twentieth century. How is this tied to the spread of democracy?
Hats have always been a popular article of clothing, but as other posters have said, they were also worn as part of uniforms (military for example), to indicate social status, to protect one or one’s head from the elements, and etc. All things considered, it doesn’t seem as if the spread of democracy would really have any effect on those issues.
I would agree with poster #4 in that headwear use to signify class. I do not think that the spread of democracy has had anything to do with the decline of people wearing hats. I would say it may have more to do with a change in society.
Head covering is usually tied to religion and usually tied to women. For example, Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians and this is certainly an issue in Islam. I would say that this has fallen out of culture for three reasons. First, there is better scholarship on bible passages that speak of veil wearing. So, even conservative scholars are able to say that the practice of veil wearing is a cultural thing and not a universal command. Second, there is also the rise of women's rights. Veil wearing can be seen a method of man domination. Third, people are less religious.
I've always wondered why hats fell so completely out of style. Did it have anything to do with the spread of democracy?
I'm not sure, but I'll suggest the following theory. Certain hats were traditionally worn by certain classes of people. Upper class men often wore big, dark-colored Homburg or fedora hats. Lower class laborers tended to wear caps. English dustmen (garbage collectors) wore a sort of baseball cap with a cloth extending down the back of the neck. Some gentlemen wore top hats, like Abraham Lincoln.
The style of hat served to identify a person by his or her economic and social class, and to separate that person from people of either lower or higher classes.
The spread of democracy, perhaps, led people to abandon these kind of class distinctions. Many big-time executives today (especially in the high-tech world) don't dress very differently than the clerks and janitors who work for them.
In most societies, head coverings were in some way related to modesty. Often, this had to do with religious modesty. Women were supposed to cover their hair so as not to be sexually immodest. In some societies, men were supposed to cover their heads to show humility before God.
This idea of humility and modesty does not really go well with the idea of democracy. Democracy emphasizes the importance of the individual. When an individual is told that he or she is very important and is just as good as everyone else, modesty (imposed by society) becomes less important to them.
In addition, democracy emphasizes the idea of personal freedoms. People who are told that they should be able to express themselves freely are less likely to want to do something out of modesty or because society tells them to.
A change of fashion is generally subordinate to the culture that one belongs to. And if it is in fact subordinate, such as the burqua(?), or yamika, it does not generally lead to expressing an individuality and the expression of individual government forms such as democracy.
I do not think the change of fashion in respect of covering head is directly related to spread of democracy, although in some societies, refusal by women to cover their heads of use veils does represent a defiance of accepted social practices.
I think the changes in practice of covering heads, particularly for men has been more a matter of protection from weather and for getting hurt in a battle. With better control of the environment the importance of caps, hats, and turbans as a means of protection against heat, cold and rain declined. Also the common man is no longer face the risk of fighting someone as much as they used to. This has definitely contributed to phasing out of fashion the practice of covering heads. It is worthwhile noting that people still do wear head gears such as helmets in situations where they are exposed to high risk of injury.
Also it the head dress is not necessarily associated with humility and modesty. At least in India, the head dress is more a symbol of status and prestige rather than humility. Also democracy or no democracy, people are advised even today to approach God with humility.