Undressing Rizal’s Message: Clothing and Gender in Noli me tángere

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This article explores Jose Rizal's Noli me tangere as a site and source of rumination on clothing's historical significance in the Philippines in the late nineteenth century. The characters in the novel represented various social types; whose clothes contribute to our knowledge of nineteenth-century men's and women's clothing and to the role clothes played in colonial power relationships; status competition among natives; and gender politics. Clothes suggested a period of ferment when colonial divides were being blurred in part by intermarriages and upward social mobility. Through clothing; the novel also showed how female body parts were sexualized and subjected to the male gaze.