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The Effects of Gender on Fashion and The Effects of Fashion on Gender Natasha Dorsey Soc 264 The Expression of Gender Identity Through Fashion If fashion.

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Presentation on theme: "The Effects of Gender on Fashion and The Effects of Fashion on Gender Natasha Dorsey Soc 264 The Expression of Gender Identity Through Fashion If fashion."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Effects of Gender on Fashion and The Effects of Fashion on Gender Natasha Dorsey Soc 264 The Expression of Gender Identity Through Fashion If fashion is indeed our expression of how we want others to treat us (Markeviciute and Blazenaite, 2011), then one could assume that they can determine someones sex by analyzing their clothing and style as feminine or masculine. That is not always the case however, especially in the LGBTQ community. Blogs like Fa(t)shion February- a month-long fashion blog that celebrates bodies that are not generally considered attractive by societal standards, and people who have various different sexualities and gender identities, such as Femme, Queer, and so on- give society a small glimpse into the lives of people who dont completely identify with typical femininity or masculinity, instead combining the two or redefining societal views of their gender in someway to portray who they feel they are, and how they want to be treated (Connell, 2013). This blog also examines the various rules that over weight people feel they have to follow when choosing clothing, such as not wearing stripes, tight clothing, fabric with a print, bathing suites and various other items that are deemed only appropriate for thin people by society; Fa(t)shion February allows people to feel okay with breaking societal norms of beauty and gender (Connell, 2013). There are of course, thousands of typical fashion blogs out there for every one blog that celebrates gender identity diversity, and a quick Google search will produce many that focus on the general societal standards of the perfect male and female, depicting women in tight, revealing clothing with muscular men wearing tailored suits or designer jeans. Not all women are comfortable in tight clothes, and not all men are comfortable in suits. Further, just because someone identifies as female or male does not mean they are only allowed to wear certain clothes, as was discussed above. These typical wardrobe choices are not for everybody, but people are subsequently often scrutinized or picked on for not following societys rules. By bending the rules of gender and sexuality, blogs like Fa(t)shion February have begun to shift the generally accepted standard of beautiful to something more realistic, more natural and probably a lot more comfortable. Gender Suppression and Fashion Through out history, males and females have worn different clothes, so as to allow for easy distinction between the two sexes and/or genders (Hillman, 2013). During the second wave of Feminism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, women began to dress in clothes that were generally considered for men, such as button down shirts, pants and work boots, compared with the typical female styles of the time which included dresses, skirts, tight shirts, and high heels. Young feminists of the time believed that they had been forced to dress a certain way because their clothing was meant to be a constant reminder of womens place in society (Hillman, 2013). Some feminists claim that women were essentially forced into these styles by a patriarchal society who decided how women ought to look and act (Hillman, 2013). Some women thought that shedding their typical female garb for mens clothes and unisex clothes meant women would no longer be looked at as sex objects. This is because clothes are the expression of how we feel, how we see ourselves, and how we wish to be treated by others (Markeviciute and Blazenaite, 2011). Women who dressed in mens working clothes and unisex clothes during the second wave of Feminism, and possibly even to this day, did/do so as an attempt to be looked at as more masculine, and therefore be treated more like men. It seems though that most women have realized that wearing unconventionally female clothing is more about their choice to wear what they please more so than about wearing mens clothes. Though women now have the choice to wear what they want, they are still heavily scrutinized for their choices. During the 2008 American Presidential Elections, for example, while Sarah Palin and Hillary Rodham Clinton were campaigning, many commentators were commenting extensively on their wardrobes, as if it were equally important as their plans to change the US Government. Though women are still very sexualized in society, men are also very sexualized. Muscular men in nothing but underwear, or sleek business men wearing designer suites driving an expensive car have become the societal standard of manliness, and anything different could be considered unattractive by the opposite sex. Though much progress has been made, women are still not totally free from the patriarchal views of womens fashion, but men are not excluded from scrutiny either. Media Influence on Male and Female Fashion Research has shown that the media depicts beautiful women as thin and young. Women of color are often displayed as weak, unimportant or bad and aging women are often stigmatized as well (Craig, 2010). The media often depicts attractive men as year olds with muscular bodies, angular faces and money. Women and men both see these depictions everywhere, and eventually the medias portrayal of attraction is what they truly end up thinking is attractive. It is apparent that how the media depicts gender greatly influences how society views gender, and most dont seem to have a problem with it! But most people also dont look like models or movie stars, so why do they so readily adopt someone elses idea of attractive instead of formulating their own? Some scholars think it is due to the pleasure found in adornment (Craig, 2010). A study by Pentecost, Robin and Andrews (2009) found that women shop more frequently than men, but that men are likely to spend more money than women when they do shop. Buying new clothes is often reflective of current trends in the media, such as what is depicted magazines and billboards. By purchasing clothing, cosmetics and other accessories heavily advertised in the media, people feel more socially accepted and therefore more attractive to the opposite sex. Based Pentecost, Robin and Andrews research, I conclude that both women and men are keen on trying to keep up with trends and innovations in fashion as a way to be considered attractive, and therefore socially accepted. Above: Outfit of the Day (Sammie Ru, 2014). Right: Burberry Black Silk Chifon Ruched dress (Burberry, 2013) Left: Style Guy (Martin Aestherte, n.d.). Right : Culturize (Marquis, 2014). Works Cited Aesthete, Martin. (n.d.) Style Guy. [Photograph]. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from Burberry. (2013, November 29). Burberry Womens Black Silk Chifon Ruched Dress. [Photograph]. Retrieved February 9, 2014 from ruched-dress/ ruched-dress/ Connell, C. (2013). Fashionable Resistance: Queer "Fa(t)shion" Blogging as Counterdiscourse. the Feminist Press, 41(1 and 2), Craig, M.(2010). Bodies, beauty, and fashion. In Handbook of cultural sociology. Retrieved from s_beauty_and_fashion/0 s_beauty_and_fashion/0 Hillman, B. (2013, November 1). "The Clothes I Wear Help Me To Know My Own Power": The Politics of Gender Presentation in the Era of Women's Liberation. University of Nebraska Press, pp Markeviciute, I., & Blazenaite, A. (2011). Interaction Between Consumers and Business Agents in the Fashion Industry. Kaunas University of Technology, 72(2), Marquis. (2014, February 8). Culturize. [Photograph]. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from this-photos-that-ihttp://marquimode.tumblr.com/post/ /i-realize-after-looking-at- this-photos-that-i Pentecost, R., & Andrews, L. (2010). Fashion Retailing And The Bottom Line: The Effects Of Generational Cohorts, Gender, Fashion Fanship, Attitudes And Impulse Buying On Fashion Expenditure. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 17(1), Ru, Sammie. (2014, February 4). Outfit of the Day. [Photograph]. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from


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