Fashion should proliferate possibility, not constrain it. . .Alok Menon, “Fashion’s Genderless Future” Business of Fashion, 2019
In this module, we explore fashion as a site where ideas about gender are produced, reproduced, and often challenged. We’ll consider clothing not simply as items that keep us dry, warm, and protected from the sun, but as cultural artifacts. The significance of clothing is deeply bound up with and ideas about gender.
This week’s lessons will urge you to think historically about fashion—we’ll be reading about an early 20th century feminist reformer’s views on fashion. We’ll explore how Victorian gender norms were represented in middle class dress, and challenged by feminist clothing reformers. We’ll examine the ways that foundation garments construct the feminine body. Finally, at the end of the module, we consider fashion neutrality as an important component of feminist social justice projects.
By the end of this module, you should be able to:
- Describe connections between historical and contemporary clothing politics and practices
- Explain clothing as a representational system
- Understand the role that fashion plays in upholding gender binaries