Fashion, Gender and Social Identity

Topics: Gender, Sociology, Gender role Pages: 18 (5671 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Fashion, Gender and Social Identity
Zoi Arvanitidou ( PhD Candidate in Fashion, Gender and Cultural Studies Department of Sciences of PreSchool Education and Educational Design, University of Aegean, Rhodes, Greece Maria Gasouka ( Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies Department of Sciences of Pre-School Education and Educational Design, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece

First Fashion Colloquia – London


Fashion, Gender and Social Identity

Abstract Garment and fashion is the subject of intense sociological, historical, anthropological and semiotic analysis in contemporary social theory. The phenomenon of fashion, the impact of which is recognized by the famous cliché: “You  are  what  you  wear”, offers a dense, rich set of costume options and reveals multiple and unexpected ways through which fashion is part of the concrete, tangible, profound, complicated and symbolic process of forming of the modern and postmodern Self, identity, body and social relations. The development of gender identity is a social construct with garment and fashion being two factors of this configuration. Even fashion should be considered as part of the social   processes   of   discrimination,   namely   the   reproduction   of   hierarchy’s   position   and   prestige in a deeply unequal society. The aim of this study is to detect different types of human ideas about the evolution of gender through clothing and   fashion,   what   is   “feminine”   and   “male” appearance in the evaluation of various dress styles. The research part of this paper includes the results of a Qualitive social research. The theoretical framework of feminist theory and the process of informal and conversational interview are chose in order to release the interviewees. Keywords: Fashion, Gender, Social Identity, Feminine, Male


Fashion, Gender and Social Identity

1. Introduction 1.1. The role of dressing People, sometimes interact with objects, in this case garments, as if they are humans, sometimes because they want show to others what they believe they represent (Adelman, 2008). Direct physical contact and intimacy of the dress with the body, makes it highly visible in the construction of social identity in general and gender in particular. The materials which are worn and carried on the body are obvious and with these people create "social contacts" involved in the unstable interaction between the body and the outside world (Joyce, 2005; Turner, 1980). Dress as a form of material culture is particularly suited to express the relationship between personal values and those assigned to material goods, because of its close relationship with the perceptions of the Self. The dressing affects and reflects the perceptions of Self and has specific character as a material object, due to the direct contact with the body, acting as a filter between the individual and the surrounding social world (Crane & Bovone, 2006). The body is regarded as the tangible and visible outer limit of the self, but operates as a collective experience, to the extent that mediates between the person actions and the external environment, society, being part of the natural and social relations. The body is a symbol of society and is categorized by it and especially the female body is also a means of preserving cultural symbols (Gasouka, 2007). The traditional national costumes, in many parts of the world, are still worn mostly by women and less by men. Simultaneously the body is experienced as an individual, it is protected, it can be hidden or restricted by the garment and thus the limits of personality are constantly renegotiated, i.e. paradoxically the garment is used to blur the boundaries of the body (Fisher & Loren, 2003). Social information is imprinted on the body, which incorporates and reiterates them through movement, which is usually ceremonial. The movement, like a physical (or 'tangible') experience impresses...

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