Victoria Gee – Fashion as a Freedom

Posted: November 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

In “Feminism and Fashion,” Wilson discusses the contradictions within women’s fashion. She discusses how fashion can be oppressive but in the same vein can be pleasurable (292). A woman may have to think twice about a brand she chooses to wear. The difference of a brand will impact a person’s perception of her. A Juicy Couture tracksuit may suggest a laid back women. A short dress from Guess may suggest that a woman is a little more mischievous than the first. Is it oppressive that these ideologies are put in place through branding and enforced through social pressures? I do not think so. As Twitchell suggested, we love to create ourselves through things (282). I think it is liberating and enjoyable that we are able to form our own identities. Properly utilizing commodity signs can be extremely beneficial. We can choose what we wear to any social function and already know how we will be seen and interpreted. This is performed through practices such as job interviews. I can understand how fashion can be very restraining though. Not every woman can represent whatever she wants due to monetary constraints. You cannot be luxurious and exhibit a Rolex watch if you can barely afford to pay your rent. Despite this, I believe there are ways around this. You can be seen as luxurious by rejecting certain commodity signs and creating your own. For example, you can be the luxurious women who seek exceptional products from independent stores. Subcultures are constantly created in opposition to current cultures, for example, the hipster. You can literally be whatever you want as long as you are able to communicate your image through the sign system your society knows and understands. This can be done through the successful use of second order signification. This is why I believe fashion is not oppressive, as it is not limiting. We choose to follow the trends we are presented even if we have the breadth to oppose them. With this in mind, I find the modeling of fashion oppressive. Our physical bodies are not something we can just change like an outfit. The fact that specific body types are explicitly labeled as beautiful is concerning. Unlike clothing, there is not much freedom in the way your body appears.

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