TXC 007: Week 7 Notes
TXC 007: Week 7 Notes TXC 007
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Demi Chang on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to TXC 007 at University of California - Davis taught by Linda Matheson in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see Fashion and Cultural Studies in Textiles And Apparel at University of California - Davis.
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Date Created: 02/28/16
TXC 007: Fashion and Cultural Studies- Week 7 Notes Linda F. Matheson A. Introduction to Social Class ● Determining Class: Class can be determined by: 1. Sociological measures (i.e., education, occupation, financial income, and family background). 2. Less tangible qualities (i.e., cultural taste/practices and habitus). Qualities also can refer to associated lifestyles (i.e., the rich is often associated with art, while the working class is associated with authenticity and comfort). ● Habitus in relation to social): Seemingly natural bodily demeanor we learn as members of a particular family and/or class (Entwistle), e.g., how we eat; historically, the poor couldn’t afford candles so they had habitually eat before it became dark. ● Conceptualizing Cla:s 1. The firstOfficial Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach- explained and satirized the lifestyle of a preppy person (the WASP elite) in the 1980’s. 2. Conceptualizing class is different in every. In the U.S., we reject the idea of royal class lineage (unlike Britain). We also believe that “all men are created equal”, even though it originally only referred to white men of European descent- Irish, Italian, and other groups were not included. B. The Six Metaphors for Class ● The Pyramid : TheFeudal Pyramid refers to the hierarchy of kings, nobles, knights, and peasants. In thePyramid of State Power , the class opposition that resulted from industrialization is shown between the haves and the have-nots. ● Marxist Paradigm of Industrial Capitalism : Marx defined class through the means of ownership and who has control of production. He classified people into the groups of Proletaria(the working class) anBourgeois(the upper/middle, business class). ● Weber’s Class and Status Groups: Weber differentiated betweenclas(which are stratified according to their relation to production and acquisition of goods) and status groups(which are stratified according to their consumption, or styles of life). Weber claimed that class relations are concealed or mystified as “natural” or “unmarked”- this refers to the class concepts of class hegemony. ● A classless society, a level playing field : Everyone (or at least all men) are created equal and are free to make our own subjectivities. This metaphor is popular in the U.S. but it’s an invisible assumption that is counter to political and economic facts. 1. This metaphor was also adapted by countries like the USSR and China, where unlike individual subjectivity,single collective subjectiwas the goal.In the communist model where the goal was uniformity, the Style-Fashion-Dress circuit was a major threat and a source of anxiety. 2. In the capitalist U.S., the bourgeoisie desire for status was symbolized through Style-Fashion-Dress and was perceived as an economic stimulant and a mobile model. ● The Social Ladder : The idea where social mobility exists in a free (capitalist) nation. This contradicts the idea of a classless society. This metaphor is also very popular in the U.S. in its “rags to riches” conceptGeorg Simmel can be credited for this upward mobility idea as well as the Trickle Down Theory. An example of the social ladder is how Kate Middleton , a middle class woman, moved up into royalty. ● Percolation (Bottom-Up Theory): Theorized by Hebdige and based on fashion theory, Percolation claims that most inspiration for new ideas in Style-Fashion-Dress emerges from ethnic minority cultures, the gay community, or working class subcultures. Styles are appropriated from past historical styles, street styles, and many others (i.e., the Zoot Suit, Beatniks, Mods, etc.). ● The Horizontal Flow Theory : Each class has its own cultural system and that influences what happens within the class rather than across classes. As Herbert Blumer said, “Fashion, from class differentiation to collective selection”. The priority of being current or modern outweighs class concerns. C. Historical Hegemonies ● Re-negotiating And Regulating Class Boundaries: 1. Nouveau riche versus Old Money. Nouveau riche refers to adorning brighter clothing and more in-your-face styles.Old money usually refers to wearing pearls, cashmere, and presenting an understated elegance. a. For example, Justin Bieber and Beyonce would demonstrate nouveau riche and old money, respectively. b. Simmel says old money doesn’t want any change while nouveau do.” “Old money” tries to prevent change by having sumptuary laws - ways of regulating dress indicating a recognition between ancient and medieval society of the power of dress as a communicator of rank and a longing for that power”. As Breward said, “the power of clothing to transform and transgress perceived social barriers was perhaps stronger than its supposed ability to define them”. I. For example, In Ancient Rome, the fabric quality in the wear of senators, notables would be notably higher than the fabric quality in the lower class . II. Another example would be in England, where laws intended to regulate consumption and provide guidelines to maintain social structure were presented in the Elizabethan Class System. III. Also, during the Ming/Qing Dynasties in China, royal members would emphasize getting robes with a specific dragon badge embroidered that symbolized greater power. IV. Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI both often wore fur to define that royal social barrier between them and commoners. ● Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothi:g 1. Before the Industrial Revolution and machine-made clothing, “Clothes were generally included among a person’s most valuable possessions” (Diane Crane ). New clothes were inaccessible to the poor, and were considered an expensive form of currency. 2. In 1870,sewing machine was invented . Important events that occurred due to this invention include: a. African Americans were able to express their cultural pride through their clothing styles. b. Immigrants started wearing “American” clothes to fit in. c. Garment workers began to strike in early 1900’s in festive Style-Fashion-Dress because they had the sewing skills to create nice clothing for themselves. d. Democratization of Fashion : Clothes becoming cheaper by late 19th century (with the invention of sewing machine and the start of mass production) and more accessible (but still hard to access for lower classes). 3. Anxieties and ambiguities with young, working claThere was great cultural discourse with the young working women status and their role as “active producers” and thoughtful consumers”. Young women were dressed so well because they had access to more fabric, were skilled seamstresses, and had available sewing machines. As a result, they did not look like the typical working class person. 4. Shifting ambiguities/anxieties: Discourse of the SewiAt first, women were hired as maids to sew clothes in a family’s home. However, this lead to the “French maid-husband scenario” where the husband would have an affair with the maid. Consequently, wives started to buy sewing machines for the household rather than hiring a maid. 5. Bell Hooks: He define“class as the “uncool because it makes us nervous, tense, and uncertain. As seen wCoco Chanel, who used wool jersey (cheap men’s underwear material) to create the ilittle black dre, her design caused class anxiety because it was so simple it made the housewives’ dress similar to the maid’s dress. 6. Cultural Anxiety: A feeling that can be characterized as free floating, uncertain, and filled with dread or potential hope. 7. Cultural Ambivalence: A feeling that is clearly framed in both/and oppositional; it refers to terms like “status claims” , or as Davis said, ambivalence is “one [that] flaunts and feints”. 8. Style-Fashion-Dress in HollyIn 1950’s Hollywood, urban rebels ames Dean andMarlon Brando popularized blue jeans among the teens and youth of that era- a garment that was once considered the wear of the working class. D. The Theory of the Leisure Class(Patterns of Consumptby Thorstein Veblen) ● Conspicuous Leisure : The abstention from production (or manual) labor. For example, no one who wore a top hat would do manual labor because it would be ruined. Examples include: 1. Surfboarding, playing tennis, and being on vacation. Each of these signify not having to work. 2. Having long fingernails and wearing white uniforms in cricket- all of which signify not having to get dirty. ● Conspicuous Consumption : Flaunting status and expenditures. Examples include buying luxury goods like designer cars, thousand dollar jeans, or designer handbags. ● Conspicuous Waste : The extravagant consumption of resources. For example, this could include owning a million pairs of shoes, buying designer jeans, and the heaps of discarded clothing from the fast fashion industry . ● Conspicuous Outrage :This refers to the mindset where people think, “I’m so talented, wealthy, popular, or connected that I can afford to offend you”. This could refer to Lady Gaga’s meat dress, Rihanna’s huge Giambattista Valli Dress, and other celebrity extremes. As Quentin Bell said, “people who make mistakes or dress badly are the real stylists.” ● Commodity Fetish : This refers to how advertising can “magically” transformed commodities into glamorous signifiers that create a cultural imaginary. This resulting “need” increases capitalism. Examples include: 1. The corset that women had to wear to be considered “properly dressed” even though it was extremely uncomfortable. 2. The current Marc Jacobs handbags that have increased by thousands of dollars in the course of a few years. People also don’t see the reality in the labor and production processes behind the commodity. E. Advertising and Luxury Fashion ● Advertising and the disappearance of c. Class fashion has transformed into consumer fashion due to fast fashion and advertising; styles have been mass produced to all classes regardless of which class the style originally represented. 1. Raymond Williams, the person who theorized the “structures of feeling”, wants people to pay more attention to the political economy and its labor. He also labeled advertising a“the official art of modern capitalis.society” 2. While advertising has allowed consumption to be more “classless”, globalization has increased invisibility of the sites of production and garment labor (as explained by Diane Crane) . ● The Birth and History of Luxury Fashi.n 1. Charles Fredrick Worth : The man credited as the first fashion designer who also designed Empress Eugenie’s dress. He started the idea of luxury fashion. 2. Rose Bertin-Milliner: Deemed the Minister of Fash”, he was a Modist- or someone who puts someone else’s styles together- for Marie Antoinette. 3. Beau Brummel, the Prime Minister of Ta”, fashioned the ideaconspicuous inconspicuousness , where nothing about him was overly stated or showy. He set this idea ofunmarked masculinity, of perfect tailoring and elegance. 4. Materialism The critical analysis of social and historical reality and the lived condition of human relations therein materia. It is a commitment to historical and economic research with a stress on the significance of labor in human history (the political economy), and a return to the concept of matter- including the body (Judith Butler). 5. LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) is a perfect example of a current multinational luxury good company that has is involved in industries of fashion, wine, perfume/cosmetics, and accessories. E. Gender Codes and Hegemony ● Historical Gender Discourses. 1. “The Gender Guessing Game ” where children were donned in long white dresses to allow people to guess their gender. 2. In a 1918 magazine, pink was more masculine color like a boy with rosy cheeks who had been playing outdoors. On the other hand, blue represented the fragility (soft and demure) of the baby girl. This is opposite of what we see today. 3. Paintings likeThe Blue Bo”’ and “Pinkie” and production of children’s clothing lead to gender coding of pink and blue for girls and boys during the Baby Boomer generation. 4. Jenna Lyons of J. Crew painted pink nail polish on son, creating public anxiety for going against gender norms. This links with the idedentity no.s 5. Roger Federer, a professional tennis player, also wears pink. ● Soft Assemblages: As Anna Fausto-Sterling argues, “Gender is not “hard wired” but rather is “softly assembled” in a complex articulation of the body, time, psychology and cultural space”. Gender is always under construction; it is more than a biological essence, it is a social construction that is embodied. There are also plural ways of doing gender. 1. Sex versus Gender is often a debate betwbiological determinand social construc.ion a. Usually sex (male and female) is contrasted wigender (masculinity and femininity) with sex referring to biology and gender referring to culture. b. The body is often a metaphor fosexwhile clotheis a metaphor forgender. 2. Simone de Bouvoire says that “we are born female but become women. Men, too are born male but become men.” The difference is that women employ fashioin their processes of becoming, while men mploy clothes. ● Marking, Unmarking and Remarking Gender . Masculinity in Euro-modern terms in unmarked, but we can think of gender more generally as a process of marking, unmarking, and remarking (Kaiser). 1. Organizing the process of gendering Style-Fashion-Dress includes three over-simplifying binary oppositions (each beginning w/ femininity): a. Fashion/expression vs. uniformity/standardization. b. Men’s wear is often derived from the tailored uniform that is standardized in its production. c. Elaborated codes vs. restricted codes. d. Disorder vs. order. 2. The Enlightenment (The movement of truth, reason, and the mind) lead to the Masculine Renunciation of Fashion: a. The transition of silk breeches of the aristocracy to the san culotte (long trouser) in The American Revolution, where people began to readjust the balance towards the “working man”. b. “The Thinker” by Rodin (the emphasis on the mind over body, truth and reason). c. Rene Descartes idea of “I think therefore I am”. d. Jean-Jacques Rousseau , an Enlightened thinker said that a woman who leaves the home is indecent and ruined; she is out of place in the public. As many people of the Enlightened, people should be restrained to the home, look beautiful, and be tied to household activities. e. In Rousseau’s era, French aristocratic women wore wide dresses and corsets. George III of England wore fur luxurious cape while Napoleon wore a military uniform with higher shoulders due to his height. ● Hegemonic Masculinity: 1. In tailoring hegemonic masculinity, “I believe the staying power of male tailoring show how visual form can have its own authority, its own self-perpetuating symbolic and emotional force”. Gender is not a neutral concept; power relations are involved. It involves a system of looking exists where men act and women appear. 2. The three Types of Gazes include: a. Panoptical Gaze:A danger zone of an illegitimate appearance; it is marked because too little care is given to the men’s clothing. b. Narcissistic Gaze:A safety zone that is legitimate and unmarked. c. Panoptical Gaze: A danger zone of an illegitimate appearance; it is too fashionable or too feminine. 3. Hegemonic Masculinity : Refers to the way that masculinity is presented as both an ideal for both women and men. Several examples include: a. Female often wear suit and color close to menswear in the corporate business world. b. In the 70’s, Yves-Saint Laurent created the pantsuit for women. c. Givenchy created a male suit for women. 4. Feminist Gaze Theory :The masculine gaze that involves positioning and has subjectivity (i.e., looking, gazing, and knowing), while the observed feminine position lacks subjectivity in that she is simply the passive object. ● Jean Kilbourne’s “The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women” Video. Advertisements often provide scripts that hegemonically suggest and prescribe what men and women should do. 1. “Young, thin, beautiful” is often seen as the impossible ideal that is created with Photoshop. Women have their bodies edited to create the image of smooth skin and thinner bodies while males have their muscles photoshopped larger. 2. These impossible ideals lowers the self-esteem of women. While both men and women are sexually objectified in advertisements, women are more likely to suffer from sexual violence.
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