The politics that surround clothing choices and styles are incredibly complex. As we discussed in class, people are limited by their gender, race, sexuality, and class in terms of what is deemed “acceptable” by society. It is important to realize, however, that there are certain exceptions to these societal rules. Certain gender presentations, sexualities, racial identities, and socioeconomic statuses get privileges that allow for greater freedom for what is deemed acceptable fashion. These exceptions are really important to take note of, and the policing of these fashion ideas are incredibly interesting. When deciding what it and what is not acceptable to wear in our everyday fashions, it is important to understand how our society determines which groups are allowed to wear certain fashions.
In class, we discussed the idea of how gendered fashion is policed differently depending on other factors, such as class and race. Generally, we find that people of higher socioeconomic status tend to “get away” with more boundary crossing. This increase in fashion freedom is seen in cases such as the celebrities Dennis Rodman, Derek J, and Teyana Taylor, who are “allowed” to cross gender barriers in fashion because of their high status in our society. Even if these high status people are viewed as odd or eccentric by our society because of the way that they dress, they do not suffer the same kind of gender policing that other people in our society face.
In class, we also explored the makeover and what impact and influence it has on society. Society has set boundaries and gender roles for what a girl should look like and what a guy should look like. Going back to Derek J and Teyana Taylor examples, these both break the boundaries that society has place, even though Teyana Taylor would be more accepted than Derek J. Why is it that, when someone looks different, there is a need to make them over. Why can’t a woman have masculinity and a man have femininity and it just be accepted? If we are supposed to find someone to love us for whom we really are, then why do we feel the need to change ourselves for someone to love us? Do we as women feel we need to accentuate certain aspects of our body type to been seen as a “girly girl” and wear revealing clothing to get attention? Are men only seen as “real men” when they have large muscles and body types? These are all questions that we as individuals can answer to ourselves, but will our answers be acceptable to societal expectations?