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Title: Just not 'girly' : clothes, appearance and 'alternative' femininities
Author: Holland, Samantha
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2002
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The research focuses on 'alternative' femininities through the participants' narratives about their clothing, appearance, and body modifications. It examines how these are used to signal continuing resistance to certain traditional notions about femininity and how this resistance links to wider discourses about gender, categorising traditional and unconventional femininities, and anxieties about the possibilities of ageing 'differently'. The research is empirically-based, with data collected via a leaflet and 'snowball sampling, using semi-structured taped interviews with twenty participants who self-identified as resisting traditional sorts of appearance associated with femininity. Interviews were carried out in South and West Yorkshire in 1997 and 1998. The study contributes to existing work in fashion theory and subcultural theory by bringing ideas about gender identities and resistance into relationship with theorising the body. The research is an analysis of narratives about femininities, and examines the many paradoxes and tensions managed by the participants in constructing and maintaining their appearance. The research found that resisting some elements of traditional femininity did not mean that the interviewees saw themselves as unfeminine and, in fact, they used 'recuperative' strategies in order to define themselves as feminine. The participants enjoyed many of the pleasurable aspects of femininity whilst also strongly disputing the idea that they were in any way 'fluffy' or 'girly'. Even though the women located themselves in discourses of non-conformity they simultaneously attempted to 'normalise' in other ways particularly when related to narrowing gendered boundaries of age.
Supervisor: Lebihan, Jill Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Clothing