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Title: The aesthetics of mainstream androgyny : a feminist analysis of a fashion trend
Author: Crepax, Rosa
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9248
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Since 2010, androgyny has entered the mainstream to become one of the most widespread trends in Western fashion. Contemporary androgynous fashion is generally regarded as giving a new positive visibility to alternative identities, and signalling their wider acceptance. But what is its significance for our understanding of gender relations and living configurations of gender and sexuality? And how does it affect ordinary people's relationship with style in everyday life? Combining feminist theory and an aesthetics that contrasts Kantian notions of beauty to bridge matters of ideology and affect, my research investigates the sociological implications of this phenomenon. My thesis explores in what ways the new androgyny, apparently harmless and even radical, paradoxically reinforces traditional gender roles, and legitimatises particular kinds of femininity over others also in terms of class, sexuality and ethnicity. It interrogates whether this trend, and by extension contemporary mainstream fashion in general, can oppose traditional values, and investigates the relationship between the aesthetic sphere and socio-cultural inequality. In response to classical theories of fashion, and filling a gap in contemporary ones, my study also focuses on social class, now often overlooked, in the analysis of style. These questions are examined from a twofold perspective: first I investigate representation to identify ideological patterns of legitimation and de-legitimation arising from fashion intermediaries' portrayal of the trend. I then look at how this visual material becomes an object of affective engagement, and analyse emotional responses to the aesthetics. To do this, I employ a mixture of traditional methods, such as semiotics and discourse analysis, and experimental ones, like the collection of creative ethnographic data. I explore the particular aesthetics associated with the androgyny trend and consider how it is configured by the different fashion intermediaries, what its presence online entails, and what is its relationship with the wider public and their everyday negotiations of identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral