CFP: Feminism, Fashion and Flair

Call for Papers: Feminism, Fashion and Flair: Confronting Hegemony with Style (8/15/08)

We are soliciting academic papers for an anthology on feminism and fashion. Fashion is a powerful way we express our politics, personalities, and preferences for who and how we love. Yet fashion can also repress freedom and sexual expression. Fashion encourages profound creativity, rebellion, and defiant self-definition while simultaneously controlling and disciplining the body. Fashion signals resistance to sexual morés and it can also promote a problematic consumer culture. Fashion creates collective identity, but also constrains individual voice. In other words, fashion contains the paradoxical potential for pleasure and subjugation, expression and conformity.

This book explores the productive tensions generated by fashion and style. We are interested in essays that take up questions of gender with special attention to race, class, sexuality, age, and ethnicity. This collection blends theory and pop culture analysis in exciting ways, focusing on contemporary trends and controversies.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

• Theories of agency, style, and the presentation of self
• Performing identity: race, class, gender and sexuality through style
• Consumerist pleasure and anxiety
• Fashion production in the context of global capital and trade
• Bois, grrls, trannies and styles of queerness
• Hardcore, metro, punk, and khakis: constructing masculinities through fashion
• Body art and ethnic appropriations
• Debates in plastic surgery and re-fashioning the body
• Class identity and decorating domestic space
• Feminist fashion: debates over style and politics
• The ethics of green production and marketing
• Everyday pornography and fashion fetish
• Virtual style and online identities
• Material culture and craft in a postmodern world
• Slumming and radical chic: tensions of authenticity and irony
• Vintage and thrift fashion: nostalgia and class signifiers
• DIY Style: fashion off the corporate grid

Deadline for abstracts is August 15, 2008.

Format for abstracts: Word document, double-spaced, between 300 and 500 words. Include contact information and short bio.

Send to:

Shira Tarrant
Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies Department
California State University, Long Beach


Marjorie Jolles
Assistant Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies Program
Roosevelt University

1930s Marital Scale

Quite late with this one but..

Someone has created a quiz based on the 1939 marital rating scale designed to help rate the quality of your spouse. Interestingly, the initial coverage of this only lets you know you can rate your wife.

Rest assured that you can rate your husband too.

The scales draws on the opinions of over 600 couples in the 1930s and what they most frequently voiced as flaws and virtues in their spouses. These, plus the expert opinion of Dr. George W. Crane, in his judgement as a psychologist and physician, are what are especially important in marriage if you want to make it both permanent and happy. He also claims it is is a good guide to qualities to look for in those contemplating matrimony.

So with all that build-up, here it is.

An interesting aspect of this test, from a feminist perspective, is that if you get rated as a Very Poor (failure) wife, as I did, you can retake the test as a husband and come out as Very Superior! (And men who score as Very Superior husbands can retake the test as wives and may come out as Very Poor wives)

Another thing you can gather from this test is that the concept that women have to ‘do it all’ is not a new one, unique to the last few decades. Wives in this test, have to be responsible for the family and house, be active in women’s organisations, go to Church, urge success on her family, play an instrument, have a certain level of self maintenance (looking bad, lazy or unusual or sexual are heavily penalised), enjoy sex and get a job to help support the home.

Scans of the original test can be found here.

Straight Talk. Yeah.

From the Wall Street Journal:

A female Los Angeles Times reporter inquired today about comments made earlier this week by McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett Packard.

At a breakfast with reporters, Fiorina suggested that individuals–and women in particular–be given more flexibility to determine what their health insurance plans should cover. “There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won’t cover birth-control medication. Those women would like a choice,” she observed.

When McCain was asked for his position on the issue, he said—with a nervous laugh–“I certainly do not want to discuss that issue.”

The reporter pressed. “But apparently you’ve voted against—“

“I don’t know what I voted,” McCain said.

The reporter explained that McCain voted against a bill in 2003 that would have required health insurance companies to cover prescription birth control. “Is that still your position?” she persisted.

During the awkward exchange, with several lengthy pauses, McCain said he had no immediate knowledge of the vote. “I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate,” McCain said, then continued: “I will respond to—it’s a, it’s a…”

“Delicate issue,” the reporter offered, to a relieved laugh from McCain.

“I don’t usually duck an issue, but I’m—I’ll try to get back to you,” he explained.