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Why Would Anyone Wear That? by Celia E. Stall-Meadows
Examine extreme fashions across time and place in this beautifully illustrated and specialized costume history book, Why Would Anyone Wear That? Fascinating Fashion Facts.
Publication Date: 2013-01-01
Fashion Victims by Alison Matthews David
From insidious murder weapons to blaze-igniting crinolines, clothing has been the cause of death, disease and madness throughout history, by accident and design. Clothing is designed to protect, shield and comfort us, yet lurking amongst seemingly innocuous garments we find hats laced with mercury, frocks laden with arsenic and literally 'drop-dead gorgeous' gowns. Fabulously gory and gruesome, Fashion Victims takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the lethal history of women's, men's and children's dress, in myth and reality. Drawing upon surviving fashion objects and numerous visual and textual sources, encompassing louse-ridden military uniforms, accounts of the fiery deaths of Oscar Wilde's half-sisters and dancer Isadora Duncan's accidental strangulation by entangled scarf; the book explores how garments have tormented those who made and wore them, and harmed animals and the environment in the process. Vividly chronicling evidence from Greek mythology to the present day, Matthews David puts everyday apparel under the microscope and unpicks the dark side of fashion. Fashion Victims is lavishly illustrated with over 125 images and is a remarkable resource for everyone from scholars and students to fashion enthusiasts.
Publication Date: 2017-07-13
Cinderella's Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding by Dorothy Ko
The history of footbinding is full of contradictions and unexpected turns. The practice originated in the dance culture of China's medieval court and spread to gentry families, brothels, maid's quarters, and peasant households. Conventional views of footbinding as patriarchal oppression often neglect its complex history and the incentives of the women involved. This revisionist history, elegantly written and meticulously researched, presents a fascinating new picture of the practice from its beginnings in the tenth century to its demise in the twentieth century. Neither condemning nor defending foot-binding, Dorothy Ko debunks many myths and misconceptions about its origins, development, and eventual end, exploring in the process the entanglements of male power and female desires during the practice's thousand-year history. Cinderella's Sisters argues that rather than stemming from sexual perversion, men's desire for bound feet was connected to larger concerns such as cultural nostalgia, regional rivalries, and claims of male privilege. Nor were women hapless victims, the author contends. Ko describes how women--those who could afford it--bound their own and their daughters' feet to signal their high status and self-respect. Femininity, like the binding of feet, was associated with bodily labor and domestic work, and properly bound feet and beautifully made shoes both required exquisite skills and technical knowledge passed from generation to generation. Throughout her narrative, Ko deftly wields methods of social history, literary criticism, material culture studies, and the history of the body and fashion to illustrate how a practice that began as embodied lyricism--as a way to live as the poets imagined--ended up being an exercise in excess and folly.
Publication Date: 2005-12-12
From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran by Jacqueline Saper
2020 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award in Traditional Nonfiction 2021 Finalist in the Eric Hoffer Awards Jacqueline Saper, named after Jacqueline Kennedy, was born in Tehran to Iranian and British parents. At eighteen she witnessed the civil unrest of the 1979 Iranian revolution and continued to live in the Islamic Republic during its most volatile times, including the Iran-Iraq War. In a deeply intimate and personal story, Saper recounts her privileged childhood in prerevolutionary Iran and how she gradually became aware of the paradoxes in her life and community--primarily the disparate religions and cultures. In 1979 under the Ayatollah regime, Iran became increasingly unfamiliar and hostile to Saper. Seemingly overnight she went from living a carefree life of wearing miniskirts and attending high school to listening to fanatic diatribes, forced to wear the hijab, and hiding in the basement as Iraqi bombs fell over the city. She eventually fled to the United States in 1987 with her husband and children after, in part, witnessing her six-year-old daughter's indoctrination into radical Islamic politics at school. At the heart of Saper's story is a harrowing and instructive tale of how extremist ideologies seized a Westernized, affluent country and transformed it into a fundamentalist Islamic society.
Publication Date: 2019-10-01
Footprints of History
Shoes have long been an indicator of social status and a way to highlight gender differences. This has been a controversial area of appearance for women, as some shoes have been prohibited over the years as being too provocative. Some, however, like the pianelle, were designed to limit women's mobility.
Overdressed and Underexposed or Underdressed and Overexposed?
Judges and public policy makers have transmitted conflicting messages in relation to women’s bodies and have made normative judgements about how women are to appear in public. Women who have been judged to be wearing too much are called to undress as they are seen as interfering with the rights of others or being oppressed. Women judged to be wearing too little are urged to clothe themselves to avoid being seen as inviting sexual assault or dressing like always sexually available prostitutes. Juxtaposing these two situations together, the oddness of judicial and public regulation of women’s clothing becomes more starkly exposed. This paper examines the shifting nature of equality discourse and the naming of women’s oppression; the near-disappearance of patriarchy as an explanatory framework; and the quagmire of women’s agency. The concluding section proposes shifting the focus from differences between women's experiences to similarity in order to facilitate critical inquiry, dialogue and strategic action that might re-constitute women’s equality in new ways.
Shouldering the Burden of Redemption: How the ''Fashion'' of Wearing Capes Developed in Ultra-Orthodox Society.
Most of the research on modesty and covering one's body considers the stringent modesty norms as reflecting the patriarchal oppression of women. One of the multiple manifestations of ''modesty'' that have become prevalent in ultra-Orthodox society in recent years is that of women wearing dark-colored capes when they are out in public. This paper discusses how this ''fashion'' came about, and its religious, social and gender-related implications. The findings show that women play a central role in the institutionalization of stringent modesty rules--in this case, wearing capes--and that they attribute to themselves spiritual powers and abilities in this regard, believing that their behavior can bring about redemption not only for the individual but also for the Jewish people as a whole. Moreover, wearing a cape is a way for women to display their ''higher spiritual level,'' thus upgrading their social status. At the same time, voices in the ultra-Orthodox community have come out against this new ''fashion,'' because it seems to imply that women who do not wear capes are on a lower religious and spiritual level. Either way, wearing capes, like other stringent modesty norms, reflects the collective identity of ultra-Orthodox women and their separation from the general society.
How the French State Justifies Controlling Muslim Bodies: From Harm-Based to Values-Based Reasoning.
The article discusses legal justifications for French laws and legal decisions concerning Muslim women's dress in the early 21st century. According to the author, the reasoning behind these justifications has shifted from harm-based to values-based arguments and is based on politically expedient premises concerning concepts of French national identity and laïcité, or secularity. It is suggested that these arguments criticize Muslims for a perceived rejection of modern French values. Topics discussed include French law concerning headscarves and other coverings for the face and hair, marriage practices, citizenship, and popular perceptions of Muslim women as submissive and subordinate.
Banning the Burka? An Ethical Appraisal.
This ethical research paper was prompted by the French government's recent action to ban the wearing of the burka by women of Islamic religious persuasion with legislature because the government regards the burka as a symbol of the inferiority of women in Muslim communities. According to president Sarkozy this symbol infringes on the fundamental human rights of women, and such a view of women should be renounced in the French Republic. Firstly, the article investigates the history and the meaning of wearing the burka and the veil. This investigation reveals that these symbols were cultural symbols that have no real bearing on gender inequality yet have become powerful religious symbols due to rising fundamentalism in the Islamic tradition Next, the article discusses the content and implications of two models of religious freedom: the active neutral model and the active plural model. Finally-with the active plural model as an angle of approach, and in view of the constitutional values of equality, freedom and the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion-the investigation concludes that legislation against the wearing of these religious symbols violates the rights of Muslim women to wear the burka
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