Research Mentor(s)

Sean Bruna

Affiliated Department

Anthropology

Sort Order

12

Start Date

14-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

14-5-2015 2:00 PM

Keywords

Gender expression, Clothing, Masculinity, Aandrogyny, Identity, Gender

Document Type

Event

Abstract

Gender expression is a fluid combination of verbal and non-verbal communication and an essential element of individual identity. Clothing selection and personal style is perhaps the most immediately recognizable form of gender expression. Since the establishment of androgyny as a distinct gender identity and cultural symbol of modernity over the last century, clothing options have become much more homogeneous. This research explores the behaviors and attitudes held by masculine males in response to the use of traditionally masculine clothing items for female gender expression. I interviewed six males between the ages of 8 and 64 living in the Bellingham area with self-described masculine gender identities. My results demonstrate three common attitudes: 1) some categories of traditionally masculine clothing items are now neutral in gender association or are now exclusively feminine; 2) gender association is not as reliant on which particular item of clothing is being worn as much as how the item is being worn; 3) individuals interviewed expressed a heightened attention to clothing detail and the general avoidance of any feature that may be perceived as feminine when expressing a masculine gender identity. I conclude that selection of clothing items for gender expression is heavily influenced by societal expectations of gender, which are often mistaken as personal preference.

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this documentation for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 14th, 10:00 AM May 14th, 2:00 PM

The effect of androgynous clothing on male expressions of masculine gender

Anthropology

Gender expression is a fluid combination of verbal and non-verbal communication and an essential element of individual identity. Clothing selection and personal style is perhaps the most immediately recognizable form of gender expression. Since the establishment of androgyny as a distinct gender identity and cultural symbol of modernity over the last century, clothing options have become much more homogeneous. This research explores the behaviors and attitudes held by masculine males in response to the use of traditionally masculine clothing items for female gender expression. I interviewed six males between the ages of 8 and 64 living in the Bellingham area with self-described masculine gender identities. My results demonstrate three common attitudes: 1) some categories of traditionally masculine clothing items are now neutral in gender association or are now exclusively feminine; 2) gender association is not as reliant on which particular item of clothing is being worn as much as how the item is being worn; 3) individuals interviewed expressed a heightened attention to clothing detail and the general avoidance of any feature that may be perceived as feminine when expressing a masculine gender identity. I conclude that selection of clothing items for gender expression is heavily influenced by societal expectations of gender, which are often mistaken as personal preference.

 

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