Key Points An exploration of Gender Due to the implications of gender identity in providing real and directly supported conclusions, philosophical and psychological theories will be referred to throughout the conclusions of gender. According to research, approximately one in two thousand cases, a baby’s genital appearance poises the question: ‘is it a boy or a girl? ‘ so why make fashion any different (Kitzinger and Wilkinson, 1999) Gender identity literature offers many variations on the same theme when defining the term “Gender Identity”.
Hird argues that ”sex’ referred to biological differences between women and men, whereas ‘gender signified the practices of femininity or masculinity in social relations” (Hird, 2000, p. 348). Due to the nature of gender identity and the difficulties in proving real and directly supported conclusions it is unclear when gender identity is truly formed (Kohlberg, L. 1984). Conclusions show that Gender Identity tends to become fixed by the age of three (Money, J. and Ehrhardt, A. A. 1973).
At these early stages of development, a child is able to engage and make decisions based upon their gender – although they do not have a clear understanding of what gender is. Gender identity is an internal part of one’s senses and self-belief. This leads to the extension of the role of Gender Expression. Gender Expression is an extension of our identity as a male or female in how an individual displays himself or herself externally (Money, J. and Ehrhardt, A. A. 1973).
This refers to choices of style and appearance as well as expression through manners mannerisms and characteristics. For instance, according to several theorists, women tend to show greater expression in their positive feelings, for example happiness and excitement (Brody & Hall, 1993; Chaplin 2014; Kring & Gordon, 1998; La France, Hecht, & Levy Paluck, 2003) yet keep their negative emotions, such as sorrow and worry, to themselves (Allen & Haccoun, 1976; Chaplin, 2014).
Men on the other hand, are said to express a lot of belligerence and rage. Archer, 2004). Due to the psychological implications and complications of the relationship between the Gender Identity (the internal sense) and Gender Expression (the external being) neither are completely specific to either sex. An individual acts upon external influences and teachings of Gender Norms or standards that are created by cultures and societies (Kohlberg, L. 1984). This leads to Gender Socialisation. As identified previously, Gender Identity and Expression is developed at an early age.
Various external factors influence an individual’s attitude towards norms, values, beliefs and behaviours – leading to an unconscious inner sense or self-belief that these are natural instincts based upon genetic and biological factors (reference). With implementation of the Socialisation of Gender, this leads to the Gender Stereotype. Gender stereotype refers to the expected and accepted norms in an Individuals Gender Expression. Gender Stereotype has been linked to the rigid formalities of the Gender Binary (reference).
The Gender Binary refers to the classification of sex and gender into two disconnected forms of masculinity and femininity. One in around every hundred babies is born with indefinite genitalia. A child could be born with what appears to be standard lady’s organs however posses testes and XY chromosomes (Kitzinger and Wilkinson, 1999). The understanding of this is backed-up further by Schmidt and Diamond who both suggest that many children are born with “ambiguous genitalia” (Diamond, 2002, p. 321; Schmidt, 2001).
While typically individuals follow the socialised norms of the Gender Stereotype, there are individuals who challenge and create implications to the notion. This leads to the Gender Nonconformist (reference). The Gender Nonconformist is an individual who does not follow or match the socialised Gender norms of the Gender Binary (reference). Background Research PEST Analysis : Gender Socialisation PEST analysis is a tool that allows for the breakdown of the external factors contributing towards shifts and trends in relation to gender and clothing.
Political, Economical, Social and Technological are all interdependent factors that determine and effect the environment around gender, clothing and fashion. Political: Key Factors: – The legalisation of same sex marriage in 2014 England, Scotland and Wales – Housing Prices The legalisation of same sex marriage in 2014 highlights an acceptation of a shift away from the traditional family set up that once was. 8 out of 10 people no longer accord to the “traditional family” set up (Telegraph).
The “traditional family” refers to families who conform to two married, male and female, parents. This highlights shifts within the family structures of society today and suggests that opinions challenge the expected role of the Gender Socialisation. The average first time buyer is expected to have an income of ? 41,000 that is almost double the average income wage (Telegraph). The challenging economical environment today would suggest that people are more likely to need to budget, which suggests that it may lead to the possible opening of a new market or way of shopping.
If people are budgeting are exposed to clothing that would be of multi use. Economical Key Factors: – Current Gender Movements eg. HeforShe, LGBT – Impact of Globalisation/interculture Various landmarks have been made in the past decade that clearly displays a shift in general opinions and ideologies towards gender and gender sensitive issues – from the HeforShe campaign to LGBT. These movements and societies push forward equalities of the genders and directly challenge the traditional gender socialisation.
Globalisation refers to the international influences that are present today, these movements and society have gained a worldly status allowing countries to be better interlinked, therefore having more of an impact on one another; be it politically, economically or socially within the equalities of people. Social Key Factors: – Generation Z – Upcoming Generations – Education Generation Z are said to be self educated (business insider) due to the access and freedom of information. They are said to be strong individuals and strive to be different.
This suggests that the upcoming generations are more likely to be open to a new way of thinking and open to a new way of shopping. This leads to the upcoming of new generations. WGSN has highlighted 17 of the 2017 Trends for childrens wear did not reflect indication of the gender binary (WGSN) These generations that are being exposed to a boundless gender shopping experiences at a young age summarise a change in the way we shop for clothing and the change of the external environment of the gender stereotype could be changing.
Technological: Key Factors: – Growth of the internet and communications Throughout generations, it is clear that society do not go a day without interacting through a form of technology; a study from the BBC suggests that Britons spend more time on technology than asleep (BBC). This highlights the platform and voices that people project through their technology. For example Stylelikeu; what’s underneath project – is a voice within social media that provides a platform for exploration of individual stories.
These issues touch on gender sensitive matters such as body image, gender and sexuality. Similar approaches have been displayed through brands of the H&M group. Gender Socialisation in Fashion (Ws) As previously explored, gender and gender socialisation influences us from the minute we are born. It can be concluded that we are born with a gender, but gender identity is something that is a socialised norm. The theme of Gender Socialisation is present within most aspects of our lives; from the name we are given to the identity form we fill out as an adult; this is no different within fashion.
Gender socialisation has always been a direct and indirect influence in fashion. With particular focuses and influences of the gender binary It is visually clear that products and lines based upon the wants and needs of woman offer more options and freedom throughout fashion and designs have been pushed further in comparison to mens’ clothing (5) – as does Chanels spectrum 1920s Modern Woman designs (6) and the early 1980s power dressing displays (7).
Today designers are directly targeting the removal of the gender theme that has always been present within fashion – as does Rad Hourani (8) who designs for a “unisex” consumer and his range appears to be one of the leading in the market, reaching market points Selfridges Agender (9) and Thecorner. com (10). Selfridges launched Agender clothing line and shopping experience in 2015 – “a celebration of fashion without definition” highlights the potential of the gender neutral shopping experience The weekend have produced a unisex capsule collection and &Other Stories are currently promoting n upcoming unisex capsule collection.
These are some of the first to target gender issues so predominantly at the lower end of the fashion spectrum WHY A recent study has shown that more than ever, people are more likely to associate themselves as a global citizen other than a national citizen (bbc) This implies a cultural intregation and that people are beginning to see the elimination of national boundaries that once existed. If this is apparent in culture, then it only seems necessary, or natural that the elimination of Gender follows.