2014 English Lecture 4

Women in Fashion or Intelligence: The History behind the Stereotype of Fashion

Cindy Daugherty

October 30 – 16:20–17:50 in Room 6206

Cindy Daugherty
Cindy Daugherty

One message in “The Devil Wears Prada” is that fashion and intelligence have not gone together easily for women in western culture. At the beginning of the movie, we meet Andy who is very intelligent and she thinks fashion is a waste of time. Eventually, she becomes fashionable. However, at the end of the movie she decides to quit her job working at the fashion magazine to work for a political newspaper. At that time, she gives away her fashionable clothes. Thus we can see that there is a stereotype that fashionable women may not be serious. In this presentation, we will study how this stereotype developed in western culture. We will also look at how men’s clothing changed over time to look more serious than women’s clothing. In other words, women’s clothes have suggested frivolity, whereas those of men have suggested work and seriousness. In the past, we can see how women’s fashion has borrowed ideas from men’s styles in order to look more serious. Today women have many choices in what they choose to wear, but the movie shows us that the stereotype is still alive.  I hope the ideas from my presentation will encourage you to think about the situation in Japan. I also hope you will be inspired to make a conscious effort to be proud of your abilities and intelligence while enjoying fashion in the way you like!

Ms Daugherty was born in Oregon, on the West Coast of the United States. After high school, she moved to the East Coast to study at Mount Holyoke College, which is a women’s college like Seinan Jo Gakuin University. She studied art history at Mount Holyoke and later at the University of London. Her jobs have been in art museums and universities in the United States, England and Japan. She now works at Seinan Gakuin University.

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