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Fashionable Queens

Body – Power – Gender

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Edited By Eva Flicker and Monika Seidl

The essays collected in this book provide profound insights into the wide-ranging topic of the fashionable queen: the manifold implications and effects that the combination of body, power and gender can have are examined by using different approaches and a variety of theoretical frameworks. By addressing queenly appearances in the past and the present, in politics and the media, in royalty and the middle-classes, in the arts and in popular culture, this book offers a new way of thinking of publically significant women, who exert, and at the same time subvert, their power through their attires and thereby negotiate notions of gender, class, power and media representation.
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Fashionable Gender Trouble in Politics: Eva Flicker

Introduction

Extract

Fashionable Gender Trouble in Politics1

Eva Flicker

Abstract

The paper is placing an exemplary focus on fashion and the body and examines the visible part of gendered relations within the contested field of politics. What is new about the perspective here is that it starts from a common, historically established piece of clothing – the dark suit – in order to relate to macro-structural principles of the gender order and the repetitive practice of exclusion in politics. On the basis of a visual discourse analysis – a vis-course analysis, so to say – of group photos taken at political events like summits, the text traces fashion practices marking the field of masculinity and power. The global visual political communication sends clear signals: nothing changes. Women are (still) the exception, the other. No matter how women devise their roles, they remain imprisoned in a Double bind. And this fact of a lose-lose situation is conceived as symbolical violence here.

The media function as second-order observers: they are constantly watching society, constructing meaning from specific perspectives. Media produce, reproduce and transform meanings in contemporary societies; this process is referred to as the mediatisation of culture (Thompson). Visuals and pictures are a main key in this process of global media flow and cultural imperialism. (Sturken and Cartwright 389–430).

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