Event Title

Queer Fashion Within Hegemonic Institutions: The Development of a Queer and Trans* People of Color Aesthetic at Predominately White Institutions

Presenter Information

Le'Priya White, Oberlin College

Location

King Building 241

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2019 3:20 PM

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between queer identity and aesthetic self- representation using the fashion choices of queer and trans* college students of color (QTSOC) at predominantly white institutions (PWI) as a case study. Existing studies focus on race, class, and sexuality in terms of attractiveness, such as O’Donnell (1999)but none have yet examined these factors in tandem through queer identity in students of color, nor have they focused on the unique developmental space of college and university campuses. For many students, college is the first time in their lives that they are able to explore their identities and develop their own fashion aesthetics away from the families and communities in which they grew up. My aim is to determine how the fashion culture of the spaces that students occupy influences the formation of their identities. I will do so by conducting semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews with students who attend residential PWIs, to understand how the interviewees interpret the relationship between the college environment in which they live and their fashion choices. I have chosen to QTSOC at a PWI because their experiences and how they navigate in spaces can influence and shift how they see themselves and how they choose to identify. I hypothesize that QTSOC develop their own sense of fashion while in college, to express their identities also developing at that time. However, I also anticipate that some QTSOC will adapt their fashion according to their surroundings, choosing different styles at home and/or at school in order to achieve a sense of security and acceptance in their different communities. Because of fears of being “outed” and unaccepted that are particular to the marginalized identities of QTSOC, this can limit their ability to experiment with different styles until they are in a position where they feel safe and accepted.

Keywords:

Fashion, Fashion choices, self-presentation, Identity, college students, Queer, LGBTQ+

Notes

Session IV, Panel 10 - Learning | Community

Moderator: Meredith Gadsby, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies

Major

Sociology

Award

Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Advisor(s)

Clovis White, Sociology

Project Mentor(s)

Afia Ofori-Mensa, Comparative American Studies

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Apr 27th, 2:00 PM Apr 27th, 3:20 PM

Queer Fashion Within Hegemonic Institutions: The Development of a Queer and Trans* People of Color Aesthetic at Predominately White Institutions

King Building 241

The purpose of this project is to examine the relationship between queer identity and aesthetic self- representation using the fashion choices of queer and trans* college students of color (QTSOC) at predominantly white institutions (PWI) as a case study. Existing studies focus on race, class, and sexuality in terms of attractiveness, such as O’Donnell (1999)but none have yet examined these factors in tandem through queer identity in students of color, nor have they focused on the unique developmental space of college and university campuses. For many students, college is the first time in their lives that they are able to explore their identities and develop their own fashion aesthetics away from the families and communities in which they grew up. My aim is to determine how the fashion culture of the spaces that students occupy influences the formation of their identities. I will do so by conducting semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews with students who attend residential PWIs, to understand how the interviewees interpret the relationship between the college environment in which they live and their fashion choices. I have chosen to QTSOC at a PWI because their experiences and how they navigate in spaces can influence and shift how they see themselves and how they choose to identify. I hypothesize that QTSOC develop their own sense of fashion while in college, to express their identities also developing at that time. However, I also anticipate that some QTSOC will adapt their fashion according to their surroundings, choosing different styles at home and/or at school in order to achieve a sense of security and acceptance in their different communities. Because of fears of being “outed” and unaccepted that are particular to the marginalized identities of QTSOC, this can limit their ability to experiment with different styles until they are in a position where they feel safe and accepted.