Offices & Resources

Southborough Society Forum on Gender Inequality in Fashion
Southborough Society Forum on Gender Inequality in Fashion

On Friday afternoon, January 25, the Southborough Society sponsored a presentation and forum on gender inequality and fashion.

Kristy Chen '21 presented the results of her research for her social justice class. She focused on how the fashion industry, although generally fueled by the purchasing power of women, has been dominated by men, and she described the "glass runway." Noting that fashion has not been truly non-binary regarding gender, Chen asserted the tendency of fashion design to fall back on gender stereotypes time and again.

Looking back at the history of fashion and advances made by women in regards to non-traditional clothing choices, she pointed out that "If a woman sources power from a signifier of stereotypical masculinity [such as wearing pants], it is just a reinforcement of gender binary." The fashion community, she said, "has had multiple attempts to break the stereotypical gender representation, but they are usually merely acts of marketing campaigns." A lengthy and insightful conversation ensued among the dozen or so in attendance.

The Southborough Society is the current women's affinity group at St. Mark's. It is named for the Southborough School for Girls, which coordinated itself academically, artistically, and socially with St. Mark's from 1972 through 1977.