A Critical Lens on Drawing the Body: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Size in Fashion Illustration Textbooks

Date
2016-11-08
Authors
Reddy-best, kelly
Gagliardi, Nika
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Abstract

Scholars have extensively studied representations of race, gender, body, and size in visual imagery circulating in the fashion system. Our study extends Reddy-Best and Kane's (2015) study and examines representations of gender, race, and the body in fashion illustration textbooks. We asked (a) what body sizes are present?, (b) do the illustrations have diverse racial representation?, (c) and how are bodies positioned?. This study is informed by intersectionality theory, in that we critically examined multiple subject positions in relation to systems of oppression (Shields, 2008). Using content analysis, we analyzed 3622 individuals in textbooks between 2006 and 2013. The fashion illustration texts are lacking mostly in racial diversity. Additionally, Black individuals were more often pictured with lighter skin colors continuing the issues of colorism. These findings highlight the reflections of racial hierarchies present in our society, and support the need for more diverse representations in fashion illustration texts.

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