Powerful dressing: Artfully challenging sexism in the academy
Transdisciplinary feminist research : Innovations in theory, method and practice
Taylor & Francis Group
School of Education / Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research
#FEAS – Feminist Educators Against Sexism – is a feminist research collective that uses humour, performance and arts interventions to address sexism in the academic workplace. This chapter focuses on one particular #FEAS project: ‘Power Dressing’, a transdisciplinary feminist intervention that morphs photography, performance, textile art, personal narrative, and network-based collective activism to subvert the sexism entrenched in professional appearance and dressing. The Power Dressing project consists of a textile jacket that participants wear. Wearers are then invited to strike a pose of power however they interpret that word, and a photograph is taken of them in the pose. We curated the Power Dressing project because we see the negative impact that appearance politics has on women in the workplace. The Power Dressing project weaves transdisciplinary ideas, practices, strategies and methods together across politics, sociology, feminist theory, gender studies, photography, fashion design and performance, and offers participants with prevailing ways to comment on the subtle sexisms of workplace dressing. The Power Dressing project is presented as a case study into how a transdisciplinary approach offered rich ways to create interventionist feminist commentary on the politics of professional appearance.