Chairman Wow!

October 18, 2009

Fashion, sexuality, and universities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 9:41 am

kurtFashion is a $150 billion dollar a year industry. Individuals from every corner of the globe contribute their hard-earned dollars, pounds, euros, renminbi and yen to this figure. As every self-conscious high-schooler knows, fashion is more than just clothes or cash– fashion choices outwardly express a person’s interests, values, heritage, socioeconomic status, and…sexuality.

Sixteen years after Kurt Cobain donned a dress on the cover of “The Face,” CNN reports that in Atlanta, Georgia, a traditionally black all-male college has changed its dress code to prevent a small group of students from cross-dressing while on campus. Vice President for student services, Dr. William Bynum, claims that the policy change will affect only a very small number of students “living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way [the college] does not expect in [its] men.” CNN also reports that those students who choose to violate the dress code will only be allowed in the university’s class rooms after they have changed into appropriate attire. Students who continually disregard the dress code could be suspended from school.

Morehouse, a private college, is obviously allowed its freedom to set and enforce its own rules (within certain legal boundaries, of course). And while the story itself is interesting, the aftermath will surely be the most interesting part of all– will these students consider this policy change a rejection of or commentary on their sexual identities? Are fashion choices so important to these students that they’d be willing to sacrifice themselves to their cause like Prada-donning Joans of Arc? How important is sexuality in the fashion world and in fashion choices? And from a wider perspective, in this confusing age of sweat pants and “booty-shorts” should more universities enact student dress codes?

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