68.1 F

Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

(Re)Fashioning Gender: Signed, Feminist Killjoy

Over the past 10 weeks, it seems like I’ve worn everything from floral dresses to men’s button-ups. It makes me kind of nostalgic (and, let’s be real, also kind of mortified) to think about all the looks I’ve gone through in my life. While my fashion sense has changed tremendously over the years – and even just over this past quarter – what’s always remained the same is my inability to stick to a look that’s strictly feminine or masculine.

While I’ve always had the privilege of being comfortable with and identifying as the gender I was assigned at birth, I often feel a need to venture outside the realm of femininity.

As a result of writing this column and taking the time each week to think about the intersection of fashion and gender, what I’ve become infinitely more aware of this past quarter is exactly how I have come to define and represent my gender identity through my appearance.

That’s not to say I’ve got a blueprint of my gender that I take with me whenever I go shopping. I think it’s a lot more complex than that. In fact, I tend to make fashion choices on a whim, without any regards to how I think or want people to perceive any aspects of me, gender included.

Take, for example, my spur-of-the-moment decision to chop off all my hair this summer. Or my don’t-think-just-spend mentality every time I go into a thrift store. (OK; I think I know what bad habit I’ll be breaking for my New Year’s resolution).

That said, what I’ve found to be the best part about writing on these issues – aside from being deemed the resident Feminist Killjoy in the group of friends I’d often bounce article ideas off of – is the range of perspectives about gender I’ve come across when having conversations about the column.

From friendly (and some not-so-friendly) debates to my mom asking me if I’ve really stopped shaving my legs (sorry mum), it’s made me wonder how complex each individual’s perception about their own gender is.

Even just by looking at the clothes people are wearing, it seems that there is an infinite number of gender identities floating around the world, and, as I’ve come to realize, there are even more ways to dress them.

To stop CHELSEA SPILLER from spending all her money at thrift shops, email her at ctspiller@ucdavis.edu.

Graphic designed by Jennifer Wu


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