Fashion, Women and Power (Book)

The Politics of Dress

As never before, women are rightfully in positions of political power, and into the maelstrom of mass media challenges to their fashions and their right to govern. An examination of the fraught narratives surrounding the clothing of women in leadership in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India and Indonesia. 7 b/w, 24 colour illus. 


What is the relationship between fashion, women, and power? As never before, women in positions of political power find themselves facing the maelstroms of mass media regarding both their fashion and their right to govern. In this book, contributors offer a wide set of perspectives on women and their fashions when taking up powerful positions in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States as well as emerging women leaders in Asia. This book questions the relationship between women and dress and interrogates how this conversation informs and articulates how women are viewed when taking up public office. The book critiques the interplays between politics, power, class, race, and social expectations concerning the politics of getting dressed.

Dr Denise N. Rall is an adjunct research fellow in the School of Arts & Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, Australia. Her research over the last ten years has explored the meanings of dress during global conflicts and in politics.


Denise N. Rall

Section I: Theoretical Approaches to Women in Leadership and Political Fashion
Denise N. Rall with Jo Turney

Case Studies I: Gender, Politics & Identity: Lessons from Past and Present

Chapter 1. Rational Dress ‘As an Expression of the Fin-de-Siecle Aspiration Towards Equality of the Sexes’

Madeleine Seys


Chapter 2. Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Premier: Fashion and performing gender

Sarah Baker


 Chapter 3. An Empress’s Wardrobe Unlock’d: Empress Masako and Japan’s Princess Fashions

Emerald L. King and Megan Rose


Case Studies II. Making Politics through Fashion


Chapter 4. Women Politicians, Fashion, and the Media in Australia from Enid Lyons to Julia Gillard

Amanda Laugesen


Chapter 5. Dressing up two Democratic First Ladies: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama

Denise N. Rall, Jo Coghlan, Lisa J. Hackett and Annita Boyd


Chapter 6. Codes of Power: Transforming the Dress and Appearance of female Asian politicians
Jennifer Craik and Anne Peirson-Smith


Case Studies III. Women and Power: Social Media, Politics and Resistance

 Chapter 7. Leopard in Kitten Heels: The politics of Theresa May’s sartorial choices
Rachel Evans


Chapter 8. Felix Siauw: Storyteller, Preacher and Profiteer: Fashioning a New Brand of Islam in Indonesia

Rheinhard Sirait


Chapter 9. All Dressed in Black: decoding the gendered liminal appearance of protest in Hong Kong

Anne Peirson-Smith and Jennifer Craik

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