Body, Fashion and Transgression – The Aftermath of Creative Performance

Alexandra-Oana IRIMESCU


Creativity is seen as the driving force of human evolution. An interpretation which will be expanded upon in this paper is that of creativity as an instrument in the emancipation of women. The aim of this article is to expose and analyze the ways in which apparel may be instrumented in the construction of a new identity geared towards a contesting feminist goal. This approach is of interest considering the social pressure women face with the aim of having them conform to pre-established social norms and roles. In spite of this, contemporary society is witness to individuals’ tendencies to renew or reinvent themselves in light of ever-changing social values. Nowadays, identity becomes a construct which depends on the way in which individuals define, perceive and interpret themselves and how they present themselves to others; while the adoption of a certain style of apparel is a social action which can attempt to espouse a symbolic resistance to the dominant social order as an expression of democratic sentiment. This research deals with the various aspects of identity construction, emphasizing the role of choice of apparel in the expression and support of feminist values. The case of Madonna and a few contemporary feminist groups, such as the punk group Pussy Riot, which made itself (in)famous through several performances which engaged in a public criticism of the objectification of the female body, serve as our main research subjects. An analysis of signs present in apparel points to and challenges women’s submission to the cultural standard. To this purpose, the artists use apparel as a way of expressing ideas. The results of this study can serve in explaining the transformations observed in present-day urban fashion and also point to the reinvigoration of feminism in the younger generations.

Keywords: identity, creativity, feminism, performance, fashion