A recent Rick Owens fashion show (which is really more like a theatre piece) blew audiences away by scrapping conventional gender role stereotypes and notions of an “ideal” female beauty typically associated with the fashion world. No wispy, blonde, size-0 stick-figures here! Instead, the show features models representing a variety of ethnicities, shapes, colors, and sizes. In addition to the unconventional (and refreshing) choice of models, Owens redefines femininity by having his models stomp down the runway, beating their chests and scowling at the audience. These women wear warrior-like togas and platformed tennis shoes. Their war-dance of sorts is aggressive and challenging, and most of all, beautiful. Owens’ fashion show/art piece reinforces Judith Butler’s idea that gender is performed and calls into question age-old male/female binaries that we all too often assume are “normal” or “natural.” In a world which seems to place narrower and narrower restrictions on what femininity and masculinity mean, Rick Owen’s show stands out as an exmple of how gender performativity can be subversive and thought-provoking.
Students: Post one pop-culture artificat which you believe helps illustrate Judith Butler’s idea of gender performativity. Provide a brief commentary/analysis, as I have done above.