Sunday, 15 April 2012

Dressing the Part, or What Should a Teacher Wear?

My Teacher Wardrobe: Color coded and ready to go!

"Clothes can suggest, persuade, connote, insinuate, or indeed lie, and apply subtle pressure while their wearer is speaking frankly and straightforwardly of other matters" 
Anne Hollander

I was driving home the other night listening to CBC. It was late and the station was airing the day's earlier episode of "Q" with Jian Ghomeshi. His guest was Robin Givhan, former fashion editor for The Washington Post and now a fashion critic and corespondent for Newsweek . The topic of discussion was the hoodie-- yep, the sweatshirt! Specifically the "role" of the garment in the recent murder of Trayvon Martin and how it has become "a complicated symbol for moral outrage and racial unease." As an English major, I recognize that everything I interact with in my world I "read"; clothing is no exception. And when George Zimmerman encountered a young, hoodie-clad African-American, he read "threat to society" and fired his gun. 
We often misread situations, conversations, books, people...  products of our own subjectivity, we conveniently organize our world into  workable systems--except they aren't always so workable or so true... (hello, racism and stereotyping). Nevertheless, in spite of any shortcomings this system provides, we still tend to judge books by their covers and people by the clothes they wear. This has got me thinking about my outfits for my upcoming practicum. I want to look the part and look "me" (you know, young, fun and uber intelligent!) I am curious to know what my students will "read" when they see me?  Here's hoping that my "wardrobe" for the next 6 weeks provides the (hopefully) lovely students of my new school with an accurate (and positive) perception of me. 

Check out this episode of "Q" | Q

Robin Givhan's article:

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