“‘Who are you Wearing?’: Embodiment, Fashion, and Agency”
Moderators: Christine Mazumdar and Kelsey Blair
At the August 2018 Tennis French Open, Serena Williams was banned from wearing a catsuit during competition after French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli stated, “I think we sometimes went too far…. The combination of Serena this year, for example, it will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.” No stranger to controversy or criticism, Williams responded by wearing a “tennis tutu” one week later at the US Open, tweeting, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.” Williams’ actions can be linked to the collective intervention staged by female attendees at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards wherein many nominees wore all black attire to raise awareness of systematic sexual abuse, harassment, and gender inequality in the work place. Importantly, both these performances took place in the context of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and involved wardrobe as a means for performers to stage interventions or enact agency.
This curated panel aims not only to examine agency and women’s bodies as expressed through wardrobe but also to broadly conceptualize the terms “costume” and “fashion” as a means of stimulating cross-disciplinary conversation in drama, theatre, dance, and performance studies.