Women's Fashion: Function of Sex or Social Construction?

Cultura 6 (2):46-67 (2009)
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A perennial influence on the aesthetics of fashion, fostered by Plato and Aristotle, is challenged today by a prevalent social constructionism. The latter embraces an impracticable biodenial as well as an incoherent epistemic relativism, reminiscent of Greek Sophism, whereby truth-claims about good fashion may be both true and false either in the same culture at different times or at the same time in different cultures. But a normative aesthetics of Aristotle and Plato, that affirms an epistemic realism, roots women's fashion in their psychobiological nature. The relation of this nature to their sex proceeds paripassu with an erogeneity proper to women's fashion. The case for this fashion as a mode of art that fulfills the complementary natures of men as well as women is not merely coherent. Beyond the coherence, the case is evidenced by the healthfulness of good art that ranges from its beneficial effects in architecture to medical findings on beautiful music such as Bach, Mozart, Celtic and Indian



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Robert Trundle
University of Colorado, Boulder (PhD)

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