Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Man in a Uniform

Hi Everyone,

Here's the latest on the grad school front -- I've been in touch with Prof. Susan Kaiser of the UC Davis Division of Textiles and Dept. of Women and Gender Studies, and she has agreed to chat with me about my grad school interests and an appropriate path for me to take. Among the topics of interest for Prof. Kaiser is the social meaning of clothing. I've just begun reading her book, The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context, and my mind is going in all sorts of directions about the possibilities. It's exciting to have a passion & to finally be exploring it.

On a related matter, yesterday Doug and I went shopping for more summer shirts. As I mentioned last week, I had hardly any summer shirts since I had lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. I tend to gravitate towards plaid/tartan cotton shirts for the summer, and Doug commented that I was getting a uniform for work. I've been thinking about this comment, and I think that my position as a secretary has influenced my selection of clothing. I think that it's important for me to project an image of being reliable and consistent in my work life, and I think that my selection of not-too-outlandish clothing reflects this image I'm trying to portray. Perhaps I'm totally off in my perception of my reliable and consistent image -- I've skipped ahead in Prof. Kaiser's book, and there's one section in which she writes about the Tseelson study[1] in which the wearer's perceptions of the message conveyed by the clothing were compared with the message received by the viewers. I'd be interested in seeing if my co-workers view my clothing as really projecting a reliable and consistent image.

On another level, I also like dressing conservatively (or what I think is conservatively) and then shocking viewers of my more racy artwork (e.g., the cock ring, the spaghetti jockstrap, and the cut-up bible piece) with the disconnect between my appearance and the outlandishness of these pieces.

Any thoughts, readers?

On a final note, my purchase of the additional summer shirts may be a moot point, as there appears to be a cooling trend -- on Friday it was 103F, and yesterday it was only 100F.
[1]Tseelon, E. 1989. Communicating via clothes. Ph.D. dissertation, Oxford University.

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