The victory of Eurovision Song Contest by Conchita Wurst in 2014 was saluted with a twitted by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin maintaining that Eurovision had shown supporters of European integration the future of EU in the shape of a bearded girl. A couple of years later, European citizens did not see many bearded girls actually walking the streets of EU. Even if the prophecy had not come true, looking back we can detect there the germs of a transformation in tastes and codes of appearance, towards a more fluid conception of gendered identity. Though their recent collections, many fashion designers – from Vivienne Westwood to Dior – have offered clear suggestions about how to not merely bend gender but actually perform “a-gendering”. Moreover, some brands and designers have dedicated specific releases to materialize this new typology of imagery. This is not the first time that we can see a conflation of pop and fashionable codes of self-presentation which blur gender lines, (or intermingle gender codes). Has the ‘bearded girl’ materialized the possibility for new gendered representations – at least in fashion and pop culture? Reducing the case of Conchita Wurst to mere fortuitousness would represent a shallow understanding of a cultural fact, because it initially emerged from the contest as an “instant symbol of sexual and gender diversity” (Altman and Symons 2016), but was able to erase the memory of her glamorous predecessor1 and be present in other socially relevant events. It thus seems to have meant more than a moment of exuberance in the pop scene. We know from an interactionist perspective that our identity is indeed a negotiated experience, through which “we define who we are by the way we experience ourselves… as well as we reify ourselves” (Wenger 1998: 149). Some of the semiotic resources we normally use are verbal but others are drawn from a variety of modes of communication that do not include language. If we can consider the image definitely a combination of styles exempt from verbal communication and aimed at providing a potential audience with information for interpretation, we have to wonder: what is the actual legacy of this case and to what extent can it be considered an ‘influencer’ of contemporary identity performances? In this paper, I will draw a reconstruction of the a-gendered imagery that has recently developed in the aftermath of the Eurovision song contest. I will point out some constitutive elements of this emerging arena, trying to identify how the innovation of fashion imagery and the call for a new image of gendered identity conflate and are materialized in the practice. References Altman D. and Symons J. 2016, Queer Wars: The New Global Polarization Over Gay Rights, Malden/Cambridge: Polity Press. Connell R.W. 2002, Gender, Cambridge: Polity Press. Mora E. 2009, Fare moda. Percorsi di produzione e consumo, Milano: Mondadori. Wenger E. 1998 Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning and Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wilson E. 1985, Adorned in Dreams. Fashion and Modernity, London: Tauris.

Barba, glamour, e la promessa di un futuro a-gender

Ambrogia Cereda
2016

Abstract

The victory of Eurovision Song Contest by Conchita Wurst in 2014 was saluted with a twitted by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin maintaining that Eurovision had shown supporters of European integration the future of EU in the shape of a bearded girl. A couple of years later, European citizens did not see many bearded girls actually walking the streets of EU. Even if the prophecy had not come true, looking back we can detect there the germs of a transformation in tastes and codes of appearance, towards a more fluid conception of gendered identity. Though their recent collections, many fashion designers – from Vivienne Westwood to Dior – have offered clear suggestions about how to not merely bend gender but actually perform “a-gendering”. Moreover, some brands and designers have dedicated specific releases to materialize this new typology of imagery. This is not the first time that we can see a conflation of pop and fashionable codes of self-presentation which blur gender lines, (or intermingle gender codes). Has the ‘bearded girl’ materialized the possibility for new gendered representations – at least in fashion and pop culture? Reducing the case of Conchita Wurst to mere fortuitousness would represent a shallow understanding of a cultural fact, because it initially emerged from the contest as an “instant symbol of sexual and gender diversity” (Altman and Symons 2016), but was able to erase the memory of her glamorous predecessor1 and be present in other socially relevant events. It thus seems to have meant more than a moment of exuberance in the pop scene. We know from an interactionist perspective that our identity is indeed a negotiated experience, through which “we define who we are by the way we experience ourselves… as well as we reify ourselves” (Wenger 1998: 149). Some of the semiotic resources we normally use are verbal but others are drawn from a variety of modes of communication that do not include language. If we can consider the image definitely a combination of styles exempt from verbal communication and aimed at providing a potential audience with information for interpretation, we have to wonder: what is the actual legacy of this case and to what extent can it be considered an ‘influencer’ of contemporary identity performances? In this paper, I will draw a reconstruction of the a-gendered imagery that has recently developed in the aftermath of the Eurovision song contest. I will point out some constitutive elements of this emerging arena, trying to identify how the innovation of fashion imagery and the call for a new image of gendered identity conflate and are materialized in the practice. References Altman D. and Symons J. 2016, Queer Wars: The New Global Polarization Over Gay Rights, Malden/Cambridge: Polity Press. Connell R.W. 2002, Gender, Cambridge: Polity Press. Mora E. 2009, Fare moda. Percorsi di produzione e consumo, Milano: Mondadori. Wenger E. 1998 Communities of Practice: Learning, meaning and Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wilson E. 1985, Adorned in Dreams. Fashion and Modernity, London: Tauris.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11389/25057
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