Average looking really pretty model people: New ways of thinking about the fashion model for new times
Dwyer, Angela E. (2005) Average looking really pretty model people: New ways of thinking about the fashion model for new times. In Julian, Roberta, Rottier, Reannan, & White, Rob (Eds.) Community, Place, Change, The Annual Conference of The Australian Sociological Association, December, Hobart, Australia.
This paper will explore how young people appear to be employing more sophisticated ways of thinking about popular media icons that transcend more dichotomous understandings reflected in the literature. It appears that typically popular media icons are conceptualised in the literature in terms of a dichotomy: they influence young people in either negative or positive ways, never both. Young peoples’ ways of thinking about these icons, however, appear to transcend these binaries, and even hold such binaries together in paradoxical ways. As a ‘for instance’ of these new understandings, the paper draws on recent research conducted by the author about the fashion model. The paper examines more specifically how young girls conceptualise the fashion model body in ways that hold together the typically dichotomous ways of thinking about fashion model reflected in the literature. Whereas the literature sets up a discursive binary about the model body as either ‘fatal’ or ‘fun’, young girls draw on more erudite ways of thinking about the model body as both fatal and fun. In light of this, the paper highlights the need to move to more ironic theoretical tools in order to better understand young peoples’ engagement with popular cultural icons in ‘new times’.
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