The Psychology of Fashion Blog™ was featured in Graziadiscussing the way women internalize misogyny in their clothing choices.
‘Though designers are weighted to dictate these rules, Shakaila Forbes-Bell, Fashion Psychologist, explains, ‘Fashion rules are no different from social norms – unwritten rules about how we think and behave and dress. We follow fashion rules because they provide a guideline for what we should and shouldn’t wear in order to fit into certain social groups, which in turn fosters healthy relationships. We also form fashion rules because the influential fashion publications who dispense these rules act as a type of authority figure. In general, humans are socialised to obey authority figures.’ She uses the miniskirt as an example, which was launched as a symbol of women’s emancipation but as Shakaila says, ‘has turned into a factor of the submission of women to a male aesthetic, which causes women to generally shy away from the garment.’
But, where does this male gaze stem from? Shakaila is convinced it’s learned behaviour at play. ‘Evolutionary psychology states that a pronounced cleavage signals high fertility levels in females which peaks males interest in their quest to find ‘the best’ mate. That’s why low-cut tops draw more attention than say crop tops or booty shorts.’
Shakaila Forbes-Bell is a Fashion Psychologist and writer who has been featured in Marie Claire UK, i-D, Who What Wear, All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, Fashion Bomb Daily, The Voice Newspaper, Gal-Dem, Black Matters US and more.