- Why fashion models don’t smile: Aesthetic standards and logics in the field of fashion images, 1982-2011
- Award date
- 3 June 2015
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In today’s highly visual and globalized Western culture, fashion magazines are central, transnational institutions that shape and disseminate ideas on how we should look, dress and be successful. Within scholarly and popular debates, fashion images are criticized for giving the wrong examples, for conveying ideals of beauty that are too white, too thin, too objectified and too idealized. But despite the controversy that surrounds them, studies of what fashion images actually look like, how they come about, and how they have changed are all but absent. This dissertation addresses this lacuna with its detailed study of fashion images, drawing on observations, interviews and, most importantly, a content analysis of 13,353 fashion images covering a 30-year period (1982-2011). The images are drawn from ten different magazine titles published in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The dissertation first establishes a clear picture of what fashion images look like, then explores why they look the way they do. Its central question is: what do fashion images look like, and how are they shaped by the aesthetic standards and logics of the field of fashion images as well as by wider societal factors?
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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