Friday, May 14, 2010

Sewing with the wrong plumbing

I finished my sociology paper about gender disparity is fashion design schools a few weeks ago. I would have written about it here sooner, but I wanted to wait to until I got it back with a grade and comments from my professor. I got 44 out of 50 points. It is not a very good grade, but I do not think it was a good paper so I can’t complain. I knew what points I wanted to make, and I had a lot of good data, but I had a lot of trouble using sociological concepts to support my arguments. My professor thought I had some good ideas, but he felt I failed to draw strong links between cause and effect.

I can sew a shirt, but I cannot form a proper sociological argument. That’s OK. I want to be a designer, not a sociologist. I enjoyed the class, but if it was not required I would not have taken it. I will not bore you with the full text of my paper; I will just sum up the main points.

Only a small percentage of fashion design students are men. Fewer than 4% of bachelor’s degrees awarded to apparel design students at UW-Stout go to men, and other schools have similar percentages. The fashion industry is generally perceived to be one for women and gay men. Most straight men wish to avoid the stigma of working in such an industry.

While the majority of fashion design students are female, the majority of big name fashion designers are gay men. The fashion industry is one in which success is determined by customer perception. So long as customers believe that gay men are better designers they will have a far greater chance of success than do women and straight men.

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