Expressive Materialities: Clothing, Reciprocal Appearance Management and the Mother-Daughter Relationship
This paper explores the challenge to sociologists to think about material objects and their use within everyday situations. Considering clothing as a material object, it analyses the ways clothing objects are used by mothers and their adult daughters as a tool to monitor the appearance of the other. In exploring processes of reciprocal monitoring, the paper conceptualises reciprocal feedback processes as a form of appearance management related to the establishment and performance of identities in circumstances of relatively high co-monitoring. In expanding our view of appearance management practices, this paper aims to highlight the next juncture in understanding how clothing materialises and facilitates relationships and social life for women. Female children are primarily dressed, socialised into clothing practices and taught elements of femininity by their mothers. For most women, this relationship of reciprocal monitoring and co-evaluation persists into adult life. Ultimately, this paper seeks to provide the basis for a sociological examination of appearance management practices in relationships. More broadly, it allows for a reflection on how feminine identities are established within family and through the material medium of clothing.
The annual conference of The Australian Sociological Association 2011
Sociology not elsewhere classified