Introduction: Clothing Politics: Normative And Anti-Normative Designs



Welcome to the fifteenth issue of The Funambulist, which revisits the topic addressed by the third issue (January-February 2016): Clothing Politics. The original issue devoted to this topic had described multiple ways in which clothes reveal, exacerbate, affect, or engage with bodily politics. Objects of investigation were sagging pants banned in Flint, Michigan and other U.S. towns (Eric Darnell Pritchard), the experiential palimpsest of punk pants (Mimi Thi Nguyen), a luxury shoe supposedly calibrated for the female “Asian foot” (Minh-Ha T. Pham), hijab design (Hana Tajima) and its capitalist instrumentalization (Reina Lewis), as well as an historical account of the role of the Gandhi cap in the Indian independence struggle (Emma Tarlo). My introduction for that issue focused on the ways in which the judicial realm occasionally seizes clothing as either a site of political conflict (as in the laws passed in France in 2004 and 2010 that implicitly target Muslim girls and women) or as evidence (as was the case in George Zimmerman’s 2013 trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin). For this current issue, I would like to briefly address questions of normativity in relation to clothing.