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Young Women, Fashion, and Modernity in Taiwan

Hong, Ming-Chun (2013) Young Women, Fashion, and Modernity in Taiwan. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Young Taiwanese women are thought to have gained more individuality and agency over the last few decades. With the improvement in women’s rights and the increase in disposable income, young women have been embracing new forms of identity and consumption values. It becomes apparent that, even in the seemingly straightforward act of consuming fashion goods, young women must navigate conflicts between modernity, traditional values and social expectations while constructing the self in negotiation with others. This research sought to study young Taiwanese women’s perceptions of consuming fashion products and to determine whether their accounts conform to prevalent notions of modern women and the development of individuality. I examined how young metropolitan Taiwanese women managed their appearances in order to represent their identities, and how these decisions were subjected to the influence of parents, others and themselves. In the summer of 2009, I conducted semi-structured interviews with 24 metropolitan women between the ages of 19 and 31. These interviews focused on several aspects of fashion consumption, covering the meaning of brands and fashion goods to young women and their relationships with the construction of self-identity and social identity, self-image and public image and femininity. My analysis drew on Goffman’s (1959) approach to impression management and other theories of self-identity. I found that for the women interviewed, the process of dressing themselves demonstrated contradictions between maintaining individuality and conforming to social norms. However, through acting ‘not too over the top’ and through the conscious inclusion of others, young women are able to achieve a balance in managing their appearance. Through reflexively negotiating external surveillance and self-monitoring they constructed a sense of self through their choices of fashion goods the construction of their image. This negotiated self is repeatedly exercised and practised in all private and social spaces.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: modernity; self-identity; appearance; femininity; young women's fashion
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.581732
Depositing User: Ms Ming-Chun Hong
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 09:22
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:02
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4638

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