Friday, September 17, 2010

Getting out from behind the lectern - and Joss Whedon

An academic friend and I have been debating the issue of fashion and the female academic. We were inspired by a blog post, "Mind over Malls or, Does Academia Hate Fashion." Minh-ha T. Pham notes:

"That fashion scholarship and fashion/style blogging seem to be mostly circling each other rather than interfacing is not so much the failure of academics as it is the evidence of the persistence of the beauty/brains division in academia in particular and society at large."

I think this is starting to break down. Just as geeks are becoming fashion forward, academics are finding new ways to express their research interests through fashion. It's actually quite entertaining popping along to a conference and trying to figure out an academic's area of expertise based on their dress. It can be as easy a giveaway as an ironic pop culture shirt to the more subtle beret and wrap that might mark an Austen scholar. At a very practical level, today I noticed a blog post in which a very practical reason for bright shoes was voiced:

"You had to know that I was going to wear a colorful shoe, right? I’ve realized that I am far less likely to hide behind a podium when teaching if I’m wearing a bright shoe. A bold heel deserves a bold presentation style."

Oh, and remember that I went to Joss Whedon's keynote speech at the Melbourne Writers Festival? There's a transcript available to look at now. This is one of my favourite moments from his keynote:

"Well, a lot of my writing is influenced by comic books, a lot of my directing is influenced by comic books. They make very iconic images, they know exactly, you know, where to put “the camera”, they do the storytelling in – they have to put everything in these panels to get from place to place, and when it’s done well, you really know, you really feel that flow. And but you also feel the “pop” of these moments, so you’re not just sort of [bumps the microphone] – oh excuse me. [realises] I just apologised to a microphone. I really do need to work on my self-esteem, huh?" (Min, omg - squee)

I also noticed another piece on the same website that made me click, "Authors are People Too" (Firefall). It's worth a look if you're interested in how fans are now influencing the work of their favourite authors.

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