How Power Dresses: The Gendered Aesthetics of Uniform A Comparative Case Study of Contemporary Female Heads of State and/or Government in Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines
The clothed body, whether dressed thoughtfully or not, performs a social narrative of gender, wealth, status, nationality, and occupation embedded within a larger network of polysemic positionalities. For female Heads of State and/or Government, who are uniquely situated to project a diverse intersection of identities as well as access clothing choices socially unavailable to their male counterparts, a nuanced analysis of the garment choices of these professionals on the international stage yields significant findings about how women negotiate their roles as politicians, national figures, and religious or areligious representatives. Three contemporary case studies of female Heads of State and/or Government in office between 2000 and 2013 from Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines interrogate these strategic choices of clothing by holistically cataloging and then analyzing the style, color, and pattern of the attire of each figure. Contextualized within their respective cultures and histories, their clothing serves to mimic masculine color coding, integrate religion and the state, and represent a post-colonial vision of the nation.