Blogging Task 1: Gender

Visit the Gender Diversity at UAL website

How could you apply the resources to your own teaching practice?

The resources on this site are very useful in terms of providing information and advice on the different forms of Gender Diversity and in particular the advice on addressing people correctly according to their specific identity. The “Assume Nothing” image and the video clip that suggests we just ask is an important common sense solution. I will use the resource for not only my own reference but also for students that I work with, be that through pastoral tutorials or during workshop sessions and lectures. I will be using the links on the site to increase my knowledge of this area further.

How could you integrate the research/work your students do on this subject into your teaching/professional practice?

The design and concept development of student work throughout the course encourages students to explore a wide range of diverse subject areas either directly through the design of the brief or through the choices made by the student. Shoe design has an inherently diverse and influential history in representing gender identity from High heel thigh length boots for men in “Kinky Boots” to a new gender neutral footwear brand called MATRIARCH currently being launched on Kickstarter.

Can you cite examples? You will share your thoughts within your groups and comment and share further resources you use in your own context.

During the delivery of Technical sessions  such as pattern cutting. The students look at a selection of traditional men’s styles for core skill delivery and produce 3 sets of patterns a Derby, Oxford and Monk style.

These sessions are introduced with a presentation representing examples of these styles. I ensure that the students are aware that the same constructions can be developed across sizes and show examples from a wide range of genders. Footwear designed specifically for men and women  based on these constructions so that the students can learn to adapt their own personal designs  using the technical skills taught. It will be interesting to use this as a starting point to debate what these styles mean to them and how they identify with the elements that reflect on gender. Why are androgynous shoes still quite masculine in appearance for example? I was shocked to read the Clarks had marketed children’s shoes in store as being called ‘Dolly Babe’ for girls and ‘Leader’ for Boys which were then later withdrawn.  It would be interesting to see how this could spark a debate on Gender and patriarchy in footwear design.

Sancaktar, A. (2006). An analysis of shoe within the context of social history of fashion (Doctoral dissertation, İzmir Institute of Technology).

McDowell, C. (1989). Shoes, Fashion and Fantasy. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

What the Sociology of Shoes Says About Gender Inequality.

Blogging Task 1: Gender.

The life and times of Marsha P. Johnson

Human rights activist and transgender/drag queen.

From the video I had the impression that she was an enlightened individual, a free spirit, creative, honest, kind, artistic an inspirational person of her time. It is  sad that as stated in the film by an interviewee  Michael Lynch ” Kids today, who are gay know nothing about her. Its a shame as she is one of the reasons they are sitting in all their liberated glory”

This video reflects the life and persona of Marsha P. Johnson in the New York Transgender/gay scene of the 1970’s she is thought of by her peers as a legend, as a saint. She was an activist fighting for gay rights at the time and a larger than life character, a walking, living personification of art, as noticed by Andy Warhol.  Unfortunately she lost her life under mysterious circumstances, she lived a dangerous but generous and fulfilling life.

I will take this video as a starting point to research more about the issues relating to gay rights and activism in this area and why Marsha P. Johnson is not so well known by the kids of today.

Marsha P. Johnson 1944 – 1992

Blogging Task 1: Gender

Read hooks, bell (2013) ‘Understanding Patriarchy’ 

To discuss two things learnt from the text and one question/provocation you have about the text.

“So deeply embedded in our collective unconscious are the rules of patriarchy” Hooks, Bell (2013) ‘Understanding Patriarchy’ I can relate to this statement and recognise that a lot us prescribe to gender roles and gender stereotypes in a variety of day to day situations unconsciously and that it demands a more transformative critical awareness to promote change.  I recognise that I have used gender based adjectives to describe a process based around my technical delivery for example during Pattern Cutting Classes using the word Masculine to describe thicker heavier straps or proportions to a particular design. Feminine to describe a lighter more delicate design.

Whilst I understand that this may not be offensive to a particular individual it does mean that I am reinforcing gender stereotypes.

It is interesting to read that Hooks states in the conclusion of the text  “There are Folks who are able to critique patriarchy but unable to act in an anti patriarchal manner” This again demonstrates the embedded nature of patriarchy in our society and consciousness.

I have found it very beneficial to improve my understanding of the meaning of patriarchy to read through the text, to have examples of patriarchal experiences from the author as well as anecdotal examples to illustrate the  harm that a patriarchal system has on society on such a broad scale and that this provides a context to the meaning of patriarchy.

The concluding statement from Hooks “If men are to reclaim the essential goodness of male being, if they are to regain the space of openheartedness and emotional expressiveness that is the foundation of well being, we must envision alternatives to patriarchal masculinity. We must all change” this is a thought provoking conclusion and a world such as this is hard to imagine. I wonder what alternatives to patriarchal masculinity the author has or can envision and I would like to do some more reading in this area. There are a great many examples of patriarchal oppression and behavior in the media at the moment the Me too movement for example after the recent film industry sexual harassment and assault allegations has provoked a wide response from society to this damaging and unfortunately prevalent patriarchal elitist society that we currently find our selves in.

We all need to find a better way to work together to make change. The author sees it this way and understands that together working in harmony we might all find enlightenment.


Personal Introduction

I am a full time Lecturer in Footwear on the BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear course at LCF based on the Golden Lane Campus and deliver the technical content to all years and some technical content on the MA Footwear course.

I trained as a designer on the Cordwainers course back in 1986. Then went on to work in industry as well as my own business making and designing footwear.  I have  30 years of experience and have worked in the UK as well as India, China, Thailand and Spain I endeavor to  bring this knowledge and professional practice into my teaching.

I have enrolled on this course to expand on my pedagogical knowledge and theories in order to use this to improve and enhance my teaching.

New beginnings

I have just experienced my first session on the Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education unit. Through this experience and meeting fellow students/colleagues on the course I have learnt something very interesting about the history of my specialism of Shoe making that could have a very  positive addition to my teaching and learning in relation to this unit.

Credit for this information exchange goes to Jheni Arboine.

Modern Shoe making was developed by a number of inventors and engineers A significant person of interest was Jan Metzeliger of African American descent who invented a machine that would last and attach the sole of a shoe and increase production and therefore decrease cost. I look forward to researching this information and individual in more detail and introducing this into my teaching.

Slide 1


Jan Ernst Metzeliger 1852 – 1889