GVSU seminar warns that ‘fashion trends’ are ‘oppressive’

Grand Valley State University will soon host a “teach-in” on the ways in which “fashion trends” can “impose oppressive effects on marginalized populations” as part of its MLK Day celebrations.

The seminar on “The ‘Privilege’ Your Clothes Show and the ‘Power’ Your Attire Speaks” will apparently discuss the numerous “biases” and “societal oppressions” associated with various fashion trends, according to a list of “Teach-in 2017 Sessions” obtained by Campus Reform.

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“This session will discuss how fashion trends and cultural appearance can impose oppressive effects on marginalized populations, such as students, employees, women, and transgender identities,” a description for the teach-in explains, adding that participants will “address biases related to natural hair, cultural attire, and the societal oppressions associated with them.”

Additionally, the seminar will discuss the “various ways these populations can show up to class/work and be received differently,” with the intent of helping students to “identify pathways to liberation for underrepresented populations in the classroom and in the workplace through authenticity.”

Other intended goals for the teach-in will be to help students “understand how cultural appearance and fashion trends intersect” while gaining “an understanding of how perceptions of traditional and current fashion trends can be oppressive to some individuals.”

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“This session will include group activities and self-reflection and will conclude…with the importance of dressing as your authentic self while understanding ones [sic] specific academic/professional culture,” the description concludes.

UPDATE: Grand Valley State University explained to Campus Reform that whether or not students receive academic credit for participating is up to the discretion of individual faculty members, noting that "students may or may not be encouraged by faculty to attend as it is not required" and that "individual faculty determine if students are given class credit." 

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