Pedagogy and Professional Development

Redefining Gender in the Classroom

  • Alyssa Dana Adomaitis (The New York City College of Technology, CUNY)
  • Diana Saiki (Ball State University)


In recent times, paradigm shifts have propelled cultural change, and our society is continually attempting to integrate these shifts into a new consensus. The purpose of this proposed teaching exercise is twofold. First, to teach students how individuals representing a range of gender identities express their gender and the extent to which dress and appearance cues plays a role in such expression. Second, to assess student awareness and appreciation for diverse genders. The first part of the strategy was to prompt students to reflect on how dress has been used in the past. Students were asked to detail how gender was expressed through dress at different periods throughout history. A quasi-experiment was proposed for part 2 of the teaching strategy that both enabled additional reflection on gender and assessment of Part 1. Students were recruited from two courses (one at a Northeastern University and one at a Midwestern university). Students in both groups were given a pre-test to assess their characteristics to ensure both student groups were matched on demographics and other relevant traits, and to assess their extant knowledge of the concept of gender identity. Then students were given the treatment (information obtained from part 1 of the research). The results revealed students:1) Recognized multiple ways that the impact of dress and body images affect human behavior. 2) Related concepts and theories of human behavior to marketplace interactions between fashion products and everyday life  3) Developed empowerment and a sense of social commitment that results in effective advocacy and influence positive change. 4) Developed critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving processes to issues and concerns in psychology of appearance and dress. This exercise will be conducted again, with a larger student body in Gender, Dress, & Society courses where the depth of the 31 different genders can further be discussed along with the differences in gender, dress, and gender history.

Keywords: Culture, Dress and Gender, Gender Identity

How to Cite:

Adomaitis, A. D. & Saiki, D., (2019) “Redefining Gender in the Classroom”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 76(1). doi:

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Published on
15 Dec 2019