As a group we chose to focus on gender segregation within clothes shops, specifically ‘Topshop’ and ‘Topman’ because the segregation was far more obvious to us, especially the higher interest between women wanting to shop then men wanting to shop. Shops have separate but not to dissimilar branding between the men and women clothing, physically separate within the independent building but by floors within the building they co-inhabit. `
Topshop and Topman have a cultural segregation between men and women in terms of their clothing. They also use a colour segregation due to the sign being black and white; black is a very masculine colour as men wear black on their wedding days whereas white is a very feminine colour as women usually wear white on their wedding day thus making this also become semiotic. This is noticeable throughout the shop due to the different types of clothing used, women need to be feminine and men need to be masculine. This adds to the two binary genders that our culture distinctly shows being separate these photos show the separation through clothing.
In terms of being socially acceptable women are seen as being accepted if they also wear men’s clothes but for a man it is not accepted to wear women’s clothing, thus becoming a countertype as it is challenging the traditional stereotype of men and women’s clothes. Judith Butler believes gender is a performance which masculinity and femininity perform and the clothes men and women wear are the “props” of this performance. This links to our next photo of the manikins, it is noticeable that each manikin is either female or male due to the features given the women manikins are almost posing as if they are modeling for a photo whereas the men are standing very upright and formal almost showing their strength. With the female manikins they are posing for the male gaze (Laura Malvey) to almost gain the men’s attention to enter the shop and looking inside. This shows the manikins becoming a symbol for the shop itself. The shop is physically segregated into men and women; women’s wear is upstairs whereas men’s wear is downstairs, the manikins help enhance the segregation as they target the performance of what the shop sells.
Topshop and Topman feed the cultural needs of men and women by reinforcing the social expectations of what a man and women need to wear.
Even though the shop is the same brand Topman had to enhance the MAN in their shop name allowing it to become a knowledge system.