Not Entirely Subversive: Rock Military Style from Hendrix to Destiny's Child

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch

Rock and pop musicians attired in military uniforms belong to our collective visual memory of the popular music scene since the 1960s. There has been a tendency to overestimate the subversive and erotic appeal of the uniformed look; subversion and fetishistic eroticism need not have been all that 'rock military style' involved. In challenging a-priori psychological or semiotic approaches, a note is made of discrepancies between what military-styled stars wished to express by their look and what their audiences assumed was its purpose. A general characterization of 'rock military style' is followed by analyses of the 1960s guitar hussar look of Jimi Hendrix and the 21st century camouflaged survivor look of Destiny's Child. Elucidation of the motivation behind their respective versions of 'rock military style' is achieved through utilization of personal statements in interviews, song lyrics, and contextual evidence linked to the histories and philosophies of Pop Art and aesthetics, current events and the cultural and social histories of particular groups. Differences and similarities between Hendrix and Destiny are noted, which include gender-specific attitudes toward the use of uniforms and military textiles as decorative devices, male status display and female empowerment, as well as anxieties about mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFashions : Exploring Fashions through Culture
EditorsJacque Lynn Foltyn
Number of pages35
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Publication date2012
ISBN (Print)978-1-84888-015-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
SeriesCritical Issues

ID: 35925990