The NYT Style section profiles Leandra Medine, the force behind the "Man Repeller" fashion blog, which I remembered having linked to here once before in reference to the perennial straight-men-and-women's-fashion question, but a search for "harem pants" lead me nowhere... turns out it was in reference to a certain chambray button-down.
“I do think there are men who would see a girl wearing this stuff and think, ‘She has so much confidence and she still looks great despite the fact that I don’t know where her crotch starts in those pants,’ ” she said. “You can still tell when a girl is pretty. The men who really get repelled by what you’re wearing are a little shallow, and you probably don’t want to date them anyway.”Is a man less "shallow" if he's able to look beyond clothes and see how good-looking a woman really is, than if he's thrown off by the presence of a miniskirt? This is like the nonsense about how men who notice women's faces rather than busoms are the nice guys, are not objectifying women. More than that, it reflects the opposite of what I took to be the point of the Man Repeller concept - that female concern about appearance need not have anything to do with "pretty."
But upon further reflexion, it kind of makes sense. The idea isn't that fashion is for women who don't care what men think of their looks. It's that fashion itself isn't employed to attract men. If that makes sense.
*"Seinfeld," distiller of all life's truths, uses the eyebrow question to show how straight women's perceptions of female beauty differ from those of straight men. As in, women notice eyebrows, men don't.
Sadie Stein at Jezebel takes the unsurprising-for-Jezebel approach, which is to point out that Medine's privilege is showing. Eh. Medine has a clothing budget that looks outrageous even to this Upper East Side-reared Jewess, but I'm not sure how any of that matters within the context of her blog and the questions it poses. (Of course, it appears she's living at home for college - maybe dorm money's just going to clothes instead?) If the issue is what man-repellent fashion means in terms of feminism, what matters is Medine's looks - her 'pretty privilege,' if you will. Along the same lines, I have trouble buying the self-deprecating, alternative-to-Fashion tone coming from Tavi, considering her slimness, symmetry, youth, and overall resemblance in everything but height (which is barely noticeable in pictures anyway) to runway models. And Tavi's not living in splendor in Manhattan, but is, famously, of the Midwest, of the suburbs, plucked from obscurity. I mean, there are certainly fashion blogs that elicit eyerolls at the ostentatious displays of limitless shopping budgets. But it's not the issue with the Man Repeller. Instead, this is another example of Jezebel spotting wealth and ceasing upon it as an opportunity to play the I'm-poorer-than-that-rich-bitch game.