Thursday, January 02, 2014

Lifestyle roundup

-One of the strangest things about the post-Facebook age, I find, is the way that what was loser-marking behavior in the earliest days of social media (posting photos you've taken of yourself, or being obviously online on a Saturday night or, say, New Years) has switched over into being... cool. I think?Young/cool people, am I missing something? My impression of today's fashion is, if you haven't documented a party, ideally by photographing yourself at it, and posted it instantly, chatting on- and offline simultaneously, you're out of the loop. If you actively choose not to document-and-post your own social life, this is no longer because what's going on is too scandalous or fabulous, or you're too busy having a good time to photograph it, but rather evidence that you haven't been outside past 8pm since 1994. In any case, as with all fashions, this appears to be cyclical.

-Does it tarnish high fashion when models bare all in Playboy? Hadley Freeman thinks so:

It is well past time to call bullshit on this alliance between fashion and Playboy. If women want to make their careers out of glamour modelling, good luck to them, but to suggest that Playboy itself is somehow chic, that to ally oneself with that dud Viagra pill of a magazine is excitingly racy and that women who have achieved enormous success and fame in their fields are proving their self-worth and sexiness by posing for it is just demented.
The eternal dilemma. Which beauty ideal is more democratic or feminist or what have you: the regime of "chic," which is sometimes welcoming of eccentrics, but not of the usual variants of the female form; or the regime of male-gaze, which tends to lean more conventional and not particularly empowering, but which also tends to include virtually all women, what with male tastes (if not the tastes celebrated in mainstream male-oriented mags) being far more subjective than runway-casting requirements?

I'm a huge Freeman fan, and used to be Team Fashion on this one, but the more I think about it, the more I end up, if one must choose, on Team Male Gaze, with the obvious caveat that we'll need to include the lust of women-liking women while excluding that of non-women-liking men. If fashion really were about self-expression, it would be about self-expression for all women, or many women, or, at least, not just a handful of the thinnest and youngest, on whom anything looks Fashion, because that's how fashion's been defined. The typical woman is sexy to some people, and chic to none.

-Mark Bittman suggests, as a resolution, "Cook big batches of grains and beans." I remain unconvinced.

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