Friday, October 01, 2010

Just to clarify

Rather than comment further on the thread begun here:

-What is "fashion"? Luxury brands with identifiable logos? Wearing leggings-as-pants or skinny cargoes because thats what celebs are wearing in paparazzi shots? What's on the runways at Fashion Weeks? Avant-garde post-goth ensembles assembled in Berlin or Bushwick and sold for ungodly amounts? Creatively-arranged thrift-store finds? The last one might be better classified as "style," but the rest are all fashion, and tend to contradict one another. Some fashion is about looking beautiful. Some is about being the kid teased growing up for weird, who moves to the big city and finds an industry that celebrates this weirdness. Sometimes the same brands and magazines are simultaneously about both. This is fashion. So is this. To say it's all about $90 t-shirts, or all about innovative dress, would be inaccurate. It's both those things.

-What is "worse" - dressing hot and getting implants to please Men, or paying up and skipping lunch for Fashion? How about: both are bad and potentially life-threatening when taken to extremes. Both are about women focusing on their physical appearances, and are thus unlikely sites for the coming feminist revolution. Both can, however, be liberating, depending where one is coming from. If I'm admiring a bunch of androgynous-chic outfits while considering the impossibility of a woman with my build pulling them off (or, um, buttoning them closed), I can take comfort in the fact that The Males would consider my didn't-as-for-this-but-there-it-is "womanly" figure a plus. If I put on an outfit I see as my own unique twist on a look that's so-very-now, and my boyfriend looks skeptically at the results, I can reassure myself that a (theoretical) street fashion photographer would see things otherwise. (However, my boyfriend was once stopped by such a photographer, while I've never been, so perhaps I should be taking his advice...)

-Are runway-beauty and man-pleasing-beauty mutually exclusive? No. Youth, blondness, clear skin - these are big in both arenas. And I suspect that if Dude 1 tells Dude 2 over brewskis at the sports bar that he's dating a fashion model, Dude 2 will not respond with a remark about how androgynous and bony models are today, but will instead offer Dude 1 a high-five, or however Dudes today are expressing their hearty approval. But they are different enough realms that when a woman is hired to represent Hot - whether on a sitcom, in a men's mag, or wherever else, use your imagination, men might look at images of hot women - she will not much resemble those who strut down the catwalk for Chanel. Think Penny from The Big Bang Theory. Think (in her better moments) Britney Spears.

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