Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Else Could It Be Other Than Hate?

Maybe you're familiar with the recent flap over the Ralph Lauren ad with a horribly re-touched photo?  You know something's wrong when her head is wider than her hips!  Looking at the super-skinny digitally manipulated photos of fashion models makes me certain that at the heart of the fashion industry is a real hatred of women - of womanly curves and softness and roundness.

So much of women's fashion today is clearly designed to fit slender young men, who do not bear the apparently hideous burden of breasts and hips and tummies and thighs, but rather offer narrow straight lines.  And in order to find women on whom such clothes look good, the industry pushes models and consumers alike to be increasingly thin and narrow and straight as well.

Cellulite, round tummies, full upper arms, etc., are not just considered unattractive, but there is a real element of sinfulness associated with women who are so careless and lazy as to let their bodies be lush and womanly, as if they are a sure sign of moral decay and good citizenship.

Of course, there's the other model of womanliness designed to appeal to men, not to fashion sense, and that model uses as its inspiration the porn star - bleach blond hair and surgically enhanced, overly exaggerated and overly exhibited female body parts.

What ludicrous and artificial choices.  Why condemn the most typically feminine aspects of the female body?  Risking the wrath of all that is PC, I wonder if gay men designing for women makes a difference?  If your interest in the female form is purely aesthetic, then it might seem perfectly reasonable to design for a certain artistic ideal that is no way connected with most "real women".

And if you prefer a narrower, less-curvy figure in what you find intrinsically attractive (i.e., men), then you might also bring that preference into your design work, and look for models, albeit female, who match that look, naturally gravitating toward and cultivating slender and narrow.  If you like twinks (Google it if you want to know), you might like your female models looking that same way.

Of course this is conjecture, but I know with certainty about the condemnation of any female celebrity unfortunate enough to be caught bearing cellulite.  And entertainment media accuse any famous women with even a little bit of a tummy of being either overweight or pregnant.  The biggest selling cover story is often the actress that lost 20 (or 30 or 40 or 50) pounds and thereby changed her life - and must now wear a bikini on a magazine cover.  Woe to the woman who gives birth and doesn't make regaining her pre-pregnancy figure a priority; it demonstrates unforgivable sloth.

I'm all for cultivating a deeper sense of self that doesn't look to size and shape, but to qualities and virtues and character.  Real beauty is completely invisible and its standards are eternal, unchanged regardless of culture or fashion or style or any of the other transitory measures we keep trying to impose on it.

No comments: