“The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don’t have any.”
~ Alice Walker
Quote shown at the beginning of “Miss Representation”
Last week, I attended a screening of Miss Representation, an amazing and heartbreaking film about how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in the United States. The film touched on body image, sexism, racism, the systematic demonization of feminists, the nauseating objectification of women, and many other issues that outraged and sickened me. Images of high school girls crying because they hate themselves, political leaders being dismissed for their fashion choices,and bikini-clad body after roiling bikini-clad body made me dizzy with dismay. And, if I’m being honest, it made me call into question my work, my writing, and my goals. I want women to be empowered, and in a moment of panic I questioned the value of style advice as a tool for empowerment. After all, the problem is that women are increasingly taught to believe that the ONLY thing that matters about us is how we look. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to contribute to that insidious lie.
Originally posted 2011-10-24 06:07:24.
I’ve been trying to incorporate the phrase, “don’t worry about it,” into my advice posts as often as I can. I’m happy to give my two cents on just about any topic, but I always want to emphasize that style rules are really just guidelines, that they can be helpful but should never cause self-doubt, that they can offer structure but should never feel oppressive. I never want any of you to feel that fashion-related advice is dragging you down, so I’ve started capping off many tutorials with a bullet point that simply says, “don’t worry about it.”
Originally posted 2011-12-19 06:09:36.
I feel fairly certain that a marketing professional was the first person to refer to socially undesirable physical traits as “flaws.” And I’m totally certain that those “flaws” were on a woman’s body. When the concept of generating previously non-existent insecurities about beauty and bodies first arose in the marketing world, it arose as a means of selling stuff to women. But eventually, the idea of flawed bodies seeped out beyond cosmetics and girdles and hair removal systems and into the world of fashion. Now, every style expert spouts off about “hiding figure flaws” and “downplaying your flaws.” Every fashion mag claims it can reveal the secrets of “flawless skin” and “a flawless figure.” The language of body flaws is ubiquitous and unavoidable.
Originally posted 2011-12-06 06:33:20.