Friday, June 1, 2007

Female Fashion

The female form seems forever intended for decoration. Whereas men dress practically—in pants, shirts, and jackets specifically designed for movement and activity—females traditionally use what we call “fashion” to constrict movement and basically feel as uncomfortable as possible. Consider the following list of typically “female” clothes:
  • jewelry (earrings, rings, necklaces, etc.)
  • scarves—not the wooly, warm kind
  • hats
  • tights
  • skirts and dresses

    All of these clothes—in some form or another—get in the wearer’s way and restrict their movement. In other words, they operate purely to “look nice.”

    Jewelry: consider typically “female” jewelry—dangly, beaded earrings; loopy necklaces that dangle in front of a girl’s face when she leans over; rings that clink against metallic and ceramic objects brushed by the wearer’s hand, etc. All of these items—particularly earrings, necklaces and bracelets—have the potential to get caught around handles, on hooks, or in crevices, potentially choking the wearer to death or shredding her earlobe. They serve no practical purpose other than to ornament the wearer, and often they make her look more ridiculous than not. (Sparley rhinestones smacking you in the cheeks every time you twist your head? Neon purple beads the size of olives weighing around your neck? Silly silly silly.)

    Scarves and hat: these articles can be worn by the male sex, too, and also for practical purposes. Typically, when styled to be worn acceptably by both genders, these clothing items are intended to keep the wearer warm in cold weather conditions. A wooly scarf can keep the cold wind from assaulting the wearer’s neck, and a fuzzy hat can conserve a significant amount of the 80% or body heat that ordinarily escapes from an individual’s head. However, when girls use these accessories to look fashionable, the accessories morph into restrictive, impractical styles. Take page-boy hats—one healthy gust of wind and the wearer will be chasing the hat down the street (I have seen this happen). Dinky, gauzy scarves are no better—they typically go the way of dangly necklaces, endangering the wearer’s health every time she leans over any sort of moving gears and promising to slop sauce or soup onto her lap at the dinner table if she isn’t careful.

    Tights: I have always had a personal vendetta against these. The ordinary argument in favor of tights is that they are meant to keep girls’ legs warm. How are they supposed to keep anyone’s legs warm when they are made of nothing more than fine-grained netting? Leggings perhaps could serve this purpose, but tights do nothing more than keep the legs numb to changes in wind direction, make a girl’s legs itch, and create a hole in her pocketbook every time they develop a runner. And think of the varieties available: black opaque, black sheer, footed, footless, control-top, neon pink, and my personal favorite—fish net. Can anyone argue for practicality now?

    Skirts and dresses: this is the easiest category to argue against. What girl can move, unrestricted, in a skirt or dress when she has to worry all the time about it getting hiked up and revealing her knickers (assuming she is wearing any)? Even sitting becomes laborious; depending how short the skirt is, she must be conscious of any potential gap between her legs at all times. Talk about making someone self-conscious!

    I don’t entirely understand how this focus on decoration came about, when it so blatantly opposes the order of things in nature. In the animal kingdom, males are the ones who must attract females with their appealing appearances, not the other way around. Birds provide the best example of this phenomenon: the male cardinals, peacocks, and mallard ducks are all the ones displaying vibrant colors and patterns with their feathers. Females are ordinarily dull and unimpressive. What happened to reverse this order in humans?


    Kelly said...

    man, k1 just lent me this book that i need to return to her called 'tripping the prom queen.' if you ever want a reason to never trust another female again, read this book. it's paranoia but the sad thing is bits are true. anyway, the main point is that women are competing over limited resources, thus why they have to look good (aka pursue fashion)

    and while i agree with some of it, men aren't exactly immune either. and they can look just as stupid, with less effort.

    Gordon said...

    You might have enjoyed 14th-century Italian fashion — or certain other things from around that time and place. It didn't have exactly the same logic as ours today.

    Kristin said...

    Well I mean maybe men are jealous that we have such cute choices and can be dazzled up. But then again, I am not the type to wear super tight pants or anything just for the look. But with humans, girls dress for other girls, not for guys. And with other animals, the male animals are flashier than the other guys, not for the girls. Because if there were no other girls, all girls would just wear whatever- they're the best thing around!