Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sugar Plums Dancing in My Head, Ed. #2

A recurring (maybe) compendium of serious and frivolous thoughts bouncing through my brain at any given moment.

The Serious: SweetMachine at Shapely Prose points to this link featuring a portfolio of celebrity pictures before and after retouching. She points out how ridiculous, unhealthy, and unrealistic Mass Media’s beauty standards are, both for women and men. She writes:

That portfolio is a glorious example of the impossible beauty standard: Kelly Clarkson has been shrunk, while Julia Stiles has been filled in; Beyonce’s hips have been redrawn to erase a muffintop, while Eva Longoria’s hips have been curved up and out. Looking through all these photos, I get the eerie feeling that they’ve stolen flesh from one woman only to add it to another.

This is the quintessential operation of the beauty “ideal”: it is just that, an idea, sold to us as something to strive for not despite but because it is impossible.
Even the women who look like that don’t look like that! The outrage of this is not only that people who are not models or actors are held to a standard that constantly moves to something less real, but also that models themselves are forced to maintain unfeasible weights (often via verbal abuse and threats of unemployment) and then are demonized for it, making the fashion industry even more exploitative than it already was. You must be skinny and curvy at once, tiny and voluptuous, recognizably yourself but without the the lines and planes and wrinkles of your own body.

Take a look at the portfolio, and then think about how this sort of artifice affects you and everyone around you. (On a lighter note, if they’re doing this for regular magazine pics, imagine how they’re manipulating pornographic images…)

The Frivolous: Last week, I pulled out all my spring & summer clothes and organized them into “keep” and “toss” piles. This is not always easy as I have an emotional attachment to some things (like the navy blue J. Crew polo dress I bought probably 10 years ago that’s faded, and baggy, and even has a couple of bleach spots and still got another 11th hour call from the governor and went back into my drawer) but by and large the effort was successful.

The toss pile is going to a local consignment shop on Thursday and hopefully, I’ll get a few bucks . Everything is in great or excellent condition, but they’re items that are too big on me, or don’t really work with my body type, or fall into the “what was I thinking when I bought that?” category.

(I did put an item on eBay – a dress of Sadie’s she outgrew – but as virtually no one has viewed the damn thing, much less bid on it, I think I’ll be more successful at the consignment shop.)

As for the items that I’m keeping, I’m trying to figure out where the gaps in my wardrobe are and fill those holes with good stuff. In the past I’ve just bought things that I liked, which resulted in a lot of nice pieces that don’t work together; it’s a habit I’m trying to break.

I was able to pick up a versatile pair of white Banana Republic pants last week at the outlet mall (only $36!) and they’re now at the tailor’s being hemmed to fit my dauchshound-short legs (an additional $9, but completely worth it).

I also picked up a layering piece to put under a low cut green dress. (It's this top but redesigned as a dress with a knee length hem. I got it for $39 when it retailed for $188 - whoo!) I hate using tanks or camis as a layer so I ordered a bandeau (fine, tube top) in white from American Apparel with the hopes that it will give me the coverage I’m looking for without extra layers. We’ll see how it fits…

1 comment:

Peabody said...

I love that website, I have seen it several times. I wish no one could be airbrushed so we could see how everyone really looks!