Friday, September 15, 2006

And this is the bullshit I'm talking about...

There've been a few threads on Pandagon the past few weeks where I've been compelled to jump to the defense of fashion, of dressing cisgenderd-ly (hmm...that's not a word, is it?) and stylishly. Most recently, there's this thread, where I commented:
Why is it shallow to appreciate beautiful clothes? If I appreciate a beautiful painting on the wall, thatÃ?’s fine and intellectual even. But if I appreciate a beautiful dress on my body or beautiful shoes on my feet thatÃ?’s shallow.

Not that the fashion spread in question isn'’t creepy, but IÃ?’m tired of being told one of my hobbies is designed to make me feel bad about myself when I actually enjoy it and have fun with it.
And then a bunch of people jumped up to say that fashion is bad because it's a requirement for women, because you can't get a job without affording a really great dress, etc. (Which I think is a huge exaggeration, because last time I checked no one wears couture gowns to job interviews, but whatevs...)

Sure, there's a huge issue with the fact that it's hard to get a job in a professional situation if you don't have professional-looking clothes. (but fashionable? The office manager at my last call center job looked like she shopped at the Dress Barn...)

On more than a few occasions I've been in a situation where I literally had no clothes to wear that would be taken seriously for a job I've wanted (this is a serious problem if you're trying to get a job...any job...when you're homeless), and it sucks. And it's wrong. And it's especially hard when you're plus-sized like me, because the places where you're likely to find cheap office wear are unlikely to have *anything* appropriate for my size. I know, I've looked.

And it's also kind of a strawman. Trust me, Dolce and Gabbana or Prada or Roberto Cavalli are not trying to sell clothes to women going for job interviews. And are employers really saying things like, "Well, I was going to hire the seriously qualified woman with the JC Penny's clothes on, but this 90-pound waif wearing Manolos came in, so never mind!" Unless you're interviewing to be Anna Wintour's assistant, I doubt it.

What's much more likely to happen is what's happened to Jessica of Feministing. Read this post, this post, and Jessica herself responding to what Ann Althouse, self-proclaimed representative of "real feminist values," had to say about a picture taken at a luncheon with Bill Clinton.
Jessica: I'm not judging you by your looks. (Don't flatter yourself.) I'm judging you by your apparent behavior. It's not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about.
From how Althouse describes it you'd think Jessica were hanging off Bill like a stripper hangs off a pole.

But she committed the crime of standing there (she's the one in the middle), daring to be the person wearing clothes of a flattering cut and proportion, with great skin and hair. Because she wore clothes that were'nt dated and that flattered her figure (and has a stylish haircut,) her work has no value, and she has nothing to offer.

The commenters at Pandagon that irked me are only further up the slippery slope from this, and this is only further up the slippery slope from the "she wore slutty clothes and deserved it" apology for rapists.

I see a lot of bloggers saying they're attacking the patriarchy, but somehow 9 times out of 10 they do this by attacking women. Hmm. (And yes, I realize I'm attacking some women in saying this...irony forever!)

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