Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fashion: The Modern Woman's Faux-Pas

Oh ladies, what have we done?

We can give birth, juggle career and family but we have the hardest time furthering our sex. We're long past burning bras but are we really?

I was reading The Huffington Post this morning and two articles caught my attention- One written by Hallie Seegal, called Letting It All Hang Out: How I Made Peace With My Small Boobs  and the other by Robin S. Rosenberg: Women and Fashion.

Both of these women made points about women accepting their bodies for what they really are, which is an idea I've been toying with since high school. There is a lot of talk about accepting your body and loving yourself, which is great, but then you go shopping  and all of that self confidence melts away- whether you are a straight size or a plus size, everyone goes through it at some point.

Ms. Seegal's article about unlocking her personal freedom by unhooking her bra for good was a bit of an eye opener for me. I know that my smaller breasted friends are always complaining about their underwire digging into their rib cage and I've always suggested soft cup bras to them but the idea of going without... Risque, I thought. But it's true, why not just go without?

Will we ever be comfortable with the way we are- how we are shaped?

There are constant images thrown at us about how our breasts should look and I'm on the other end of the spectrum. Where Hallie Seegal might have been conveyed that she didn't have enough, I was conveyed that I had too much. Media and men are always putting emphasis on bigger breasts but apparently there is such a thing as having too much. While she might have been struggling with her bras, I was struggling with my bras and my clothes. Even though there is a huge importance on breast size, clothes are often not made for bigger ones. Problems like gaping button holes, an excess of cleavage and sometimes not even having the option of a bra in your size without paying $100 are something that I've always struggled with. It's a contradiction that women have dealt with forever and yet instead of embracing what we have and insisting that we be catered to, we instead feel the need to change ourselves to suit others perception. When will they be happy? When will we be happy and comfortable with ourselves?

Dr. Rosenberg makes a point  about how the feminine ideal often means pain or discomfort or lack of functionality (i.e foot binding, heels), she also makes a point of how women are not making things better as we continue to perpetuate these forced ideals amongst ourselves and not supporting our fellow woman. Are we doing it to ourselves out of competition? How are we to know who is the Queen B if we all look equally good?

I find that more than true in my life.

Having worked in an office of 30 employees where only 2 of them were men, I can tell you that it was the most hostile environment I have ever worked in. And, the higher, more pointy toed, loudest heels often determined the pecking order in the company. Every high ranked title other than the CEO was held by women and not just women, mothers but there was no nurturing, just power bitches- ready to eat you up to prove that they had the biggest cojones. What are we teaching the newer generation of girls? Why are we doing these things to each other and making it even more of a man's world?

And I've noticed this kind of thing with my own girlfriends over the years.

When I was the skinny one in my group of friends, I would stop my heavier  friends from leaving the house looking like a hot mess. I even spent less time getting ready for my own prom just so that I could help my heavier friend look her best for her dates prom. But now that I'm the bigger friend, I'm starting to feel like they just want me around because it makes them feel better about themselves. I don't think that's unique to my circumstance-  it may not always be conscious but we have become more superficial thereby sabotaging each other in the process.

My mom always told me to look my best best 'because you never know who you're going to see.' So when I don't have the right clothes for an occasion I sometimes refuse to go out, which makes my friends think that I'm becoming a hermit hiding away from the world. I could see how they could think that if they didn't know me but for the last year I have been bitterly complaining about how the latest trends (i.e skinny jeans, tights, belting it, stilettos, shirt dresses) are just not made for my shape and how I can't find anything that really suits me. So I decided I was going to make my own clothes, screw androgyny driven trends.

I have no clothes to wear because clothes simply aren't made for my body type (plus size, no hips and huge breasts, plump butt) and I feel very uncomfortable wearing the clothes that I have or that or supposedly made for me (Addition-Elle, MXM). This is something I've been trying to convey to my friends and something that they can't seem to understand. There's always someone that they know that is just as big as me that find clothes that fit.

But do they look fantastic and are they the same shape as me? Or do they just look good (slash) passable?

Both my size 4 and size 6 friends have very unhealthy eating habits and not just in the eating junk way but also in the fact that they go from near starving themselves to binging for a week. And why? because they want to look like some 'star' or their gay boyfriend told them they could stand to lose more weight. Obviously, there is a bigger psychological issue there but I really don't think they are isolated cases. It seems that even though there was women's lib, we are more damaged than ever before in the way we see ourselves and so to make ourselves feel better, we have to make each other feel worst.

As women, we have let ourselves be told how we should look for far too long. We have conditioned ourselves to settle and have been brainwashed into thinking that someone else knows what's best for us.  For decades trends have been recycled but there has been no taking into account that over the past few decades women's shapes have changed.  The clothes don't reflect those wearing them.

I have problems with fashion designers because they claim it's simply too hard to make clothes for those other than a size 6. There is such importance put on their greatness but how great can they be if they can only design for one size and one shape.

Isn't it time we demand more ladies? Let me know what you think.


  1. Why haven't you continued writing?
    It's been almost a year, are you any closer to fashion school? update us!!!