Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Hamster wheel of fashion-What Ms. Magazine has taught me

I will be the first person to admit that I read Vogue, Glamour, Self, Fitness, Marie Claire and Cosomo almost everything month and every month I read with envy because none of those women look like me and apparently all have bank accounts exponentially bigger than mine, I'm sure we all know that feeling the industry calls these "aspirational" magazines. If we could only own "x" than our lives would be complete, except that x factor product changes all the time from a Birken bag (still want one) to a pair of loubtains (actually have savings account devoted to a pair).

We flock to own designer goods because we desperately want to achieve some of the "It" girl status. The problem is that fulfillment never comes because the system is what a clever friend of mine calls "the hamster wheel" of fashion, an ever revolving, an ever changing landscape in which one cannot even been seen in the same dress twice. Yes we've bought into the system and at times it can be fun to shop for new and exciting pieces but to give so much weight, emotional currency and relevancy to what has become "disposable" fashion is ridiculous.

I picked up the summer issue of Ms. Magazine and was rapt by all the articles of extremely important women I'd never heard about, women working to end political imprisonment in third world countries, people giving young girls access to menstrual pads without which they would forced to leave school, Sandra Fluke's interview on the war on women, all these things that never made it into national headlines but where relevant, inspiring and aspirational to me.

These women I realized were the role models I wanted, the ones I needed that set an example of how to do something important in the world. I was drawn to the raw power of their convictions, their knowledge of themselves and the incredibly tenacity that each woman possessed. It was freeing to find a place in which rational discussion about something other than lip gloss was paramount. It was an entire other, almost forgotten side of me, a reawakening if you will.

Fashion will always be my preferred form of expression to the outside world and a favorite past time, but I've learned that fashion is not my goal, not my aspiration in life, it is merely the language I use in order to express higher ideals. Fashion and feminism  may not seem to go hand in hand but the sexual, intellectual and emotional revolutions of women are recorded in the wardrobes of many influential women throughout history everything from Marylin's infamous picture over the air shaft to Michelle Obama's sophisticated and bold shift dresses is there. Fashion may be a hamster wheel but when wielded correctly it is can be everything from inspired art to political statement.

-CGINTW

1 comment:

  1. I've always thought of fashion and beauty as a political statement.

    You see women all over the world making a statement of who they are, who they will become or just who they want to be for a few hours, through clothing or hair or makeup and I've always thought that was the beauty of feminism.

    Somtimes, the 'movement' is taken hostage by this thinking that you have to look a certain way to make a statement - so not true. I think I learned that from my mom who, as a single mother, always looked fierce but who knew when to tone it up or down to make a point.

    I wonder if it's totally annoying to say that every time I come here I love your blog more?

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