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At a time when makeover reality TV shows suggest that self-reinvention is not only desirable but almost required, and the ubiquity of social media encourages everyone to develop a “personal brand,” the pressure on women to be fashionable has never been more pervasive.
I’m a 42 year old single mom who is very attractive (I look about 7 years younger), fun, has a great smile and laugh (and does both a LOT), emotionally stable, and not looking to race to the altar.A century later, in the 1980s, women appropriated men’s styles of dress in an attempt to access the social and economic capital that lay on the other side of the glass ceiling.So-called career women practiced power dressing, wearing tailored skirt suits with huge shoulder pads, approximating the style and silhouette of the professional male executive. politics, Hillary Clinton has experienced the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t double bind for strong women.One Asian woman interviewed by sociologist Rose Weitz for the academic journal Gender & Society admitted that she permed her hair for work “because she felt that she looked ‘too Asian’ with her naturally straight hair.” A black woman interviewed by Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden for their book explains that “she never goes into an interview or a new job experience without first straightening her hair.…‘I don’t want to be prejudged.’” Away from the workplace, in everyday life, fashion policing of women is also racially stratified.While prevailing fashion histories credit white New Yorker Elizabeth Smith (second cousin to Elizabeth Cady Stanton) with inventing the billowy pants and Amelia Bloomer with popularizing them, Wagner finds that Smith was influenced by Native Haudenosaunee women.
If fashion has been used to introduce new ways of expressing womanhood, it has also been a tether that keeps women’s social, economic and political opportunities permanently attached to their appearances.
And the most surprising phenomenon that I’ve witnessed in this pool of men is that being a pretty, happy, vivacious “cool chick” is a big negative strike against me.
I’m amazed at how many of them fall for the psycho Bs and drama queens.
And bloggers are using their clout to speak out against offensive fashion and beauty products.
A blog-initiated campaign in 2010 convinced the cosmetics company MAC and the Rodarte design team to abandon their collection of nail polish and lipstick with names such as “Ghost Town,” “Factory” and “Juarez” (referencing the Mexican border town notorious for the serial murders of women working in local factories).
Similar online campaigns have also been waged against designers and magazines that employ blackfacing and yellowfacing, as well as against retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Apparel that perpetuate racist, sexist and sizeist beauty ideals.