the “ideal” body

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/technology/software-to-rate-how-drastically-photos-are-retouched.html?_r=1&ref=fashion

While Hannah already posted about this article, I thought I had some different ideas about why I chose this particular article on a non-photographers stand point.

The reason why this article attracted my attention so much tonight was the fact that I stumbled upon it after watching a couple minutes of the Victoria Secret fashion show. While watching the fashion show and the exotic models with the perfect bodies strut down the runway I realized people’s opinions about the show were blowing up my twitter. Posts such as “thanks for making me want to jump off a bridge now #VCfashionshow” is the kind of comments I found from my normal sized, petite friends who can only dream of looking like these super models.

Why do young women feel the need to look like these models. This body type is very unusual and takes a lot of work (and sometimes surgery) to achieve. Even though most people know this, we still dream of looking this way. Why do we even have to waste our time with these unrealistic thoughts when we can be dreaming of things like becoming successful, strong and independent women?

I can’t help but think that photoshopping in magazines is just another catalyst to this terrible obsession which women have in striving to achieve this unrealistic, yet idealistic, “perfect” body.

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Body Image

This is partly in response to the original reading taken from “The Fashion Reader” not to confuse anyone who did not read this before the assigned readings were changed.

All these readings bring me back to the thought about how no matter which culture, everyone is self conscious about some thing having to do with their own body. In American culture, the re-occuring dream about standing naked in a big crowd is one that brings embarrassment and anxiety to a person. In the Kayato culture, an embarrassing moment would be standing in a crowd with an erection for a teenage boy. So many cultural ideas are created from covering the body in a way to represent wealth, status or a deeper meaning. In both American and Kayato culture, how one is dressed can represent wealth. This idea also stems from ancient times when wealthy men, kings, were adorned in colors and fabrics representing power and money. Today this can be identified by the designer or label that someone is wearing. Different fabrics can also have different representations though, statins and silks represent luxury and money while rubbers and leather, which has become popular, represents bondage and sexuality.

Everyone had that embarrassing naked dream and yet the way people dress recently is usually in attempts to be sexual and attractive towards others. If people focused less on how others viewed them in what they wore maybe people would feel more comfortable in their own skin. In the Kayato culture, based on your age, or wealth people are able to judge you by what clothes you are wearing or simply by how long or short your hair is. People should be able to wear whatever they want or wear their hair however they want not based on how much money they have in their pocket. While walking on the street, people in New York City should not be able to judge one another simply by the clothes on someone’s back. Just because someone is not wearing a designer label dows not say anything about their personality or integrity. I believe that because of this judgmental society we live in people create insecurities and negative feelings about themselves. The thought of being perfect and looking acceptable in society is a huge burden to carry. Even though it is a stretch to believe, the world could be such a more accepting and non-judgmental place if what you wore didn’t characterize who you are. This re-occuring dream that most people experience of standing in a crowd naked maybe would not bring so much anxiety to most people if we weren’t always being judged depending on what kind of clothes we choose to wear.

Key word: Experience

The space of consumption I chose to investigate was Anthropologie. Here I found myself emerged in an environment where I was experiencing a multi-cultural feeling. The store creates a specific experience for the consumer based on how the space is laid out and decorated. The walls have very colorful, creative and aesthetically pleasing decorations which add to the store’s charm. Sometimes I enjoy simply walking around and observing the different kinds of textures more so than the clothes themselves. Although the layout and the designs of the products definitely correspond to the experience you get with visiting the store too. In the home goods section where you can find glasswares and things for the kitchen the items are displayed in antiqued looking cabinets which five you the impression as if you were looking inside your very own hutch to see these plates and cups on the shelves. The squeaky wood floors are just icing on the cake in making the store a warm and eco-friendly feeling. The feeling and experience of Anthropologie helps to give the buyer a warm, welcoming feel which lures them in the buy products.

Fashion on a Budget

The reading for this week’s topic of “Shopping and Public Life” brought up many points on class, identity, and in which environments things are produced. Growing up in more of a middle-class family I have always been one to appreciate a good sale or discount. While I am not too proud to admit it, I have been to discount department stores many times such as Wal-Mart, Kmart or target in order to buy things for my apartment or school. My mom jokes whenever we are done a shopping trip in Wal-Mart that she feels violated after going in the store. The incredibly low prices and staff who are very clearly under paid and given poor working conditions cause our conscience to feel guilty about making purchases and supporting the company. Although, as a middle class family trying to support their daughter in her education and dreams my parents are left very little choice in deciding to shop at Wal-Mart over choosing more expensive and well made products instead. Shopping, for my parents, means finding good prices in contrast to finding good products.

This idea is what had me thinking during the readings that there are all different kinds of shoppers. Zukin touched upon this subject in “Point of Purchase” by explaining that shopping is a way to educate yourself with products and how things are made. Some women are status shoppers while others are bargain shoppers. But the fact that price and “status or value” is always a category is what has me thinking if shopping can include all of the different categories of shopping. Can there be a bargain-status shopper? Why must status be determined by how much one spends on something. Can status be measured by how trendy one appears no matter how expensive their clothes are? At least after I graduate college and receive my own real pay check I will be able to buy myself my first piece of clothing over 100 dollars. But when I do, it will not change me any more or less as a person.

The word class which came up a lot in the readings reminds me of the Bravo tv show “Real Housewives of New York.” The women are often using the word class to describe each others behavior, not their shopping habits. One of the wives even calls class the “c” word and refuses to use it and does not like hearing it. This makes me believe that the word class is such a loaded topic that it cannot simply be used to define ones shopping habits or define someone in any way.

Fashion and Sexuality: response to fashion photography readings

After reading the “imaging and imagining fashion” texts I found myself often asking why fashion must portray women in such a sexual manner. As we concluded in class by deciding “sex” was of the words which describe fashion, it is clear that the word  plays a huge role in the industry. But how did this come into effect? Why must advertisements and fashion images make women think that they must be sexy in order to look and feel good. This is such a loaded question because along with sex, looking and feeling good comes with self-image and self-esteem. These two words play a huge factor in fashion but why must women always be concerned with looking sexy for men? And why is it okay to have to encounter and feel slightly violated by a creeping man on the street who comments on your sex appeal with a comment like, “hey sexy.” Why did women allow this everyday occurrence to become acceptable? Why can’t we do anything about it?

An excerpt from the Fashionable Photography in Mid-Twentieth-Century Senegal particularly stood out to me in discussing the emergence of mini-skirts. When asking a man about the mini-skirt fad in Senegal in the 1960’s he stated that “the miniskirt ‘invited’ rape because men had never even seen their mother’s legs.” Women should be able to feel good in their body and wear shorter hem-lines without being concerned about how men will react, especially if it is in a life threatening way.

My mom raised me a huge advocate for women’s rights and empowerment. She recently sent me a New York Times article which talked about the scandalous outfits college students wear on Halloween. Women find Halloween to be an excuse to dress incredibly slutty and wear whatever they want in hopes to impress guys. Why do we feel like this is necessary? It’s almost exhausting with so much pressure to find the perfect outfit, look perfect, and be sexy. The article reminded me of the scene from the movie Mean Girls when Cady walks into the halloween party dressed as a zombie bride to be completely surprised to see all the other girls wearing practically nothing. The viewer can’t help but feel embarrassed for Cady which I wish wasn’t the case at all. She looks like a really scary zombie bride and put a lot of effort into her costume but because her outfit isn’t exactly sexy the other girls humiliate her and ask her why she is wearing such a scary, ugly costume. After all, how dare she not look sexy and therefore, fashionable, on Halloween.

-Emily Kotarski

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/fashion/after-class-skimpy-equality-motherlode.html?_r=1&hpw

“subculture, style” -sororities

This image is of a couple of my high school friends who decided to join a sorority in college. I don’t know how I feel about Greek life but I do know it is definitely a subculture of people who you can tell are a part of this subculture based on what they are wearing and representing.