i love these old mugshots.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A few weeks ago a friend of mine handed me a book, "it won't tell you anything you don't already know, but it's a good read." Having just admitted defeat in my attempt to read Villette (I am no longer allowed to pick the book club books) I was glad to tear into something that was thought provoking but not written in 19th century British English.
Although, now that I am thinking about it, in a way the two books are related. Both deal with how girls are educated and related frustrations, be it in the early 19th century or today. While I had a hard time breaking into Charlotte Bronte's 19th century prose, I found Peggy Orenstein's work very accessible and easy to read on the train. That is very important, since I do most of my reading on the subway, and more often than not if something is too engrossing or heavy, I won't realized I have missed my stop until I am halfway to Canarsie.
I enjoyed that Orenstein broke gown "girlie-girl" culture and the marketing machine that promotes it, but also articulated a desire to not belittle things that are gendered as female and not teach her child that "boy things" are better.
As someone who both studies fashion and feminism, I am often confronted with the way the fashion industry participates in a lot of rather harmful practices. Especially things the promote negative self image in women and girls. But one of the reasons I love fashion, and fashion theory, is that our clothing can be so freeing. Dress has the ability to break so many boundries, mores, and gender norms. I think it is important to remember too that fashion can be a way for girls to express themselves and experiment with identity and gender and not just something the creates an unobtainable idea. I just wish the fashion industry would remember that....