Recently, I wrote a post about classy making a comeback among today's young women. I argued that the time has been long overdue for raising those low-rise jeans, and making clothes that actually cover more than 30 percent of women's bodies. Lack of body appreciation and body image concerns affect many women, with young girls and young adults being particularly vulnerable. Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign was a step in this direction, showing that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. This was a much needed move away from the size 0 ideal.
Recently an infomercial came on and I realized something is severely wrong with respect to the message women are receiving about how their bodies should be presented. Further, the "quick-fix" approach to these larger fundamental issues is not enough. Enter, the "Trendy Top." Instead of actually making jeans that cover women's derrières, the idea is to wear a bandage-looking swatch of cloth to keep women from exposing too much when they bend over. For a minute, they had me convinced. Of course! Layers are after all the "in thing" and why let all those low-rise jeans go to waste? Simply purchase the "Trendy Top."
But then, I remembered another similarly "brilliant" innovation. It's called the "Cami Secret." Those low cut tops that scoop dangerously low, and create a potential wardrobe malfunction threat? Just clip in the "Cami Secret" and you're ready to go. Functional, professional, and easy! Why actually design women's tops that cover cleavage, when there is a great solution already designed?
And let's not forget to give credit to the innovation that probably started it all--the "Strap Perfect." How best to hide those unsightly bra straps that pop out from underneath tank tops, dresses, and other stylish attire? Just use the "Strap Perfect" and you're out the door in minutes.
When you stop for a minute and think about it, while these wardrobe solutions are well-intentioned, they miss the larger point. Why should women be subjugated to the same narrow range of choices when it comes to how they present themselves to the outside world? If we are moving toward the empowerment of women, perhaps women's business suits needn't be paired almost exclusively with a layer underneath that says "she can go from the boardroom to the club or even bedroom simply by removing her blazer." When many women already may possess low body esteem, re-iterating the message that exposing, flaunting, and form-fitting are the way to go does little to reassure them.
Perhaps we can be consoled though by the fact that no matter how ridiculous women's attire gets, infomercial companies will always be there for us. Who knows, maybe the "Snuggie" and "Pajama Jeans" were originally intentioned to start a revolution that never quite picked up much steam. Maybe next time. Pointy-toed faux crocodile fuzzy slipper heels, anyone?
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