Over time women have been gaining an edge in education, starting in 1977 when women began to outnumber men obtaining associate degrees -- right when I was finishing my sophomore year of college, heading into my junior year. I've watched my son and daughters grow up in this environment of girls succeeding academically and women now hold the edge on men in gaining academic credentials.
Fashion designer Marc Jacobs broke out the skirt last fall and now other designers for men's fashion are following suit. This won't fly in my part of the country. I've been trying to figure out what this means, culturally.
The tilt-back to the Scottish kilt? A desire to find a white man's uniform, a way to find oneself when the power of the white man cultural domination has fallen? The malleability of the roles of men and women in our society when the women are wearing the pants and men are filling in the mommy-at-home role?
When the 21 Club in NYC became the last establishment there to lose the tie requirement as a dress code this month, you know that things have become relaxed. Casual church services changed the traditional dress codes about the same time that cocktail outfits and "dress up" became "snappy casual" in hot hot Houston. Heading up a cotillion class for eight schools, I had to calm down the dance instructors from Colorado Springs when Sunday School dress was given as the cotillion dress code and kids showed up in skorts without hose and guys didn't wear leather-soled shoes and some came without collared shirts. That was in the 90s. In the early 2000s Atlanta came unglued with casual codes at what they called Groovy Church (informal services) where women wore full length minks to the traditional services.
Hillary Clinton changed the dress code for women in Congress when she started wearing pantsuits. Obama was photographed on his first day in the Oval Office without his suit jacket, creating a tizzy in the capital and it is business casual on weekends.
This week I'm looking at cowboys. You wouldn't catch one of them dead in a skirt. It was the cowgirls who first started wearing pants, back in the 1800s out West.
The Classic Blazer, the career woman's outfit... I was wearing that in the spring of 1979. This ad ran in New York Magazine's April 21, 1980 issue, the week I married and headed to Dallas to work in corporate marketing and communications. I even cut my long hair as I bought those business clothes.
Then the stupid 80s (as my husband calls it) came in. Still, I stayed with the trends, in and out of pregnant clothes, buying those aerobic clothes and scrunchie socks, then khakis from the Gap in the 90s turned into cute and colorful, turned into black, black, black (NYC influence).
The trend now? I probably have bought fewer clothes this year than I have any other year of my life. Like my grosgrain ribbon tie, then - 1979 then, in fashion, now I'm right there, too, not spending. U.S. retailers are facing a wave of closings and bankruptcies starting this month as holiday sales were the worst in 40 years with consumers spending at least 20% less on women's clothing, electronics and jewelry.
With his eye for street fashion, NYTime's Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham captures today how "women still look MAAAVVVELLOUS, wearing those clothes they bought years go, proving the whole statement: good fashion design is like antique furniture - you don't chuck it out in the garage, you wear it."
I chucked out those '80s clothes long ago. I'll have to pull from the 90s or from another era.
This??? I am on record for hating Barbies but Barbie Boobs objectified? Homage to the perfect boobs? Wear the Barbie body on your body. Nothing like the perfect boob necklace. A new iteration of the perfect body: Barbie jewelry. Jewelry designer Margaux Lange found a new way to keep Barbie in our lives, with her clever accessories made of various Barbie body parts. This remix makes sense, as it is adult women who would wear this and interact with the jewelry, not little girls growing up.
Children's Toys That Changed the World should include Barbie as well as Lego, G.I. Joe, Fisher-Price Play Family Village and Nerf, but I didn't see Barbie on the list. Barbie made women think there was an idea body for grown up women (and their body wasn't it).
Studies have already shown that media images of female models have a negative impact on how women view their own bodies, but it is interesting that images of female idealization have a similar impact on men. Magazines that are dominated by sexual images of women impact men's feelings about their own bodies; men who viewed the layouts of objectified females reported more body self-consciousness.
One of my book clubs is reading about Gertrude Bell and I remember from earlier studies that she, when in Iraq, felt that wearing a burka was freeing (as compared to the Victorian dress of her peers). She was under the fashion construct of tiny waists, bound tight by corsets (and still exemplified by the tiny-waisted Barbie years later).
update: An article in an anthropology magazine, Are Women Evolutionary Sex Objects (pdf) (via NeuroAnthropology) delves into this issue, which I found interesting in light of the fact that millions of U.S. women undergo plastic surgery to have enhanced breasts. The cultural underpinnings of the boobs of Barbie...
Following Your Heart... You live your life mastering what you think you must, performing within your box. Then, suddenly, you have to, or need to, or should, alter your self-image and move in a different direction and different way in order to follow where your heart or circumstances or soul leads you.
Just as a baby goes through The Terrible Two's, learning to master a sense of self in opposition to surroundings and parents, each stage of life has it's own linear path of learning purpose. When that stage is exhausted, we are comfortable with our mastery and the skills we have juggled. Then there is a next stage along life's path (as I write this you wouldn't believe how loud the coyotes are before dawn this morning. Gee, it's party time howling outside my window. There must be seven or more.)
To navigate through each stage in life -- be it teens or the 40s, widowhood or career change -- one has to be willing to take on new challenges in order to through the growth process. I thought of how I moved forward to obtain a master's in an area that I felt passion about in my 40s after the demands of motherhood and corporate wife-hood had made me lose myself somewhat in the process of meeting the needs of others. That stage relates to what Susie wrote about the 40s and this particular part, about how we must have courage to pursue our passion, I found profound:
“When you cross the street, you will have left an opening around everyone who once stood beside you. They will begin to act differently just because you moved. This, they cannot do, until you cross the street. It’s up to you to make the move; so that the lives of those around you can be transformed.”
We have to live our lives ready to step out of the box to pursue our destiny, and living this way takes courage. It makes all the difference when you approach life in this way. When you live life as part of a community - be it family, friends, or a group built around a common cause, using our aptitudes and living outside the box is the way life's joy and magic works to ricochet blessings, thus enriching ourselves and others.
The coyote's would echo my point: yip, yip, yip, ahhhhyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
I don't know if referencing the Rosie the Riveter (a WWII poster that recognized the work force power of women contributing to the war effort) to fire up women voters for Palin/McCain is going to do it. Look at the new campaign poster, at right.
What do you think? Is this touching the right chords? An effective political communication tool? Or, as I think, a little off?
photo: AP by Carolyn Kessler in The WashingtonPost, accompanied an article on Palin sticking to the script.
--John Feehery, a Republican strategist, said the campaign is entering a
stage in which skirmishes over the facts are less important than the
dominant themes that are forming voters' opinions of the candidates. (The same article points out that half-truths become truths when candidates perpetuate them enough).
--Me: Well, she's good arm candy, she, the it celebrity mom-of-the-moment.
Want to see an Amazing Woman? My Houston friend, mother of my god daughter, sent me this.
How does she do that do? Mothers want to know. Governor Sarah Palin's hair might matter more than it should. Not quite a bun. Not exactly a twist. Not a hair piece. No extensions. Not a lot of time required. Practical. Looks good. Works through a pregnancy, in a career, out in the snow, on the go. Some say "Beaumont Hair" but whatever, it is something new.
Hillary Clinton had a ton of attention on her hair that she said, in speaking to the graduating Yale Law School class after her experience as First Lady, "hair matters."
What will we see about hair this go around? I've seen that men have written that they want to see the glasses off, the hair taken down.
Well, rumors were flying that Trig is not the son of 17 year-old daughter Bristol and Sarah faked her pregnancy. An Alaskan site seemed to have the latest links, posting screenshots and captured photos that were being removed yesterday from the social pages of the twin sister of the father Levi as campaign teams headed to Alaska for damage control and further vetting.
When Sarah made her announcement of being pregnant with Trig in March, none of her associates had an idea she was pregnant (this is one month before she gave birth). She looked great and, having had three kids myself, I agreed that she didn't look pregnant at all. Comparing the photos of her pregnant to this one from an earlier pregnancy.Bristol was absent from school b/c of mono for 5 - 8 months in 2007-2008. Six weeks after her announcement, she gave birth and was back at work three days after giving birth to Trig. In March, weeks prior to giving birht, she is leaning forward on a panel interview. I couldn't lean forward over my lap, legs crossed like that when I was that pregnant.
I know this is a long comment, but it was interesting to study how newmedia online grabbed this story and made cable stay on the story, especially CNN, all day. Questions were being raised online all over the place. "This story will go on for weeks," say talking heads on CNN from the convention floor this morning, 9/2.
While watching Gustav go from a Hurricane 3 status (Katrina was 5) to a category 1 throughout the day of the opening of the Republican convention yesterday, news of the pregnancy dominated the news, starting online with rumors about Trig's parentage and the judgement of (rumored mother) who no one noticed was pregnant and then under the circumstances she chose to give a speech in Texas instead of flying back promptly or going directly to a hospital when her amniotic fluid began to leak and she had signs of early labor.
When Gustav news just didn't generate the attention that cable news had planned for coverage as the storm dwindled, online buzz built all day on the Palin story.
Two stories on Daily Kos generated the online buzz: Friday. Aug. 29: Palin's faked "pregnancy"? Covering for teen daughter? Update #2
The next day on 9/30 a second Kos story broke:link here, the McCain/Palin campaign issued a statement that Bristol was five months pregnant, which would stell the rumours. Photos of Bristol with ring on left hand, lovingly holding baby at the first public appearance of her mother with McCain ran on cable news along with updates of Gustav. The McCain daughter's website posted pics of Bristol on the announcement day along with photos from the shoot of the two families for People Magazine. Bristol looks pregnant.
The political site for Anchorage News wrote:
"If nothing else, the Palins have shown a knack for keeping a secret, from Palin's own pregnancy to her surprise announcement as McCain's running mate, and now this."
The same local source, the Anchorage Daily News Political Blog wrote that the Palin spokesman has no evidence Bristol is pregnant -- this after official McCain campaign release announcing the fact.
Well, power, politics and motherhood, major corporate media and online media and democracy.... What a mix for stories. Hair? No longer quite as relevant. Family issues, privacy, truth and leadership is all fodder for media as the presidential candidates run neck and neck.