Join Date: November 2008
Femininity returning as women leave workplace
Here's a fascinating trend that's being noted in various online articles. As the economy tanks and women find themselves out of work, more and more of them are embracing their feminine identity.
One writer enthuses about this as an "indication of a reemergence of gender roles":
Here's the text:
Unemployment Is Hot
By Mande Wilkes • February 6, 2009
Unemployment becomes some women, it turns out.
It’s a trend we first noticed while browsing at Anthropologie, a store not particularly suited to the jobless – except, that is, for its array of stylish aprons.
Aprons are apparently au courant, especially for the legion of women settling into unemployment.
All these newly jobless women are embracing the demands of home economics, tying on aprons that aren’t just practical but also pretty.
Seriously, these are not your mama's aprons...
The silhouette is not so much a throwback, but a flash forward – good-looking homemakers aren’t a thing of the past but rather a sign of the times.
In fact, it’s the rumpled nine-to-fiver who is the throwback, because messy and flustered is out; primped and together is in...
Recent research suggests that the stress of working spurs a woman’s body to create testosterone, a hormone which makes the body look less curvy.
Anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan studied women’s waist-to-hip ratios to calculate trends in the body types of working women versus those who are unemployed. From the Telegraph article:
Medical studies have previously shown that a curvy waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 – where the waist circumference is 70 per cent of the hip circumference or lower – is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease.Unemployment, then, appears to be make women blonder, curvier, and more stylish...
However, Professor Cashdan found that this ratio is rarely found among women who are under pressure to rely on their own resources to support themselves and their families. Instead, she discovered an average waist to hip ratio of 0.8.
The medical point is very interesting, and it's something that I've read elsewhere - that workplace stress has a detrimental physiological effect on women, and makes them more androgynous, while a life of feminine leisure allows them to retain their womanly curves.
I suspect that many women who now find themselves out of work and in a domestic situation will discover that they really enjoy it. And when a man truly loves a woman, he is happy to be the sole breadwinner. It's a situation that works for both parties.
Another Telegraph article makes a related point:
Curves have made a comeback
By Celia Walden
09 Feb 2009
Over the past two decades, in the absence of loftier beliefs...being thin was a religion, a way of imposing moral restraints on ourselves amid the material abundance of modern life.
Then something extraordinary happened: a clutch of famous women started filling out. Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria announced that she had gained five pounds, “and suddenly it’s a national scandal”; Christina Hendricks, star of the hit US television series Mad Men, committed virtual blasphemy by flaunting her size-12 physique on screen; and Kate Winslet, without apparent shame, has been parading her soft outlines around the world, not in Evans, the high-street label for the larger woman, but in curve-hugging Herve Leger, Balmain, Narciso Rodriguez and, at last night’s Baftas, in fish-tailed Zac Posen...
Recession curves, say the experts, are on their way, cushioning us from hard times ahead, projecting an influx of luscious women on to our barren landscapes...
“With the fear of what might be happening in the economy there is a new mood of concern and care and, in the personal realm, a permission to be less controlled and more forgiving. Curves also soften blows or perhaps give people a sense that they don’t need to be so angular and cut and thrust.”
“I think it all started with Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks,” says Glamour editor Jo Elvin. “Both men and women are really crushing on her at the moment. Who doesn’t wish they filled a sweater and skirt like that girl?” An ever-decreasing band of women, apparently. Even uber-stylist Katie Grand, who is shortly to launch a twice-yearly fashion and style magazine for Condé Nast called Love, has allegedly banned size-zero models from its pages.
“Now that we are interpreting the spurious dynamic of the fashion industry as wasteful, exploitative and manipulative, [the] view of thinness may be altering. I also suspect it is not what women truly want for themselves. And certainly, if my own tastes are anything to go by, men are not specially attracted to very thin women: there’s no Darwinian explanation for the appeal of thinness. Quite the opposite in fact.”
Those new curves may make us more alluring to the opposite sex, but with the BMIs of the front rows as low as they are on the catwalks, aren’t they anathema to high fashion? Not necessarily, says Vogue executive fashion editor Calgary Avansino. “Designers who relish and appreciate a classically curvy female silhouette may be few and far between, but those who do – Vivienne Westwood, Dolce and Gabbana, Marchesa, and Donna Karan – know exactly how to make “rounder” women feel sexy and proud of their physiques.”
Still there are fashion rules to abide by, says TV stylist and author of The Lazy Goddess Hannah Sandling. “Resist the temptation to cover up if you put on a few extra pounds,” she advises. “Celebrate that over-indulgence; God knows there won’t be much of it to be had. Don’t drown a voluptuous figure...Curves equals sexiness, which equals confidence. Do your bit towards perking up the confidence of the nation and positive vibes will snowball.”
“In the end, the female body is the greatest design of them all,” surmises Bayley, “as much a work of art as of nature. For centuries, people have been aware of the mother-whore distinction. Thing is, each one provides comfort and pleasure. And each depends on a generous body to do so. It’s not so much that curves are back... they never really went away.”
Now, I personally don't believe in economic/material causes being the be-all, end-all drivers of the world, but if the fashion industry thinks so, and chooses to embrace the fuller figure as a result, so be it.
After all, when was the last time you heard the media say, "Resist the temptation to cover up if you put on a few extra pounds...Celebrate that over-indulgence"