The panel that the Guardian
published is excellent, and Emily does a fine job of highlighting how the participants shatter, point for point, most of the excuses and talking points that the fashion industry presents in order to evade responsibility for its pernicious influence on women. One typical fashion-establishment evasion after another is brought up, only to be effectively decimated by the clear-thinking panel.
Everyone should read the original post, and the source article, to equip themselves with arguments for the next time that they, themselves, encounter fashion-industry apologists who offer similar rationalizations for their toxic aesthetic that they inflict on society. But for our purposes, the most significant information in the article derives from Terri Apter's observation that
if you look at girls' diaries circa 1890 and 1990, they're always talking about self-improvement. In 1890 they're talking about being better people, being more helpful, being more considerate. Whereas in 1990, when they talk about self-"improvement", they're talking about their bodies.
Of course, the 1990s understanding of bodily "improvement" (i.e., diminishment) is no improvement at all, but ruination. As Emily observes,
Originally Posted by Emily
What a dramatic indication of cultural decline. Not only were aesthetic values healthier a century ago, but so were social values. The two are clearly linked. When a society sees self-improvement in the profound 1890s terms described above, it is a noble society; but when it sees self-improvement as diet-starvation and exercise torture, as is the case today, then it is a sorry society indeed.
Just so. Aesthetics are more than "just aesthetics"--and the purveyors of the noxious modern cult of ugliness know this very well, though they will never admit it. Cultural aesthetics externalize the inner condition of a society, its vitality or its sickness.
In a world where "self-improvement" means nobler behaviour, the women are
beautiful. Their focus on matters of the heart and soul, their desire to be more virtuous, their cultivation of character, allows their physical beauty to flourish. They eat whatever they like, and as much as they like, and the natural shaping inclinations of their figures form their physiques into embodiments of luscious femininity. This is how it was meant to be.
But a world where self-imposed starvation and the pursuit of an unnaturally androgynous appearance for women perversely becomes an aggressively pursued goal is base to begin with, and the diminishing of feminine beauty externalizes the cultural deterioration implicit in such a society.
The institutors of this emaciated, unfeminine standard are aware of this. It is the agenda that they consciously pursue. Not that this is a "conspiracy," but rather, an inevitable consequence of their characters. If one has degenerate tendencies, one inevitably seeks to refashion the world according one's own depraved tastes. If one has an ugly soul, one resents beauty and seeks to demean it, defame it, and eradicate it from the world.
The world of art, of which fashion is a significant part, has ever been at the leading edge of what is sometimes dubbed the "culture war," and in this clash of civilizations, tradition and beauty have been under assault for nearly a century.
But plus-size models represent the possibility of a return to a world of beauty, that better, nobler world of 1890, which Apter's research unearthed. And a restoration of the timeless ideal that they embody will not merely free women from the regimens of diet-starvation and exercise-torture to which they now needlessly sentence themselves (as splendid an achievement as that in itself will be). It will also restore the nobler cultural milieu of the 1890s--more virtuous, and principled, and dignified than the base world all around us today.
Kelsey Olson (size 16) in a newly released outtake from her Queen Grace campaign, looking buxom and luscious and exciting, yet classy as well. True femininity.
- Kelsey Olson Galleries