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Old 20th May 2009   #1
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Default Letter to the editor

I was pretty impressed by this - a lengthy letter to the editor that some fellow in Kentucky wrote to his local newspaper, decrying the way in which the fashion industry brainwashes women into starving themselves

Here are the highlights:

The Day The Women Said: “NO!”

It is my belief that the fashion and beauty business is actually run mostly by people who hate women. That may seem odd, but let me see if I can justify that claim. Look at the models at almost any contemporary fashion show. Never mind what they are wearing. Instead, ask this simple question: Do they look healthy? If you think they do, then you need glasses more than a new wardrobe.

The idea behind a model’s being so skinny is that her body won’t distract the viewer from the clothing she’s wearing. Anyway,that’s what the designers say is at the heart of the current super skinny fashion scene.

It wasn’t always that way, of course. A stroll through any fine art museum will reveal the changing ideals of womanhood throughout the ages.

By today’s unhealthy standards, the women painted or sculpted by artists from the ancient Greeks and Romans to Renaissance masters like Peter Paul Rubens and Titian were anywhere from pleasantly plump to chubby to downright f**. Never mind that men throughout history have found such women very attractive. Today’s fashion police would tell those ladies: “Lose weight, honey.”

A question I always ask myself is: “Who’s telling me this?

I wish women today would ask that question of those who dictate what passes for defining today’s “beautiful” woman. Who are the people making these decisions?

A second, and perhaps even more important question women should ask is: “Why should I listen to them?

What if women just decided one day to say “No” to the whole lot of fashion designers, hair stylists, make-up artists, cosmetic companies, shoe creators, hat fabricators, accessories peddlers, and all the other “experts” who tell women how they should aspire to look? What would happen if women just did what they liked, dressed however they wanted, and became comfortable in their bodies just they way they are?

Whatever the economy might suffer from all the fashionista’s being suddenly out of work would be more than compensated by the reduction in health related issues arising from women trying to look like the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. Gone would be the sad, anorexic scarecrows of the fashion runway. The women-hating sadists who designed spike heeled shoes and boots would be out on their bony behinds. The laboratory chemists who come up with all the chemicals that become lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, blush, toner, and all the rest might have to go back to trying to find a cure for cancer or the common cold.

The effect of a women’s revolt against the fashion and beauty business is dizzying to contemplate. But remember ladies—you do have the power. All you have to do is say “No!” to those who make their fortunes by making you feel inferior for not looking like the ridiculous “ideal woman” they foist upon you. If women were ever able to tell the misogynistic, woman-hating gurus of fashion to take their cruel, crazy, freakish concepts of women’s beauty and stick it where the sun don’t shine—we would live in a brand new and better world...

A model’s or actress’s life is, in a way, a study in misery. You are not allowed to eat. You are judged only by your appearance. You are made to feel bad should you ever gain any weight. “The camera adds ten pounds.” You must be “perfect” in the eyes of someone who doesn’t really love women anyway. This bizarre sickness of spirit is what is passed on to an ever younger audience of girls who are told to aspire to this look on every magazine cover relating to fashion, beauty, or being sexy.

It’s all so hollow and sad when you really look at it.

The result of this mass-indoctrination is a vast legion of female “slaves” to impossible and unhealthy “ideals.” The role models for today’s women are sick, starving, and—to me at least—ridiculous looking. Most of this foolishness comes from designers who don’t love women anyway. What they do love is the money their little con game generates for themselves. Like so much of what dictates how we live, the fashion business is really only about the money.

I say spend your money on things that are healthy and fun and necessary.

My message is: Ladies, why not just let it go? Stop trying to look like something Nature never intended you to be. Don’t take your cues from phonies who don’t like you, and who make their living by making you feel inferior. Deny the fashion business all their destructive power. You’ll live a longer, happier, healthier life. This world will change dramatically for the better on the day women summon up the courage to say “No!” to all the crafty parasites who get rich making women feel inferior and unhappy with how they look. Curves are beautiful, which is why there are no perfectly straight lines in nature. Can’t we let women look like women for a change?

I appreciate the fact that he contrasts the modern starvation standard with timeless ideals of full-figured beauty. Also, his central point - that the people who have imposed the anorexia look aren't even attracted to women - is crucial. It's a theme that has come up on this forum before, and it's well worth keeping in mind.

I wish more people, men and women, would raise their voice about this subject whenever and wherever they can.
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Old 27th December 2009   #2
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Default Re: Letter to the editor

The letter is a battle cry, a call to arms exhorting women to throw off the shackles of the industry that has been oppressing them for so long, and to live lives free from alien, androgynous ideals.

Every point that the writer makes deserves scrutiny, but several stand out as especially pertinent:

1. Why follow the dictates of fashion, when it is dominated by individuals who aren't attracted to women in the first place--indeed, who appear to hate them?

2. The beauty ideal of the past was very different. It was a fuller-figured standard, one that was enshrined by men who actually adored women. It therefore offers a healthier and more beautiful alternative to modern emaciation.

3. Rejecting the fashion industry's tyranny of taste would put an end to the blight of anorexic models.

4. Women have the power to make all of this happen, and to break the industry's monopoly, by rejecting modern fashion outright.

5. Not to do so leaves women stuck with the worst kind of role models--actresses and fashion waifs whose job it is to look emaciated and androgynous, simply to please the anti-feminine tastes of those who are in control of the media.

All of these points are important, but none more so than the first. Women shoulder reflect on the identity of the people to whom they give so much power over their self-image:

A question I always ask myself is: “Who’s telling me this?”

I wish women today would ask that question of those who dictate what passes for defining today’s “beautiful” woman. Who are the people making these decisions?

A second, and perhaps even more important question women should ask is: “Why should I listen to them?”

Anyone who has watched Project Runway, or seen interviews with "top" designers or magazine editors, will know what a rogue's gallery of freaks and weirdos ends up comprising the "leadings lights" of fashion. These are people who would have been outcasts in high school. They grow up embittered and resentful of the mainstream, contemptuous of traditional values, resentful of voluptuous femininity (if they are women) or biologically predisposed not to be attracted to it (if they are men), and eager to "scandalize" the public whenever they can.

At the high-school level, their perverted tastes are (rightly) rejected. If one of them tried to tell a buxom cheerleader that she was heavy, or to stage a grotesquely "edgy" fashion show, they'd be laughed at, and maybe even pummelled by their peers.

So why are they suddenly accepted as the arbiters of culture a few years later? Just as they would be considered fringe crackpots at the teen level, so should their deviant inclinations be rejected as unappealing and ugly in adulthood.

But women do need to clothe themselves, and for that, a healthier alternative exists--a true alternative, not the so-called "alternative scene" in fashion that is actually even more aberrent than fashion's mainstream, but the most positive, healthy, beautiful world of full-figure fashion and plus-size modelling.

And if women increasingly withheld their money from the degenerate world of anorexic, "edgy" fashion, and devoted it to that part of the industry that presents a more natural, wholesome, beautiful image, with fuller-figured models and more feminine styling, then those fringe elements would be eliminated, just as the writer describes in his letter. That, or they would have to adapt and produce something that benefits society and makes women feel good about themselves, rather than ruining their body image and trying to stigmatize femininity in favour of unnatural androgyny.

Luscious Marritt Pike (size 16, Ford S.F.)--a larger scan of one of her most celebrated test images. Notice the seductive swell of her curvy waist.

- Click to view larger

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Old 27th December 2009   #3
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Default Re: Letter to the editor

I would love to see this letter reprinted in newspapers and magazines the world over. We women need to take back our power from those who get wealthy by making us feel bad about ourselves. We need to celebrate the vitality of life-size women, and to stop buying, in every sense, the inhuman aesthetics of death.

Just look at Marritt, how robust and radiant she is. Who would ever choose to make oneself a slave to the death aesthetic when there are women like Marritt to emulate and admire?
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