Size oppression by androgynous fashion

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Posted by Emily on December 15, 2004 at 04:36:28:

In Reply to: Sixth Anniversary-- posted by HSG on December 13, 2004 at 04:22:36:

I think one of the important questions that this discussion raises, especially when you see how attractive plus-size models look in feminine apparel, is whether the introduction of masculine attire for women (especially in career wear) was the most subtle and powerful form of size oppression of all?

I was never fond of Camryn Manheim as a representative of plus-size women (I liked Emme much better in the role), but the awful, clunky suits she had to wear in The Practice made her look old and frumpy, and erased her identity as a woman.

On the other hand, her co-star on The Practice, Lara Flynn Boyle, looked relatively normal (by Hollywood standards) wearing those lawyers' suits. But whenever you saw her trying to wear feminine outfits for Hollywood awards shows, she looked like a walking cadaver. And Camryn, if not exactly beautiful, at least looked more healthy and normal in those types of gowns and dresses.

I know it's a chicken-and-egg dilemma, but I wonder if society would be as anti-plus and pro-skinny as it is today, if fashion hadn't undergone its conversion to androgyny in the 1900s.

And another perplexing question is, just how calculated was this effort to promote flat, angular fashions for women? Was it just a trend that took on its own momentum once it got started, or was it more deliberate?

Either way, I share the hope that as fashion rediscovers femininity, curves will come back into style as well.

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