Fashion, women and the veils of patriarchy

A few months ago some of my posts were muses on the current state of women.  It’s an issue I’m still ruminating and this week some things came together for me.  Can’t quite decide if I’m disturbed or energized.  But I am ever more convinced that a shift into a time of greater feminine/Goddess energy requires women to take some long, deep looks at the many ways we’re hooked into the patriarchy.

This rumination started years ago when I began to realize that the “perfect” body coaches and judges demand of gymnasts and figure skaters is basically the body of a pre-pubescent.   Pre-pubescent boy was my first thought, but really the average body type at that stage is about the same for either gender.  Women’s grown bodies… not okay.

And more recently, as I discussed here, I reflected on another piece, the question of women dressing in revealing or “sexy” clothes.  It bugs me how much Hollywood and the fashion industry push for women to be sexy above all else.

Then lately I’ve been running into discussions about how younger women basically are waxing all the hair off their bodies.  Suddenly I got the whole picture of the body type fashion favors:  skinny, flat chest and no body hair.  Okay, we’re back to pre-pubescent.  So we’re permeated by a fashion sense that wants women to look like young girls — or boys — rather than grown up women.

You know, kids  The ones only pedophiles consider sexy.  I’m not sure which disturbs me worse:  that the fashion industry has somehow shaped the world view of sexiness to suit the desires of pedophiles (and wtf is that about?) or that so many women, instead of saying, “screw you, women who look like women — in every shape and size — are sexy and we don’t want your fashion” just jump on board and follow these dictates.

Is pedophilia really so pervasive that this long-standing, widespread effort to tell grown women the only thing that’s sexy is the body of a child hasn’t even been noticed?  Or is everything about women–not to mention children– so unimportant in our society no one is paying that much attention?

And what’s with all the women who get told they’re only sexy if they look like a pedophile’s wet dream and instantly start dieting and taking off all their body hair?  How did so many of the rest of us — us non-fashionistas — not quite see the deeper meaning in all this?  A world view that grown women aren’t desirable unless they look like and — as far as I can see — behave like children.  Now that I’ve noted it, it’s so glaring I can’t understand why this isn’t a national conversation.

I’m a great believer in the divine feminine, in the power of women.  We’re beautiful in every shape and size.  We’re smart, capable, talented, creative and most important, filled with compassionate and loving hearts.  Our compassion is the biggest reason we’re needed in positions of power and authority.  But instead of being celebrated and given equality and power for our wonderful attributes we’re in a male-dominated culture in which we’re treated as disposable, negligible, objects… children.

It’s a culture so pervasive I think most of us women are blind to some aspects of it because we’re too enmeshed in it to see.  I’m excited by the current climate of embracing women’s rights and yet I feel like much of it is dancing around the edges without delving into the deep issues.  It’s time to explore all the ways patriarchy is operating to keep women marginalized and degraded and to stand up for overthrowing all of it.  Not to mention stop colluding in it.

It starts, I feel, with women exploring their own inner landscape and healing all the ways they feel less than, lacking in self worth and/or self-respect, dependent on men, insecure, etc.  We need an army of GROWN, confident women who respect themselves and know their worth. And none of us can make anyone else do it.  It begins with me.  It begins with you.

7 thoughts on “Fashion, women and the veils of patriarchy

  1. Of course you are 10,000% right. A while back I wrote something about how my daughter asked my why the words “sex” and “sexy” could be found on every female magazine but were strangely absent on the publications targeting men. It’s insane. They produce this garbage because women in our society buy it en masse. Why do we gobble that garbage up? It’s unrealistic, unhealthy, and, as you said, encouraging us to strive for the pre-pubescent body of a hairless rail-thin child plus some extra up top magic that only the world of silicone can achieve.

    I love this post. You are a fierce and spectacular warrior, and you are so very wise darling friend. I have been blessed to read your words for years. Keep being a bad ass you sassy rockstar. You are amazing! ❤️

    • Thanks so much Jo. I’ve been enjoying seeing posts from you again (I didn’t see any for a long stretch; I assumed you weren’t writing but I guess it could have been a glitch in my reader).
      As far as the “up top”, one of the things I find interesting is hetero men often do like a curvy woman, which Penthouse, etc. caters to and Hollywood runs a fine line between the little child figure of fashion and the curvy look favored by many men — so lots of skinny women with big breasts… All of it treating women as sex objects and nothing else…

      • I disappeared for a very very long stretch there. I just lost my voice. It’s strange to think about but I just couldn’t find the words for the longest time. Everything has a season I suppose. 🙂

  2. I think it is more complicated than this though — for so many women (and girls) have said they dress for one another. It’s a difficult entrenched issue.I’ve noticed my 5-year-old son loves to parade around in imaginary and real favorite fashion accessories… it seems to come straight from out of him sometimes, not externally induced.

    • Well, to me, the issue is about whether women are or are not accepting fashion dictates that are degrading. Who they’re dressing for is a different issue, though I feel any one who isn’t dressing for herself instead of anyone else has some issues to look at…
      As far as the natural bent, I have a slightly different perspective since I’m old enough to have lived when nobody paid that much attention to high fashion. When I was 5 many people didn’t have a TV yet, TV wasn’t permeated with “fashion”, women were degraded more as being domestic only rather than as sex objects and the internet, of course, did not exist. I didn’t know any children who were interested in or talked about fashion nor did the moms. Now it permeates the culture on so many levels I think it’s hard NOT to be aware of it and tough for young people to step aside from its influence.
      Nice to have you join the lovely crowd who hang out here.

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