Monday, November 06, 2006

Fashion as social Darwinism

I had my college homecoming this weekend, Saddam's execution was scheduled*, and "the most important midterm election of our lifetime" is tomorrow, but let's talk about something that REALLY matters: fashion magazines.

* I will say this little thing about Saddam, just because I was reading Marty's blog where he said it was hard to argue with all the pictures of people elated at the news of Saddam's pending death. First of all, I could show you pictures of all the Iraqi Sunnis who are protesting the Saddam ruling. Second, I could also show you pictures of Palestinians elated at the news of the two airplanes that crashed into the WTO. The point is that I find it quite easy to argue against...but then, I've been trained in taking ridiculous stances on a whim.

I love standing in line at the supermarket, because it gives me a chance to sit their and admire the fashion magazines. I love how there's an entire industry that's built around not only preying on women's eternal insecurities and perpetual need to be coupled but, indeed, also to seemingly perpetuate the cycle. I also enjoy how my entire gender can apparently be reduced to a couple of quick stereotypes. "What Men Really Think About Sex."** "Ten Tips To Keep Your Man." "Guys and Love: What It's Like For Them." I'm gonna give all you ladies a secret: these things are farces. Whenever I read them I find only about half of them are true. I'm a unique snowflake that even I don't entirely understand, you can't keep me with ten one-sentence tips.

** We like it. A lot. To the point we will spend the night with women we can't stand just to have it. Any questions?

"While he read these [men's] magazines and absorbed their wisdom as gospel, across the city, girls were doing the same thing. They had their own instruction books, their manuals for life, which told them what to wear, to drink, to say. Probably the magazines told them which lines they should fall for, which should elicit a light flirtatious laugh and cause them to press a hand to their neck, which deserved only a blank stare. All he had to do was read the same magazines and he would know too...Reading both sets at once had built the suspicion in Ryan's mind that the men's magazines were not truly on his side, nor the women's against him. Instead, he thought, the magazines were on the same side, their own, setting up complicated sets of mutually reinforcing insecurities, reasons to seek next month's guidance. The editors doubtless got together at rooftop parties in Manhattan to look out over the darkling plain and laugh, planning reciprocally outflanking maneuvers for their ignorant armies." --In the Shadow of the Law


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