Is Fashion Keeping us Small?

For the record, I really love fashion. I love finding new ways to style my wardrobe, update old favourites and incorporate little nods to my most admired trends. And yet, as I spent time this past weekend learning the liquid eyeliner flick (still unmastered), I wondered why I spend so much time details that, while fun, are largely irrelevant.

This isn’t just to say that clothing items marketed towards women are the only problem; men’s clothing has played a supporting role. However, tech and cars keep men grasping for the next model, many of them going into debt so they can use the most recent incarnation of something that was fine to begin with. In the case of phones, this turnover is somewhat understandable, considering that updates are no longer available for all models, and some updates purposefully slow down the device. Our minds are decided for us, it seems. We are boxed into things that need to be paid for and jobs that need to pay for them. As treats, we buy ourselves small things for a bit of instant gratification – to remind us that we are rich enough to afford new things.

So, how does this change the way we look at the world? We are so concerned with keeping up with our own material desires and how to afford them that we forget to pay attention to the climate in which we live.

Women are quite happy to say ‘blessed be the fruit‘ by means of protest when discussing potentially shrinking reproductive rights, then go back to scrolling through [mostly male] designers’ new ideas about dressing us. We seem to forget that the same consumerist culture we participate in daily also created the despised leaders, our learned helplessness and a sense of moral ambivalence.

I understand this, and also find myself there – it’s nicer to read about something enjoyable than it is to read about our diminishing rights whilst feeling helpless. Moreover, we are less guided when it comes to political action than we are when it comes to mastering beauty techniques.

However, if our media, already geared toward women, were able to give us a platform for learning how to take action in our communities and give us ideas of how and when to resist, couldn’t our energies be used better? If such a call to action were created, from the same female-centric magazines and blogs that we all love to read, I believe we could have a much greater impact than sporting a ubiquitous eyeshadow style. Hold the brush like a windshield wiper – I get it. Now, where can my time be best spent, please?

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