Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shiny, Unhappy People

About a week ago, while surfing one of my fave sites (Jezebel), I watched a rather outrageous and fearless video cum social commentary about American Apparel and how hideous most of it looks on a) anyone whose body deviates from the proto-anorexic ideal and b) practically everyone else too (http://jezebel.com/349762/its-not-always-easy-looking-like-a-fat-hooker).

Tracie and Jessica, the intrepid satirists, really threw themselves into the fray to point out with hilarity and a great soundtrack that this brand, while ugly, is also promoting a kind of retro-sexism and body loathing. I found it so inspired that I forced my husband - a guy who's not into this sort of thing - to watch it and even he was impressed by its daring.

Fast forward to yesterday and you can imagine my dismay at reading a follow up post in which Jessica admits that, rather than empowering her against the media image machine, she was completely demoralized by the experience and by the subsequent onslaught of negative commentary hurled in her (and Tracie's) direction. Slurs about weight and attractiveness were levied without mercy. Let's be clear: These are enlightened, intelligent, amusing and artistic women who have fascinating lives and moxy - the very building blocks of attractiveness - in spades. Furthermore (shall we cut to the chase?), they aren't fat - not that this would, in any way, be license to insult. They're simply horribly styled, if you can even call it that, in miserable clothing the likes of which we've all had the bad fortune to try on.

It strikes me that their only mistake was in rendering the message so flawlessly. Shiny satin jeweltone spandex is never lovely regardless of the size and shape of one's rear end. Drippy, yet slutty, cotton cutout bodysuits in 5 shades of oatmeal do not bring out the glow in one's complexion. Fluorescent lighting - don't even get me started on this topic - is the bain of the modern shopper. Jessica and Tracie sought to clarify this in an uncharacteristic ego-free zone (the zone of androgyny, comedy, the artist, no?). They fought the good fight, and sad to say, Dear Reader: It came back to bite them in the shiny spandex ass.

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