Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Having your Cupcake and Eating It?

So a revolution of sorts has occurred apparently, with curvy models recently featuring in Italian Vogue. Now some people think this is great and some see it as a symptom of the continuing objectification of women. I say these curvy ladies are serious hot and it is great to see women with a bit of meat on them in a fashion magazine.

Arguments abound that women are objectified and the argument is always 'men oppress women by sexually objectifying them.' But isn't the reality that no one is really oppressed just by having a man look at you in a lustful fashion? If you are talking about the fashion industry well yes that is an extremely distasteful industry on every level. Models are certainly dehumanised and just treated as clothes horses. In all the babble coming from the chattering classes about 'going green' I suppose no one has noticed that following fashion is not only pointless but perpetrates huge suffering amongst fashion workers in the third world. If you really want to do something radical for women's rights then boycott fashion!

As for objectification of women in real life much has been made of the rise of retro femininity and the fact that many women in public life seem to have embraced a purely decorative function, coupled with an obsessive interest in baking cupcakes and wearing frilly aprons. Tanya Gold wrote in an article recently that she was appalled at going to John Lewis and finding out that:

"Sales of crafting fabrics are up 31 per cent on last year. Jam pot covers – remember them? – are up 50 per cent. And cupcake cases are up a howling, punched-by-Kirstie-Allsopp 65 per cent. I wish I could paint that sentence pink so you could see how important it is. We are living in a time of retro femininity."

I'm not sure what's so appalling about that as I love making cupcakes and wearing frilly aprons and apparently it's not just me. Gold states that Samantha Cameron, Duchess of Cambridge and Michelle Obama are little more than Stepford Wives in that they are seemingly playing second fiddle for now to their spouses (but are they really?)

To which I say you can look pretty, bake cupcakes and wear frilly outfits without losing your feminist credentials and if you make the stuff yourself surely you're saving the women who work in the Indian sweat shops from a life of hell. Also women are always going to be objectified because men like to look at pretty women. Also women like to be looked at by men. There, I've said it.

No one is forcing women to look pretty. If you want to go out looking like a dog's dinner it's your right. But there has always been a rather bizarre feminist link made between men's economic dominance and looking at women. Some clap trap about because they earn more that gives them the right to look at women, somehow diminishing women via their gaze sort of like how Alice in Wonderland might shrink after drinking some patriarchal potion!

Well enough clap trap. Looking at women does not oppress them okay? (Although obviously sexual harassment is another story). But my real point is this, do you think feminism has gone off course with the advent of more women wanting to look pretty and have a nice home or can you have your cake and eat it too?

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