Gender and the Fashion Industry: Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Also, all women must be pressed to ask why they seek to embody the female ideal of beauty, and are willing to sacrifice so much to do so. Even if the fashion industry were to ban all models wholesale beneath a BMI of 18.5, while male chauvinists might delight in the curves of the models gyrating on the catwalks of Milan, the ideals held up for women to fulfill would hardly be much more attainable. This would still eliminate the old, many non-white women, short women, disabled women, and yes, even plain women, from individuals deemed physically ideal.

The real question is why must a woman 'feel' beautiful at all to feel culturally validated and accepted. Central to the debate is not just homophobia, but the assumption that there is a single, 'real' womanly ideal, thin or fat, that must be found and then celebrated by the culture. At best, this ideal is something a woman can only embody, often with much time and economic expense, at one point in her life. Women must reject the objectifying gaze that forces them to 'see' one another as heterosexual men provided by the industry, and offer new ways of seeing, thinking, and conceptualizing sexuality beyond the idea of beauty at all. Although the goals of gay and feminist liberation movements may not always be the same, this does not mean that they must be forever polarized. Feminists must be careful exactly how the discourse of fashion criticism is conducted, before they uncritically embrace all fashion naysayers into their fold.

Works Cited

Bordo, Susan. The Body Betrayed. Berkley: University of California Press, 1995.

Fuss, Diana. "Fashion and the Homospectatorial Look." Critical Inquiry. 18. 4. Summer

1992. Identities. pp. 713-737. Accessed on 17 Nov 2007 through JSTOR http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0093-1896%28199222%2918%3A4%3C713%3AFATHL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B

Holland, Erik. "Possible solutions to some problems that this site is trying to solve." Feminine Beauty. 2007. 18 Nov 2007. http://femininebeauty.info/solutions.htm

Radford, Robert. "Women's Bitterest Enemy': The Uses of the Psychology of Fashion

Journal of Design History. 6.2. 1993. pp. 115-120. Accessed on 17 Nov 2007 through JSTOR at http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0952-4649%281993%296%3A2%3C115%3A%27BETUO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S

Roof, Judith. "Hypothalamic Criticism: Gay Male Studies and Male Feminist Criticism."

American Literary History. 4.2. Summer, 1992. pp. 355-364. Accessed on 17 Nov 2007 through JSTOR at http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0896-7148%28199222%294%3A2%3C355%3AHCGMSA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-E

This is used as an example from popular culture, not as an academic source in the review.

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Bordo, Susan. The Body Betrayed. Berkley: University of California Press, 1995.

Fuss, Diana. "Fashion and the Homospectatorial Look." Critical Inquiry. 18. 4. Summer

1992. Identities. pp. 713-737. Accessed on 17 Nov 2007 through JSTOR http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0093-1896%28199222%2918%3A4%3C713%3AFATHL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B

Holland, Erik. "Possible solutions to some problems that this site is trying to solve." Feminine Beauty. 2007. 18 Nov 2007. http://femininebeauty.info/solutions.htm

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