The dictates of fashion by Susan Grimsdell
One of the best things about being old is that I no longer care about being fashionable and fitting in with the way my friends dress. As a teenager it was a different story. Whatever was “in” is what I wanted. In my day it was miniskirts, sack dresses, teased hair, crinolines, and like everyone else, I was right in there with it all.
Flesh on show
Looking back on those days it all seems a bit innocent compared to what’s happening now. We worried about showing bra straps, girls now worry about whether they’re showing enough bra. Walking down the street I see more cleavage at 9 am than we ever showed in night clubs at midnight.
Men in charge
Who creates these fashion trends? It’s not 14-year-old girls, it’s wealthy powerful corporate men, owners of the fashion houses and magazines, the film industry and most of the rest of the mass media. Dior is owned by Bernard Arnault, Chanel by the Wertheimer Brothers, Ralph Lauren (Ralph isn’t a woman!), Giorgio Armani, Pierre Cardin, Calvin Klein – all male. They control what women and girls wear, and of course we all go along with it.
Models as victims
What worries me is that fashion nowadays promotes girls to look like victims – models unsmiling, eyes looking bruised, all of them very skinny, breasts barely contained, portraying the message, “I’m defenceless, do it to me.” What bugs me the most is when people criticise girls for looking that way, and imply that by dressing in that fashion, girls are “asking for it”. No they’re not. They just want to be supercool, and they buy into whatever gear the fashion industry tells them will make that happen. If they end up looking half-dressed, well so be it.
Don’t blame the girls – they are you, they are me. Like our teenage selves, they just want to look and be the same as their friends.