(not so) random links

-i talk about stuff a lot here. i think about stuff a lot, too. about how we have lots of stuff, what we do with that stuff…and i often wonder if we (we includes me) really need all that stuff…

apparently, comedian george carlin, who died sunday at age 71 of heart failure, pondered some of the same stuff about stuff.

RIP, george.

***

-do you love and/or accept your body? or do you, like so many, find yourself being critical of your current form?

already pretty made a recent post touching on body image, wherein she quotes stylist/designer l’wren scott, who dresses many rich and famous folks, many of whom who embody enviable forms: “i’ve never met a woman who loves her own body. ever.” a tragic statement, if true.

relatedly, tara parker-pope of the new york times reports on a study that suggests that many normal weight teens feel fat.

where does this body hatred, this fear of flesh (or, really fleshiness) come from? what can we do to cure or counteract bad body image, culture-wide? what is already being done?

why are we so hard on ourselves, and so critical of the bodies of others? is it part of being human, is it social/part of society or something more?

how much culpability should the fashion industry (fashion designers, marketers, and fashion media all included) accept for this culture-wide body dysmorphia, if they should at all? are they, to a large part, to blame, because they glorify (and market) an impossibly skinny and tall ideal?

but…also, i ask: are things better now than they used to be, as far as body image goes? are we more accepting of bodies (of others, of our own) these days, or less?

***

-up until what seems like recently, fashion favored the showy ‘conspicuous consumption’ look: the ‘it’ dress, the ‘it’ bag, the ‘it’…whatever. show it off, wear it proud, in your face, bling, blang…pow! wear the trends everyone else is wearing to show (or at least suggest) you’re in the inner circle! aspirational fashion, ahoy!

now, with the looming recession, it’s all about stealth wealth. to quote forbes magazine, “the fashion for aggressive displays of wealth is hitting a low point”. the new, more subtle way to show your “in”? to wear that which flies under the radar, that which is recognizable only those “in the know”.

after reading about this, i wonder: how long can these lower-profile, high-class trends really stay secret and stealthy? eventually, i’d argue, those wily plebes are going to catch on, no? 🙂 how does/will this trend for the lower profile trends trickle and translate down the line? it’s only a matter of time before it does, right? and if it doesn’t, why wouldn’t it?

apparently, this trend for showing off wealth in a stealthy way isn’t the look du jour elsewhere (outside the states and parts of europe, in the middle east and asia/pacific, etc.). different markets are now demanding different approaches to luxury (via the international herald tribune). perhaps america is no longer setting the pace…or the trends. trends and innovation are more and more developed overseas, no?

***

and…the quick and dirty. just a few for ya this go round!:

-this simple, minimal knitted linen tunic pattern found on the purl bee so very much hits the mark with me right now.

-a brilliant fiber dyeing idea from the matchbook: use flour paste to achieve a batik-like effect on fabric. (via craft:)

polka dot creations shows how to transform an old sheet into a funky new skirt (also via craft:)

14 comments

  1. pamela

    Speakin’ of the ‘it’ bag, and conspicuous consumption, have you seen this?
    http://www.bagborroworsteal.com/ Now if you can’t afford to buy it, you can at least look like you do by renting it! Yuck! Maybe that explains the desire to dress “low-profile, high-class”?? Sorry, I’ll still be shopping for sturdy, leather (sometimes but not neccessarily big name designer-y) handbags at TJMaxx; I’ve found some great stuff there, but you do have to hunt for it.

  2. Sal

    Oh, George. A troubled soul, but so damn funny. I haven’t heard the “Place to Put Your Stuff” routine in ages. Thanks for tracking it down.

    And hey, thanks for the mention! I end up pondering issues of body image with staggering frequency, and write about them nearly as often as I think about them. I believe that if I can convince even ONE woman that she doesn’t have to be skin-and-bones to be a knockout, I will have done the world a service. But it’s a bloody uphill battle.

    I wish I could say that I accept my own body, but all I can really do is attempt to keep the self-hatred to a minimum. My brain knows it’s preposterous, hypocritical, and HARMFUL but I just can’t turn it all the way off. Or turn the love all the way on.

    I’ll have to do some more pondering about the root cause … thanks, as always, for firing up my brain, Tricia!

  3. Casey

    Thank you for the great links–and the George clip; that made me laugh so hard! lol. 😉 I don’t think I’ll ever look at piles of stuff again without thinking of this.

    The link to Sally’s post on body image was really thought provoking. I think, to be fair, the industry has become a bit more interested in using people who have “normal” looks than before. But, note I said “interested”, not accepting; simply because I think this is a trend right now and will fade away when the next Kate Moss comes along and seduces the fashion world again with ultra skinniness. And to be honest, one thing I have noticed about this “alternative body” look that is being touted by the industry, is that it usually focuses on model’s who have interesting facial features, rather than average body types.

    I don’t ever think women will be fully happy with their bodies; it’s something that is worked into our dna as females, I’m convinced. 😉 But the fashion world has helped foster and promote unhealthy, and sometimes unachievable ideals for beauty. Too many girls and women are caught up in a cycle of low self-esteem, yo-yo diets, and dangerous lifestyles in order to get a “model” body, or to feel fashionable/accepted/beautiful. When women–people–wake up and realize that it really doesn’t matter, that being yourself is far more fulfilling than chasing after a homogeneous ideal; only then will things begin to turn around.

    Great links, Tricia! Thanks for posting them! 🙂

  4. Erica

    Ooh, lots of good things to think/talk about here…
    I too love that George Carlin routine, it’s funny and a little painful because it’s so true. I’ve never had more stuff in my life than I do now, and I have mixed feelings about it. I enjoy the stuff I have, so why do I go and get more stuff? Am I trying to build a monopoly on all the cool stuff or what? Bleh.
    As for body image…I know I often blame advertising for things like this, but I really feel that most people don’t see the extent to which their fears and desires have been and are being shaped by messages in advertising. How is it that we know what “the perfect body” is supposed to look like? Because we’ve all been told what that is through media messages. Women and girls especially are given these messages early and often. I can’t even count the available ways to alter one’s body and appearance, from hair irons to press-on toenails. When all that stuff is thrust on you, you begin to feel that it’s necessary. I haven’t been immune to it; for a long time I hated my hair and lamented my upper body shape. Now I realize there’s no other option but to love myself if I want to be happy.
    Now stealth wealth–I think really that it’s always been like this. Patricians know other patricians when they see them because of this phenomenon. I think it’s about the quality materials, tailoring and other exquisite details in even the most basic items that just can’t trickle down to lower-priced mass markets. But if one is reaching for luxury, it makes sense to forgo a $1200 black cashmere sweater because not everyone will recognize high quality and know it cost you that much; better to choose items that will get more bang/bling for your buck–something that is unmistakably expensive. But then on the other hand those items always get bootlegged, and after that no one will believe or care if your luxury item is the real thing…

  5. Lady Smaggle

    I’m so torn on body issues recently. I think the whole size zero trend at the moment is hideous and gives women a really unrealistic view of what they are supposed to look like. Having said that Australia has recently over taken America as the most obese nation. (The stats on this are little iffy though – it’s based on a survey of 14,000 and is also based on BMI which is just about the most stupid measure of weight I’ve ever come across). This makes me think that there can’t be that many girls suffering from eating disorders and unrealistic expectations when clearly 60% of women in my country are overwieght. I’m just not convinced that we should be encouraging this ‘love yourself as you are’ thing when on either end of the spectrum we have girls with heart disease from either starving or stuffing themselves. Why shouldn’t we encourage healthy eating and healthy life styles? I can’t condone a size zero girl loving herself as she is if she lives on diet coke and cigarettes. Conversly I don’t think a larger women should be proud of her curves if she got them sitting on her butt and eating Macdonalds all day. If someone raises their heart rate everyday, eats good fresh food and doesn’t abuse their body with drugs and alcohol then they should be proud of their body whether they are a size 6 or a size 26. I just think health should play a factor in body pride.

  6. pamela

    Yike! I just re-read what I wrote above and realized it sounded like I meant that a thing was less desirable if the “riff raff” had access to it at all. That’s not what I intended, but I do wonder if it has something to do with the new trend toward “low-profile, high-class” dressing.

    What I personally have a problem with is the quest for status via carrying an ‘it’ bag, wearing that ‘it’ dress, etc. I wish people were comfortable with just being themselves. If you have the courage to dress to please yourself, then you won’t have to spend money you may not have on “luxury” goods, and you’ll probably be a more creative dresser to boot. That’s what I meant! 🙂

  7. a.d.

    In terms of conspicuous consumption, it has become a competition between brands to cater to wealthier clientele while enticing the masses with entry level items. Celebrities are given items to act as advertising while the average consumer does the same with prominent logos. There will likely be a return to luxury origins where the focus is on exclusivity and quality rather than building a brand. I would hope that preferences are based on craftsmanship rather than price because no amount of money can purchase style. For those who can not afford these tiers behind closed gilded gates, it would be a wonderful opportunity to support artisans that create one of a kind items by hand ala Esty.

  8. hoyan

    that stuff about stuff really made me LOL. it also made me think, though, about those situations in which you lose all your Stuff (like in the ‘what if you lost all you clothes’ thread on w_r). if it’s not a sad situation, it can be quite liberating.

  9. Natasha

    I loved George Carlin!

    Not to self-promote, but I just did a post on my blog about woman’s self-image here: http://thewhimsicalnerd.blogspot.com/2008/06/but-seriously-folks.html

    Basically, I think poor body image derives from sexism – the only reason women feel so inadequate is because we live in a society that champions beauty above all else in women. I don’t think body image will improve just by telling women to embrace their bodies and love themselves. If poor body image is a symptom of a larger societal dismissal of the value of women, I think a major effort to empower them will render body image less relevant. (Not that that is any easier!)

  10. Leah

    I think it’s quite sad about no girl/woman accepting their own shape and yet it is so very true. The New York Times article has some truth to it, because I know many people around my age (17) who hate the way their body shape is. Several girls in my school have lost significant amounts of weight recently and for no reason (none of them were overweight in the slightest!), with one at least to the point of anorexia. Honestly, it probably boils down to how beauty is portrayed in the media/society as well as sizing in shops (and honestly, there is no such thing as ‘standard’ sizes, because no-one really is the same shape!). I can understand why people think so negatively of themselves (I am no exception), but really, in the grand scale of life, it is a waste of time!

  11. Roxanne

    I love my body for all the things it can DO. That is 100% true.

    The body is such an amazing thing and can bring us so much joy- think of all the things your own body allows you to do. Think of the women (and men)you love and admire in your own life- what do their bodies look like and does that have anything to do with why you love and admire them? Is someone with a disability less beautiful, or does disability transcend..?

    My body doesn’t look like a model’s by a long shot. The stores don’t often carry cute clothes for me. I am grateful that my body allows me to sew so I am not limited by what’s on the shelves and racks!

  12. Artemis

    Hm. As a feminist, I’ve become a little annoyed lately with the argument that the fashion industry causes women to feel badly about their own bodies. I used to think this way, but I’ve realized that this viewpoint doesn’t give women (or anyone, for that matter) much credit for intelligence. Women are not dumb enough to mimic thoughtlessly everything they see in fashion magazines. That said, I don’t have any alternate reasons why women seem to hate their own bodies; I don’t think there is one sole cause. I’m just souring on the whole notion that women are passive automatons that imitate everything dumbass fashion magazines feed them.

  13. punky

    I feel great about how i look until someone makes a comment to me. Then i feel bad for myself for about a week.