Friday, July 28, 2017

What Should Women Wear?

The "correct" answer* to that question would take a book.  Hmm.  Perhaps I should write one?

My archives are full of scattered thoughts on this cultural question:

 - For examples of the disciplining of teenage girls at schools, read this post or
this one.

- For the relationship between pain and female clothing, read this one.

- And for what is "appropriate clothing" (recently addressed again** for female lawmakers and Congressional reporters by Speaker Paul Ryan!),  read this post and then the second half of this post on religiously required female dress.

- I also address the question whether women who say they wear what they want to wear in fact do so, or at least whether that choice really has nothing to do with what choices the society offers women in terms of religious norms, cultural expectations and the brainwashing carried out by the fashion industry and by popular culture.

I  haven't written enough about the fashion industry and the possible chains of influence from popular culture (not necessarily created by women) to what women are told they should wear, or the preposterous patterns of sizing women's clothes*** or the apparent mismatch between what is sold in stores or online and what women in fact wear in real life.

*  There isn't any one answer, of course.  By "correct" I mean an exhaustive and boring treatise on the gendered dress codes over all eras and all places.  Nah.  It wouldn't be boring.  It would be fun!

**  The rule, which precedes Ryan's rein, bans sleeveless dresses and tops and the kinds of shoes where toes are visible.  Recently Ryan agreed to look at modernizing that rule. 

It would be good to allow men, too, to wear something a bit lighter than a suit jacket with long sleeves.  On the other hand, the rules for men are much simpler, because the messages men's clothing is expected to send are not in conflict with each other the way the messages for women's clothing often are.  Still, comfort and safety in clothes should come before all that messaging, and suits are not the best thing to wear in heat and high humidity.  How about Bermuda shorts and short-sleeved jackets with them for male lawmakers and journalists? 

***  Or the low quality of even some expensive clothing if it's intended for women or girls.  See this post for more on that, but also a more loving take on clothes.