"Like poetry, fashion does not state anything. It merely suggests."-Karl Lagerfeld

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jean Paul Gaultier Ready to Wear Spring 2011 Opens with Plus Size Model

Jean Paul Gaultier's Spring 2011 collection reminded me if David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days had a love child with Joan Jett. Its a little punk, little glam rock, with some ethereal hippie/Bohemian frocks, thrown in with structured leather. Below are my favorite looks (it was hard not to post every piece.)

As you may have noticed, the show opened and closed with plus sized model, lead singer of the band Gossip, Beth Ditto. Despite her size Ditto is making her mark in the fashion world. In an interview, when asked if she had always been comfortable with her size, she replied, 

I used to say that no, I didn't. Sometimes, you feel uncomfortable but then you look around and realize it's not you -- it's what other people project onto you. It's not really how you feel about yourself; it's the way the world makes you feel. It's not even a real emotion, but it definitely affects you. When I was a little kid it was really hard for me. One day you're a cute, chubby kid, but then you get boobs and your mom realizes it's not baby fat. You start to feel a lot of weird pressure. There were times in junior high when I'd say, "When I get older I'll be thin." I thought it would go away.

But then high school came and I got into riot grrrl. My best friend, Jay, was also this fat gay boy. I would watch 'Jerry Springer' and there would be fat girls in bathing suits, and I would be like, "Gross!" And [Jay] would be like, "Who cares?" It was the first time I was ever like, "Oh, yeah. I don't really think it's gross. I've just been told that it's gross. I have that body. Why would I think it was gross?" It was just very deep. Some days you wake up and you're like, "Oh, God, it would be a lot easier to be in a different body." But I think everybody feels that way, no matter what body they have.

Ditto bravely posed nude for Love Magazine, showing that a body that is not portrayed in teh media whatsoever except in a negative manner can be attractive or at least an alternative. There are arguments about portraying obesity in a positive manner because of the health effects and the "epidemic" this country struggles with. This is a valid concern but the flip side is that the fashion world does not seem to bat an eye at the effects of only portraying a slim (no pun intended) view of what attractive is.

Recently I watched a documentary/lecture given by Jean Kilbourne, Number Four of her series "Killing Us Softly". Jean Kilbourne has been examining advertisement and how women have been portrayed in it for decades. Points she brings up a lot is that in advertisement, women are portrayed in demeaning and unrealistic ways. Airbrushed to perfection with body shapes roughly 5% of the countries population actually has, yet is the only size portrayed in all sources of media. Also for years women are portrayed in demeaning ways whether is be in a manner that is...
                                                               sexually violent....
                                                   dehumanizing (portrayed as objects....
                                                               ...or as animals)
                                                                    ...more violence
                                                          extreme sexuality.....
                                               ...and portraying children as sexual objects

Is having an overweight women in a fashion show all that bad? Seriously? Like women aren't made to feel bad enough in society. Maybe normalizing something that is normal, like diversity and body size, isn't such an awful thing. I'm curious as to how people feel about this...ideas?

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