YouTube has had no small part in this new era of overshare, not least of which is the apparent trend of putting childbirth videos online. But while there may be something educational and useful about a gaping, baby-producing vag video, I fail to see who in the world could care even the tiniest bit about "haul videos."
Do you have a saggy butt? A butt that could use a lift with the right shapewear undergarment? Then please, do not consider the Binikini, which is officially the stupidest thing I have ever, ever seen someone try to sell women.
According to Binikini, what a saggy butt needs is a thin strap cutting across the flubbiest part of a lady's saddlebag, creating a quad-butt kind of multi-pantyline thing. Behold, the NSFW goodness:
I have no ass. Zero. Flat as a pancake. And if I stand comfortably, with my legs hyper-extended (as they do and it is super-creepy, let me assure you), I have a negative ass. Concave. For the past 15 years or so, it has made buying jeans that fit hard, and more recently, nearly impossible.
It was easier when I was thinner--buying tiny jeans that squeeze on a tall, boy-shaped body is challenging, but now that I'm a grown-ass curvy woman (except for that ass part) with hips and thighs, every pair of jeans that fits my waist and my legs and my height has a big ole baggy buttsack.
I would buy a Booty Pop, and I don't care who knows it. I want a pair of pants that fit. End. Of. Story. Wrap it in pink unicorns and Brad Pitt and babies and shoes and eyeliner and glitter, I don't give a flying feminist eff. My pants: I want them to fit.
In 6 months or so, you can probably expect me to be wearing a massive bow. You know, one of the massive fashion trend bows that are now so ... fashionably trendy. How do I know? Because I hate them. And when I hate a fashion something, I'm very likely to start enjoying it in 3 to 9 months. I can't explain it, but it happened with ironic ugly glasses. (I present to the court Exhibit A.)
I've been wanting to untie these obnoxious things for some time now, but this photo of Kate Bosworth on Jezebel today sent me over the edge. I love sequins! Moar sequins! But Jebus H., that bow; it ruins the sparkly goodness of the dress. I understand Bosworth is blessed with the kind of tiny middle that makes a massive LOOK HERE AT MY STOMACH BIG ACCESSORY WHOOOOOOOOO kind of work on her, but man. It's so ... creepy. Infantile? Childish? Wait, did I just say that bows are childish but sequins aren't? What is happening to me?
Ladies, can anyone provide a good argument in favor of the massive baby bow? Has anyone pulled it off with grown-up gusto?
Cat couture is sweeping the fashion nation faster than you can dig out Mittens' under-fridge foil ball collection. Which is to say, very slowly ... perhaps until now. The designers at Urban Bamboo have created cat-sized versions of their new collection and photographed felines in the aforementioned garb. There will be a calendar: you can has 12 whole months of WTF.
Still, these kitties kind of give me the willies:
Of course, when cat commentary is needed, HeartlessDoll turns to our kitty correspondent, Sake, here to give us her feline P.O.V.
In principle, I'm all about what German ladymag Brigitte is doing to widen the variety of women in its pages. Via the AP:
Germany's most popular women's magazine announced Monday that it is banning professional models from its pages in favor of "real women" in an attempt to combat an unhealthy standard of rail-thin beauty that it says has isolated its readers. The editor-in-chief of Germany's bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.
However, it's the atrocious attitude of the editor that makes the whole thing pretty unpalatable:
Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the average woman. "We will show women who have an identity -- the 18-year-old student, the head of the board, the musician, the football player," Andreas Leberts said in Hamburg, where the magazine, published by Gruner+Jahr, is based.
So, models don't have identities? They're not "real women"?
Now that a beautiful lady with a belly roll has appeared in Glamour, we can all stop worrying about media portrayals of women and weight and go dance in flowery fields with butterflies and champagne and celebrate the end of body issues forever, right? Nah. For some folks, it seems like the Lizzie Miller photo and the existence of More To Love (shudder) have signaled some kind of magic turn in our culture toward not glorifying unattainable bodies. I'm sure I don't have to tell you Dolls that I, ah, don't agree.
But what about average bodies? Almost all models are either a size 0-4 or a 12 or above. To illustrate: when St. Louis teen Jennie Runk, a lovely size 8 gal, got a modeling contract, she opted to gain, rather than lose, weight. Apparently there's no room for middle-sizes in the world of modeling. Runk is profiled in the St. Louis Post Dispatch today:
Runk has long auburn hair that falls in a thick mass of curls, ocean blue eyes that can mist over into a sea green, a statuesque figure and a wry, charming smile. The combination is often stunning, so she got used to hearing strangers remark, "You should be a model." She'd heard the refrain since she was a small child. Runk never took the suggestions seriously. She was 14 years old and called herself a "book nerd." She wore a size 8, had an hourglass figure and loved Dr. Pepper and Doritos. At the time, she thought model meant super-skinny.
Then one day she got a very real offer from a local model scouting duo, Mary and Jeff Clarke of Mother Model Management. For the first time, she had to make a very real decision about her weight.
Runk put on around 20 lbs so she could wear a size 12 and therefore be a "plus size" model, though she still exercises every day to maintain her figure. Still, she says she has trouble shopping at plus size stores because she's at the smallest end of the plus curve.
As the reader who tipped me off to this article said, "sizes 2-8 are invisible, ten and beyond is controversial, and 0 is the norm." I would love to see some more middle-range ladies in magazines and advertisements. It doesn't help curvy girls to see a rail-thin model walking around in no-pants leggings, because they can't get a good idea of what styles work on their own bodies. I'd love to see some size 8 and 10 ladies modeling clothes so that I can say, "Oh, she's got thighs like me. But those jeans look fantastic. I'll take 'em!"
I can't think of anything I care less about right this second than Fashion Week. Every ladyblog from here to there is gushing about the shows and the swag and the celebrities, and I'm just sitting here confused. We spend our days taking stands against objectification, materialism and the weight industrial complex, but if Karl Lagerfeld wants to send some pants down a runway, we drop everything and pretend like the fashion industry isn't a major player behind many of Western society's worst cultural crimes against ladies.
Models deal with constant pressure to be rail-thin, resulting in crippling, sometimes deadly eating disorders. Blink and you'll miss a woman of color modeling couture looks. Say what you want about the "art" and "theater" of the runway, overpriced foot-murdering shoes aren't out there making themselves popular all on their own. And please don't get me started on homeless chic.
I'm forced to acknowledge here that I do enjoy fashion, and I know that "fashion" isn't created in a vacuum, borne of some mysterious style goddess. (Sorry, Rachel Zoe.) I know it's a trickle-down process from runway to the mall, and that even my most unique vintage finds are, to some degree, affected by the present fashion climate. But Fashion Week reminds me how much the industry gets me down, with its zombie-like dedication to manufacturing desire for certain brands and prestigious price points. It's not about art, it's about business, and it's depressing. Sigh. I think I'll go surf Etsy for a while.
Dresses: they're a sticky issue, and not just for Monica Lewinsky. (Yeah, I know, 15 years ago called and they want their shitty joke back.) But seriously, folks. I've been stewing over a sartorial issue raised thoughtfully by Jezebel in response to a barely coherent article in the Daily Mail, which argues that men don't like fashion and really just want you to wear sexy things, which you should of course do. So, can you dress the (fashionable) way you want and attract men? Writes Anna on Jez:
"... in a world where we get plenty of unwanted "comments and looks" no
matter what we wear (as anyone who's been cat-called while wearing a
parka knows), is it so strange that we might not want to look "sexy"
every damn day? That we might want to look interesting, cool, funky,
serious, scary, even ugly? And that our reasons for this might not have
anything to do with pleasing other people?"
It's amazing to me that, in an age where modern fashion is the easiest outlet for individual self-expression, we're talking about clothing choices as being either one thing or another. So your high fashion gown doesn't impress Some Guy. Maybe Some Guy is a dude you don't really want to bone in the first place. Maybe you just like the feel of your furry velour leg-warmers or can't be bothered to hoof it to class in 4" heels. Isn't wearing what you want sexier than dressing only to impress--men or women?
I come to this issue by way of high-waisted things. I have a pair of ridiculously high-waisted black denim pants and a tight red American Apparel skirt that I wear as a kind of high-waisted pencil 'do. These are currently two of my favorite items of clothing. They're retro, fun and stupid-trendy. I adore them. But many people, both men and women, often offer unsolicited advice with regard to these pieces, telling me that guys aren't going to like me wearing those "mom jeans," that they can't believe I had the nerve/guts/balls to wear them, etc.
You'd think I was wearing a Lady Gaga costume rather than a relatively benign trend. Sadly, the current state of "sexy" in pop culture seems to be limited to what Maxim and Playboy
slap between their covers month after month. There are so many ways of
being sexy, and so few of them actually on display in media. And yet here I am, fashionable lady with a reasonably successful sex life and even a couple of good relationships under her (wide, high-waisted) belt. (And, oh, hey, I also happen to like my job and friends, though that's obviously not as important as having a man. Thanks, rom-coms.)
My take: whether you're wearing Prada or pajamas, if you wear what you're comfortable in, you're going to be a happier, more confident person who is more likely to attract the kind of person you might actually like back. Sure, I've seen men raise eyebrows at eclectically dressed women, but wouldn't you rather be dating the guy who thinks, "That is one nutty get-up, but she seems like a bucket of fun," than the guy who thinks, "MMM TUBE TOP BOOBIES BONER BOOBIES TITTY!"?
Dolls, do you agree? What do you wear, world-be-damned, just because you love it?
If you like looking at pictures of young women in nothing-left-to-the-imagination leggings, American Apparel has probably always had your go-to visuals. But don't look too hard at the new American Apparel kids' line, or if you're like me, you'll feel vaguely creepy. Instead of young women, it's barely pubescent girls--but hey, those skin-tight leggings are still there, along with vacant expressions that say, vaguely, "Have you seen this child?"
No, I'm not saying it's kiddie porn. But the kids' ads are shot in the same starkly-lit style as those for AA's adult clothing. And you'd be hard pressed to find an adult AA ad that isn't pretty explicitly adult. Help me out here, maybe, if I'm the only one: is anyone else totally creeped out by the visuals for the American Apparel kids' line?
Here's the problem: on a 25-year-old woman, shiny lamé pants are intentionally provocative and sexual, at least as portrayed in the AA catalog. So am I crazy for thinking that a photo of a little girl in the same gear is, well, a little bit freaky?
I don't find it quite as tacky as, say, thongs for elementary schoolers or "Juicy" pants on a 5th grader, but there's something going on here in the same realm. I feel like American Apparel has made a concentrated effort to incorporate sex and sexuality as part of their advertising--much to the chagrin of many fashion-forward feminists who like the gear but hate the message, this feminist included.
I wish they'd changed their visual M.O. for the kids' line.
After spending who-knows-how-much on Winsor pilates crap, home weights and more booty-shake-the-fat-away DVD's than I really care to think of, lord knows I was surprised when I finally found myself losing weight the old-fashioned way: by working out and eating better.
Holy effing crap! It really works, people.
So you'll have to exsqueeze me if I'm not totally sold on "Banglz," the workout sensazion that's zweeping zee nazion!
"Banglz" are weighted ... accessories? ... that are supposed to be totes wearable and great for helping you lose weight. 'Cause a $25 1/2 pound wristband is the key to fitness, people. I mean, da keyz to fitnezz! YAY BANGLZ. Gawhd. Methinks if you're worried about how your pretty little wrists and ankles look while you're working out, you're probably doing it wrong. I know we're all looking for the magic solution to our society's obsession with appearances, but this ain't it. If you want to lose weight, drop the silly gimmicks and go the damned gym, or the park, or dance in your damned house if you want to lose weight.
And besides, ya know what doesn't make me want to lose weight? Being sold a product with a random plural "z" at the end. No, Banglz really just make me want to drinkz morez zo i forgetz how incredibly lame they are. And that means MOAR CALORIEZ! LOLZ.
It is with a heavy (1/2 lb?) heart that I file this post under "fashion." Sighz.
We have known American Apparel czar Dov Charney was a pervandahalf for a long, long time. We also know that he doesn't give a fuck, now shut up and put on this leotard that will make you look like a fat hooker. (Thanks, Jezebel!) But now, with American Apparel's new line of clothing for pregnant chicks, we know something far, far more valuable about Dov Charney: he knows absolutely nothing about women. He maybe has not even met one.
How do we know?
Because that new American Apparel maternity line? Yeah, it appears to be the exact same other spandex finery they sell at a ridonk price point, except modeled on a cute pregnant girl. Apparently it's easier to stuff a poor soon-to-be mom in an outfit there's no way she could get out of in a dire pee emergency than to sew a few extra inches of fabric into a spandex jumpsuit and call it maternity wear. (This makes some sense, since AA seems to be low on fabric, what with their largest size fitting like Barbie clothing on anyone who's been through puberty and all.)
Just a few of issues off the top of my head: I suspect that any woman who does look good in AA clothing--both of them--would be mortified to think that the same things they wear could be worn by a pregnant lady. Also, AA's marketing the high waist skirt to pregnant ladies? Really? Because the one thing they don't have much of at the moment is ... a waist. And someone explain to me how the ruched front tube bra is going to support a couple of sore, engorged breasts?
I mean, if any of AA's stuff is comfy and workable for pregnant ladies, I totally think they should wear it and rock it and reject all the mom-frump that's out there. But I'll be damned if there isn't something creepy about this marketing ploy.
Amanda gets surprised at a fundraiser she organized in Dallas
As a massive Twitter addict, I am frequently confused by the 140-character messages my closest friends and strangers broadcast throughout the day. But when I saw that a ladyfriend of mine from Dallas, TX was tweeting something about a "dreaded 360-degree mirror" and crying like a baby when "fedex took all [her] clothes," I immediately perked up.
Where there are FedEx roundups of clothing and 360-degree mirrors from hell, Stacy and Clinton cannot be far behind. Lo! My friend Amanda is not only live-Tweeting her What Not To Wear experience, but she is also liveblogging it!
Before leaving for New York City, Amanda expressed some serious doubt:
"To be honest, I'm freaking out. I've cried some. I'm scared, too. Not
scared of the fashion intervention per say, gawd knows I need it, just
scared that I'm actually going to be forced to confront the fact I
literally stopped caring about myself and my appearance and confront
those reasons on national television. Such is life. For now, I've got
to put on my big girl panties, toughen my thin skin, and embrace the
fact that I have $5k to spend on myself. The hardest part will be
believing that I'm worth it."
After her first day of filming-wherein she got some fab new properly fitting bras, Amanda is 'zausted:
"I had to go back to my room in the studio, pull a dress out of the
trash bin, sit in a chair and answer some pretty hard questions about
myself. "Why are you drowning yourself in clothes?" "How do you feel...."
"Why do you think..." I was tired, I gave my answers, cried a little,
okay, a lot, and finally I was freed. I understand know why the women
on the show cry and get cranky. They're just as exhausted from shooting
and reshooting, room level checks, and everything else that comes with
the complications of making a show as I was."
Keep checking back at The Squawker for more updates from Amanda's makeover.
Ruminating, now: how do you ladies feel about the whole What Not To Wear setup? I find the show engrossing, and while I think Stacy and Clinton can be rather harsh, I rarely feel like someone comes away with any more self-loathing than they had to start out with. Maybe self-loathing dressed up in nicer clothes? Obviously it's intended to be an intensely emotional experience, which seems awful to have to go through on camera for the entire nation to watch. And as we can see from Amanda, every moment seems to be pretty fraught.
I certainly don't endorse a superficial way of making oneself feel better through slapping a designer pocket on something. But does somebody have to take our feminist cards away just because we like a hot new pair of jeans? What is it about that hot new pair of jeans? Surely we're capable of finding happiness both in butterflies and ponies and kittens and a piece of clothing that looks great on us. Surely we are at least that complicated.