Monday, March 29, 2010

Fashion. Vanity.

Okay, I've copped to my issues, but here is a twist on the thing. In several ways, I'm genuinuely unsure this is as healthy a thing as I generally believe it to be, but it is one of the oddities of my personality.

Two years ago or thereabout, I had a weak day when one of those guys with the magazine subscriptions hit my front door, and - heaven help me - I ended up buying one off him. The only magazine I could even imagine looking at (and let it be said, this one didn't exactly grab me by the collar) was Vogue, so I checked that box, wrote a stupidly large check, forgot about the visitation (and the money) for like six or more months, and figured I'd been had. Tis what it is, I tried not to feel bad.

The magazines, though, did actually begin to arrive - something like eight or ten months after the purchase, but they did start to come. And, man, they have been coming ever since. At least a year and a half - and I'd purchased a "mini" (6 months) subscription. So in a way (I confess I could care less about), I'm actually getting significantly more than my money's "worth".

Anyway, so here's the thing. You hear about those studies, where twelve minutes or something worth of looking at fashion mags leaves women feeling depressed and/or fat or whatever. (Yes, you also hear studies about women over 35 and their odds of being murdered by terrorists versus finding a man, but whatever. I think the ones about body image aren't completely far-fetched.)

I'm the woman who picks up those magazines, looks at those emaciated and often characterless models, and thinks, "dang, I am a WOMAN" and feels awfully good about it.

I mean, yeah, feminist backlash against unrealistic body image, sour grapes, "those women are meant to be models, not objects of romantic love". I know, I know. But, genuinely, and really weirdly, I am saying, looking at twenty year olds with four foot long legs the thighs of which are as thin as my ARMS, leaves me feeling generally more appealing. Not down on them, nor even their industry (which I find too frankly ludicrous to be much offended by), but *good* just in my skin.

Maybe it's the result of growing up with no conception that anyone ever might find me the slightest bit cute. Maybe it's thanks to a streak of noconformity. I don't actually think this relates to my vanities; those come in different areas and manifestations than overall body image, and let's not pretend I don't wish I were a little bit thinner at least some of the time. But even when I feel a little bigger, I really don't ever feel literally "fat" - in the sense of disliking myself over something like my body. I know when it feels best, I know what I think looks best, I generally am comfortable with my bones.

And, in the end ... is it "vanity", really - to feel good about yourself, instead of bad, when looking at images of other people in images meant to be of beauty ...


Tune in next time for part 2 - fashion versus style ...

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