Friday, December 29, 2006

It's like Playboy-- you don't read the Fashies for hard-hitting articles. It's slightly obnoxious when a piece on suffering Afghan women is sandwiched between a swimsuit fashion spread and an interview with J Simpson. That's why I was pretty surprised when I was flipping through Allure this morning during pretend-to-workout time at the gymy to find that the Editor's note was dedicated to the preponderance of Lolita styles appearing on grown women. And it wasn't an 'oh how cute' ode to the trend. It was well articulated, perhaps still misplaced, but it won me over to the idea that maybe discourse can appear beside fluff. Here's an excerpt:

"I do not like pink-velour hoodies, bath gels that smell like watermelon, edible lip gloss, initials like BFF and LOL, or the word "yummy." I also think there's something creepy about grown women who collect dolls....Everywhere I look, otherwise grown women are acting and dressing like adolescents. They are stuck in cutesy, wearing baby-doll dresses, Peter Pan collars, Mary Janes, and makeup in jelly-bean colors. All of this may look perfectly fine on 16-year old runway models (what doesn't?), but on a 25 or 35 year old woman, it's jarring. And it doesn't stop with hair, makeup, and clothes....

But perhaps during uncertain times some women find comfort in regressing, sticking a lollipop in their mouth and a bow in their hair and hoping someone big and strong will protect them."

Okay, she's obviously wrong about the initials. Abbrevs are completely empowering (post below). And I didn't like that she insulted her coworker who's "adopted the look", that seemed a little Anna Wintourish. Trends could very well just be trends, but I think she makes valid points, especially in light of the recent NYT magazine article on how the children's toy market is dominated by Princess gear, so much so that little girls don't have many other options. The NYT's piece made me sufficiently afraid to have babies, but didn't really go into why exactly Princess inundation is so bad or what the adult version of a Princess child would look and act like. There was a little hypothesizing based on a study that girls raised on Princess gear would be more acquiescent to unprotected sex because they feel a need to please everyone, but it seems just as likely that there are Princess roleplays that could go the other way: prim and prudish, spoiled and demanding. The Allure editorial kind of filled in what the NYT's left out, maybe these girls raised as princesses just turn out to be weird women who collect dolls and wear pigtails, and carry a purse filled with pyschological problems.

Then again, my high school friend was apparently not allowed toy guns or army paraphernalia when he was a kid and figured out a way to play guns anyway-- by taking a naked barbie, setting her legs at a 90 degree angle, and holding her as a gun. It may be not so much the toys, but the predominant culture that has the most influence. I also remember being obsessed with playing "House" though I can't recall my parents every getting me a toy kitchen set. And I'm not walking out of the house today in a tee that reads "Nuthin' But a 'G' String Baby!"


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