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March 25, 1993 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-25

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The Michigan Daily - Spring Fashion - March 25, 1993 - Page 3

Fashions social distortions

by Ophira Edut
Aroundtheageof12,pubertystruck,
and with it, all of its baggage. There
were the cramps, the training bra and
the neighbor-boys who suddenly
stopped picking me as a whiffleball
teammate. But worst was my first blast
of societal brainwash-whata "young
lady" was supposed to look like, act
like, dress like.
While I hate that trivializing "born-
to-shop" image of women, many of my
adolescent weekends were spent be-
tween the Junior Miss racks at the local
mall.IwasinStageOneofmy training
in stereotypical femininity. Clothes were
important, I learned from the wide se-
lection of books, TV shows and maga-
zines, becauseagirl's looks were every-
thing. After all, there were boys. And
they were everything, too-or so I was
taught. So naturally a young lady had to
dress to impress.
Outsideof the mall I had what I now
consider a normal body - whatever
that is. Short, thick, with a couple of
layers between my skin and my bones.
I mean, I wasn't exactly gonna blow
away if someone in the room sneezed or
breathed too hard. I was strong, healthy
and built to last. But as I traipsed from
one women's clothes store to the next, I

began to get a different message.
You're fat, the three-way mirrors
whisperedasIstruggledtopullapairof
single-digit sized blue jeans over my
hips. And soon these words formed on
the lips of the girl in the mirror who
looked like me. The girl who began
turning down seconds at dinner and
rushing of to do leg-lifts and stomach-
crunches with a roomful of other fe-
... I realized that I
wanted to be judged by
my strength of
character and personal
achievements rather
than by the
circumference of my
thighs.
males who played the numbers game,
too. Calories, pounds, waist size, self-
worth-everything couldbemeasured.
And when the sweat and the obsession
allowed me to stand in before that three-
way mirror in a clothing size smaller
than it should have ever fit into, I heard
the girl insideshungry laugh. You'refat,
she shouted again and again ...
It was awhile before I realized thatI
wanted to be judged by my strength of

character and
personal
achievements
rather than by \
the circumfer-
ence of my
thighs. Alotof
angerandfrus-
trationwereto
accompany
this waking-
up. I had to
admit that I
had been
blinded and
brainwashed,
and needed to take painful steps to re-
verse this. I had to accept that my body.
naturally wanted to be a size 11/12, not
a 3/4, and that I must stop punishing
myself to please the lying mirrors. For
thefirsttimelsawclearly thatthisworld
must truly hate women if it makes us
turn so violently and completely against
ourselves.
Regardless of any change in my
personal attitude, the clothing industry
continues to tailor women's clothing to
fit the bodies of 11-year-old boys. Trips
to the mall are still unfair exercises in
frustration. My weapon is to constantly
keep in mind while I shop that there's

SHAMON MUSHER/Daily

nothing wrong with me, but that there is
something wrong with the people who
design female fashions. I love clothes,
but I would like to be able to find some-
thing hanging on the racks that was
halfway between a piece of dental floss
and a 50-pound sack of flour. Some-
thing to compliment the beautiful soft
curves (instead of the sharp points and
angles that are so vogue today) that a
body of ahealthy woman is supposed to
have. It's a shame thatI find better fits in
themen's department. Butthat certainly
reveals how much society understands
and cares about the comfort and self-
image of today's woman.

SHARON MUSHER/Dally

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