Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Barbie is a Boy

This crossed my channels today, and I felt it necessary to break the radio silence for a public service announcement: here is a story about a beautiful young man who is a catwalk model for high profile designers of womens' clothes.

No shit.

On the one hand, I find it very eye-roll worthy that the fashion industry is still so very obsessed with body model types who are un-sustainably skinny, with boyishly narrow hips and no boobs. Anyone who has watched a fashion show knows that this is not news. The fact that they are now openly using a man's body to promote a fantasy of the ideal feminine form is, at the very least, ironic.

On the other hand, who bloody cares? I personally know no one who either has that kind of haute couture in their wardrobe, or the occasion to wear it to. I know these people exist but they're like unicorns (and they probably fart glitter). When was the last time you actually saw, in the flesh, a person who had legs up to their throat, and were a size -1? This is not a common occurrence—if anything, I would think that a person with these proportions would find it hard to dress every day. The rest of the world is filled with "real" people with butts and boobs, who wear real numbered sizes. We can always find clothes to wear without a lot of effort. In fact, I note that vanity sizing is still very much alive and well at many of my favorite clothing haunts—if you think you magically got smaller in one season, think again: the '"real world" fashion industry wants to keep you as a customer, and they sometimes do this by supporting your fantasies about your own image.

Thirdly, I can only think of a small number of fashion designers who aren't gay. Is anyone really surprised that the industry has found a beautiful, androgynous male to model clothes designed by men who are in love with other men?

I suppose that so long as everyone is clear that this is a very pretty male person, with male plumbing, we can safely continue to view haute couture as art, or a pre-cursor to an industry, and not as a political statement on the subjugation of women.

Discuss, whilst I await the throwing of rotting fruit.


Herself, the GeekGirl said...

I'm fascinated that barnes and Nobel put opaque covers on the magazine that featured his shirtless self on the cover. Their reason was that he could be mistaken for an young girl. Um, yeah. Whatever. Meanwhile, while initially this did not bother me much, I have now decided that it does. If clothes are now being modelled that now look awesome on a boy, what hope do I have that they will slide enticingly over my curves? Bah.

moi said...

The fashion industry is no doubt a high drama-ed, schizophrenic beast: impossible-bodied women hawking sometimes outrageous clothing to regular women who simply desire to dress with fun and flair.

At the very least, we can draw inspiration; at best, buy from designers who aren't so hysterical, like Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors. I think most of us are savvy enough to know the difference.

As for sizes, I recently spent half a day wandering through a number of high end designer boutiques at an upscale mall in California, and while I couldn't afford most of the clothing, there wasn't anything I couldn't wear. Designers who don't scale for ready-to-wear bodies and lifestyles don't eat.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

moi points out something very true - they put the giraffes on the runway, but at the end of the day, they sell clothes to women. To do otherwise would be unsustainable.

I still say haute couture is high art - eventually the concepts, the cuts, the colors will make it to a piece I will wear. The runway is just a stage show.

LaDivaCucina said...

YOu must watch The Secret World of Haute Couture when it airs on PBS, absolutely fascinating. It was on again the other night and these clothes are made for only a few in the world can even afford them.

As for when was the last time I saw someone with legs up to their throat and a size 1? ALL OF THE TIME. Just sit at the cafe across from my house for an hour and like me, you'll see women so thin with waists so small and legs so long, that you wonder how they don't break when they walk. But I digress, it's Miami, and I'm not threatened.

I don't like the Barbie Boy for a number of reasons but the main one to La Diva is this: Another man taking a woman's f*cking job!