Let’s talk about something important.
One of the websites I frequent is, embarrassingly, a truly awful celebrity gossip blog. It’s the kind of blog that just displays the most recent paparazzi pictures of popular celebrities in their various outfits while the blogger critiques how they look and what they’re wearing. Just to give you a clear picture (because I am definitely not linking to it here): imagine the last time you read a celebrity gossip magazine, like People or Life & Style. Now imagine that the magazine had no words anywhere – just pictures. Now imagine the meanest people you’ve ever met paging through the pictures. Imagine the kinds of awful, judgmental thoughts that might be going through their heads. Now imagine all of those horrible thoughts actually written out and posted on a website for all to see. THAT is the website I spend time reading.
Don’t fucking judge me.
Today I was lucky enough to read a comment about Jessica Alba’s disgusting cellulite. Do you know who Jessica Alba is?
Yeah. How much cellulite do you see? RIGHT?
The reason I’m writing this post, though, is to tell you about this specific thing I keep reading about everywhere. I noticed it first on the stupid gossip site I just described, but then after I noticed it on the stupid gossip site I began noticing it everywhere. You know how that is. Once you notice something, you can’t NOT notice it, you know?
I keep reading about how Katie Holmes’ boots don’t flatter her calves and Mila Kunis’ sweatpants, the ones she dared to wear while walking her dog, don’t flatter her body and Jessica Simpson’s beachwear doesn’t flatter her womanly figure.
What I noticed: this is all code. This isn’t really about the boots or the sweatpants or the beachwear. It’s all code for the clothes these celebrities have chosen to wear on their bodies does not make them look as skinny as they could possibly look.
Because when we say something like, ‘That blouse is so flattering on you!’ we almost always mean ‘That blouse makes you look a lot less fat than you actually are!”
I’m noticing this more and more and more. And more. Oh, AND MORE.
Women are warned against horizontal stripes because GOD FORBID this stupidly inconsequential optical illusion makes us appear a tiny bit wider than we actually are. We are told to cinch baggy dresses and sweaters at the waist because GOD FORBID our pretty hourglass curves aren’t on display for the world. Websites now have built-in style guides for women’s jeans so we know exactly which cut will make us look the skinniest (if you’re pair-shaped, you might want to pass on the skinny jeans, my friend!) because GOD FORBID we wear a pair of pants that doesn’t perfectly accentuate our ass cheeks.
These subjective style rules are just ingrained into our psyches. It’s like, unquestioned stuff. I won’t go out and buy a glittery purple velvet poncho dress with adorable cat faces all over it because if I wore something like that, I would look like a hippo, and society definitely doesn’t like hippos. Especially female hippos. Female hippos are the worst. A purple glittery velvety cat-covered poncho dress sounds fucking awesome and super comfortable though, doesn’t it? But it wouldn’t flatter me, and therefore I wouldn’t even consider buying it or wearing it.
Being skinny (or appearing as skinny as possible, to be precise) is of the utmost importance when we make our clothing choices. And that, ladies, totally sucks hairy donkey balls. I want to wear the aforementioned purple glittery monstrosity of a dress because it would make me laugh. Every time I looked down at myself I’d think, “Look at the glitter! And cute whiskers! I am filled with happiness right now!” And when I passed by someone on the street while wearing this purple tent, they’d probably smile, too. How could they NOT smile at such an awesome imaginary item of clothing?
I mean, if nothing else, I’d be really comfortable and warm (velvet is warm, right? I don’t even know).
So what can we do? Can we stage a coup? Start a riot or something? Can we overthrow these ridiculous expectations and wear what we love without considering how skinny it makes us look first? Because fuck that noise. I’m tired of it. I want to wear a purple velvet tent covered in kittens and feel okay about it. Don’t you?