Sometimes I feel like I was dropped here from another planet, or I'm lacking in some ultra female gene. At 10, I had a dream of being a fashion designer, fired by a vision of launching a counter-trend that would give women permission to be comfortable in their clothes. Then I discovered boys and peer pressure, and submitted to all the insanity that brought on: waist-cinchers, high heels, petticoats, big hair... the full catastrophe. I was over it (pretty much) by the time I reached 20.
A recent WikiHow tutorial about "How to Make Your Jeans Fit Tighter," made my skin crawl. But in my hormone-addled youth, before Spandex, I might have been all for it. I remember once taking up the seams in a pair of jeans I deemed too baggy, and when I was done I tried them on, and was pleased with the results until I sat down(!)
Don't forget decorated acrylic fingernails that appear to render hands virtually useless, lamentably a style that has burgeoned here in Mexico where acrylic nail salons charge under $20 for a full set. I don't know how a woman could even cook with these, much less play a musical instrument, change a diaper or take a photo.
All this ruminating over the ways women enslave themselves or are physically oppressed by society began when I saw "The Canvas Prison," a long video about the imposition of the burka, particularly in Afghanistan. Fashion's not the ruler there, but male-mandated laws rooted in deep hatred and fear of women's power of attraction. Mohammed wasn't the one who came up with this ultimate fashion disaster; it's been imposed throughout the ages, most recently in the early 20th century by a ruler who fretted over men staring at his 200 wives. His solution: throw tents over them! And they're still doing it, almost 100 years later!