5.09.2015

#Pornification of Women via Clothing Options

Pop quiz, ladies: how many of have trouble find casual and business clothing which 1) is affordable, 2) fits you, 3) actually looks good on you, and 3) covers you up?

Earlier this week, I tried to do some online shopping.  Instead, I ended up having to unsubscribe from a horde of mailing subscriptions because I finally had to admit that finding a friggin' blouse which fit all of the above requirements wasn't happening with my usual websites anymore.  If it didn't have spaghetti straps, it was a crop top.  Even if it was in the "Long-Sleeved" or "Buttoned-Up" or even the "Dressy" sections, it all ended up looking like clubwear.

I actually had to stop searching individual sites and do a general Google search with basic descriptions.  When that only got me so far, I went into my closet and starting looking up designers of stuff I already owned to try to track down more of their work.  After literally spending hours surfing and combing and budgeting, I decided on a mere four blouses.  To my dismay, after placing my order, I got an email two days later that the most conservative of my choices was sold out.


We were just talking about women wearing layers as an almost instinctive defense against street harassment, and now here I was struggling to find clothes to cover me up.  I think I've been in denial for months now, but this last week was a huge eye-opener.  While having lunch with my friend C, I decided to test the water and ask if she was experiencing the same problem when shopping.  Born and raised in Atlanta, C is a Punjabi Sikh, and like me, she prefers to cover up.  As soon as I asked her, she gasped, "Oh, my God!  Yes!"

My whole body sighed in relief.

America is a nation of coercion and paradoxes, where mainstream culture constantly offers up the exact opposite of reality.  Believe or not, many women would prefer to cover up.  Believe or not, the clothing industry is slowly but surely taking away that option.  These days, if you by a dress, odds are you'll have to buy opaque leggings to wear under it or you can forget about bending, sitting, or squatting for any reason.

If you buy a blouse, chances you have to buy a cover-up (seriously, people; someone actually had to invent the cover-up and then name it that, as if to drive a point home).  You also might have to buy a camisole or tank to wear under the blouse since sheer fabric seems to be the default choice for women's clothing these days.

I know I may sound crazy, and I fully expect an army of gaslighters to come on here and tell me to STFU 'cause summer is approaching.  But this has been going on for a long while; it just wasn't really registering for me.  For those of you thinking, "Uh, yeah...the abundance of provocative clothing has been an issue for a while, K, especially in regards to minors," reread my last paragraph.  The keyword is option.  It's one thing to have revealing clothing as an option in addition to (affordable) demure clothing.  It's an entirely other matter to simply take away the more demure option.

It's like the industry is saying, "We know you probably want to cover up now more than ever, but surprise!  We're just not gonna let ya!"

Plus-sized clothing still has quite a few conservative options, but go figure...America is a fat-shaming society.  Of course they want the big folks to cover up.  However, I'm average; I recently realized fully once and for all that I'm technically not plus-sized and can't fit into plus-sized clothing.  If I could, it wouldn't have even occurred to me to write this post.  I'd instead be bitching about the utterly insane prices much bigger women have to pay for decent-looking yet simplistic clothing items (almost like a Fat Tax).

Being average already has it drawbacks in that my size is always the first to sell out, and now on top of that, the modest items in my size appear to be selling out the fastest.  So ladies, share with me...where do you shop?  What struggles are you currently facing?  How do you feel about what's on the rack these days?

Gentlemen, how do you feel about the fashions made available to women and girls these days?

18 comments:

  1. Girl I feel you. Had a shrug for all my sleeveless dresses and tank tops. Paid the Fat Tax regularly. Fortunately I no longer have that problem. God bless these Chinese tailors.

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    1. Girl, two sizes ago I was when paying the Fat Tax (which is probably what dropped me to where I'm at now), shit was unreal. Every purchase was like a goddamn life changing decision. Do I want a tank of gas or a pair of jeans that actually fit? Should I get a proper blouse for work or pay my light bill????

      Un...real.

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    2. Aw sh*t I lost my comment when google logged me in.

      Anyway, I feel you ladies...been paying that Fat Tax in expensive stores and plus-size catalogs where the bigger you are the bigger the price. I'm even disgusted now that H&M, an affordable store, makes it even more difficult for us fatties to find that plus-size section, yeah, they have removed it from several stores.

      Back on topic, too expensive, too much sheer fabric, I wish they could go back to high-waist pants one day.. I mean give us that option, and I dislike Parisian fashion with their sleeveless shirts that are often short and don't cover my fat ass when I sit down cuz my pants go down too (lol). And when you bow you have to make sure you have a tight shirt inside to not have your boobs out...
      I dislike dresses so it's complicated for me to find MY style...which makes me go to "ethnic style" small boutiques (whatever ethnic means, I don't like using it) and markets. Fortunately I don't work in an office so I'm more free but I don't like eccentric stuff either.

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  2. I wear men's clothes for this reason. The whole "wear tights under all your dresses" was just too stressful. I did not connect this the way you have tho! FREAKY gross.

    I shop at Uniqlo. They actually signed the Bangladesh accord way back when Rana Plaza collapsed too.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up about Uniqlo. And I didn't know more women were opting to wear men's clothing, though...it makes sense with the whole dansou revolution.

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  3. Gentlemen, how do you feel about the fashions made available to women and girls these days?

    Speaking as a Father, I have three daughters and 6 Grand girls. As parent, it was my aim to raise young, self-assured ladies, women who covered-up instinctively because of the values they were given. With that being said, we frequently bumped heads over what was Appropriate to Wear vs what was Available for Purchase. My wife was often tasked with the chore of finding clothing for teen girls in an ever increasing climate of sensuality. I sent them upstairs to change (more than once) because of their fashion choices. Course, they didn’t see anything wrong with what they wore (partly because everyone they knew dressed the same way). Hence, the parental-child disconnect affecting Any Family With Teens.

    Now my wife is a modest woman, hence she frequents some of the more traditional outlets where high fashion is not the requisite. Modest dresses/skirts, blouses- jackets: in keeping with a woman of her age/temperament. The very antithesis of her daughters. Elsewhere, local school boards have had their hands full writing policies to specifically address the ever-increasing sexualization of children’s attire, with no end in sight. Even school uniforms are not immune.

    Ah, but I was a teenager once. Back then, spying a woman in Jeans, a Halter Top, big Afro and hip-hugging bell-bottoms (Or hot pants) was like glimpsing a graceful Cheetah in the wild. Some women snubbed modesty, others possessed the finesse to advertise their forms without showing too much. Alas, mine was a different generation. I remember when bell-bottoms came out. After a while (no matter the store) it was almost impossible to find straight-leg pants, because the prevailing trend all but diminished your choice for something different. Every shirt had giant collars on them, and it was hard to find anything that wasn’t made out of polyester. So it is with our porn culture: so ubiquitous, so ingratiating- most parents aren’t even aware of its influence. And yet it taints a good deal of the clothing lines currently available for women.

    What the people who write this Nation’s narrative have discovered is that with a little bit of groundwork you can feed its citizens anything and it will be accepted as normal over time. Not too much, too-fast mind you- you don’t want to alienate the masses. However, expose them to just enough excess over time and eventually the mind takes to it like a fish to water. Late Night Sex Ads have morphed from phone sex and dating services to outright porn. There’s been a concerted effort to corrupt our youth (with Parents shouldering some of the blame) much in the same way the cigarette/alcohol industry has done. Pornography is being billed as just another one of America’s innocent pastimes. Such sentiment is further bolstered by an-amoral clothing industry swayed solely by its bottom line.

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    1. Pornography is being billed as just another one of America’s innocent pastimes. Such sentiment is further bolstered by an-amoral clothing industry swayed solely by its bottom line.

      And by finding yet new ways to set women back! That's the thing about the "-isms"; they don't die off like people claim they do. They morph and evolve to survive. More women standing up for themselves and demanding the right to decide who they want to be and how they want to run their own lives? Fine...just take away their ability to cover their own bodies. Literally leave them with an ever-decreasing option for modest clothing.

      And "option" really is the keyword here; I don't care if the woman next to me wears revealing clothing of her own choice; good for her. She is exercising her options, her right to treat her body however she sees fit. But this push in revealing clothing was never meant to benefit or empower women. I don't think it was even about profit. It's about control. As more women choose to cover up and talk about feeling the need to cover up, the clothing industry simply looks for ways to take away that choice.

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    2. And "option" really is the keyword here; I don't care if the woman next to me wears revealing clothing of her own choice; good for her. She is exercising her options, her right to treat her body however she sees fit. But this push in revealing clothing was never meant to benefit or empower women. I don't think it was even about profit. It's about control. As more women choose to cover up and talk about feeling the need to cover up, the clothing industry simply looks for ways to take away that choice.

      Sounds very much like a “Mad Men” Effect. A Patriarchal- almost phallocentric sense of entitlement dominating every facet of the American narrative. Don’t you worry about what to wear, let us worry about that. Better yet- we’ll govern your options and decide how much you’ll need to bare before we grant you personhood/recognition. "We know what’s best for you, believe me, you’ll thank us later." That’s what men in power want.

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  4. At this rate, we're going to have to have our clothes custom made like back in ye 'goode' olde days - and who has the loot for THAT?! On top of the pornification, as you say, there's also the belief that every woman wants to dress like a barely-legal teen until she hits 45 or so, then it's on to the shapeless and ugly stuff.

    I, too, have gotten fed up and gone to the men's section. With my height, it's the less expensive and stressful option.

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    1. there's also the belief that every woman wants to dress like a barely-legal teen until she hits 45 or so, then it's on to the shapeless and ugly stuff.

      Exactly - it's punishment. If you want to cover up, you're punished by given lower quality clothing - cheaper fabrics that fade after one washing, frays/tear after one wearing, and overall looks unprofessional and unflattering. I've had to "retire" several options in my closet to my Weekend Section because they look too unkempt to wear to work.

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    2. I wish i could go to the men's section but with my curves (hourglass), no way I could look good and professional in those clothes. I'll give it a try though, I guess cotton shirts could suit me.
      My mom did pay for custom-made outfits (shirt-skirt) but yeah, you can't do that forever, too expensive.

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  5. This is why I sew my own clothes. ...

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    1. ...And why I wish I'd kept up sewing in my youth.

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  6. Slightly beside the topic, but do you guise have New York and Company or Ann Taylor near you? When I was needing office appropriate clothing those were my two favorites and they are still actually pretty good for that stuff. I just googled their sites and they both offer the conservative office appropriate stuff without being dull or dowdy.

    I've noticed that New York & Company will occasionally go the club route, but it never lasts their demographic doesn't seem interested. Both stores carry talls and if you catch them at the end of the season New York & Company will usually have a bunch of wardrobe basics marked down. Some of New York and Company's stuff is on the cheaper end, which is why i mostly only buy their at the end of the season.

    The Limited also remains pretty conservative with their line of Scandal inspired clothing.

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    1. NY & Co is a favorite of mine (when their prices are doable), but I'll have to pay more attention to Ann Taylor. And I haven't checked out the Limited since college, so thanks for the heads up.

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    2. You might be able to do something with the clearance racks at Talbots. I know they get dissed as an "old lady store", and their original priced items are steep, but if you are looking for classic pieces that you can keep for YEARS, it's a great place to go. I know the price point knocks a lot of people out, but I personally have gotten a lot of great dresses at a fraction of the original price when they go on clearance (and that is wearing bigger than a 14 and shopping online...ppl who are below 14 and wiling to go in the brick and mortar stores will do better...I typically only go in to return my online purchases but the clearance racks sometimes turn return into "exchange." Also, some of the salespeople are nice, so one time the lady totally scanned some coupon code she had to give me 30% off a full price item. (I think she'd recognized me from other visits).
      But I have several nice dresses that look great under suit jackets, as well as nice suit jackets that I've had for years. It just holds up well and as someone who cannot sew but whose mom did, I do look for all of the things that she does when buying clothes off the rack.
      Also, I'll add that the dresses are pretty long (maybe b/c they do have older buyers), so even though I'm 5'6 with a big butt, I find that I usually prefer the length on their petite dresses. It's the opposite of a lot of other stores where a big booty means some stuff become more "mini" than "midi"...

      I love body con but as a larger lady who needs clothes for work, I definitely have to search to find stuff that my body doesn't make look like club wear.

      Although a lot of it is kind of period, another store I like a lot is Eshakti. Customization, which is great in terms of adding length or sleeves if you prefer them...

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  7. Yep, I noticed this. especially being tall and dresses barely grazing my arse. I am no starnger to revealing clothing, I adore sheer fabrics paired with bright bras and the like, but i do not want to and cannot dress this way all year round, i absolutely hate the cold.

    I have been wearring men's clothing since i was a teen, jumpers and vintage slacks as women's stuff is always cut so skimpy and clingy to show off our figures all the time!! I like to wear layers and be comfortable, constant cling isn't my thing. Luckily I am a fashion designer so I have been making stuff for myself for years as it is hard to things in the fabrics and colours that can actually fit and enables me to express my own style. The fashion industry really sucks and not only do they make more money by scrimping on fabrics and length, this also plays into the pornification and sexualisation of women, removing all options for modesty and comfort and making women hyper-aware of their bodies and weight by such tight clothing.

    I always buy a size bigger to allow comfort and take anything in where needed, this acutally makes clothes look more expensive by skimming your body rather than clinging unflatteringly to you, plus they last longer from stress and wear and tear.

    Leggings made a massive comeback precisely due to the need to cover our asses and thighs due to the extreme shortness of dresses and ow they ride up!

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  8. I hate sleeveless tops, avoid showing cleavage, and think skinny jeans are both uncomfortable and unflattering. I also don't understand the leggins as pants trend. I work in a business casual environment. Lately I've been buying from Uniqlo and Boden. I also get khakis and corduroys from Old Navy. I used to like Gap but they've gotten way to trendy with their pants, WTF is a skinny boot cut? A straight leg or boot cut is so much more comfortable and doesn't make my hips look super wide.

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