Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What ‘price’ do you put on being fashionable?

Fashion theorists often debate whether fashion liberates or enslaves women. Arguably, all fashions are enslaving. 
But some are more enslaving than others. 
Tight skirts restrict free movement.
Heels are one of the weird ways in which women
 are trapped by fashion,
according to Professor Mary Beard.
High heels make walking difficult and running nigh impossible.
And then there are nail extensions.
Nail extensions strike me as the most enslaving of all current fashions. Just when we’ve become liberated to the point where we can do virtually anything men can do, we go and turn ourselves into Edwina Scissorhands.

Modern handicapping?

In fact, the practice of affixing acrylic appendages to the ends of women’s fingers strikes me as the modern equivalent of foot-binding.

It undermine’s women autonomy. It stops them from performing a whole host of quotidien acts fundamental to life.I have normal, unextended nails. That means I am free to:
  • Knead dough
  • Tickle a baby
  • Throw a pot on a wheel
  • Sow seeds
  • Caress my husband
without causing anybody grievous bodily harm.
I defy anyone to do any of those things in one-and-a-half-inch rock-hard chiselled and lacquered nail extensions (OK I just defy anyone to do the last one).
As Thoreau said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it”
At the risk of getting my eyes scratched out, I would say any fashion that involves physical bonds is over-priced. Not just monetarily but in the treasured moments of life sacrificed for it.

I'm all for adornment, just not into self-crippling or self-handicapping adornment.  
Check this out:
The Body Adorned exhibition at the Horniman Museum explores how people clothe and adorn their bodies, with a special focus on London. Over time, saris, tattoo parlours, nail bars, distended ears and scarification have become a visible, everyday part of the London cityscape. But how did cultural adornments become integrated into urban London life? This exhibition invites you to look at how you dress your body and why. It’s well worth a visit.

The Body Adorned runs until
 6th January 2013. 

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