You Can Brush My Hair, Oppress Me Everywhere

So Mattel is making a Barbie line of clothes for adult women. As G. observed when I traumatized her with this news, they couldn’t possibly make them in Barbie-scale measurements, or no one could wear them.

Catherine Orenstein pointed out a couple of weeks ago that women are often involved in:

…imposing a conformist definition of beauty and femininity. Girls’ and women’s magazines incessantly promote perfect thighs, abs and hair, and achieving the perfect look has moved beyond diet and exercise. More and more, we place ourselves willingly under the knife, happily embracing the plastic… Along with collagen implants and Botox, summer beauty treatments now include toe-shortening and even pinky-toe removal – the better to fit into pointy shoes… On Fox’s series “The Swan,” surgically altered women competed against one another for a chance to be part of the beauty pageant in the final episode.

I would wonder who owns the women’s magazines and Fox, but I take her point. Hell, even Keira Knightley tortured herself with a corset in Pirates of the Caribbean:

“It was really that bad,” she said. “You just can’t breathe in them at all, but it was my own fault as I have this thing about Gone With The Wind and Vivien Leigh, when she got her waist down to about 18 inches to play Scarlett O’Hara. I thought, ‘Ooh, let’s see if I can do that’. “I got mine down to about 20 inches and couldn’t breathe. It’s fine in the fitting as they’re only five minutes long, but as soon as I was in it for 12 hours my eyes started rolling and I began to faint.”

I also remember reading that some of the dancers in Moulin Rouge ended up bruised from the corsets, but as I cannot find any evidence of this it may just be a recycle of the Nicole Kidman injury story where her rib broke when they put her in a corset “too soon” after she cracked the rib in a dance number.

Interestingly, in a brief history of the corset:

…a “straight-front” corset, a new style that pushed the shoulders and breasts forward and the abdomen back, contorting the spine into an S. It caused lower-back pain, pelvic strain, hyperextension of the knees, and gait abnormalities. If it seems incredible that women put up with the straight-front corset, it should be noted that another item of female attire produces precisely the same ill effects: S-bend, back pain, and all. It’s called the high-heeled shoe.

I think I’ll kiss my Doc Martens tonight when I get home.