Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"You're Ornamental, Not Functional"

Marissa brought this mother of all insults to my attention today--she heard it on the television show "Scandal." We discussed the serious implications of what it would mean to say this to a person. You would literally be invalidating their inner value. As intense as that sounds (and is), the reason this quote came up was because we were talking about how unfortunately un-functional women's clothing can be.

Let's start with the most illogical aspect of women's clothing, especially when compared to men's clothing: SIZING! Men's pants are sized based on two numbers: the measurement of your waist and the length of your leg. When both of these measurements are used, relatively accurate sizes are available for purchase. With that in mind, what is someone supposed to do with a size like "8." What does that even mean?! Not only does the number signify nothing in relationship to actual body size, but sizes are anything but consistent across the many different brands of clothing.

Another infuriatingly un-functional accessory that some women use are belts. While there are belts that do hold your pants up, and some of these belts even manage to look pretty, there are far too many belts out there that you buy under the impression that they will work, only to discover they are flimsy bits of decorative fabric. They seem fine at first, and then reveal their true identity at the most inopportune time as your pants start falling down during an important meeting.

Next, we look to the gloriously popular yet sometimes completely unnecessary high heel. To disfigure your foot and occasionally put yourself through intense pain to wear these shoes makes no sense to me. It is especially ridiculous when creative designers outfit superheroes with high heels. How can one fight crime effectively when one can hardly walk?

And last, but certainly not least, is one of the most infuriating aspects of women's clothing: the tiny and sometimes entirely fake pockets. This particular subject is a touchy one for me, and I honestly don't think it even deserves my attention. This comic pretty much sums it up:

Following all these rants about relatively un-functional aspects of women's clothing, I'd like to be sure to state that every person has the right to present themselves however they choose, and this includes clothing. The issue I take with these garments is not that they exist and most certainly not with the people who choose to wear them, but rather with the expectation that all women should make these garment choices, to the point at which alternative clothing options are not available. If you want to wear an ornamental belt, then great! I'd just like clothing lines to recognize my need for a functioning one as well.


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