Wednesday, September 13, 2006
What do you mean, "femininity is a construct"?
Poor Twisty Faster, immobilised by ankle surgery, has been reading her junk mail. It includes a catalogue from the Patagonia people, who make outdoor and mountaineering clothing. See example at left: Patagonia's 'undercover cami', in fetching pinks, for girls who like to flash a little skin as they struggle up the snow-capped peaks at umpteen degrees below.
"Descriptions of Patagonia men’s clothing," says Twisty, "stick to technical aspects (’burly shell fabric’, ’a gasket-style neck forms a streamlined seal’), but when you’re a woman scaling El Capitan, guess what? You gotta be feminine. You need an ‘irrepressible knit that keeps its feminine shape.’ You need ‘feminine quilting throughout [to add] a touch of elegance.’ You need a ‘clean, feminine fit.’ You need a ‘a contoured bodice that flows princess-style to an elegant and feminine mid-thigh hem.’"
I suppose it would be possible to find writing that makes even less sense than this, but it would take some time. What constitutes masculine quilting? Do men not have thighs, or do their thighs not have middles? Is a masculine fit a dirty fit? Since when was it possible to have a contoured flowing princess-style bodice when this is, in fact, an double oxymoron? And why would any girl want to repress her knit?