Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Listen up, boys!

by Izzy Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 05:38:34 AM EST

I keep saying how I don't have much time to write, how I'm all BUSY, but then I keep getting irritated by things I'm reading and, mere DAYS ago, I have to end up writing over THREE THOUSAND words on HCR (which, admittedly, was somewhat cathartic, but that's beside the point) and I pop in after a HELLISH day Thursday just to relax a bit and see what's what and what do I find?  You guys having a whole mini-meta to-do, not only about the French burka fiasco, but ALSO getting pissy about gender roles and WHO is commenting about said French fiasco.  In the midst of this, a very good question is asked: "My question is what makes you[a female] better able to understand their situation than me[a male]?"

Well, gather 'round the thread, boys, cuz your good friend, Izzy, has something to say -- you know I love you, right?  So try not to take offense, but there's a thing or two I think you need to know and I want you to listen closely.  Very closely, and... HEY!  don't even THINK about commenting yet!   I am NOT talking down to you!  It's just that when it comes to CLOTHES (and of course shoes), then we females damned well ARE in the 'expert' category and you, as a male, have NO IDEA the breadth and depth of your ignorance on this topic.  

I'm sorry but I felt I needed to be blunt and agressive.  Now that I have your attention, follow me over the jump and I'll tell you all about it.  I'll start with my underwear...

front-paged with trepidation by afew


Yes, you read that correctly.  I said underwear.  If you can't already sense all the ways that my underwear, my civilized-freedom-loving-first-world largely-unseen but who-knows-how-risque bits of fabric of my own choosing could POSSIBLY relate to the heavy fabric symbol-of-oppression, mobile-jail-in-woolens garment that is the burka, then you need some education on the topic.  

Ask yourself a question, guys, and give yourself a really honest answer -- does YOUR underwear talk to you?  Because mine does.  When I go to the store to buy a bra, the bras all tell me that my chest isn't right.  I LIKE what I imagine to be my stylishly streamlined, non-bulbousy, silhouette, but the only bras I can find in my size either have daisies or a ton of padding.  The lingerie department has ACRES of these.

If I search really hard and really put an effort into looking, I can usually find a couple of sports bras or MAYBE an unpadded lacy one, but by and large, the bra department tells me that I need bigger boobs.  Either that or I must be 12 (btw, to veer off course for a second, I'm not sure if tweens hitting puberty are really all that fond of daisies, or if there's some subliminal and/or allegorical 'blossoming' message there, but it's been a constant for as long as I've been alive).

And speaking of flowers, if you've ever heard a feminist holding forth about the Madonna-whore complex and had your doubts, really take a look around that lingerie department -- it's either innocence or sex;  feminine flowers or vampy blacks;  virginal white lace, or trampy scarlet satins;    demure pastels or... well, we're back to the black and red.  SOMETIMES, there's a mixed message --  black and lacy or pastel and slutty, but it's always something.  

Also... wait, you know what?  I'm just going to skip the sub-category of cartoon underwear, which falls into the innocence side and I'm sure somewhere there's a dissertation making liberal use of the word infantilizing, but... I just can't cope at the moment.  Let me just present exhibit A -- the Hello Kitty thong:

Photobucket

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I mentioned sports bras earlier and sports is one of two categories where you can find utilitarian, functional, non-sex-related underwear.  Our two choices are athletic or old.  That's right, the other area is where you find the granny panties and cross-your-heart bras, which are more of a harness really.  These are usually confined to a bit of back wall, sometimes even hidden in drawers.  Tellingly, these are unavailable in either black or red, the message being, I suppose, that if you're buying them, you don't have to worry about being sexy.  

Personally, I've never known anyone under the age of 50 who wears them and I can't imagine any woman in her 20s or 30s willingly letting a date get a glimpse of such underwear, unless it was PERHAPS one of those new-burlesque-retro-revival hipster types luring someone who had a very specific kink.  Even then, there'd have to be compensatory hair and make-up details that would be quite time-consuming and require some training and expertise.

But such is the pressure we're under.  Even I, who in the grand scheme of things slide more towards the not giving a shit side of the what'll-people-think spectrum, can't envision casually pulling off the granny-panty harness-bra look without being buttressed with extenuating circumstances.  

And so I endlessly search.  Always keeping an eye out for the comfortable, cotton underwear that doesn't either appall or dismay me and often pondering what kind of underwear the fierce lesbians are wearing and where they shop.  I suspect the sports departments and, to be honest, I've often resorted to that myself, even though the very word 'sports' irritates me.  

When I DO find something I like, I buy in bulk.  I have an actual, physical FEAR of going shopping one year to find that ALL underpants have fallen out of fashion and only thongs are available, at which point I guess I'll be resorting to buying boxers in the boy's department.

So maybe you're getting an inkling of the kind of pressure we women are under, but are thinking so what?  It's just underwear, it's purely a private matter, it's not like this affects you in public, but you'd be wrong.  Think about women in the work place.  Some corporations SPELL OUT in their employee manuals what kind of underwear a woman can wear.  Even without a dress code, working women HAVE to wear bras.  Can you imagine any braless women even getting hired in a 'respectable' profession?  And before you say it, this is NOT equivalent to wearing a suit and tie.  A dress code is one thing, but this is something else.  

You men are not being told to be ashamed of a part of your body.  You're not being judged as being flamboyant, provocative, or slovenly if you're not all bound up so no one can see your true shape or if your nipples get hard.  Hard nipples, btw, are the bane of some women's existence.  Some women actually buy padded bras, NOT for the breast size-enhancing qualities, but as armor against viewable nipplage.  Women have a reputation for getting chillier than men, but has it ever occurred to you that maybe raising the heat at the office or wearing a sweater is a preventive measure?  NO ONE wants to hear 'headlight' jokes at work.

And this isn't even getting into the thousands of largely unspoken rules.  We're supposed to not look too feminine, shunning all those florals and laces and frills that we apparently want to wear UNDER our clothes, or we won't be taken seriously.   We're not supposed to look masculine, or there's something wrong with us and we probably have some sort of ATTITUDE or something.  We're supposed to look womanly without being matronly, feminine without being sexy or silly.  And god forbid our skirts should be that inch too short or our heels that bit too high and some man at work gets the idea that we're using our WILES or some such.

You may have noticed by now that a LOT of this has to do with our sexuality.  And this is in ADDITION to our often being told throughout childhood to look and act 'ladylike' because we all know what the opposite of that is.  I'm hoping that the pressure of being ladylike is fading for girls these days, but I suspect it's still there.  What I KNOW still exists is the constant pressure from puberty onwards to be a good girl and not a slut.  Sure, there are 'slutty' and 'bad girl' fashions, complete with obligatory moral panic in the press, but even these looks are coded within the kid's cultures, sending signals about where the lines are that separate the fashionable good ones from the gross bad ones.  

The point being that, as women, we are judged to a really ridiculous degree by our clothing pretty much our whole lives.  You know what?  Judged doesn't begin to cover it.  Add in 'defined' and we're getting a little closer.  Saying oppressed is NOT a stretch, although not, of course, burka-levels of oppression, but oppression none-the-less, even if much of it is unspoken.  Being told what to wear, often based on our sexuality, is simply part of most cultural narratives.

So, yes, as a woman, I think I can speak to issues surrounding clothing and oppression, even if it's in a completely different environment from mine, with a tiny bit more insight than your average male.   And, yes, males are also entitled to their opinions.  And while I don't resent you voicing an opinion, I DO resent the casual assumption that it's every bit as informed as mine.  

It's probably a near-universal experience to feel the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing clothes that make us feel out of place.  It is, however, a special humiliation that I wager most women and few men have experienced, to wear clothes that make you feel like a whore.  

If you've never had your worth as a person dismissed because you're "dressed slutty," if you've never been given a talking-to at work because you wore something and "people might take it the wrong way," if you've never been told you're asking to be raped if you "go out in that," then you probably don't understand how PERSONALLY women take it when MEN, even ones halfway around the world in a culture we know squat about, tell our sisters what is and is not acceptable to wear.  

And if ANYONE reading this is all hot to start banning symbols of oppression, would you please start with the bra?  I'd love to be free of them -- they're uncomfortable as hell and burning them clearly didn't work.

Display:
Omg, two diaries in one week -- you know you're exhausting me, right?  So you better behave yourselves in here!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 02:47:42 AM EST
You told me you were going to write this 14 months ago... Glad you finally did.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:48:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes!  Thanks, mig -- I almost mentioned that in the diary.  I'd jotted down a few of these same thoughts in reaction to the discomfort I was feeling over some of the stuff I was reading about Sarah Palin's shopping.  

I never did write that article.  For one, I was uncomfortable 'defending' her in any way, even in the abstract when it wasn't really about her, but mostly I didn't have the time then.  But some of that discussion, not here on ET at all, but elsewhere including mainstream media, I found to be very disturbing.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 12:14:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian [UK]: Sarah Palin says clothing budget row is sexist (24 October 2008)
As watchdog files complaint, US vice-presidential candidate says men in her position would not face same scrutiny

...

In a complaint filed to the US federal election commission, the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) argued that Republicans violated campaign finance rules when they spent $150,000 (£96,000) on clothes for Palin and her family.

The purchases came from a joint account, controlled by both national Republicans and John McCain's campaign. At issue is whether the "personal use" ban on buying clothes with campaign money - a reform promoted by McCain himself - applies to such joint accounts.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 12:29:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Listen up, boys!
 And before you say it, this is NOT equivalent to wearing a suit and tie.  A dress code is one thing, but this is something else.

double-standard alert!

how do you know what it feels like to be bound by such ludicrous mores as the suit and tie thing? i accept that the pressure is much worse on women, no argument there, but i agree with mig that women do a lot of this to themselves, as we men too do with the inane rules on neck-throttlers at work, or penguin outfits for 'evening' wear.

the whole thing is a preposterous farce, boosted to pimp $ into the fashion industry which knows no gender confinement when it come to iconising the absurd for profit.

men will never know the pains of menstruation or childbirth, and women will never know the pleasure of growing a beard, or the equal pleasure of shaving it off. (or the pain of being kicked in the nuts).

there may be similarities between us, indigestion etc, but largely women are designed entirely differently than us, for some ancient repro reason, (shortly to become totally irrelevant, as science has its merry way with us...)

i find it makes life infinitely interesting, after all our interdependence is as close to absolute as could be.

great rant izzy, whatever it takes to get you sharing your inimitable take on things, works!

the health care diary was as good as anything ever diaried here, imo.

and last but not least, my sympathies for the difficult aspects of being a woman of your intelligence and sensibility in a world being run into total insanity, 90% through male pathology.

the fact that this distortion field reaches as far as your underwear is depressingly unsurprising, i too would feel rage at the madonna-slut dichotomy being laid on/pandered to me, although i'd never be able to diary it so well, lol!

patriarchy sucks.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:15:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how do you know what it feels like to be bound by such ludicrous mores as the suit and tie thing?

In fact, any deviation from boring in a man's clothing will be classified as Izzy's

flamboyant, provocative, or slovenly


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The permission to be perfectly boring is a great gift. But the adjectives used for men will be more in the vein of gay or macho.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:28:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
or a slob.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or shabby or hippie. However, as a tie-and-suit abstainer, while I do feel the societal pressure on me, I wouldn't say it compares in strength to that on (at least young) women. I would (ignorantly) venture to claim however, that another cloth-related pressure I had experience with, that on immigrants, does compare in strength.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 11:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
permission to be boring, anonymous, invisible, blended in is fine, though unnecessary. pressure to be same, is not ok.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 12:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The permission to be perfectly boring is a great gift.

What a wonderful sentence!  I feel I should embroider it on a pillow or something!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 12:57:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or emblazoned on your own line of designer underwear? ;-)

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 03:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hello Izzy!™ underwear?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 03:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try to have them available for you guys before the next meetup.  So, boxers or briefs?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 07:10:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CafePress, here we come!

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2010 at 04:01:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how do you know what it feels like to be bound by such ludicrous mores as the suit and tie thing?

Um...high school?  Or is that a peculiarly British perversion?  I wore a tie for years.

by Sassafras on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:04:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, sass, thanks.  I never meant to imply that men don't also feel societal pressure or discomfort to conform, in fact I think I acknowledged they do.  I just think that for women, it has an intense, personal element that's somehow tied in with our sexuality and how it's viewed in the culture as a whole.  

I don't believe most men really grow up with that, although I do know some of my gay friends have felt versions of it.  But even in that case, 'female' is the reviled 'other' -- women are often attacked for BEING sexual, whereas men are often attacked for "teh gay" -- the root of said attacks usually being that 'gay' is too female/girly and less male/manly.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look at how women are demonized in the media for their sexuality, in court cases where there has been rape etc.  

Look at the Kercher trial and how Amanda Knox's sexuality and 'deviancy' formed the core of all media discussion.  Was the sexuality of the men involved in this case under such intense scrutiny?

It seems that there is no escape from the scrutiny of female sexuality and it turns into horrific discussion at times.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:29:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thankyou, ladies, for the insights and explanations. any guide at all, especially of such quality, to the psychology of how we mutually experience the gender divide is of immense value.

you guys said some really cool things too!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
haha, the lacrosse crowd...

betcha never had to wear a jock strap then!

i'm kidding, the only thing that's worse than the surreal strictures men have enslaved themselves to, are the ones endured by women...

:>)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh.  Did I need to say 'permission to comment' now?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:19:26 AM EST
LOL, Izzy, not much I can think of adding to your great diary - I fully agree with you. :-D
by Fran on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:40:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever my own opinions on the matter happen to be, stating them honestly will get me branded a prude, a lech, a perv, or all three.   I can't comment.

Simply saying, "Women should be able to wear whatever they want," doesn't really mean anything, coming from me.  It's what I'm supposed to say, and that very fact renders it suspect. But clarify that comment in a way that makes it particularly mine, and I'm telling women what to wear and oppressing them in all the ways you've described.

I feel rather hesitant to even say this much, as I'm sure it's igonorantly offensive in a variety of ways I've not thought of.  But I don't want your diary to die uncommented, as it is an important issue and a valuable topic for debate, and the chilling silence that it seems to be receiving is just not right.  

by Zwackus on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:41:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you, Z, for your thoughts and support.  It is a damnable situation, isn't it?  I think it perfectly illustrates something I hold to be a large Truth -- when things are unfair, it's not good for anybody.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Awesome diary.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You also needed to tell people about the ((*macho John Doe)) comment which (when typed without the asterisk) produces [John Doe's Macho Moment of the Day™ Technology] .

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this!

I've seen Hello Kitty-themed automobiles on the road here...but never a thong. Though I haven't looked very hard ;-)

Perhaps some fashion designer will come out with a Hello Kitty burka or nikab.

Or perhaps we will one day live in a society where it doesn't really matter what one wears, neither for religion nor for social moeurs, nor for gender-typing, nor for corporate conformism. Only with a view to practicality.

That will be a very good day, a day when both burka and three piece suit, expressions of patriarchy (though of course in equal measure) are largely gone...    

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:42:01 AM EST
I forgot a not in there....though of course NOT in equal measure.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 05:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure if this addresses the main point of your diary, but I am curious what you think about the notion that in daily life women dress for other women's (discerning, judging, envying, etc.) eyes far more than they do for men's.  That claim would seem to make more sense if men were significantly wardrobe-dysfunctional as compared to women.

La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
by marco on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:52:17 AM EST
If you've overheard women at work gossipping about other women you know the peer pressure is brutal.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 06:44:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, they tried to pull that one on me at first. I just ignored them, arguing that whenever any female told me "no woman would do xxx.."  I could invariably point to a women doing exactly. After a while they realise I wouldn't play the game. It gave me peace but it lessened my cultural acceptance.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 07:05:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After a while they realise I wouldn't play the game. It gave me peace but it lessened my cultural acceptance.

Because in the end this is all about group conformity.

There are unspoken dress codes everywhere. in the City of London men have to wear black suits, red ties, and black leather shoes with laces and leather soles (or something like that). If they don't conform they don't progress precisely because they don't conform and failing to strive to conform is a character flaw in a corporate setting.

Birkenstocks are for lesbians works both ways - on the one hand if an American woman wants to buy sandals she'll carefully consider whether she wants to telegraph to the world that she's a DFH. Coversely, group conformity among American feminists requires adherence to a particular counter-cultural dress code.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 07:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not just the City of London.  The politicians over there seem to wear that outfit, too.  It's weird-looking (plain suit, plain shirt, plain tie?  really?).

I'm not terribly familiar with the whole Birkenstock thing.  Being from Florida, everybody always wore flip-flops.  It's not that flip-flops have some great cultural significance.  Sandals are supposed to be simple shoes you slip on and go on your way.  It's not that Birks have teh ghey that would keep me away from them.  It's that the designs are goofy-looking and they cost more than I've ever spent on an entire business outfit (suit, shirt, socks, and tie), whereas flip-flops are simple and can be had for ten or twenty bucks -- depending on what they're made of -- at any clothing store in the country.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not terribly familiar with the whole Birkenstock thing.  Being from Florida, everybody always wore flip-flops.  It's not that flip-flops have some great cultural significance.

O my gawd, gag me with a spoon! You're not seriously equating birkenstocks with flip-flops?

Valley girls wear flip-flops. Girls in Newport Beach and Venice Beach and Santa Monica and English girls out in the snow in London wear flip-flops. Maybe the Great Birkenstock/Flip-Flop divide isn't important in Florid'oh, but it is in California.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am equating them!  Birkenstocks are bizarre, overpriced flip-flops for people who don't want to be accused of wearing flip-flops.

Don't bring English girls into this.  That's not fair.  English girls will wear anything, so long as it's wholly inappropriate to the weather.  These are the girls who wear short skirts and tights, looking like they just got thrown out of the making of some '80s new wave music video, when it's 22F outside.

And you lived in Gullyvornyah.  Gullyvornyah is a whole different ballgame from Florida.  It's earthquakes vs hurricanes, culturally.  They take fashion seriously out there, whereas the only people who care in Florida are the New Yorkers and the girls on South Beach who wish they were living in Los Angeles.

Flip-flops are the ramshackle shoe of the people in Florida, my friend.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:23:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the girls on South Beach who wish they were living in Los Angeles

Wait, if I can't bring up English girls you can't bring up the ones from South Beach.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Birkenstocks are functionally different from flip-flops.

Flip-flops can get wet, Birks can't.
Flip-flops flip and flop around your feet, while Birks mold to your foot much more carefully.
Birks usually have more stuff on top to keep them on, flip-flops don't.
Flip-flops are cute and trendy, Birks are hippie-wear.  Except in Japan, where night is day.

My arch is incredibly high, so I can't wear flip-flops.  They just fall off.  But Birk-clones are no problem.

by Zwackus on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 02:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had to image-search for both... but indeed I find the equation of the two strange, especially because of the water. As for more local cultural associations: in Germany (at least around Frankfurt), birkenstocks were somehow associated with old people. Not so in Hungary (though that may have changed since -- I rarely see them on young people in the summer, flip-flops spread here too).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 03:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, any assistance googling newspaper stories from last December's blizzard illustrating

English girls out in the snow in London wear flip-flops

would be appreciated. I just can't find the keywords to coerce google to spit those up.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not that Birks have teh ghey

Oh, and I didn't even go into what gay panic means for the unspoken dress code for the average American male.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:14:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
flip-flops are simple and can be had for ten or twenty bucks -- depending on what they're made of

Uh, that's expensive. The flip-flops I wear between the locker room and the tatami when I go to karate class cost me €2 at a local supermarket.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:57:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
€2 is, like, $60.  What are you on about?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 10:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
zOMG, Drew is posting news from the future!

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 10:51:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't tell you how proud I am that you guys have created a shoe blogging sub-thread... <wipes tear from eye>...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
USATODAY.com - Study says flirtatious women get fewer raises, promotions
Women who send flirtatious e-mail, wear short skirts or massage a man's shoulders at work win fewer pay raises and promotions, according to a Tulane University study to be presented Monday at the Academy of Management annual meeting in Honolulu.

In the first study to make plain the negative consequences of such behavior, 49% of 164 female MBA graduates said in a survey that they have tried to advance in their careers by sometimes engaging in at least one of 10 sexual behaviors, including crossing their legs provocatively or leaning over a table to let men look down their shirts.

But...

The other half said they never engaged in such activity, and those women have earned an average of three promotions, vs. two for the group that had employed sexuality. Those who said they never used sexuality were, on average, in the $75,000-$100,000 income range; the others fell, on average, in the next-lowest range, $50,000 to $75,000.

So without a well-defined dress code, it's not so much that women 'might be using their wiles, or some such', but that a good proportion of women will certainly try.

Although it's not often labelled as such, this is actually a form of sexual harassment.

Now, in the real world everyone understands that while all employees should be completely adult goal-oriented productive models of maturity and detachment at work, that's not what actually happens. Flirting and sex, sometimes calculated and manipulative or pressured, sometimes not, sometimes welcome, sometimes not, are always going to be an issue, from both genders.

But it's maybe not so unreasonable to want to keep them down to a reasonable background noise if people are trying to concentrate on other stuff.

Obviously the corollary is that women have the right to assume there will be no pawing, whistling, ass grabbing, innuendo, or suggestions that a weekend away might just swing that promotion.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:08:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although it's not often labelled as such, this is actually a form of sexual harassment.

Why, yes, yes it is, and, so far as I can see, entirely off-topic to the subject of the post.  Do people act stupid and shitty and behave badly in innumerable ways?  Indisputably.  Are dress codes sometimes necessary?  Probably.  (am I permanently doomed to feel I'm channeling Rumsfeld when indulging in this sort of communication style?  absolutely)...

BUT!  What I'm talking about is more a CLIMATE than the specifics of who wears what in individual circumstances.  The climate which 1) makes an issue of women's sexuality no matter what and 2)  makes an underlying assumption that we need to be TOLD how not to make these sorts of "mistakes" or create these sorts of "problems" even if we're not doing ANYTHING and 3) that the CLOTHES (or underwear) in and of themselves is in no way the issue -- the clothes as SYMBOLS and SYMPTOM of the cultural problems we women are experiencing is the problem I'm trying to shed some light on here.  Perhaps I'm failing.  

But this part of your comment is a perfect illustration of what I'm talking about:

So without a well-defined dress code, it's not so much that women 'might be using their wiles, or some such', but that a good proportion of women will certainly try.

You're identifying women as the problem, not human behavior.  What you're saying is that women NEED an enforced dress code or they'll "certainly try" to behave badly.  Where does it say in this article that ANYONE interviewed was outside the bounds of a dress code?  If I follow your reasoning, then a lot MORE rules would stop these pesky women.  Maybe they should just all kneel in the foyer every morning and measure the space from their hems like schools do, right?  Are you seeing the problem here?

To my eyes, the closing paragraph of the article is the pertinent bit (bold mine):

Almost all the women in the Tulane study who said they used sexual behavior said they did so infrequently. But executive coach Debra Benton, who has long asked business leaders about the pros and cons of sexuality in the workplace, said that if a similar survey were given to men, they would say that women use sexuality "all the time." Women need to be aware that when they say "It's a nice day," men will often conclude "She wants me," Benton says.

What should we make the men wear or not wear to put a stop to this outrageous behavior?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 01:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am curious what you think about the notion that in daily life women dress for other women's (discerning, judging, envying, etc.) eyes far more than they do for men's.

I do agree with that, although I'd classify it as something stronger than a notion.  All people are raised in a culture and are affected by it and social signifiers and status markers are often much MORE important to the most powerless amongst any given group.  It's well documented that women do just as much if not more to enforce terrible cultural things such as foot-binding, etc.  The problems aren't really to do with individuals.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is women's underwear designed by men?

Would things be any different if women designed women's underwear?

On another note, underwear advertisement is exceedingly sexualised, and I wonder how and whether women are motivated by this advertising to buy underwear. I suspect if they are it's because it tells them you have to look like this to be attractive to your man or something like that.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 05:02:28 AM EST
Is women's underwear designed by men?

Hardly.

Marielle Bollier - inventor of the "minikini"

Ninette van Kamp

Marlies Dekkers

by Nomad on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 10:21:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
something else I find striking.

In the past century, there has been a feminist movement that rebelled against dress-code largely imposed through religious mores, which resulted in scantier and more sexually accentuated dress for women - based on grounds that women should be free to wear what they want to choose. This may have been particularly manifest during the sexual revolution but it is still on-going; this is something Marlies Dekkers has professed as part of her drive for creating her own designs.

Now Izzy's diary partially appears to address the undesirable dress-code of garments that typify women mostly as lust-objects.

Isn't the first movement, still on-going, starting to bite the other now?

by Nomad on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being told that your body has to be a sex symbol is at least as oppressive as being told that it cannot be one.

Whether the people doing the telling are priests or advertising men (and the functional difference between the two is becoming increasingly obscure to me...) makes less difference than the conventional wisdom would have you believe.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 06:11:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think if the issue is

what makes you[a female] better able to understand their situation than me[a male]?"

..then the source of pressure (male domination or peer pressure) is secondary, living under the pressure is primary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 12:07:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But whether the source of the pressure is patriarchy or sexual competition among peers does make a difference in analysis, and also in setting realistic goals if the intent is political. Specifically, you cannot realistically get rid of sexual competition, but you can address the influence that a patriarchal environment has on such competition. And you can loosen the grip of patriarchy on everyday life.

The relationship of American and Somali women to their bras is a case in point.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 12:19:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is women's underwear designed by men?

Would things be any different if women designed women's underwear?

Good questions, although I feel they're entirely beside the point.  It's not about the actual underwear (or burkas), it's about what the articles of clothing represent.  

As I said in more detail above to TBG, the clothing itself is merely a symbol (and often a tool) of the cultural problem, so when clothes are used to manipulate us, ether by politicians or industry, we take it personally for reasons we often can't, or don't want to, articulate.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 01:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably a near-universal experience to feel the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing clothes that make us feel out of place.  It is, however, a special humiliation that I wager most women and few men have experienced, to wear clothes that make you feel like a whore.  

If you've never had your worth as a person dismissed because you're "dressed slutty," if you've never been given a talking-to at work because you wore something and "people might take it the wrong way," if you've never been told you're asking to be raped if you "go out in that," then you probably don't understand how PERSONALLY women take it when MEN, even ones halfway around the world in a culture we know squat about, tell our sisters what is and is not acceptable to wear.  

And if ANYONE reading this is all hot to start banning symbols of oppression, would you please start with the bra?  I'd love to be free of them -- they're uncomfortable as hell and burning them clearly didn't work.

Possibly related news: Friday Open Thread (13 November 2010)
Bras banned in Somalia | LeMatin.ch
In Somalia, under penalty of lashes, Muslim women must keep their breasts bare under the veil, the Al-Shabab ("Youth" in Arabic) movement has decided. The Islamist group, which has nothing to envy from the Taliban in Afghanistan, is controlling several regions in southern and central Somalia, and large parts of Mogadishu.

Convinced that wearing a bra goes against the teachings of Islam, Al-Shabab militants have whipped in public several women who bore the underwear during the last days, . According to them, "the bra misleads about the natural state of the breasts, accentuates the woman's forms and arouses sexual desires". The militiamen hence multiply the check points, asking women to jump and shake the torso to verify if their breasts move naturally ...



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 05:16:08 AM EST
Possibly related news: Friday Open Thread (13 November 2010)

Migeru's posting stuff from the future!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:22:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zounds!

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:13:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure he drives a Delorean...

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 10:56:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good and pertinent article, although it's sort of making me wonder -- you guys know I was joking about the bra ban, right?  I'm against the banning of clothes or regulating of attire, for our 'own good' or otherwise.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 01:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to think that, as the only person on this board who has experienced both sides of the divide, I'd have something useful to comment. But I transitioned too late for me to feel obliged to buy into the bs Izzy talks about. I wasn't brought up as a girl, I didn't learn female expectations.

But do not for a minute underestimate the reality that women live in an entirely different culture to men. We all imagine that, because we live in the same country, work in the same places, watch the same TV that we have the same culture. We don't, they exist side by side, inhabiting the same physical space yet, for most men (particularly men) and quite a lot of women, almost never really interacting.

I am still a creature of male culture, but with, shall we say, privileged access to female culture, but I am not of female culture.

I don't think men can ever realise how different it is. The scariest thing I ever did as a male was start learning to bellydance. Walking into a class full of women, being, for the first time in my life, in their world was very intimidating. The rules are different and the interactions are different. And as a male, as an interloper, there on licence rather than by right, my first lesson was to learn that I didn't know the rules. Any of them. It wasn't a case of adapting, it was a case of starting afresh.

And what you learn, eventually, is that the cultural values that women have are different.

there is a lot more to it, even as I write I could add a page of qualifiers to each paragraph, so I understand that this is simplistic. But I'm trying to get an idea across.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 05:51:48 AM EST
Thank you so much, Helen, for this wonderful comment.  This:

But do not for a minute underestimate the reality that women live in an entirely different culture to men. We all imagine that, because we live in the same country, work in the same places, watch the same TV that we have the same culture. We don't, they exist side by side, inhabiting the same physical space

...is one of those things I know to be true.  Absolutely felt it in my guts to be true even before getting any education about the studies which indicate it to be true.  Still, it's one of those difficult things to discuss with people, or to convince people of who don't have the experience of it.  Your experience and testimony is so valuable and much appreciated.

And THIS:

The scariest thing I ever did as a male was start learning to bellydance. Walking into a class full of women, being, for the first time in my life, in their world was very intimidating. The rules are different and the interactions are different. And as a male, as an interloper, there on licence rather than by right, my first lesson was to learn that I didn't know the rules. Any of them. It wasn't a case of adapting

... was incredibly brave.  If I was in your place, I don't know if I'd have had the fortitude to walk into that bellydancing class.  To a lesser extent though, this is the same thing women often experience entering the workforce, depending on the environment.  I say lesser because things ARE improving with time.  A woman entering a law firm now is in a better environment and position than one entering one in the 50s.  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 02:01:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think women are more aware of male culture than vice versa; they have to be because it is the default cultural space of shared interactions. Men deal with everybody on their terms, but women have to learn to deal with men on men's terms too.

At least men know they don't understand female culture, most of them wouldn't ever have experienced it. But no man would pretend to say "I understand women". Unfortunately their greater familiarity with the surface aspects of male culture persuades some women they have insight into its depths. And that leads to some marvellously wrong headed presumptions

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 03:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately their greater familiarity with the surface aspects of male culture persuades some women they have insight into its depths. And that leads to some marvellously wrong headed presumptions

I'd love to read that as a diary!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 02:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen wrote:

But do not for a minute underestimate the reality that women live in an entirely different culture to men. We all imagine that, because we live in the same country, work in the same places, watch the same TV that we have the same culture. We don't, they exist side by side, inhabiting the same physical space yet, for most men (particularly men) and quite a lot of women, almost never really interacting.

Agreed. There are things I (A man) wouldn't ever talk about with my wife or another woman. I imagine the womans world has similar taboos.
And whats the result? A lot of stuff in the media about men women read and see is just BS.
Also there is the geographical difference. As mentioned before American women seem to be body hair crazy. That`s different in Germany. Even if perhaps some young girls and women start to imitate this crazyness now. I read about that recently. Don't have any daughters.
I also never heard this thing about lesbian Birkenstocks ...
Finally a dress code experience. I'm more the jeans type and wear a suit and tie only when absolutely necessary.
So once in a while mostly women find that inappropriate. In this case they normally tell that to my wife or mother in law :-)

Schau in mich, Harno

Make it as simple as possible but not simpler (Albert Einstein)

by harnoes on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much of what Izzy relates here is culture-specific to the US? Or to the white English-speaking world?

We have had discussions about different attitudes on either side of the atlantic to heels, for instance. There may be in Europe a functional equivalent to Birkenstocks are for lesbians but it doesn't relate specifically to Birkenstocks. There are famous differences in approach to body hair (is it acceptable for a woman to not shave her armpits? In some countries waxing is the standard practise, whereas the cultural implications attached to waxing in the US are rather peculiar), body odour, showering in the morning or the evening, visible underwear (on the bra issue - it might be advantageous for an American woman if her bra is noticeable under her clothes because then nobody at work will wonder whether she's one of those braless sluts, whereas in Europe it is mostly considered tasteless if the bra straps or elastic shows - and I think the "bra-less = slutty" meme is much less strong over here). And so on.

Plus, in some countries what underwear shopping tells some women is that their boobs are too big. You might find it easier to find A-cups in Spain.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 06:20:49 AM EST
I just wanted to comment on the culture-specific aspect.

In just about the entire former Eastern Bloc, many if not most women beyond a certain age (let's say 30) will give up caring about their appearance. Meaning primarily waistline, but hairdo and makeup, even if applied, won't be done with much care. (I don't know what underwear goes with this...) With increasing waistline can come increasing self-assertion. What's behind this? A common explanation is being over-worked and exhausted of child-rearing. My theory however is that it is all about men, and is a crude form of half-emancipation: women will give up caring about their appearance once they got completely disillusioned with their useless husbands and men in general, and will look for self-fulfillment in their jobs, in power over other people in their jobs (also as bureaucrats confronting customers), in their children (and in cooking and food).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:18:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A reader writes, "Australian Classification Board (ACB) is now banning depictions of small-breasted women in adult publications and films. They banned mainstream pornography from showing women with A-cup breasts, apparently on the grounds that they encourage paedophilia, and in spite of the fact this is a normal breast size for many adult women. Presumably small breasted women taking photographs of themselves will now be guilty of creating simulated child pornography, to say nothing of the message this sends to women with modestly sized chests or those who favour them.

Read more...



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:30:20 AM EST
Thank you, Cat!  Wow, I can't imagine how this news has escaped me till now -- it's mind-boggling, though.

I think you've become active on ET since I've been dormant, so until very recently, we haven't interacted and to my regret, it seems the recent ones we've been at odds.  Have we finally found common ground?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:44:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll see. I saw it only a day or so ago. It's a very odd, very neurotic public policy action. Soon perhaps public health officials will criminalize "Brazilian" waxing.

Comments on thong maintenance, anyone?

The clean pudenda (a phrase worth searching btw) is probably beyond the bounds of fashion critique now, but I can't help myself. Here are two perspectives for refection -- "witchcraft" is another's savings multiplier.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 02:54:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Comments on thong maintenance, anyone?

Apparently the thong is dead.

Thong Underwear Trends - Wearing Thongs No Longer Trendy - Cosmopolitan.com

A little more than 10 years ago, the Macarena was a hit, the Rachel haircut was in, and wearing a thin strip of fabric between your butt cheeks was considered daringly sexy. Thankfully, the dance is now socially unacceptable, and those layers have grown out. But what about the thong? Although our love for it has endured, its popularity appears to be fading, and recent figures show another style is taking over. We conducted an investigation to find out how thongs went from hot to not and target the man-melting undies you must own now.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 09:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the man-melting undies you must own now

See? It's all about sexual competition.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 09:37:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Come work for the feds, Izzy.  They let us wear whatever the hell we want.  Bra, no bra.  Suit, no suit.

My old boss used to actually give me shit for being dressed too professionally.

One guy used to show up in his sweatpants with flip-flops and an old raggedy shirt.  He got fired, but it was because he didn't do anything for a year, not for the clothes.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 08:52:25 AM EST
What, they let you wear a bra and no suit?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:15:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They started throwing things at me when I tried to do it at IBM.  It was an easy call.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:26:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember the 1980s IBM staff manual that specified the width and distance between the blue pinstripes to be worn by all sales staff.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 09:26:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm walking down Broadway now (I'll have more pics later) but saw this ad:



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:31:19 AM EST
Finally, a company that sells half-naked women in their late-20s?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:33:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you want to get a Sex in the City subthread started here?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 09:38:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
lol -- how did I know you'd be all over the illustration angle?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 01:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake, are you taking a count?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 11:16:56 AM EST
Now next up should be a diary from one of our male ET'ers on the bizarre things men do to attract women.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 11:30:55 AM EST
Are you volunteering?  

What about the things men do to fit in with each other?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 11:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am sure you read about this ?

Cornell Sorority Issues Dress Code Guidelines

Denim-legging" is appropriate as long as it's done right: aka, not from American Apparel and worn with chic, cool chunky boots over them and a longer top. NO camel toe.
No: Muffin tops or extreme low rise!!
by PeWi on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 03:38:54 PM EST
You men are not being told to be ashamed of a part of your body.  You're not being judged as being flamboyant, provocative, or slovenly if you're not all bound up so no one can see your true shape or if your nipples get hard.  Hard nipples, btw, are the bane of some women's existence.  Some women actually buy padded bras, NOT for the breast size-enhancing qualities, but as armor against viewable nipplage.  Women have a reputation for getting chillier than men, but has it ever occurred to you that maybe raising the heat at the office or wearing a sweater is a preventive measure?  NO ONE wants to hear 'headlight' jokes at work.

I'd wager that there will be just as much backtalk and frowning when a man is, say, giving a presentation while there is an erection clearly outlined in his trousers. While everyone should know that erections can be involuntarily.

To the contrary of what you write, I find a comparison between wearing a compulsory bra and a compulsory tie rather apt. They're both contraption garments, and, a tie even more than a bra, serve no greater purpose other than a symbolic status.

I've aspired most of my life to prevent wearing a tie at my work - and so far, this is going well.

by Nomad on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 04:09:25 PM EST
Replying to the piece you quoted - in the US, at least, there is some very intense male wardrobe enforcement surrounding the "goal" of not "looking gay." It tends to drop off with age, at least.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Jan 31st, 2010 at 11:17:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
I'd wager that there will be just as much backtalk and frowning when a man is, say, giving a presentation while there is an erection clearly outlined in his trousers. While everyone should know that erections can be involuntarily.

That is why men need a pessiere to not only keep the stuff from dangling uncontrollably but also - with clever padding - enhance looks and hide erections!

Idea shamelessly copied from Gerd Brantenberg

Gerd Mjøen Brantenberg (born October 27, 1941) is a Norwegian author, teacher, and feminist writer. She is also the cousin of radio and tv entertainer Lars Mjøen.

Her most famous novel is Egalias døtre ("The Daughters of Egalia"), which was published in 1977 in Norway. In the novel the female is defined as the normal and the male as the abnormal, subjugated sex. All words that are normally in masculine form are given in a feminine form, and vice versa.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 06:13:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and opression, I wholeheartedly support the late Prince Claus on his "Declaration of the Tie" in 1998. See here.

A fine example of his mildly-rebellious attitude toward protocol was the "Declaration of the Tie." In 1998, after presenting the annual Prince Claus Awards to three African fashion designers, Claus told "workers of all nations to unite and cast away the new shackles they have voluntarily cast upon themselves", meaning the necktie, that "snake around my neck," and encouraged the audience to "venture into open-collar paradise". Then Claus removed his tie and threw it to the ground.

But here too the trend has been the other way...

by Nomad on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 11:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
{{Applause!!}}

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Mon Feb 1st, 2010 at 10:46:29 AM EST
Yes, the bra is the Western equivalent of the burka. (It would seem to follow that make-up is the Western analog of the hijab.)

Today, ban the burka. Tomorrow, give the legal right to women to go anywhere without wearing a bra.

And, so as not to level everything, and to keep in mind distinctions between degrees of oppression: since the burka is significantly more barbaric and oppressive than the bra (the burka treats the whole of a woman's body as an object of shame, whereas Western underwear singles out the naughty bits), there should be no choice to wear the burka, but women should have the choice as to whether to go around wearing a bra or not.

So whereas I disagree with your apparent conclusion as to what should be the policy with respect to non-Western oppressive women's garb, I thank you for this much-needed commentary on the social function of lingerie.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 06:51:56 AM EST
lol, way to miss the point!  More seriously, I do hope you were joking and don't honestly think I was saying they were equivalent and, in fact, state plainly I didn't.  I also hope that you realize I was writing in a snarky tone about a serious topic and that my call for the bra ban was sarcasm.

But just in case you missed it, or didn't read far enough (I apologize for the length), here's the main point:

It's probably a near-universal experience to feel the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing clothes that make us feel out of place.  It is, however, a special humiliation that I wager most women and few men have experienced, to wear clothes that make you feel like a whore.  

If you've never had your worth as a person dismissed because you're "dressed slutty," if you've never been given a talking-to at work because you wore something and "people might take it the wrong way," if you've never been told you're asking to be raped if you "go out in that," then you probably don't understand how PERSONALLY women take it when MEN, even ones halfway around the world in a culture we know squat about, tell our sisters what is and is not acceptable to wear.  



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 11:43:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed the discussion at EuroTrib about France and the burka. If I should be familiar with it to participate in the present discussion, please let me know. But it's obvious to me that even Kant's transcendental subject (i.e., a being located in space that has no sex) can figure out that burkas are "not acceptable to wear". How can it be a good thing for a person to treat his or her body as an object of shame?

"The system" is playing the old game of divide and conquer against us here. We are made to think that we can't criticize other cultures' oppressive dress codes, because we have our own oppressive dress codes. Or we are made to speculate about how much Western dress codes are more oppressive of women than they are of men.

If women see Western dress codes as oppressive, instead of defending barbaric non-Western practices, why not take the French government's decision to make the wearing of burkas a political issue as a political opportunity, and start arguing that women should have the freedom to dress as they like?

You wrote,

Can you imagine any braless women even getting hired in a 'respectable' profession?

Well, if a law were on the books making it a crime to discriminate against women not wearing bras, including in hiring practices, wouldn't that make it more likely that braless women could get hired in respectable professions?

If the right can use regulation of dress for manipulative political purposes, why can't the left imagine using the regulation of dress for beneficial, progressive purposes?

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 01:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, here's the thing, Alexander.  We've had quite a few of these discussions over the years and they always seem to end the same way, with no one understanding the 'other' point of view.  We've lost quite a few female participants over this, which I see to be a bad thing.  

So the purpose of this was not to discuss the burka ban, or even underwear, at all, but to address a meta issue as I said up top, and to perhaps shed some light on the question I quoted: "My question is what makes you[a female] better able to understand their situation than me[a male]?"

I chose to write in a "humorous" way on a fairly frivolous topic (underwear), to perhaps diffuse some already hurt feelings and maybe give some people a way to look at the discussion in a different way.  And of course, you're ALWAYS welcome to participate, no matter if you've been involved or not -- all input is welcome.

The only thing is... I wasn't discussing the burka ban here and don't really care to.  If you'd like to diary your opinions on banning, I'd be happy to participate if I have time.  

But in case you're curious and don't want to diary, I don't believe in clothing bans for many reasons, but mostly because I see it as attacking a symptom and causing more trouble and hurt to the most powerless among us without solving anything, fwiw.  I understand that good people with fine intentions disagree with me.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 02:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would not be able to make any sense of what you just said if it were not for the last paragraph. There you say that we should tolerate the barbaric practice of making women wear burkas because to raise objections about that practice would be to cause "hurt to the most powerless among us".

How is that different from saying that we must empathize with and "support" the prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps who, on behalf of the relevant authorities, "dealt with" the prisoners who were weaker than they themselves were? Don't you believe that there are higher human standards that we can employ than those of a concentration camp? Evidently you do not, judging by your signature. In your own perverse way, you are trying to make Hobbes' dream come true.

For what it's worth, my late wife did not find it "frivolous" to be able to go to work some days without wearing a bra, after she got tenure. As far as I could understand from my limited "male" point of view, her new job security which allowed her to do so enhanced what liberals (of whom you seem to be an instance) call her "quality of life".

As far as I understand, this is a political blog, not a "raising of your consciousness" blog, or a "how to improve your relationship with your significant other" blog. You raised a problem: women are more constrained in how they dress than men are. What has the very likely true fact that men don't understand women and their problems to do with anything, when it comes to politics? Women are the majority of the electorate. Thus, as a real problem for which one seeks a solution, this is not the problem of the eternal failure of men to understand women, but of getting laws passed to make women more equal to men. If women are unhappy about reigning social mores requiring the natural form of their breasts to be obscured by clothing, what man who claims to be a healthy heterosexual could possibly object, if women turned this into a political issue?

You concluded your diary thus, speaking of bras:

I'd love to be free of them -- they're uncomfortable as hell and burning them clearly didn't work.

Yes, burning them didn't work, but why not try getting a law passed?

In your latest comment, you claim that you were being "humorous" in your diary with regard to the predicament about dressing that women face in their daily lives. But my impression is that you were raising a real problem, and now are trying to dismiss it, to conform to the normal practice with the left these days, to make noise while abandoning politics.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 07:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I understand, this is a political blog, not a "raising of your consciousness" blog, or a "how to improve your relationship with your significant other" blog.

So you don't believe communication has anything to do with politics?  or is it communicating with women in particular you believe should be confined to consciousness-raising and relationships?

I've had respectful conversations with many of the men in this thread, pointing out that they were missing the point, and they've respectfully accepted that.

You, on the other hand, are not communicating with me.  You've dismissed most of what I've written as not making sense to you.  You haven't accepted my explanations.  

You seem to be insisting I should debate what you want me to debate, and not the subject I'm addressing.  When this is pointed out, you criticize my topic, the way I wrote about it, and the examples I used to illustrate it.

Further, you've all but said the topic has no place on this blog for which, if you'll glance to that little box on the right side of your screen, you may have noted that I'm a writer.

You refuse to acknowledge any nuance, framing things in black and white and, astonishingly, manage to violate godwin's law (never thought THAT would come up in this one...), jump to conclusions, tell me what I believe, make assumptions about me and my views, label me in a derogatory fashion, and dismiss me as merely making noise.  

You've talked past and ignored damned near everything I've said, then accuse ME of using language not to communicate, implying bad motives since I'm doing it in a "perverse" way (albeit "my own," so thanks for the token nod to my style).  Do you mind if next time this topic of communication comes up, I use your comments as Exhibit A?

Oh, and any time you'd like to have a civil discussion about the topic at hand, I'm right here.  I really would like to hear your answer to my first question in this comment.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 01:10:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I understand, this is a political blog, not a "raising of your consciousness" blog, or a "how to improve your relationship with your significant other" blog.

And here I thought it was a debate club...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 02:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my late wife did not find it "frivolous" to be able to go to work some days without wearing a bra, after she got tenure.

So you're saying a female academic needs to wait until she has tenure to go braless without fear of career suicide?

Is going braless to work just below having sex with a student in the severity ranking of faculty offences?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 04:25:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure that academics have those two offences that way round in order of severity?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 09:30:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I understand, this is a political blog, not a "raising of your consciousness" blog, or a "how to improve your relationship with your significant other" blog.

Huh. No, this is a "debate any subject you like" blog. You may have noticed that beyond politics, there are diaries about photography, economics, personal experiences, climate and the weather, transport, culture; and just about anything in open threads. At any rate, you'll find Izzy listed as one of the frontpagers, so you really should have thought twice before lecturing her about what the blog is about and what she can write about...

As for your argument in general, I am reminded of the two articles linked here.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 05:37:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alexander:
As far as I understand, this is a political blog, not a "raising of your consciousness" blog, or a "how to improve your relationship with your significant other" blog.

um, not exactly. if you stick around, you'll stretch the distance of your understanding. politics affects everything else, so is always present, but ET's power comes from the intersection of the political with the personal, mostly through discussions about energy and economics, shot through with all sorts of other things, and mostly how they all interconnect.

some of us believe it does have a 'consciouness-raising' effect to learn more in an amiable atmosphere, and as for significant other stuff, well it's not much for that, though a good diary on the subject may break the record for number of comments, seeing how universal the subject is!

there are much more focussed political (and relationship=orientated) blogs around, but ET has something else going for it (la grande melange?) that makes it unique. i hope you get it, and just skip the diaries that don't serve your needs. you certainly have a lot of interesting knowledge to share.

pure politics as an abstract doesn't really exist, insofar as it's the effect on us is where the rubber meets the road...

so we hash it out.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 07:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really would like to hear your answer to my first question in this comment.

Of course I think communication has something to do with politics. I was just trying to suggest that different parties can engage in joint political activity (e.g., trying to get some law passed) without the parties perfectly understanding each other.


A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 01:16:49 PM EST
Surely they need to understand each other on the particular issue they are working collaboratively on?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 05:06:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not completely. For example, men may not (fully) understand what it is like for women to be subjected to certain kinds of humiliation, but men can work with women to help achieve whatever it is that women want to achieve to make certain kinds of humiliation less likely.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns
by Alexander on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 03:55:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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