Saturday, September 23, 2006

I have a grenade and I've pulled the pin

Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.
- George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

The subject of the fashion industry makes be uncomfortable because, like the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, it persuades people, using peer pressure, that they need something they usually do not, often can't afford and may be outright impractical as apparel.

In particular, the fashion and cosmetics industries constitute the ultimate examples in society of corporations leading unsuspecting dupes by the nose to buy products they don't need but are afraid not to buy because they don't want to be "out of fashion."

In this condemnation I do not include high fashion, which is an entertainment industry unto itself for those with more money than they know how to spend on necessities.

Men buy suits and other clothing on the basis of brand name, which they assume will satisfy the envy of their peers who care. Many women, so far as I can tell, empty their savings on a regular basis so that they can look just right for their office jobs in their city's skyscrapers. "Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have."

A recent study in the UK and the USA found that most men (56% or more) from ages 18 to 34 prefer women to wear no makeup. The men surveyed were single and married (but not both at the same time).

When women "dress up," they dress to be attractive, much the way call-girls dress. Some say they buy expensive clothing and shoes to please themselves, which in psychological terms is called narcissism. Some dress to please other women, which either suggests that they are gay or want to impress women who likely bear them no good will.

Some drsss up to please men, either their mates or prospective mates, or just to titilate the men they work with. These I deem to be the most honest with themselves. However, most boys learn somewhere along the way that the most attractive and seductive women should be admired but not taken seriously because they are as apt to walk away from a marriage or relationship as towards one.

Men may lust after the most attractive women, but most will consider them throw-aways they would never seriously plan to keep as mates. Most men know that the women they wake up with in the morning had better have more to offer to a relationship than their first-thing appearance.

There is little point in expanding on the cosmetics industry other than to say that it gained power in the 1940s when a movie makeup man (Revlon) saw a fortune to be made selling makeup to women who want to look like movie stars.

As if any sane woman would want to live the life of a movie star. No, they say, but I want to look like one. Because...? Because the fashion and cosmetics industries have persuaded them that they should look like movie stars.

Of course the tail can wag the dog. Well, not with real dogs. Only with people who want to "put on the dog."

Naturally that is my opinion. I'm comfortable with it given what I have observed in my studies.

Bill Allin
'Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to strip today's realities down to bare facts.
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