Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The runaway project

I'm exhausted and far too blmghph and glthrghmphff and fghlkmmphrg to do any real writing or research right now. So the Abramoff thing will come tomorrow.

I just finished the animation project from hell -- from that region of hell where no-one is allowed to sleep. (My job was technical, not creative, but the hours were still killer.)

This short film was funded by a celebrity. Can't mention names, but she is someone many of you admire, as I do. Her purpose is to promote the notion that media-imposed body images can be oppressive to young women. A worthy theme.

Here are some thoughts that ran through my noggin while working on this film:

Some online feminists (though not the celebrity referenced above) blame the Oppressive Heterosexual Male Patriarchy, or OHMP, whenever they decry the unnerving fact that so many hideously undernourished waif-like creatures have been spotted wafting down runways in the fashion world. On occasion, feminist readers have laid this rap on your humble narrator. Well, we members of OHMP have many sins to answer for -- but what goes on in fashion ain't one of them.

Let's be honest. The men who run that show are largely gay. Most straight men don't like females who look like boys.

Although many feminists have (correctly) decried the unhealthily skeletal look of many current runway models, none of the feminist criticism has gone in the right direction. Feminists scream at guys like me, when they should scream at guys like Karl "No one wants to see round women" Lagerfeld.

No, I'm not saying that all gay men are evil. My point is simply this: If Taco Bell sells you a crummy burrito, it doesn't make any sense for you to go to the neighboring Seven-Eleven and say: "Those people at Taco Bell ripped me off. What are you going to do about it?" I bear no responsibility -- none, nada, zippo -- for the fact that so many runway models now look as wiry and fragile as pencil lead.

If you want action on your complaint, take it to the right party. Gay people are reasonable -- or rather, they are no more unreasonable than are any other members of homo sapiens sapiens, a species not always known for its reasonableness. As the old song has it: If the man don't listen, you got to yell a little louder. That goes for gay men as well as straight men.

I've tried to make sure that my character Chalice (see the ad in the upper-right corner) is someone with whom teenaged girl can identify. Too many females in comics look like Dominatrix strippers -- seven feet tall, with breasts the size of SUVs.

No. That's not who she is.

A young lady named Angela posed for the Chalice drawings. Although some people have suggested that she pursue a career in modeling, Angela frets that she is too "overweight" for that career. Is the world of fashion (or the wider world of female-ness) really so ridiculous? To my eyes, that girl does not look even slightly overweight -- if anything, she looks under-pizzaed.

Pursuant to another art project (long story), I corresponded a bit with an actual model whose image you've probably seen on various web sites. (I won't mention names.) She told me that she can't get any further work because she's too "curvy." In her case, "curvy" is not a euphemism for "overweight" -- curvy means curvy.

This situation is nuts. Clothes look great on her, just as they look great on Angela.

Meanwhile, none of the women on Project Runway look healthy or attractive to me. (Except Heidi.) I don't think that clothes hang well on them. Those young ladies need to spend a few months communing with some of my old pals: Ben, Jerry, Granny Goose and Colonel Sanders.

Bottom line: Don't blame me. And don't blame straight guys in general. Awful as we OHMPers may be in many other ways, this particular sin is not one that we have committed -- in fact, we don't even comprehend it.
What is that saying? Keep your friends close, and your frenemies closer?

Gay men and heterosexual runway models are interested in the same physical type.....therefore, might not a gay clothing desgner find rail thin runway models to turn off most hetero males???

Theory number two, clothing designers may start out with dozens upon dozens of ideas and designs and materials before they ultimately reduce their ideas to their final dozen or so designs.

Think of all the extra material that would be needed for all of those designs and shapes and colors of material, designs that may never even make it to the catwalk. Clearly a preference for a rail thin model could result in significant savings. Plus, they eat less, and, perhaps they are less likely to spill food on the clothing as well.

Well, I've overtaxed my few remaining male thought cells, time to rest up for the next problem solving situation.
Oh, congratulations on your Project Chalice goal being reached.
Well, I just had to acknowledge your p/fun title, because I know you get a kick out of those little extra touches you throw in your writing.

But as for Project Runway...that is my guilty pleasure and break from feminist hardline...so I have to say, Heidi?? Really?? I would writhe last season when I would see what horror she presented as fashion every week. That horrible haircut, those horrible clothes, and then the ugly attitude. I have no idea how she's fit to judge others. But I guess I'm judging her attractiveness on a different scale than you, as an OHM or whatever!
@Alessando, you are correct when you write that clothing is cheaper to make for rail thin models.

The Haute Couture is a world that so many have heard of, but so few realize what really goes on behind closed atelier doors. Couture gowns are created using hand-sewing techniques. If you are hand-sewing beads onto a gown, it is far easier to sew beads onto a gown for a rail model rather than someone who is even a size six.

@Zee, I am also a PR Aficionado. A little OT, were the judges smoking crack this season or what?!?! (If you're on the eeeevilllll Facebook, I run a group there to discuss PR and PR related topics, if you're interested.)

Ms. Vandal.

(Yes, I am starting to become more involved with Joseph's blog... I've been planning to for a long time. Since I've graduated, I have more time. Especially in this job market.)
By the way -- not for the last time, let me express gushing thanks to all who contributed to that project. I was so incredibly touched.

More gushing thanks soon, when the project closes.
Right, men don't run the patriarchy, gay men do.
As my name implies, I am a knitter. I have been attending Knitter's Magazine's Stitches conventions every year since the very first one a couple of decades ago. One of the big events is the fashion show on Friday night, where yarn manufacturers, shop owners, publishers and such show off garments they hope the attendees will want to make. For plenty of good reasons (like making them attractive to their target audience), the sample garments are generally not sized for rail-thin models. I have heard that it's not easy for the organizers to find professional models of a size to look good in these clothes and that they have to request what are called in the trade (but not in anyone's real life outside the trade) plus-size models. To my untrained eyes, none of these women are even close to the size of Marilyn Monroe, who wore a size 12 or even 14 (when those numbers meant something a lot smaller than they do now, to be sure) and I believe is still considered mighty attractive. No wonder we have an epidemic of both obesity and eating disorders in this country.
To be fair, by now there's a whole generation or two of younger heterosexual males who've been culturally indoctrinated by a lifetime of media exposure to "so many hideously undernourished waif-like creatures" that their preferences may have been warped beyond comprehension.
Ms V...! ::gasp:: You're on the evil FB??? :o If Bella could talk, what would she say about that dinner-time conversation with Joseph?? :)

CambridgeKnitter, that is very interesting. *sigh* Wish I were a MM size 14 ...instead of whatever today's 14 means...actually, I would fit in more with the flappers of yore. Whoever is to "blame" for the modern day ideal figures, it's without doubt that beauty and fashion evolve. Our focus should be on denouncing foot-binding and shrouding and corsetting and bulimia. Evil and punitive should be roundly rejected. Fashion and beauty ought to be about celebration and bending the mind and dazzling the eye. For all genders along the entire spectrum.
oh, OT, but I am just so thrilled that the Chalice project is fully funded and that I managed to contribute. It was my first foray with my new debit card, let alone online, so I broke through some major phobias.

I just want to add, it hardly feels like contributing, considering how generous Joseph was in compensating his funders. And Kickstart is a venture I was glad to sign up for. One more day, folks...or is it two?
Thanks for some fresh perceptions. Back in the '70's I realized with a start that women wearing short hair, jeans, flannel shirts, and work boots were adopting the current gay uniform. The only thing they lacked was the then-mandatory mustache.
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