Benchmarking the naked truth
I don't watch fashion shows. They upset me.
Ostentation, impossible and unhealthy standards of body size, the commercialization of sexuality, social climbing, sexist standards of beauty for women, outrageous impractical conceptions that have no utilitarian or aesthetic value – these are what fashion shows epitomize for me.
On one hand, I wonder how many people actually wear many of these uncomfortable and impractical things. On the other hand, many people who do buy these things do so with stolen money. I can cite a long list of Filipinos, from Imelda Marcos to Jeane Napoles, buying these luxury items with money stolen from starving street children. I wonder what is so upper class about selling things to noveau riche thieves. I wonder what is aspirational about having the same things as the wife of a Third World dictator.
Spectacles of capitalism
Fashion shows are the grand spectacles of unbridled and evil capitalism. The production value of those clothes and accessories are a very, very small amount of the inflated price. (We should know, because some of the sweat shops that produce them are in the Philippines.) People buy these overpriced items because the fashion industry says we should desire them with more intensity than our desire for world peace and social equity.
The thing is, some folks actually fall for this snake oil. So, some buy these symbols of gullibility made from materials which are sourced from suffering animals or an endangered ecology, put together by hungry and tired women. Many buy them to the detriment of their financial stability. And that is what keeps this Emperor, who really doesn't have much to sell, strutting the catwalks.
A disclaimer and ethical disclosure
I know, I know. There are good and creative people in the fashion industry that actually make useful things. There are a few in the industry that I actually admire. This criticism has nothing to do with these people who are the exceptions rather than the rule. I also know that not everyone that buys a fashion accessory is a gullible person. My criticism is of the callous materialism and overweening arrogance of those who control the beauty-fashion-diet industry.
I pause here also for ethical disclosure. I could never fit in any of the designer stuff anyway. I am sure that those “creative” people who designed the recent Bench “fashion” show (I will get around to discussing this travesty in a bit) will stop reading this tirade now and look away. They will look away comfortable in the thought that I am just sour graping.
Fine. I don't want shallow people responsible for women's body-hatred reading on anyway. You are not of my social strata. I will just stare down at my comfy and scuffed rubber shoes while you guys walk away. Have a happy life even if your show contributed nothing to the well-being of the human race.
The naked truth
So how come I actually know that Bench had a fashion show entitled, “The Naked Truth”? Because the people in my exclusive (we don't allow the frivolous into our neighborhood) social strata are upset about it.
And so, I watched, read up and looked at the pictures. And I must say, I did not see or read anything that would change my mind. I would still rather watch reruns of documentary films of slugs crawling, than watch fashion shows. More so if it is the soft porn masquerading as a fashion show that was, “The Naked Truth.”
For one thing, unlike the prudes who enjoyed it because it allowed them to watch porn while telling their priest they were just at a fashion show. I don't need an excuse to watch erotica. When I want to watch something sexual, I just do. And I certainly would not watch the “Naked Truth” for its erotic value.
I would not watch it because the show was derivative. Oops. Sorry for the big word. I thought maybe those pretentious ones might have read on despite my dismissal of them. In other words, it has all been done before and better. There was nothing original. For example, I re-read Madonna's book “Sex”, and maybe she should cry, “Second rate, trying hard, copy cats!”
Feminist but not a prude
But before anyone accuses me of it, I may as well say that I am not one of those judgmental prudes. I have no intention of decrying this fashion show only to fall into bed with conservatives with their negative views of sex. (If there is anything I would advise against actually, it might be going to bed with someone with negative views of sex. It just doesn't work out well, on so many levels.)
In fact, I would encourage more open discussions about the varying things that bring sexual pleasure to people. I accept them all – the celibates, the promiscuous, the vanilla sex people and the sado-masochism and bondage people. I accept also, the lesbians, the gays, the bisexuals, the transgender and everyone else that falls outside and in between these categories. Let's keep it safe and consensual and go (or not go, if you're celibate)!
But decrying the sexual portrayals that commodify women's and men's bodies in the “Naked Truth” is not about taking away people's sexual options and choices. It is about striking out for a healthier culture of the body and a more life-giving conception of beauty and sexuality. Those who accuse the critics of these shows as being against individual freedom have a very shallow analysis of the issue. Your individual sexual preferences, just because they were portrayed by this show, are not being guaranteed here. They are under threat from these sterile, monotonic portrayals of what is sexy that is tied to marketing overpriced stuff.
Sexual health, body acceptance
In fact, if we are to increase sexual openness, I would like to see more portrayals of fat people enjoying sex, of transmen and transwomen enjoying sex, of people with disabilities enjoying sex, of..oh wait, all that is already on the Internet. We don't need to see it in a fashion show where other values that I detest get bandied about. Besides, enjoyable sex between anyone other than the unhealthily thin and beautiful by sexist and racist standards? You're more likely to discover that in a documentary about the duck-billed platypus than in a fashion show masquerading as soft porn suffused with patriarchal conceptions of what is “sexy.”
What is in the “Naked Truth” are really unscientific and deadly ideas and norms about beauty and health. Prior to the show, we saw press releases of celebrities working out with such intensity that they called it “torture” and eating very poorly. All this, in order to get thin in time for the show. Oh, pooh. The science on this is in. Diets work in the short term but they only end up making you fatter. Some scientific studies are showing that it isn't being fat that may be causing us bad health, but the rapid weight loss and gain brought about by dieting.
As for exercise? We all should do it because it makes us move and feel better. It makes us healthier. Listen one and all for the sake of your continuing health: Exercise can and should be fun. The health effects of exercise have to do with doing it as a life habit. If it feels like torture, you will end up avoiding et viola – couch potato.
Combine strenuous exercise and low nutrient intake – obese person in the making!
The naked truth is that the diet and fashion industry would fall if we followed healthy body standards and correct eating and exercise advice.
The naked truth about the high fashion industry is that no one (in a world of billions a few fashion models need not be counted) really fits in their clothes. Not the majority of us who by industry standards are short, fat, bumpy and lumpy in all different places. The naked truth is that the high-end products are not affordable for people. So, why in the world would humanity really care?
The fashion industry isn't really selling us self-confidence and beauty but depression, anorexia, bulimia, obesity, hatred of the body and the idea that sex is for these statistical exceptions at the far end of the bell-curve graph of human body types. The naked truth about the fashion industry is that fashion models can be truly unhealthy and much of it has to do with their own starvation. The truth is many people find nurturing love and sex without ever having seen a fashion show, bought a designer anything and obsessed about body types.
Studies show that women get depressed after reading the fashion magazines. Studies show that young girls worldwide are increasingly unhappy about their bodies.
Loving the (some) body you are
So let me tell you something true that may not be naked but is certainly going to give you, the ordinary citizen, great pleasure. I say, junk the fashion mags and turn away from the fashion shows.
Go out and buy practical, comfortable underwear that you can well afford. Get into some comfortable clothes that you like, preferably not from a brand name store. Don't look in the Bench stores. Then do what it is with your body that makes you happy. Have sex or not, eat when you're hungry, stop only when you're full, run into the sunset, walk along the beach, lie down in bed with a good book, do whatever it is your heart desires and your body feels like. Do this for as long as you would have taken to have gone to a fashion show, sat down to watch it, and gone home after. Do this every time you get the urge to watch yet another show. Do it with non-pretentious people. Avoid the social climbers.
You will do yourself, the young, women and the environment, far more good. And believe me, you will feel better. Much, much, better. - Rappler.com