Friday, July 17, 2009

Beautifully Said

Actress Rita Hayworth points out that she donated her car’s steel bumpers to the war effort; note Hayworth's crisp outfit, jaunty brooch, and prettily-curled hair.
(Photo from the National Archives.)

She's probably too modest to mention this herself, so I'm going to tell you about Cogblog contributor Lisa Simeone's winning column/blog, Glamor Girl, over at Baltimore STYLE Magazine. In today's piece, Lisa discusses the importance, now more than ever, of creating and appreciating beauty--including gorgeous fashion. I encourage you to go read the whole thing and show her some comment love:

Asking, “what’s the point of fashion?” betrays a profound ignorance. What’s the point of music? Of art? Of literature? With so many more “serious” concerns in an often brutal world, why waste time on anything as trivial or as frivolous as creativity? What’s the point of beauty? Of joy? Of aesthetics?

I would argue that it’s precisely because the world can be such a cruel, barbaric place that we need beauty, we need pleasure, we need self-expression. We need the dreams and fantasies of designers made incarnate.

And it’s not all just a Madison Avenue conspiracy, another inane theory floating around out there. Maasai teenagers in Kenya don’t primp and preen in front of car mirrors in the bush, comparing their red shukas and trying to one-up each other in adornments, because they’re being pressured by ruthless advertisers. Their sisters and mothers don’t spend hours and days fabricating intricate beaded jewelry because some corporate titan came along and urged them to do it.

Oh, and my favorite—the pseudo-feminist argument that fashion is a method of oppressing women. As a proud loudmouthed feminist, I’m particularly rankled by that one. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian women had for the first time in their lives the chance to buy beautiful, lacy, feminine bras. Yes, bras. Middle-class and blue-collar women would save up for months, forgoing other needs, just to buy one beautiful bra. Why? Because Western capitalists were trying to oppress them? No, because they craved beauty.

I couldn't agree more--Hooray for beauty, hooray for creativity, and down with wanton destruction and violence, I say. Go read!

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