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Fashion and Beauty

Inappropriate Appropriation

My classmates started posting pictures from last year’s Coachella, their excitement for the music festival illuminating my phone screen. However, amidst all the elation, I couldn’t help but notice the troubling cultural appropriation that also filled the pictures. In the backgrounds of nearly every photo I saw, there were young women wearing bindis and feathered headdresses, and young men wearing war paint. Unfortunately, this insensitivity to and misappropriation of cultures is not specific to Coachella, nor is it a new problem in fashion.

Wearing the Pants, and the Dress as Well

When I showed a girl in my class the prom dress I was thinking about buying, the first thing she asked me was whether or not I was going to shave for prom. Her question wasn’t really that surprising. People often associate body hair with uncleanliness, and they don’t expect it to appear in formal situations. The fact is, people only question me about my body hair when I’m wearing something more traditionally feminine. When I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt people rarely look twice at my legs or armpits, but when I’m wearing a dress, people consistently double-take. When it comes to how other people see me, it seems that my casual clothes and body hair make more sense together than my more feminine clothes and body hair.

Edith Head

Edith Head’s brilliant eye for design earned her a record eight Oscars for Best Costume Design for movies that included Roman Holiday (1954) and The Sting (1974).

King Kylie’s Kloset

There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money. Honestly, I admire Jenner and her family for building up their empire from scratch, and becoming a modern-day royal family. And, as Kylie is only about two years older than me, I can only dream of what it would be like to be so successful at such a young age. However, I think what shows a lot about a person’s character is how they use their money. 

What Not To Wear: Where I Learned That People Judge Me For How I Look

I’ve realized that the show’s one-dimensional view of identity is objectifying. Segments on the show include “How to Hide Your Tummy,” or “How to Create Curves.” At one point I heard those things and thought they were trying to be helpful. At second glance, these “how tos” project a single image of beauty, an image of beauty that has a big bust and a tight tummy. 

A Call for Inclusion on the Catwalk

For the longest time, mirrors were my sworn enemy. Dressing rooms were the battlegrounds of a war between comfort and confidence, and my body was caught in the middle of it. On some days, every curve I had was subject to thorough self-scrutiny. Stomachs had to be sucked in, and spandex was a girl’s best friend. 

Hari Nef

Hari Nef, the first trans woman model to be signed to the prestigious IMG modeling agency, has used her public platform to speak out on issues that affect other transgender people.

Ivanka Trump

A longtime aide to her father and executive vice president of his company, Ivanka Trump is poised to become the most influential first daughter since Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

Heidi Zak

In creating her company Thirdlove, Heidi Zak completely reimagined women’s bras and the process of shopping for them.

My Power Outfit Deserves Its Name

Although I've learned to embrace my short stature and recognize its impact on my confidence as a woman, when I was younger, my height was my biggest insecurity. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fashion and Beauty." (Viewed on September 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/fashion-and-beauty>.

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