Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What I'm reading

I like history, and while I don't identify as a hardcore feminist scholar, I do identify as a feminist. I am also very interested in fashion. A couple years ago, my husband bought me a book at the Mary Meuser Memorial Library book fair, Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Feminism and Fashion by Linda M. Scott. I never got that far into it because it's a heavy book and school work interfered. I picked it up again yesterday.

Every time I pick it up, I am captivated. I didn't have much time yesterday to read, but I managed to finish 50 pages. It's a well-written, well-supported book and my lack of completing it is not the fault of the author.

I've also found several points in here I could add to my honor's thesis. The whole point of reading this book was that it had nothing to do with my honor's thesis.

"Linda M. Scott wants to put an end to the belief that American women have to wear a colorless, shapeless uniform to achieve liberation and equality.

A pointed attack on feminism's requisite style of dress, Fresh Lipstick argues that wearing high heels and using hair curlers does not deny you the right to seek advancement, empowerment, and equality. Scott asserts that judging someone on her fashion choices is as detrimental to advancement as judgments based on race, nationality, or social class. Fashion is an important mode of personal expression, not an indication of submission. She demonstrates that feminism's dogged reduction of fashion to sexual objectification has been motivated by a desire to control other women, not free them. This push for power has produced endless conflict from the movement's earliest days, hindering advances in women's rights by promoting exclusion. It is time for the "plain Jane" dress code of the revolution to be lifted, allowing all women to lead, even those wearing makeup and Manolos.

Marching through 150 years of American dress history, Scott rips down feminism's favorite positions on fashion-from the power of images to the purpose of makeup. The illustrative examples-from flappers to Twiggy to body-piercing-are often poignant, occasionally infuriating, but always illuminating and thought-provoking.

With Fresh Lipstick, Linda Scott gives women the ammunition to settle the fashion debate once and for all. She challenges feminists to move beyond appearances and to return their focus to the true mission of the movement: equality for all women everywhere."

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