Friday, June 04, 2010

Gender Trouble


pigeon toed fashion bloggers

Pictured Above: Chictopia or Fashionable Dystopia?

"If extreme height and exaggerated 'artistic' postures gave the modern woman of [early 20th century] ads a certain claim to elegance and prestige, still she gained stature only in comparison to other, non-fashionable women. In relation to men, as Erving Goffman has intriguingly suggested in Gender Advertisements, distortions of women's shapes and gestures often convey messages about social subordination. Women, Goffman argues, appear in poses that are more 'canted,' more exaggerated and grotesque, more off-balance and tenative than those assumed by men. These stances and gestures imply a sense of dependence...and a willingness to make oneself into an interesting 'object.'"

(From Roland Marchand's Advertising the American Dream, 1920-1940)

ADDENDUM: As a child, I recall feigning a slight pigeon-toe. I also recall crafting faux orthodontic retainers out of paper clips and plastic bracelets. Strange that even as young girls we know to desire so many symbols of youth and handicap.

9 comments:

Purple Deer said...

Women have far to come. Heels, makeup, insane hair, weight, barbie, is only the surface. What I find interesting, about this generation, is that a lot of fasion bloggers don't seem to see the oppression in all this hoopla (AKA high end fashion). They go with it as if it's "fun" to run around in 5 inch heels. So many more examples but I'll spare you.


I can't tell you how many fantasies I've had about heels just dissapearing...I'm proud to say I don't own one pair.

Sarah said...

I have a few other blog photos with pigeon toe to link but that would be bad form! Cool blog....I used to make retainers from paper clips too. :)

MAB Jewelry said...

Ummm, I still love high heels. I find them empowering, in an odd way. Well, until I fall off of them anyhow.

HUzzah! Vintage said...

the predominance of high heels hadn't even occurred to me as I crafted this post, but it lines up well with Goffman's and Marchand's theses about generalized instability in the performance of femininity. huzzah!

pineapplemint said...

Sad to see another child fall prey to the lure of big orthodontia.

alexkeller said...

i was really pigeon toed as a child and had to wear ugly shoes. i also have flat feet. i DO love high heeled shoes. make of all this what you will.

Mother Midnight Vintage said...

i find it ironic and disturbing that so many of the footwear styles these days resemble the old leg braces worn when afflicted with Polio. back in the day you were treated as a freak if you wore such contraptions, yet, in our modern society the ladies line right up to get the look - all the while, collecting latent physical implications for a future filled with fashion-induced disability.
handicapped indeed.

lisa zain @etsy said...

i read somewhere that japanese girls are taught and do amongst themselves stand pigeon toed on purpose because it makes your thighs slightly tense up, and draw away from each other giving the illusion of a slimmer leg. obviously the trend has spread through fashion like wildfire, the innocent girl doll foot pose.

that being said, i do love heels. :D

EllenTenTen said...

I love your blog, writing, and this post. I have been so irritated by the constant pigeon-toe look...as though self-consciousness and lack of ...courage, really, were the most attractive thing...
uh!