Fashion’s tight grip on our bodies

An Australian woman’s hospitalization by skinny jeans inspires a look at today’s fashion trends.

Fashion has always taken a toll on our bodies. Many say it’s the price you pay to look good.

But in reality, are you looking good teetering along the sidewalk in broad daylight appearing like you’ve consumed one too many vodka sodas at happy hour just because you can’t balance on your feet? The answer is no.

Although humanity has made remarkable strides since foot binding, a lot of women still arrive home with bloody blisters all over their feet due to high heels. Slippers are the only 
remedy.

But we can’t wear them forever because that’s life. “Suck it up,” they say. “It’ll be fine,” they say. It’s never fine. Speaking of sucking it up, push-up bras are modern day corsets. We have to fake it till we make it, I suppose. Well, I certainly do. Not only do undergarments try to suck, tuck and eliminate any semblance of a figure women have, pants try and do it too.

Ah, skinny jeans.

I have a sincere problem with them. First off, the categories we put denim into are derogatory. Take the boyfriend jean. It implies women can only wear baggy jeans because they at one point belonged their boyfriends. Where’s the 
girlfriend jean? Where’s the fat jean? They simply don’t exist.

Yes, I understand these titles have been around for a long time. We revolve our lives around unhealthy symbols.Entire cities venerate the Redskins and Blackhawks logos, or perhaps local flags which should be reserved for the eyes of museumgoers. But change is easier said than done, as we’ve noticed lately.

So why do we care about labels? They matter and imply something.Skinny implies healthy — non-fat, low-calorie and nutritional. But recently hell has been breaking loose. And by hell, I mean our pants.

ABC, CBS, the Los Angeles Times and countless other news sites have reported about one woman who wound up in the hospital because she was wearing skinny jeans.

The Australian woman was helping her friend move while wearing tight-fitting pants which felt increasingly uncomfortable on her thighs throughout the day. Later on, she fell down and couldn’t get back up due to temporary paralysis and numbness in her legs.

Although picturing this lady swimming helplessly on the floor is quite funny, her story is not a laughing matter.

Her jeans landed her in the hospital due to compartment syndrome, which is when the swelling of muscles or nerves leads to the stoppage of blood flow. This woman is a fashion victim, but not in the sense she wore brown and black at the same time.

Now you may be thinking, “This 20-something-year-old columnist is such a hypocrite. There’s no way she doesn’t own a pair of skinny jeans.”

And this is true; I do own a few pairs, but you’ll rarely see me wearing them. I hate pants; they’re incredibly restricting and make me feel guilty when I want to finish the entire burrito bowl at Chipotle.

However, I’m not saying to shy away from wearing skinny jeans. I’m saying to make sure they fit, and don’t worry about the miniscule size label in the back. Nobody cares! We shouldn’t be squeezing the life out of our bodies. After all, it could be a hospital visit waiting to 
happen.

This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 24 June 2015. 

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