Quite often, the site posts pictures of celebrities, politicians and other noteworthy women in outfits that the HuffPo seems to dislike. Just the other day, a post about the HBO show Girls’ actress Zosia Mamet’s outfit at some red carpet event. She was wearing a short tunic with no visible pants underneath. The photo, HuffPo said, gave them flashbacks to an event where the show’s creator and fellow actress to Mamet, Lena Dunham, wore a similar outfit.
Dunham actually seems to attract the attention of the fashion police over at HuffingtonPost.com quite often. In April, they posted the picture below of her wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt on her way to work.
What really gets me about HuffPo’s criticism of Dunham’s yoga style is their use of the work “mainstream.” From my experience, most 20-something women I know have worn athletic clothes like yoga pants or leggings in public many times and most on a regular basis. Heck, I’m wearing yoga pants as I write this. I’m probably going to leave my house in them soon, too. You keep being you, Lena, I’m with you in yoga-pant-wearing solidarity.
Are you actually kidding me right now? We’re allowed to look scrubby when we travel. Michelle, you’re in the spotlight though, you have to be flawless. Always. Or we will pounce.
Give me a break.
And it’s not like an article will ever be published criticizing something a man is wearing. “Mr. President, we’d like to see a pop of color in that black suit-grey tie combination – and we don’t just mean a flag pin.” It’s like the term fetch: It’s not going to happen.
I don’t even know where to begin to explain how wrong and detrimental it is to women everywhere that a “news” site (that’s a whole other blog post) feels the need to so often and openly criticize women for their looks and their wardrobe choices.
The argument against the sexualizing, criticizing and de-humanizing of women that happens all to often in the media today is so complex and overwhelming, that I don’t know if I can sum it up in one blog post.
In two of my classes as a journalism major, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to view the documentary Miss Representation, which uses data, interviews with celebrities and interviews with young women to outline this problem and call viewers to action for the empowerment of women and girls in today’s society. It explains how the inaccurate and misleading images and ideals of and about women that modern media and popular culture push at young people have led to our under-representation in government and leadership positions in almost every major media corporation in America today.
It is disheartening to see media playing right in to these harmful and false images of women. Change can be slow. But in this case, change is necessary; it is urgent. One day (soon), I hope to be in a position to ignite and inspire change when it comes to this subject. I want to see a world where girls and young women (really, women of any age) do not feel the need to fit a narrow set of characteristics that are close to impossible to achieve. I do not want my 13-year-old sister to live in a world where pressure from pop music, TV shows, magazines, movies, advertising, social media posts or her peers makes her feel that she is less of a person because she cannot live up to those standards. I know full well that a world without teenagers feeling pressured by one thing or another is as impossible as the media’s current standard of beauty for women, but it shouldn’t be.