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Model Filippa Hamilton.  Somebody give that girl a hamburger.

Model Filippa Hamilton. Somebody give that girl a hamburger.

Here in the fashionable offices of The Curmudgeon, the ladies are tres chic and the men dress sharp, everyone except me of course.  I’m more of a worn bluejeans and sweatshirt guy, more ratty than natty.  Lots of magazines devoted to attire come in the mail, and these contain lots and lots of advertisements.  In fact, it’s fairly obvious that these periodicals are little more than vehicles for pushing the latest products and clothing designer crap down our throats.  But they push something else down our throats too, namely, an impossible image of women.  Thin as breath with rice paper skin.

The debate has raged for years over this promotion of the “ideal” woman and its negative impact on young girls, and has been cited as major contributer to rampant anorexia and worse.  The advertisers, seemingly realizing their culpability, promise to stop glorifying the woman as waif.   “We’ll never do it again,” they cry, but they are lying.  They don’t change a thing, and in recent years the new controversy of photoshopping their ads to make the women appear even thinner, less wrinkly, and less…hungry?…has joined the fray.

Enter Ralph Lauren.  A Lauren advertisement (see above) was recently posted on the sites Photoshop Disasters, and  Boing Boing, who added the caption, “Dude, her head’s bigger than her pelvis.”  Ralphie didn’t like this blatant criticism and filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) against the two sites, claiming their use was copyright infringement and fell outside of “Fair use” laws.

Photoshop Disasters caved (spineless) and removed the image, but Boing Boing did not, and it’s well-worth reprinting their response:

“Copyright law doesn’t give you the right to threaten your critics for pointing out the problems with your offerings. You should know better. And every time you threaten to sue us over
stuff like this, we will:

  • a) Reproduce the original criticism, making damned sure that all our readers get a good, long look at it, and;
  • b) Publish your spurious legal threat along with copious mockery, so that it becomes highly ranked in search engines where other people you threaten can find it and take heart; and
  • c)Offer nourishing soup and sandwiches to your models.”

Take that, Ralphie boy.  You gotta love those guys.  The controversy isn’t exclusive to the U.S.  In Britain parliament recently proposed outlawing retouched advertising aimed at teens. Seems there was an uproar of an ad with legendary 59 year old skinny chick Twiggy, where she appeared with her wrinkles magically erased.

One thing I’ll say about photoshopped images is at least models can fake it and don’t actually have to have their lower ribs removed like women reportedly did in the 19th century (except that they didn’t.  According to Snopes, the myth was likely started by Florence Ziegfeld to promote actress Anna Held, and subsequently was attached to any famous woman who was very thin.  In the Victorian era, even the simplest of surgeries, not to mention anesthesia, was a complicated matter and many died.)

Anyway, the featured model’s waist is smaller than her head.  I hope she doesn’t get pregnant.  Where would she put the baby?

So I say to all you young women who are starving yourselves to achieve this sick (and unattractive) ideal, go eat a couple of hamburgers for crissake.

Now, who wants ice cream?

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A model sports the "nobrow" look on the Balencia runway.

A model sports the "nobrow" look on the Balenciaga runway.

Here in the expressive but not loquacious offices of The Curmudgeon,  we are trained professionals in the observance of females, not only of your typical “She’s hot!” variety but of women’s cultural issues as well, their fads, their interests, and their penchant for dressing funny.  My normal position is, “What ever floats your boat.”

But the latest trend in female fashion that came to my attention doesn’t thrill me at all: the newest thing to hit the fashion world is shaved eyebrows.  Not plucked eyebrows, not separation of the uni-brow, but honest-to-god-shaved-completely-off eyebrows.  It’s the “no-brow” look.  I shiver with crawling skin.

What you get when you shave a woman’s (or a man’s, for that matter) eyebrows is an alien.  An expressionless alien, since eyebrows are

Models Katrin Thormann, Iris Strubegger, & Ranya Mordanyova. Photos curtesy of Catwalking.com

Models Katrin Thormann, Iris Strubegger, & Ranya Mordanyova with bleached eyebrows. Photos curtesy of Catwalking.com

critical to most of our facial expressions.  Put some clothes on them and stick them in the store window with a sale sign and you’ve got a living mannequin.  But who is responsible for this outrage?

As usual, the fashion designers are to blame, who are well-known to shove their beauty corrupting ideas down the throats of women so they can sell more product.  While model Kristin McMenamy has been sporting this look off and on since the early 90’s (she’s so maaaaaahhhhvelously edgy, don’t you think, love?), but the designers are now pushing the non-expressive, android look into the mainstream.

In the fall of 2009, Balenciaga and Prada pushed the look onto their runways, convincing even the top models to bleach their eyebrows so at least they’d look like they came from the planet Zoltran, causing the elite observers of fashion to – dare I say it – raise their eyebrows.  Thankfully, they had some to raise.  Next, Brazilian bombshell model Adriana Lima shaved hers for the Givenchy campaign.  Now McMenamy is at it again on the August cover of Italian Vogue.  Not that anyone cares what old Crusty thinks, but uugggh.

Will this horrid turn of style make it’s way into the mainstream?  Let’s hope not.  Call me old fashioned, but I like women to have eyebrows.  Otherwise, I’m afraid to ask where they’re from.  It just might be Zoltran.  So ladies, trim, pluck, thicken, and all that voodoo that you do, but don’t shave your eyebrows.

Save us from the “nobrow.”  That’s no way to express yourself.

SOURCES: Amid repeated claims that I have it wrong about women shaving their eyebrows, here is a list of some of my sources.  Read them if you don’t believe me, and if you don’t believe them, then write to them and accuse them of being mistaken instead of me, Crusty, who is never wrong (except sometimes.)

According to the N.Y. Times, “The August issue of Vogue features an otherworldly Steven Klein shot of a model epilated above the eyes.”  The article concludes, “Before shaving off both eyebrows, we suggest doing just one to see if it suits you.”

(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/fashion/16EYEBROW.html?_r=1)

According to The Times Union/U.K., in an article titled, “New fashion trend: shaving off your eyebrows,” it is stated,  “Women spend big money shaping and maintaining their brows. The latest trend, though, means no styling necessary — because you shave them right off.” (They use the exact picture as the top pic of this blog as an example.

blog.timesunion.com/…/new-fashion-trend-shaving-off-your-eyebrows/ – Cached – Similar)

From the Daily Mail/U.K., “…the Givenchy campaign have all had their brows bleached or even removed, creating a startling uniformity amid male and female faces.”

(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/beauty/article-1200232/Is-new-trend-remove-eyebrows-profound-social-statement–just-daft-fad-Planet-Fashion.html

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