The current feminist fashion make-over marks the first time since the late Eighties that feminism has officially adopted a new look. At that time, feminists abandoned the militant, braless chic popularized in the Sixties in favor of an alluring, cosmopolitan elegance characterized by sexual independence and the donning of understated cosmetics. The move backfired, however, when increasing numbers of vixen-like twentysomethings deserted the traditional feminist values of grim determination and dour self-reliance for successful careers, happy families and enriching relationships with men.
In order to combat the disturbing trend , feminist organizations commissioned a series of enchanting evening and casual wardrobes from some of the fashion world's elite designers. The collections were then accessorized with a series of charming handbags, scarves and elaborate jewelry inspired by the indigenous peoples of Tibet. Combined with a floor-length calico skirt and a pair of naugahyde combat boots, the result is a bland, formless look that is restless, yet sassy.
The collection of frocks and pantsuits is designed to categorically define what it is to be a feminist, a move necessitated by a fragmentation of the women's liberation movement into a vast melting pot of widely varying groups. "In the past five years, we have seen everyone from porn-hating PTA mothers to vapid Hollywood starlets co-opt the image of feminism, without really knowing what it means to be a feminist," author Susan Faludi noted. "Today, we're letting the world know that being a feminist means being short, dumpy and unattractive."
The move has been an unparalleled success, with women of every stripe casting aside their short skirts, slinky lingerie and flattering apres-ski wear in favor of drab T-shirts and sensible, unattractive shoes. "The new word in fashion is dumpy, dumpy, dumpy," fragrance and fashion queen Elizabeth Arden stated. "Either get with it, or get out of the way."
Women around the nation, fearing rejection by their feminist peers, are heeding the call, undergoing extensive plastic surgery to lower eyebrows, fatten cheeks, and thin full, pouty lips, and enrolling in high-impact aerobics classes guaranteed to flatten feet and destroy posture. "It's time for free-thinking feminists everywhere to show the world that we will no longer conform to their outdated expectations," Faludi explained, adding that the best way to avoid conformity is to wholeheartedly adopt the new feminist look.
The uniform of non-conformity is receiving tremendous support from Hollywood, where celebrities are tripping over themselves in a rush to jump aboard the new fashion bandwagon. Oprah Winfrey announced the start of a new career modeling designer fashions for Rubenesque women, and will trundle down a Paris runway next week with a somber Rosanne Barr showcasing a new line of sack-like dresses that hide all but the head. Robert Altman has ordered all copies of his new film, Pret-a-Porter, burned and has already scheduled a fatter, uglier film with no stars. "It's important that Hollywood provide appropriate role models for women everywhere," Altman commented. "Role models that teach women what to think, what to say and most importantly, what to wear."
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