From a Revolution To an Epidemic

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For as long as I could remember I was never allowed out of the house in a skirt or shorts that was more than two inches above my knee. My father would always stop me and do the “finger test” to make sure that my clothing was appropriate. “But all of the other girls can wear it!” I would shriek. My reply fell on deaf ears as my father instructed me to return to my room and change. I used to believe that my father was being harsh and did not want any of the boys looking at me. However, it was not until I witnessed how influential someone’s clothing truly was that my father was right all along.

Katherine Hepburn was a woman who started the revolution by changing women’s clothing style forever. She was a star and a milestone in how women presently dress. In 1936, Katherine shocked the world when she stepped out on the scene in her film Sylvia Scarlett with trousers. She refused stockings, heels, and skirts and when they were taken away from her, she strutted in her underwear. “… By doing what came naturally her public mutiny became a high-profile example of independence and individuality (56).” Other than their physical attributes, it was precedent that men wore pants and women wore skirts. For her to do something so radical was simply unheard of. Women began to follow in her footsteps and changed their style of dress. I am pretty sure that Ms. Hepburn had no intention of putting on pants simply to change the style of women’s clothing, however it was inevitable. Women then began to express themselves tremendously through dress.

Somewhere overtime after Hepburn made her drastic move, fashion began to spiral out of control. Coming in to the 2000’s, the fashion trends for all women and the significant stress to be “beautiful” are outrageous. Ladies wear bra-like shirts with blazers, skin tight jeans, and sky-scraper tall heels because it is, “Cute” or “In style!” The pressure to look like the television models and video vixens is increasing dramatically. “In 2006 it was estimated that up to 450, 000 Canadian women were affected by an eating disorder” says Media-Awareness.ca. This was all in order to reach an unattainable beauty.

The first thing anyone will see is how you dress. The outfit of a person usually tells who they are. A man in a yellow suit with reflective tape, boots, and a helmet is a fireman. A woman in white scrubs and sensible shoes is a nurse. The clothing tells it all! In order to be treated with respect, you must treat and represent yourself with respect. It is completely understandable that a woman wants to express herself through her personal style, but I feel that in the modern day it has become an issue as women do not dress appropriately. Due to the way that I was raised, I do not feel comfortable in excessively tight, short, or revealing clothing and it truly bothers me to see other young women put their bodies on display for even the slightest amount of attention.

Between the scantily clad women publicized on television and the clothing that is designed for women, it is extremely difficult for a woman to dress appropriately and still feel comfortable in her own skin. It is unfortunate that this issue will probably never be resolved. I just pray that I can teach other young girls to respect themselves before they too are treated how they dress.




Works Cited
Anonymous. (2006). Beauty and Body Image in the Media. Unattainable Beauty” Retrieved from http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_beauty.cfm
Z, Mickey. (2005) 50 American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know. New York, New York: The Disinformation Company Ltd.





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