Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Fashions of a True Ladyship: Veils and Dresses

Dresses epitomize womanhood in the Western world. It has been the case since the western man adopted pants to replace the tunic in the 6th century (an aspect of the west's Germanic barbarian heritage). It is the way we differentiate between the silhouette's of men and women on the signs when we go to the restroom. The reason dresses are the indelible image of womanhood is due to the symbolic nature of pants and dresses. All clothing is symbolic(fashion is a type of art reflective of culture and philosophy) and dress in particular symbolize womanhood because they more fully embody the ideal of a true Ladyship, by which I mean the objective understanding of what men find attractive in the fairer sex, those things being passivity, domesticity, flirtatiousness, daintiness, childrearing, coital love, piety and fertility. These defining aspects of womanhood are immutable. Although you may take offense at the above listed nature of humanity, we all tacitly reaffirmed these attributes through our attempts to find a partner. All flirtation and courtship is a reaffirmation of what it is to be masculine and feminine because, it is only by fulfilling the obligation of our form that we can attract the opposite sex.

You might say that these things might once have been true but times have changed. Not so. The nature of sexual attractiveness in women is objective, immutable, and incontrovertible because it is directly related to the constant and unchanging physiology of men and women. What men find attractive in women is therefore fixed because the physiology of humanity has been relatively unchanged throughout recorded history. In this way the ideal form of femininity is fixed and unchangeable without regard for cultural context or time period. What men find attractive in women, the form of a true ladyship is objectively identifiable. It is the same now as it was in the time of Nebuchadnezzar. In short, femininity is sexy and sexy is timeless and universal.

What's not sexy is feminism (not to be confused with femininity) which is directly responsible for the disappearance of our beloved dresses and the adoption of pants by the “new woman”. Like all fashions, pants are symbolic of a thing, in this case masculinity because of the way in which pants symbolize activity through the allowance of physical and outdoor motion without encumbrance. This is in direct contract to dresses which symbolize passivity through the cumbersomeness of their form. As passivity and activity are symbolic of the sexes because of the active and passive nature of masculine and feminine sexuality, dresses are symbolic of femininity and pants of masculinity. In this way the wearing of pants by women is incontrovertibly represents the masculinization of the fairer sex, which as we mentioned before is not at all attractive.“these innovations set the stage for "unisex" fashions, which were developed in the 1960s. Both men and women wore blue jeans, "hipsters" and close fitting pants with zip fly fronts. The spirit of this latest association of pants with social and sexual liberation can be seen in Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple (1982), in which the social victory of the heroine culminates in her opening of a unisex jeans shop. In addition to jeans, pant-suits became popular with women in fabrics ranging from PVC and lurex to velvet and satin.Since the 1960s, women's pants have run the gamut of trends from the bell-bottoms of the 1970s and the skin-tight jeans of the 1980s, to the return of bell-bottoms and tight jeans in the 1990s. The fashion, however, is not yet entirely divorced from its controversial beginnings. Only in the 1990s has the issue over whether women should wear pants in the workplace cooled, aided by the phenomenon of "business casual" days. Perhaps a greater indicator of the merge in the feminist and fashionable aspect of women's pants is reflected in the 1998 Miss America Pageant, where a number of the contestants, having been allowed, for the first time, to choose their outfits for the introductory number, came out wearing jeans.”Another oft missed aspect of ladies fashion is the veil, a scarf or head covering for the sake of feminine modesty:“Most people think of the veil solely in terms of Islam, but it is much older. It originated from ancient Indo-European cultures, such as the Hittites, Greeks, Romans and Persians. It was also practiced by the Assyrians. Veiling had class as well as gender implications; thus, the ancient Assyrian law required it of upper class women while punishing commoners for it. The strong association of veiling with class rank, as well as an urban/peasant split, persisted historically up until the last century. Then more privileged women began rejecting the veil, as did Egyptian feminist Huda Sharawi, while poor women increasingly adopted it as a ticket to upward mobility. (A similar dynamic occurred with foot binding in modern China.) The contraposition of The West versus Islam certainly has historical roots, but these two systems have similarities as well as differences. Women in medieval Europe dressed more like women in the Muslim world than is generally realized. It was customary, especially for married women, for them to cover their hair with various kinds of headdresses. Paintings of urban women in western Europe often show everything covered except the face and hands. It was common to drape the neck and even sometimes the lower face in a wimple. This became part of the classic nun's garb that represents the most conservative style of female dress in the Christian world. It drew on the traditional head-veil of patrician Roman women, though the wimple may have Hunnic roots.

Nawal al-Saadawi remarked that "makeup is the post-modern veil," pointing out its near-compulsory use in certain contexts. That was certainly my experience growing up in the Midwest many decades ago. It remains so in the workplace, at the employer's whim, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court in 2000. The judges upheld the firing of Darlene Jesperson, a longtime bartender at Harrah's Casino in Reno, for refusing new requirements that women wear lipstick, face powder and mascara on the job. This court decision also allows employers to dictate dress, hair length, and other grooming decisions for their employees.”As mentioned above, the veil has historical roots in all Indo-European cultures. Greek women were not to be seen in public with their head unveiled. Roman men and women veiled their head's during sacred rites and rituals. Medieval European women as late as the renaissance wore veils when in public. In eastern Europe and the Middle East, veiling is still the norm for all respectable women. But the only time you'll see a western woman today with her hair veiled is during a traditional mass as the veil is proscribed by the gospels and is an indelible part of Christian worship:

“For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice nor do the churches of God." (1Cor. 11:3-16, NIV) "Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man." ( 1Cor 11:4-7, NIV)”Veils are an important aspect of feminine fashion because they reinforce the defining aspects of femininity, which in this case are piety, submissiveness, modesty, chastity, and purity. The veil is also a symbol of the “sacred feminine” or the divinity of women, who alone are the wellspring of human procreation.“The enduring security of the race lies in the mystery of this figure, in the presence of which man feels hiw own fleeting impermanence. The mother feels herself in a sense superior to the man; she knows herself to be the anchor; as she is in a secure place, linked to the chain of generations, she may be likened to a harbor from which each new individual sails forth to wander on the high seas. The mother is in complete relation with the continuity of the race; the mother is the sole advocate and preistess of the race. The will of the race to live is embodied in her.” (Weininger, Sex and Character p.223)

In recognition of the divinity of womanhood, women are expected to veil themselves(in particular their hair, which is considered be sexual) from sight. The sanctity of the feminine vessel is veiled in the same way that the Ark, Tabernacle, and Eucharist are to be veiled from sight lest their majesty be witnessed by the impious. In recognition of the divinity of women, men are expected to remove their hats in the presence of a Lady, just as they do during other sacred rituals such as the Holy Mass and the national anthem. In recognition of this, it's proscribed by Sharia law that women cover their heads in public.The androgynous masculinization of the modern woman, through the donning of pants, suits, uncovered shoulders, and unveiled hair, is in a sense led to the slow whorification of ladyhood. In discarding feminine dress and modest veil, women seem to have symbolically discarded femininity and modesty(the virtues of women) in favor of sexual virility, promiscuity, and immodesty (the vices of men). But as it has already been established that the ideal form a true ladyship is a constant immutable aspect of humanity understood through sexuality, this strange new development can only represent a bizarre aberration of a perverse and ignoble culture. Dresses and veils are an essential part of the attire of any true ladyship, and should be worn

1 comment:

Secret said...

Writing as a woman who was required as a child and teenager to wear a minimum number of dresses/skirts to school each week, I do not agree with your assessment. A woman wearing pants is not a sign of masculinity, it is a sign of security. A dress or skirt - even a long skirt with crinolines - allows relatively easy access to those very parts we are trying to keep covered. Even fully clothed, a woman can feel almost naked in a dress, exposed and vulnerable. Pants provide a safeguard for women against aggressive males who feel they have providence over a woman's body. The feminism of the 1960s was not about promiscuity, it was about liberation. About women taking control over their own lives and well-being instead of being subjects of men as if they were second-class citizens.