If you've ever felt disturbed by how cheap the tank tops were at H&M—but bought one anyway—you're not alone. In her illuminating new book, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Elizabeth Cline writes that the average American buys 64 pieces of new clothing a year, or a little more than one item a week. Much of it comes from "fast fashion" chain stores, which produce cheap clothes in massive quantities for the purpose of creating new trends that cycle out every few weeks, then sell them for next to nothing. Even secondhand stores can't keep up with the clothing we discard anymore, Cline writes; she visited one Salvation Army in Brooklyn that processes a staggering five tons of used clothes a day.
So how did we get here? In a phone interview with Bitch, Cline explains what's happening with the U.S. garment industry—and what it means for our jobs, our shopping habits, and our sense of responsibility to the world around us.
My name is Spectra, and I'll be your resident Cupid for the summer. Kinda. I'm a Nigerian writer, women's rights and media activist, and editor at the afrofeminist blog Spectra Speaks, which publishes news, opinions, and personal stories that highlight issues pertaining to gender, media, diversity, Africa, and the Diaspora. For the past ten years, my work has focused on using media to facilitate conversations around important feminist issues: gender, sexism, racism, media, etc. So when the editors at Bitch invited me to guest blog this summer, I surprised even myself when I told them I wasn't interested in writing about any of those things; instead, I wanted to write about Love.
When Beyoncé took a stand for all "single ladies," no one in my then-same-sex relationship had as of yet put any rings on anything and I was pretty happy about that.
After thoughtful and difficult conversations, however, my person and I agreed on a compromise: I came around to the romantic angle and legal benefits of marriage, and my person agreed to completely re-inventing every wedding tradition that I found problematic.
The headline alone is enough to bring on an eye-roll headache: "Are Modern Men Manly Enough?" And the head-desk-inducing subheaders will only make it worse: "Where are the Meat and Potato Men?" "Rediscover the Don Draper Within" and so on. The Times is no stranger to trumped-up trend pieces, and the photo accompanying this article, of a man getting a—gasp!—pedicure, says it all ("it all" being: this is a gender panic piece because WHY ARE MEN GOING TO BEAUTY PARLORS? Real quote from this series: "We don’t need to see you [men] in the nail salon; you have the barbershop."). Frankly, with all of the hand-wringing and gender policing, this New York Times opinion piece reads like, well, like it was written about women. After all, women are usually the ones whose very being is called into question by the mainstream media, especially in relation to men (Are you pleasing him in bed? Is your job a turnoff? Are you womanly enough?). But just as there's no one "real woman," the notion of a "real man" is bogus. Not that the Times agrees.
Though Monster High claims to be about celebrating differences (tagline: "Freaky is fabulous") the dolls themselves are very similar—not only to one another, but to their blond older cousin. Turns out the newest Monster High doll, which debuts this week at Comic-Con 2012, offers fans more of the same.
Well, at least she and her friends can share clothes.
Alison McDonald merges comedy, female heroines, and the single black experience in the webisodes “She Got Problems” and “Alison is Having Really Bad Day.” Her videos, which are "trailers" for a complete series, portray the strong black female protagonist that is largely absent from pop culture. Currently studying with the hilarious Upright Citizens Brigade and boasting an impressive résumé (writer for Everybody Hates Chris, Nurse Jackie, American Dad!, a Fulbright Scholar, and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Columbia University), McDonald not only writes and directs, but also acts and can without a doubt carry a tune.
Did you know that Disney does weddings? Of course you did, even if only intuitively. But it goes beyond a simple extravagant wedding at Disneyland, Disney World, or Epcot Center. Disney takes the whole "be a princess on your wedding day" thing all the way, having developed a comprehensive wedding industry around its fleet of princess characters. Pause and think about the far-reaching, complex implications of this.
The Cinderella Gown, designed for women who want to emulate a woman who had a really rough childhood before getting rescued by a rich guy at a party.
One thing I found in planning my own wedding, and in being semi-privy to other queer weddings, was that the very fact of queerness and/or same-sex-ness sort of short circuited everyone's conscious and unconscious cultural assumptions. It's almost as though since the expectation of adhering to a traditional template wasn't there in the first place, it opened the playing field to a real sense of freedom of expression, experimentation, and individuality. YAY!