I was surprised to find this article on the Guardian front page this morning. Nicola Davis devotes 465 words to telling us why she’s opting for skin-coloured tights rather than bare legs this summer, and the sub gives her two stock images to boot.
…choose a silky pair of 7-dernier stockings (perfect with a knee length dress) and revel in the fact that your legs will look and feel fab. This is also an excellent way to hide blemishes from a misspent youth – nicks, grazes and scars incurred in various tree-climbing adventures are neatly hidden from view. Hurrah! …there is a huge range of nude tights out there- from slippery, slinky delights to unlikely-to-ladder-at-an-inconvenient-moment 15-denier reliable coverings. There’s also the option of tights that will offer that extra teeny bit of support for thighs and tummies, as well as a host of different toes for every conceivable shoe and finishes that range from ultra-gloss to a demure matte.
Among contributors to the ensuing discussion thread, BellisVintage (“Totally agree.”) chips in with:
And open toes should only be worn if toes are beautifully manicured.
First up on the thread was a guy who had the temerity to offer his two pen’orth and was immediately slapped down for his pains:
Thank you, man, for your opinion. If you notice, nothing in the article mentions men.
We don’t wear clothes for you. We wear them for ourselves and for what we like. We look at what other women are wearing and consider whether we would look good on that.
When we do want your input, we’ll let you know.
You wear them for yourself, do you? The hell you do! You wear them because the system requires you to spend money on them and the whole cultural ethos is geared — successfully — to convincing you that you have no choice but to do so. You wear them so that you’ll compare favourably with other women in our divide-and-rule society. And who does the comparing? Other women of course (that throw-away line about perfectly manicured toenails is a real killer); and men, most of whom are equally foolish.
It’s disappointing that the Guardian provides space for this sort of guff. I like to think that women who read the Guardian have a clearer understanding of the social pressures they are subjected to. Worse still is the fact that there are apparently hordes of 20- and 30-somethings eager to be advised on matters of such existential importance. Could this be a generational thing? After all, I’m 30-40 years older than this article’s target readership. No, what I find shocking is that so many bright young people should devote so much time, nervous energy and money to fashion and other things peripheral. Those precious resources would be so much better spent tackling issues that matter: the increasingly cynical Tory war against the poor for example — not against poverty, but the poor; or the reality of climate change.
My message to all those pretty young ladies would be this: wake up, for fuck’s sake! Wake up to the fact that the system has you by the short and curlies. Fashion gurus, Health & Safety and surveillance cameras are all of a piece: they keep you looking over your shoulder, draining off your energy so you can’t make waves. But the future needs you now. Get protesting, get kettled, kiss a cop or whatever. but get your grubby toenails down into the streets.