I do admire Aubrey Plaza’s work as performer and writer, and her basic showbiz gumption. I can see what she’s doing there with the super photoshopped sexy photo and the ice cream. The subversive warning is in her memorable eyes. As the song goes, “Some people see the revolution, but most only see the girl.”
Flip the magazine over and you see something like this:
I am hip to the patriarchy’s wiles. I do see what They did there. There’s a flat-stomached, photo-improved, toned woman and all her impossible perfection on the front cover, and a fix for your feelings of inadequacy on the back cover.
Cosmo‘s messaging is that of an arms dealer selling to both sides.
I haven’t a clue who “Cassie” and “Colton” are, and I’m going to call that a win for my brain priorities. And I am not convinced by eye shadow ads that tell me they’ve discovered a whole new color between harvest gold and wheat, and that’s the color I need to celebrate summer. I’m absolutely sure that wearing diamonds will not make me more perfecter.
Hence, I am of no use to the male-gaze patriarchy. And I am totally cool with that since it’s kinda been a goal. Of course the patriarchy in its turn codifies older women as powerless. Heh. (For example, I’m happy to think this is one experienced cataloger‘s subversive act.)
“I christen you Titanic
Underestimate and swim.”
But Wait – Does My Bikini Have a Jacket?
In my upcoming Because I Said So, fashion designer Kesa Sapiro creates a “suit-kini” that is a hit with the Beverly Hills crowd. It’s a tailored business suit (with a skirt, not bottoms like Aubrey is sporting) on the outside that hides a bikini-style top. Buttoned up, it’s perfect for a Cobb salad lunch. A few buttons open it handles a fundraiser cocktail hour. No jacket at all, and it’s time to dance all night. Useful, flexible, stylish, and fitted to how women are actually shaped.
Kesa knows her market, and her fashion ingenuity begins a journey to finally getting in front of the many 8-balls life has been rolling at her and her sister Josie. And there it is, kinda, on the cover of Cosmo. I think Kesa would be #thrilled.
Of course now I’m wondering if I should be conflicted about it, given my feelings about Cosmo overall.
That’s my problem, though. Taking money from the patriarchal construct doesn’t cost Kesa Sapiro a single moment of lost sleep. Shannon Dealan, on the other hand costs her way too many…