Each new weekday that dawns on the Twisty Bungalow brings with it a fresh bombardment of mail order catalogs. I did not ask to be inundated with mail order catalogs, but you know how it is. Some achieve garbage, others have garbage thrust upon them.
Anyway, owing to ankle surgery, I’ve been laid up lo these past four weeks with strict orders from my surgeon not to engage in any of the pursuits from which I derive my entire identity, such as mountaineering, clogging, and bungee-jumping. There’s no sense, I’ve reasoned (having gone off, it should be noted, my nut, from cabin fever) in suffering this imprisonment without also trying to reap some collateral benefit of convalescitude, so I’ve also recused myself from any chores that require me to move more than a yard away from the futon-cocoon I now call home. If I canâ€™t audition for Riverdance, I canâ€™t do laundry, dammit. Or recycle catalogs.
Consequently there are about 63 million catalogs up in this mug. In one of the mounds I espied the Patagonia Fall/Winter Climbing and Mountaineering catalog, full of gorgeous pictures of hale and hearty frostbitten youths being X-treme. And, it turns out, because even mountain-climbing gear must kiss the dominant culture’s ass, it’s also full of shit.
Smushed like boobs in a corset into the back few pages of this super-dudely catalog is the womenâ€™s gear. Although Patagonia asserts that â€˜a woman on the move needs clothes that wonâ€™t hold her back,â€™ itâ€™s clear what they really mean: a woman on the move should buy stuff to accommodate antediluvian patriarchal dress codes.
Descriptions of Patagonia menâ€™s clothing stick to technical aspects (â€™burly shell fabricâ€™, â€™a gasket-style neck forms a streamlined sealâ€™), but when youâ€™re a woman scaling El Capitan, guess what? You gotta be feminine. You need an â€˜irrepressible knit that keeps its feminine shape.â€™ You need â€˜feminine quilting throughout [to add] a touch* of elegance.â€™ You need a â€˜clean, feminine fit.â€™ You need a â€˜a contoured bodice that flows princess-style to an elegant and feminine mid-thigh hem.â€™
Otherwise the other rock climbers might fail to immediately perceive your pitiful low status and accidentally treat you like a human for a few seconds.
Should there linger any doubts concerning proof of my fashion = misogyny hypothesis, I refer you to this slide show from Italian Vogue.
*Quit touching me!