Little girls in horror movies all dress like little girls from the 80s. That’s true even for upcoming releases like M3Gan . But why? I don’t think young girls have dressed like that for decades. I usually see young girls dressed in hoodies, jeans and leggings. You don’t see bows, mary janes, ankle socks and dresses a lot anymore. Why does feminine clothing for little girls give people the creeps?
I dunno. It’s just kind of unfortunate that an old fashioned visual of girlhood is presented as evil and destructive. My thinking could be dated but I like to think of young girls as sweet and innocent people who are vulnerable and in need of protection. Perhaps that’s why this horror movie trope works. But it’s worth it to question what these stories of creepy and evil young girlhood do to our perception of feminine youth and innocence. What does this imagery do to young girls?
The evil little girl film trope is not new but it is enduring. In films like “The Bad Seed” and “The Shining” the creepy little girls were typical looking little girls for that time. Young girls now commonly wear clothes that are unisex or mature. So I think the choice to style creepy girls, even if they are an AI robot, in traditional little girl clothing is a deliberate action. I’m likely over thinking this. But I consider myself to be a film scholar and critic. Let me know what you think. Do you think horror films about scary little girls that actually look like little girls have negative connotations and ramifications?
White Hot, the Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch is a documentary running on Netflix that tells the story about the retailer whose popularity peaked in the early 2000s. I would recommend this film if you are interested in fashion, marketing, pop culture, labor and civil rights or late nineties and early 2000s nostalgia. It covers all of that. It’s fairly short and I thought it was an interesting movie.
A & F was a very successful retailer that was a staple in every American shopping mall in the 2000s. I was aware of A & F but I was never impressed by their style. If my memory serves correctly they sold jeans, tees and button downs. Nothing special. I also recall that they were known for the clothes running very small. A & F didn’t really pull my trigger.
The company was notorious for being racist so there was no love loss between me and Abercrombie and Fitch. I’ve been in an A & F store one time. I browsed around one of their stores in the Kansas City area that has closed. I bought a pair of skinny jeans on clearance for about $10. There was nothing noteworthy or memorable about the experience.
White Hot discusses the marketing strategy of the company that made them very successful. The ads featured young, White, fit, natural looking men and women. Youth culture of today criticize A & F for promoting a specific beauty standard.
A & F was sued by some of their former store employees and some of them were interviewed for the documentary. I have worked several retail jobs. The practices described in the documentary are typical of retail companies. Retail is a very racist industry. The discrimination is evident if you’re familiar with the retail industry.
The difference between Abercrombie and other retailers is that they were very direct and brazen about their practices. A & F had manuals about who they saw fit to hire. They didn’t hire and recruit based on experience. They based on looks and were not customer service oriented at all.
They didn’t say they only wanted to hire White people but they discriminated against employees that didn’t fit their standard of attractiveness which is clearly White. Non White employees were written off the schedule or only allowed to work in the stock room if they were hired at all. Abercrombie and Fitch settled with former employees that sued them but the company never admitted wrong doing.
White Hot, the Rise and Fall of Abercrombie and Fitch is OK. You might enjoy it if you’re interested in the subject matter it covered. The film follows in the Netflix tradition of making documentaries of pop culture trends of the early 2000s. They have the benefit of hindsight and people who were directly involved have the opportunity to tell their story. I think they’re pretty fun but it’s not ground breaking film making.
I gained a few pounds over the last year or so. I’m perimenopausal and less active since the COVID lockdowns. I had to modify my wardrobe last season to accommodate the extra pounds. I donated several items to Goodwill or gave them away to acquaintances. I learned that it’s pretty expensive to replace a lot of your wardrobe at once. JC Penney and Amazon were my go to retailers.
I had to get rid of almost all of my slack and jeans. It started one morning when I was getting ready for work. I went through several pairs of pants and I couldn’t fit any of them properly. I don’t wear jeans often but I tried mine on to see if I could fit them. I don’t think I could fit any of them.
Many of my slacks were from Express. Express slacks run around sixty dollars at least. That’s a bit steep but I worked for Express in the past so I got an employee discount and used it often. I’ve also been on their e-mail and preferred customer list for years and I took advantage of sales and coupons. I’ve been the same size for most of my post pubescent life and the clothes were good quality so they’ve lasted for years.
I replaced my slacks with merchandise from NY & Co. The quality was not good but they were cheap and I was having an emergency. They will do and I can put better quality items into my wardrobe bit by bit. The construction of my NY & Co. slacks are squirrely. The pockets don’t lay flat. It’s as if Denise Huxtable made them. But they were about $30 a piece. You get what you pay for and I needed new pants. I also found a nice pair of black Calvin Klein pair of pants at Ross.
I also bought slacks from Old Navy. I have a complicated relationship with Old Navy. I may write about that a different time because my explanation would take a bit. Let’s just say I think they’re partially responsible for the decline of Western civilization. That’s for a different blog post.
Old Navy pants fit me a little odd. I ordered the pixie cut. I bought a size bigger than my old size and the pants were still tight. I bought the size up after that and they were still tight in the thighs and behind but they gave a lot of pooch room. My pooch isn’t that big. It’s almost as if they are maternity pants but I checked and they’re not maternity pants. They’re just for people with big pooches.
I got new jeans from Amazon. I chose high waist or mom jeans. I’m not a mom but I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for these jeans. Jeans are expensive. It’s also difficult to find jeans that aren’t torn, high water or some sort of weird wash. I bought two pairs of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans for around $40 each.
I’ve shopped at more expensive retailers in the past but I made purchases piece by piece so it wasn’t as costly. One of my favorite retailers is Express. They are on the expensive side in my opinion but I took advantage of their Black Friday sales. I bought a new suit from Express. It’s nice and the suit is made with a material that is almost like a fleece.
I bought several suits from Express in the past. Their suits have always been great. They were sharp and fit like a glove. Their current selection doesn’t match what they offered in the past but it will do. You can’t look at my suit and tell it’s made from sweat pants material. Express did what they needed to do to cater to people that want to wear jammies and yoga pants everywhere.
I had a job interview last Fall and I couldn’t fit any of my suits. I didn’t have time to buy anything new. I pieced something together but after thinking about it I think the blouse may have been a little low cut. It didn’t matter that much because I wasn’t offered the position and that’s OK. I don’t blame the lack of success on the the low cut blouse. At least that occasion prepared me for the next opportunity.
I’ve learned how to manage a pooch. The first thing I learned is the value of good underwear. I have what I call dress underwear. I call them dress underwear because they work well with dresses. Pants are a lot more forgiving and sharp looking. Dresses are more complicated.
I purchased my dress underwear at Target and they do a great job of sucking in my pooch and making it less obvious un. I also learned that A line dresses are great for camouflaging a pooch. Sheath dresses are less forgiving and reveal the pooch a lot more. You have to give yourself plenty of room while not having the dress fit like a bag. Dresses that fit well are sharp. Tight dresses are tacky.
I didn’t buy new shoes last season. However, I have a pair of white combat boots that I’ve gotten more use out of than I thought I would. I got them from Shoe Carnival for around $50 or so. I also got some new accessories. I got a few belts from JC Penney and jewelry.
The last year has taught me to wear clothes that fit. It sounds simple but it’s a bit of a hill to get over. I wasn’t interested in trying to lose weight because I don’t think I’m an unhealthy weight. I’m just middle aged, perimenopausal and going through natural life changes. I think older women that strive to be very thin look a bit strange. There are a few Hollywood examples of this. Dress for the body you have and wear good underwear especially if you are in a dress.
We are a few months away from a new year and decade. There’s an old adage that says that hindsight is 20/20. It’s a little ironic that I came to the conclusion that the early 2000s was the absolute worst decade for fashion in the history of mankind just before the year 2020. Sometimes it takes a while to come to terms with your past. Consider yourself fortunate if you were not born yet or were still too young to make your own sartorial decisions.
“Mean Girls” 2004
I saw a picture on Pinterest today of a red carpet event that took place in the early 2000s. The image brought back memories of my own terrible fashion choices from that time. We all looked a mess. We all looked a bit slutty, unfinished, sloppy, with big curls in our hair and heavy make up.
Me with blonde streaks in my hair and a suitor in 2003.
I don’t know who we should blame for the lost fashion decade at the turn of the century. Forever 21, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child can all shoulder a bit of the blame. The film “Mean Girls” did their part to bring about the Thotpacalypse. But most of the blame lays squarely at the feet of every day women that walked around with flared jeans, heels and bare mid drifts.
Who remembers when there use to be a thing called “going out tops”? Going out tops were available at such places as Forever 21, Wet Seal and Charlotte Russe. They cost between $5-$20. Sometimes you might even find one you like at a gas station or Walmart if you needed a new one after 10:00pm for an event you were attending.
Me at a Prince concert with a purple wig circa ’99-’00.
I remember when it all began. There came a time when young women in America and probably world wide could not buy clothes that met in the middle. The pants were all low-waisted and the shirts were all cropped. Even blouses that were intended for business casual wear were that way. If you had a job working in a bank or in a law office or something you had to find a way to modify the outfit as to not reveal your belly button. I relied on tank tops and blazers.
I was twenty five in 2000 so I followed the trends of the time when I was out socializing. I learned to cover my belly for church and work. I also became very conscious of keeping my underwear and butt crack covered. Butt cracks and exposed thongs were an epidemic in the early 2000s. We can blame Sisquo for that.
“Thong Song” 2000
Hindsight is 20/20 and I have come to the realization that the early 2000s were the dark ages of fashion. It was dreadful and I’m glad it’s over. Thank God Instagram hadn’t been invented yet.
note: The video on early 2000s fashion featured sunglasses with rhinestones. I loved that trend but I was not able to pursue that trend the way I wanted because I need prescription sunglasses. However, Isaac made those shades trendy in the 70s, the golden age of style and fashion.
Recently Jeana Turner of ANTM Cycle 24 made a video discussing her experience as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. Her complaints are similar to complaints of reality TV show contestants since Real World I. Jeana says she was edited in a way that portrayed unfairly. She also said that producers created an environment that would create dramatic situations. And like many other ANTM contestants Jeana says the show hurt her career more than it helped.
I watched Jeana’s season and she was portrayed as a villain. She wasn’t my favorite that season but I didn’t dislike her. I just thought that she was competitive, driven and not particularly warm and friendly towards the other girls. I don’t think she owed them that. I respected Jeana during her season.
I’m not particularly sympathetic to Jeana about the way she was portrayed because many reality TV contestants have talked about their experiences once their show is over. It wouldn’t be difficult to research what it is like to be on a reality TV show. Contestants are not held hostage in their living quarters. They have the choice to leave if they find the circumstances to be unbearable.
The intriguing thing about this video isn’t Jeana’s complaints against the producers of ANTM. The most compelling statement in this video comes just before the thirty minute mark. Jeana posed for Playboy when she was eighteen and she says that she felt judged by Tyra for posing nude. She says of Tyra “You say sex sells but how did that work out for my career?”. Young women have been given a bad bill of sale. Women are being groomed from a young age to be used sexually while getting nothing in return.
I do agree with Jeana that Tyra is a hypocrite. I’ve watched her for years and her producers have cast women that have no romantic or sexual history with men and then asks them to pose nude with male models on ANTM. When the model feels uncomfortable or awkward with the male model they are admonished by the judges panel and told they need to sacrifice to give the photographer a good shot.
On her old talk show she had girls on that were sexually active at young ages and she admonished them for that behavior. So where does Tyra really stand? Does she want to encourage casual sex or protect innocence and purity? I think she just wants to sell a TV show. So I’m with Jeana on that point.
Jeana said that she listened to Tyra’s mantra of sex sells. She was having a difficult time establishing a modeling career so when she got an opportunity to be in Playboy she took it. She later regretted it when her idol that gained fame from modeling underwear and bikinis looked down on her for posing nude.
Other than Anna Nicole Smith I’m not sure that posing for Playboy has lead to anyone’s success in high fashion. But Anna Nicole Smith was one of a kind. Jeana was groomed by feminist teachings that taught her that putting her body on display is empowering for women. Jeana listened to Tyra who became a powerful woman in fashion and television by showing skin.
Jeana must not have been completely comfortable with baring it all because she regrets it now. I’ve never heard Pamela Anderson Lee express regret for posing for Playboy and she’s made several appearances in the magazine. But Pamela became a successful actress by making herself a sex symbol. It was a part of her brand and it suited her personality. I don’t think a compromise was made.
But Pamela Anderson Lee was an exception. She was comfortable with posing nude and was around twenty three the first time she posed for Playboy. Jeana was only eighteen. I think the entertainment industry will make an example of women like Pamela Anderson Lee and Anna Nicole Smith as paradigms of what can happen if you push your boundaries and take a chance. There’s that, and Pamela and Anna Nicole were never really taken seriously. They didn’t even take take themselves seriously.
Here is another example of how new aged morality and feminist thinking is not telling women and girls the entire truth about putting your body on display and modesty. There is a cost that goes along with it and most women are not prepared to pay that price.
Jeana was lied to by a culture that celebrates women selling themselves cheaply for the short term pleasure of men in exchange for validation or favors. Women need to understand that they can choose to pose nude if they want but make sure it’s a strategic move that is a part of your brand that will help you meet your goals. If you want to be taken seriously it’s probably better to remain fully clothed.
Women need to stop selling ourselves short. Jeana has a very unique look and is photogenic. She is driven and passionate about her career. She didn’t need Playboy for recognition in high fashion or acting. She already had what she needs for success. Posing nude did more for Playboy readers than it did for her. I think that’s the idea behind the deceptive teachings of feminism and new aged morality .