Sunday, July 23, 2006

She's a What?

Jeffrey Sebelia, one of the designers on season 3 of Project Runway just needs to go. He's a creepy little man with an arrogant attitude that exposes his small mind and sexist bs at every turn. (Yes, I can hear my co-workers now, "but how do you really feel?")

I suppose I should also introduce Angela Keslar who is ham fisted in her attempts at manipulating situations and, oddly for a designer, doesn't sketch.

There are several designers I just don't care for and whose work has yet to show they actually deserve to be there. It's only because someone's work was even worse than theirs, that they are still in the competition. Angela and Jeffrey are 2 of those designers.

Episode 2's challenge was for teams of 2 to create a gown for Miss USA to wear to the Miss Universe pageant. I can't even find a picture of Jeffrey's gown to remind myself what it looked like. Angela "worked" with Vincent Libretti who kept shoving her away, making it a one-man show full of pouting and anger.

(Believe it or not, I am actually getting to the point of this post.)

As designers are busily sketching their ideas to present to Miss USA, Angela is trying to convince Kayne Gillaspie who has pageant experience to choose her as his teammate. To no one's surprise, Angela is the last designer standing and, by default, goes to Vincent.

In the apartment Vincent is bitching up a storm about Angela and Jeffrey pokes his head out of the bathroom and says, "I have one word for you ... feminazi." (You can see a clip from the video mashup I created at Project Runway's website.)

What the ......? Feminazi? Angela is a lot of things but feminazi? Just so we are clear, here's the Wikipedia definition of feminazi
Feminazi (also spelled femme-nazi) is an invective neologism used predominantly in United States political rhetoric to characterize women whose ideas are believed to be vehemently misandrous; i.e.- having an irrational and extreme hatred of men.
The term feminazi has developed various connotations. To some pro-life conservatives, it equates feminist advocacy for abortion rights with promoting a holocaust. Others use the word rhetorically to suggest feminist views are being expressed in a unilateral manner. Others see the term as an example of hate speech.

In the extreme formulation, feminazis are seen by some as women who persecute men or who desire their elimination from the public discourse and any involvement into public affairs. The term is often used as a derogatory term for feminist.

It is clear that Jeffrey is simply using this word in a derogatory manner, the same way he would have used "bitch." It is also clear that he does not understand the true meaning of the word and has just decided to use this word to slander Angela and her character.

In this particular episode, Angela does not espouse feminist rhetoric of any sort, in fact she is quite delighted they will be designing for Miss USA. She does not express hatred for men, and is in fact married to one.

I was disgusted by Angela's behaviour and really felt she should have been the one to be eliminated. But she in no way was doing it out of a feminist mindset, she was only being Angela.

Jeffrey, on the other hand, offends me. As do all men who are quick to write all women off based on the personality flaws of one woman.

[cross posted from Blither Blather Boviate]


Blogger Dr. Omed said...

Mrs. Dr. Omed watches Project Runway religiously.

Forgive me an ignorant male question, but is there such a creature as a feminist fashion designer? I can see that it is within the realm of possibility, but does she exist, and if she does exist, would she be a contestant on a show like Project Runway?

High Fashion and Feminism are usually considered antithetical. This may be a cliche' but it seems to me that the first thing a feminist fashion designer would do is design clothing that is comfortable and looks great on real women, not mutant fembots on stilts specially bred and raised at Camp Anorexia.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Dr. Omed, I think you're right. Feminism and High Fashion don't seem to mix since the latter insists on dressing mannequins (as models are sometimes called, further depersonalizing the process) and trading on looks. Couture does not occur for "women of size," and the luscious Marilyn Monroe at size 16 would now be considered a "woman of size." There is no room for feminism or feminist rhetoric on the runway, which makes Sebelia's comment all the more alarming.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

I agree!!!

For one thing... high heels! Just a few crippling steps away from foot-binding. If men really expect women to wear them, perhaps they should spend a few weeks in spiked heels themselves. (I loved Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of Tootsie!)

To answer your question, though, we are probably not fashion experts at this site, but I would guess Donna Karan (DKNY) might be, if not a feminist designer, at least one that feminists (who can afford to) wear. Unfortunately, I'm not in that class myself. And then there was Oleg Cassini, who became famous for dressing Jackie Kennedy, among others.

Anybody else have any nominations?

9:41 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

On a slight tangent... I was thinking recently, that the term "Feminism" was probably an ill choice, since anything that ends with "ism" is so often transformed into "azi."

Too bad that a term more like "Feminocracy" did not became popular, since it implies enfranchisment, rather than authoritarianism. [sigh]

9:49 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

GVB (Gloria VanderBilt) once had a line for goddess sized women I think.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Dr. Omed said...

High Fashion is all about objectification as high art, or at least high camp--irony in degenerate form.

Feminism is all about deobjectification, and sometimes so in earnest as to reject irony altogether, tho' feminism has its holy clowns and ghost dancers who play trickster goddesses mocking the society at large...

Couture has and has had strong women in positions of power within its own world; Coco Chanel being the exemplar...I think that a successful feminist fashion designer would be both a strong, self-disciplined leader and very sly trickster goddess who deploys subversive feminine archetypes "on the runway" that would plant stealth memes in the heads of the fashionistas. The self discipline comes in making the flashy bits serve not (just) to shock the rubes but as precise, finely tuned distractions, to divert the audience's attention from the fact the needle has just been slipped into their collective neck.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Karen M said...

Dr. Omed,

Perhaps your words may evoke such a person...

We would have her be both highly artistic and technical, as well as a good business person, with, as you suggest, both a sense of humor, and an appreciation of irony.

Something like a cross between Martha Stewart and Ellen Degeneres, maybe?

8:09 PM  
Blogger Dr. Omed said...

Martha Stewart with a wacky sense of humor? You are describing the first female President of the United States. My fred is in a tizzy.

8:38 AM  

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