Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Am I Part of the Evil Plot?

          Today I started out the day as a total poo-head.  I couldn't get my ipod to sync up with Windows 8, my sewing machine was snapping the top thread about every two inches I sewed, and I ended up swearing like a sailor, screaming out every profanity I could possibly imagine (I'm sorry to my machine, Otto...he didn't deserve it. His mother is CERTAINLY not a female dog, and she truly was most likely married to his father when he was conceived. Therefore, the shameful things I shouted at him were unfounded.) and putting on a huge pouting face as I played the victimized martyr. Not impressive.
     
        I tried to make myself feel better by sitting down, calmly eating breakfast, and reading an article in a magazine (I know I'm supposed to pay attention to my food when I eat it, and banish distractions! I'm so sorry, Dr. Mike Dow! Don't hate me!).  The problem was that the magazine in front of me was Vogue. Now, I started getting Vogue because my husband and I thought it would be really helpful to see professionally shot fashion ads, photoshoots, and styling. While a small portion of me has enjoyed it, a bigger portion feels absolutely ill as I struggle to push away feelings of inadequacy, guilt for eating ANYTHING, covetousness, dissatisfaction, and inferiority. I respect what the fashion world is trying to do, and I understand the vortex that must occur the second its tentacles latch onto your brain and pull you into unavoidable eventuality.

         We've all heard that the "ladies in the magazines are airbrushed" blah, blah, blah. This is TOTALLY not a new topic. I, of all people, can understand that you want your product to look professional, glamorous, and desirable. Perhaps normal  looking people with normal bodies are just not titillating. Perhaps it's similar to the fashion world...or politics, or law! Once you get into the system, you can be a revolutionary all you want, but you won't STAY in the system. The only way to swim with the fish you want to swim with would be to....well...swim in the same direction and manner.   Thus, any magazine or company that wants to have even a fighting chance would have to bow down to the rules and conform to a certain extent, even to have any chance of exposure.

         My insecurities while I read the magazine were heightened as I was foolhardy enough to actually READ one of the articles (why would you READ a fashion magazine, foolish girl!). The article was all about exciting new procedures to melt, freeze, and shrink away fat. The story followed a woman who was in extremely good shape, physically fit, and within 15 pounds of her ideal weight, but she JUST couldn't get that last damn inch off of her waist, no matter what she did. After looking into liposuction and deciding it might be too invasive, she opted for the method of freezing off the fat. She went in for a couple of extremely expensive sessions, and at the end of the article, she reported being pretty satisfied, with a bit of weight loss from diet and exercise, and a smaller dress size...however, the FULL inch hadn't come off, so she decided that she would go for the lipo.

        Several things snapped in my brain. Be forewarned, I'm a passionate woman, and have opinions.  Ahem, let me just first state that I LOVE the idea of taking care of your body, educating yourself on nutrition and fitness, and spending time and even money to help yourself feel your best. We all have drastically different levels of this, and it's really hard to tell someone that they're doing something "wrong" when they are so desperately yearning for this ideal image. With that being said, I hate the idea of being ENCOURAGED to live in this constant state of dissatisfaction with my body over such trivial little things as "having that little bit of belly" that you "just can't get rid of, no matter what you do" *giggle, giggle.* WHAT THE HELL! Maybe that "little bit of belly" won't go away because it's freaking supposed to be there! The magazine completely glamourized this attitude of chasing perfection and "having procedures" into oblivion! They made it seem that this was this woman's identity.


   
        For the love, I don't even have enough time or energy to fully go into this right now! I have to get to the real point. This razor sharp shard of an idea sliced into my brain, and it paralyzed me with fear. It occurred to me that people might look at my company and products, and see the same message as was manifested in this selfish and worldly article! People might think that I was just telling women that they "weren't good enough" and that they "needed to buy something" to make that "last extra inch" go away! AAAHHHHHHHHHHH!
 What if I was just a puzzle piece in this vast demonic plot to make women so caught up in  hating themselves that they couldn't accomplish the good that they were sent to this earth to do! Such a horrifying idea!

       I want to put it forth right here, right now that the WHOLE idea behind my company is the exact opposite of these glossy, malicious conformist magazines.  I want to challenge women to look in the mirror and defiantly ENJOY what they see!  I want them to be pleased and grateful for their magnificent bodies, and to glory in the unique shapes, textures, colors, and scars that they possess! It's my belief that if you start being compassionate and kind to your body, instead of comparing, condemning, and complaining about it, the correct NATURAL things will start to occur inside and out.  This is a mental battle that I fight ever single dang day in my life, and I figure that if I can keep fighting it, I can help other women with the good fight too. I absolutely LOATHE even the idea that I might be anything akin to these companies that want you to feel eternally ugly so they can slap some more proverbial band-aids on your massive bleeding wounds that THEY THEMSELVES INFLICTED!

        *sigh*  Yup, it's all an uphill battle. There are SOO many days when I just think maybe I should give up and have my husband go and work a dry, bland job where we get normal paychecks and I can stay at home and live a "normal" life, whatever that is...(on the other hand, full-time stay-at-home moms have just as much of a job as working moms. Everyone has their different battles to fight.) Remember that part up there where I talked about women feeling like crap about themselves so that they wouldn't be able to fulfill their destinies? I truly believe that, with all  of my heart! The more you yearn to do something grand, especially with humanitarian efforts, arts, music, science, or really ANYTHING that would benefit mankind, the more these evil forces whisper things into your brain about your failures and shortcomings. Seeing as I'm desperately trying to help women feel GOOD, which would mean the benefits would multiply exponentially and the whole world would change.....I certainly face my own demons.

       With that being said, I have to humbly acknowledge the amazing support group of customers that my company has. I know that these women understand what I'm trying to convey, and I believe they want this great victory for women as well. You ladies (and gentlemen!) are just tremendous! I can literally touch the positive energy you send my way....as well as  the cookies, chocolate, and thank you notes (I LOVE IT! old-fashioned and courteous!). It's completely cliche sounding....and that's okay, but I couldn't do it without you.  Because of you, I can throw away the Vogue magazine, finish my freaking eggs, wipe away the tears, buck up, and sit at my sewing machine to pump out another corset.....and maybe....JUST MAYBE help another woman to stand tall in her beautiful body.

21 comments:

  1. This is a truly powerful post. It actually makes me wish that instead of ordering a grab-bag in my goal size that is probably unrealistic for my body... that I would have ordered it closer to the size I am. I was hoping your gorgeous creation would inspire me to lose the baby weight I put on, but after reading this, realistically I hardly put on any weight at all! I model so I think that got in to my head. *hugs* you make beautiful clothing, artful clothing, that make every woman feel like a Goddess no matter what their waist size is. Keep up the amazing work and keep up the positive vibes!

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  3. Sorry, gals, to remove your comments, but you should know that there is NOTHING that I admire more than stay-at-home moms, which is what my mom was (mother of 8 kids) so I don't want lovely ladies to get into a fight about stereotypes. Women all have their own unique battles to fight, no matter what situation they're in!

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  4. You are truly an amazing woman. I hope that I manage to get to do what I want later in life because then I might have a fighting chance of being like you with the same amount of passion and care going into my job. Being a game warden/veterinarian/small time farmer may not seem like the type of person to wear corsets, but I like to feel pretty, and your corsets are an amazing price-friendly tool in helping me achieve that! It literally makes me feel like I can do anything in the world for feeling so great about myself. I sincerely want to thank you, SO much for somehow intruding into my life. If you are at Radcon this February, I am going to make you some kind of delicious goody. Then I will steal your attention and show you things I've made myself simply because of the praise you paid me last year! and hopefully bring more friends for you to make pretty as well!

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  5. IronSkin is a new book by Tina Connolly. In this fictional piece of literature, there is a saying: "be glad you were born plain"....The Fey covet the beautiful and the talented. Humans coveted beauty and wanted to be as beautiful as the fey....the book has a moral. It is one we should all take to heart. Be happy to be you. Be who you were meant to be by being yourself. It is something I see you talk about or write about in all that you do. the look changes. The style changes. The fad changes. What IS beautiful CHANGES. Look at art and old paintings. We don't look at those "fat cherub women" in those paintings and wish to be them....but at one small point in history, that was beautiful....just saying....

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  6. The fact that you thought this through and considered those aspects means you aren't part of that evil machine. The fact that you make wonderful clothes in sizes beyond 0-4 means you aren't part of it as well.

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  7. You always make every woman who enters your shop feel beautiful no matter what size they are. And as anonymous says before me, you make clothes in sizes beyond 0-4 which promotes that fact no matter what size you are, you are going to put on that corset to draw attention to the body you are proud of. Confidence. You sell confidence.
    Cindy Trebes.

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  8. Sometimes I worry about the same thing as I sell makeup and wrinkle erasing creams. Am I just contributing to all the self-hate? But I always come back to the fact that now that I wear makeup and have a moisturizer that works, I'm happy when I look in the mirror. It isn't about trying to meet some unreal standard. It's about being my best self (and having eyelashes that are visible). There's nothing like the awesome feeling of helping a woman see the beauty that she is, whether you've put her in a corset or put her in some lipstick.

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    1. except the part where you thought up the corset in your very own head and made it yourself. cool.

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  9. I'm still in my teens and I feel the pressure every day to look a certain way. I don't want to go on and on and sound like I'm trying to convince you that you're better than your fears. I do, however, want to tell you what your clothing line says to me when I oggle them. They speak of quality, passion for life, artistry, and an unbridled embrace of commitment to your own life. Your corsets and skirts remind me that I can do shit that is that cool too. Thank you.

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  10. This is an inspiring piece of writing and really hits me close to the heart. I am a freelance costuming stylist and vendor of Steampunk wear AND a stay-at-home mother of 2 teen-age daughters. Trying to balance a home life and work is not easy and you have nailed the inner conflict of the costuming fashion industry.
    Teaching the values of inner beauty to my two growing daughters over the last 16 years has been a full time job in and of itself, but a true joy to see it's reward in the self confidence they both have.
    The joy I bring to women of all sizes when I show them how gorgeous they are when I can fit them, no matter their size, in fantasy costume ware, and bring out their inner beauty giving them their self confidence back, makes the job that I do (on the side, when I can get the work as a freelancer) not a job at all but my career of choice and all warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you for making me feel like I'm not alone.

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  11. All the time I was growing up (and now, as my last sibling has just entered college), my mother never brought a single fashion magazine into the house. I didn't think anything of it at the time. I don't know whether it was by design on her part, or whether it was part of the frugality with which she raised us, but I am so glad that smut was never brought into my life. If it were just pictures of women in pretty clothes, it would be fine, but it is women Photoshopped beyond the bounds of reality and articles that range from torrid to grotesque.

    I feel that this decision on her part is one of the reasons we, her daughters, grew up happy and well-adjusted. It certainly didn't hurt my brother, either.

    I would that the ladies who read this take this into consideration and hide away the magazines so your children can't find them, if you don't already. Thank you.

    Michelle, I love your work. You have a wonderful mission, and I don't think that anyone misinterprets that.

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  12. I love your latest blog - your emotionally powered and intensely raw postings are always my favorite! You, your team and your company are amazing! I am so glad that my sister and I found you a few years back. We will buy your beautiful corsets until you decide to stop making them - which is hopefully never! XXOO

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  13. As a friend of mine often points out (about that not-flat belly) "that's your uterus, you need that"

    :)

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  14. " The more you yearn to do something grand, especially with humanitarian efforts, arts, music, science, or really ANYTHING that would benefit mankind, the more these evil forces whisper things into your brain about your failures and shortcomings."

    THIS line speaks volumes for me. I swear that every time something good happened in my life, something that was bound to make a very drastic and for the better change, something terrible would happen that made everything turn to poop and explode. Seriously. I can't even count how many times I have been on the brink of a breakthrough and then everything bad that could happened totally happened. It just drilled home the realization that there really is evil in this world and that it is always running around trying to trip you up. Evil feeds off our misery and despair.

    I am almost bi-polar when it comes to my confidence in myself. One minute I am on cloud nine thinking "oh heck yeah I rock!" then 5 minutes later for no reason I am huddled in a corner sobbing and thinking how the world would be a better place without me. I laugh about it now because it feels so ridiculous.

    And this train of thought reminded me of a cute comic I saw on tumblr:
    http://geniusbee.tumblr.com/post/35922460713/how-i-deal-with-problems

    I try to use this method now when I get down about myself. :D


    But hey, for what it's worth I do not think you and your business are part of the conspiracy to make women feel bad about themselves to sell products. NOPE NOT AT ALL. You are a joyful gem in the world of fashion.

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  15. I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!

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  16. Your work is amazing and all the women in my family love it!!! I can design, but you take all my parts and put them where I wish they went! Stay fabulous, and don't quit on us :)!

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  17. Michelle, I loved your blog here. Examples of women of all sizes and shapes are on Facebook in our Customer Appreciation page. I love being able to see how others wear your beautiful apparel and that everyone looks and feels better in them. (Evident thru all the smiles!)

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