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To the Editors of the Crimson:
I very much enjoyed "The GAPification of America" in "Left Out" of Tuesday, November 12, but I would like to point out a change in trend in the Gap's line of clothing that Mr. Connor and Mr. Plotz did not acknowledge.
Gap jeans fit my big ass. They fit my roommate's narrow hips and my other roommate's long legs. This is because the Gap line is designed for different bodies types. Unfortunately, it does not accommodate all body types, but the Gap line is beginning to reflect the reality that body types vary. My roommates and I may all be trying to look the same, but at least we are able to do so now without manipulating (or would that be mutilating?) our bodies to fit the styles.
Perhaps, Mr. Connor and Mr. Plotz would recognize this as the Democratization of the Thighs and surely it is. But unlike other features of the Gapification of America, this great leveling allows for true individuality--in (some) body types, not in fashion. Our bodies naturally make us individuals and the Gap is taking the lead in popularizing a line of clothing designed in sizes and shapes that reflect this. This change is part of what I hope is a departure from the cultural totalitarianism that brought us the corset and bustle, liposuction, cosmetic surgery and self-induced vomiting.
Trends of fashion are classist and exclusionary in terms of price, but the image of beauty they project is not. The ridiculous and appalling standards of fashion's traditional image has been equally accessible and assaulting to everyone in the vicinity of mainstream culture.
The impact of the Gap's revolutionary departure from this single elite image may not extend beyond the door of the dressing room, but the popularization of the Gap's new line suggests the possibility of a distant change in our cultural attitude towards physical beauty.
I do not credit the Gap for any of this. Surely this recognition of physical uniqueness is not motivated by a reassessment of cultural values and standards of beauty, but rather by marketing strategy.
Capitalism reaps according to how much democracy it sows; Have a Coke and a Smile. And the Gap's labeling is an insulting as the styles and sizes ever were, as "Relaxed Fit" and "Easy Fit" are only "relaxed" and "easy" relative to the body that wore the "Classic Fit" jeans all along. But sometimes the market works to the consumer's (and the culture's) advantage. Finally, in our "deindividualizing...boring and democratic" culture, we get the jeans we deserve. Courtney A. Williams '92
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