Behind the Bandage Dress

This might be the first and last time I ever blog about fashion.

Last night in the East End, I saw a very large limo bus drop off about 30 young men and women. All of the women had on very short, tight, revealing dresses with towering heels. All of the men had on oversized, button-down, untucked shirts and jeans.

I was struck by the uniformity of the outfits, how much more dressed up the women were than the men and how out of place the bandage dresses seemed in casual Rochester. I was also struck by the reaction of male bystanders; their mouths hung open and their eyes popped out of their heads. I might have seen some drool.

These were get-ups designed to get attention. The women looked great. There’s nothing wrong at all with getting dolled up for a fun night on the town. There’s nothing wrong with being sexy.

But it seemed so fake, like a fashion show or a parade. It’s not even a style reserved for special occasions. Young women are wearing these outfits every weekend. This 30-something woman couldn’t help thinking about what made these 20-something women try so hard to be just like each other – and red-carpet celebrities. Perhaps they’re embracing the freedom to wear hot, sexy dresses. But I suspect there’s more going on. I had the same feelings when I read about the revealing prom dress trend.

I turned to Google to see if anyone shared my unease. I found only one article in the Daily Mail, which said the women who wear these dresses look like “life-size Bratz dolls:”

‘I wish girls wore a bigger variety of clothes going out,’ (club-goer) says. ‘That’s why I wear dresses — everyone else does, so I would look stupid if I wore a longer skirt or trousers. I do wish it was easier and that I could go out in less revealing clothes.’

(snip)

The ubiquitous sky-high heels, fake-tanned legs and micro-skirts are about trying to create an illusion of perfection. With so many young women deep-down hating the way they look, provoking lust has simply become the easiest way they know to make themselves feel better. It’s about provoking a reaction.

(snip)

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, author of the Home Office Review on the Sexualisation of Girls, believes society has become so influenced by porn culture that no one knows where to draw the line any more.

(snip)

‘Of course, there’s nothing new about wanting to be desired and complimented. But with these young women, it’s not just that they like compliments. They crave them.

‘The problem comes when your only desire is to be desired.’

That psychologist is most definitely not describing every woman wearing a bandage dress, but the overall trend does raise questions about peer pressure, self-esteem, sexuality and the objectification of women.

Links of the Day:

- Snitches get stitches. The Buffalo News did a maddening piece on the code of the streets:

“It’s not my business what happens. The police need to leave everyone alone and do their job. That’s what they get paid to do,” the 22-year-old woman said.

But when it was pointed out that police often need the help of witnesses to make an arrest because officers were not present when the crime was committed, Carson grew angry.

“We don’t have a badge,” she said.

- Many places claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, not just Waterloo, N.Y.

- Building new NFL stadiums makes no financial sense, cities are discovering. The Bills’ upgrade plan seems frugal by comparison, even though it has a $200 million price tag.

- Streetlights are important to cities. Detroit is about to turn off half of them.

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