I may be “super,” but I ain’t no model

Ah, supermodels. You couldn’t look anywhere in the early ’90s without spotting one of them. They were EVERYWHERE – gracing the pages and covers of fashion magazines, strutting around (probably coked up) in that one George Michael video, staring at you from billboards and also appearing in commercials. Who could forget the Guess jeans girl or Cindy Crawford attempting to make everyone drink Pepsi? Then there was Chris Isaak’s”Wicked Game” video, which featured supermodel Helena Christensen lolling about on a beach.

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Oh what a wicked game you played, supermodels…

I had a flashback to this song and this time when I was playing a “name that tune” music trivia night with a friend last week. And I had an epiphany, in which I said…”The early ’90s was a TERRIBLE time to be a woman.”

I’ve done a lot of thinking since I said that. First off, supermodels established impossible standards of beauty. I’m not saying it was the models’ fault for being so thin and gorgeous. It was the fault of the companies for which they whored themselves, some of which quite lucratively. But while these gorgeous, impossibly beautiful creatures may have helped sell stuff and help provide “stimulation” for men and others –

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Schwing! Guess Jeans girl Claudia Schiffer stimulates Wayne and Garth…

if you were a woman, you lost. If you were short, well, you were pretty much precluded from ever becoming a model, so f— it, why bother? Ditto if you were anything but wafer-thin, subsisting on a pack of Luckies and a tomato a day, and at least 5 foot ten. It was almost worse if you were tall. I grew up and grew into a person more than 6 feet tall, and when I was growing up, people would often tell me “you should be a model.” First off, I had ZERO interest. Spending all day starving AND being photographed? No thanks. So I had this double whammy by being the right height to be a model, but also not measuring up to their standards by not being thin enough. Eventually when you are faced with a kobayashi maru, or unwinnable scenario, you either stop trying – or you just break the rules of the fashion game. Starve? Or blaze my own trail? Hmm…

So what was the result of all of this? Rebellion – mainly of the fashion variety. Thankfully “grunge” fashion came along at a time when supermodels were in their prime. Screw dresses with spaghetti straps and stiletto heels, I’m going to wear ripped jeans and flannel, damn it! And why not sweat pants and Doc Martens?

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Me in 1994. Grunge princess…and I still have that Depeche Mode tank (and wear it)

When I was in high school, I made a noble attempt to play the “beauty game.” I subscribed to fashion magazines – Seventeen, Sassy, and eventually Cosmopolitan. I wore makeup daily, and wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without spending at least 20 minutes to a half hour on my hair. Since I wanted to fit in, I attempted to dress in a way that wouldn’t draw too much attention. Though the whole mini skirts and bare legs thing in winter in my sophomore/junior years clearly showed that I was a bit TOO much of a slave to fashion.

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Me in 1988. Permed, made up, and STILL not fitting in. Eventually I would see the light…

By the time my senior year rolled around, I started to slack off in the beauty slavery a bit. I stopped getting perms, though I did still wear the makeup – mainly just doing the eyes and some lipstick, I was never into applying foundation with a trowel. Then in my freshman year of college, I started letting the makeup routine go to the wayside – mainly because I didn’t have time to put on my face before attending morning classes. I would pull my hair back into a pony tail if I didn’t feel like styling it, and eventually, I got most of it chopped off.  Looking back, it was actually very liberating. I still rarely wear makeup to this day, except maybe if it’s a special occasion (mainly Halloween).

While I do believe in renegade fashion and people wearing what they like, I draw the line at people wearing pajama pants in public. Get dressed before you go out, damn it! But then that is another blog topic entirely…

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