The History of Canadian and American Military Gear

Today, it’s fashionable to wear military clothing and footwear, but most people don’t think about the rich history behind these items. Both Canada and the US have a long military history, and military items were functional rather than fashionable in these life-or-death situations. However, today it’s stylish to wear military gear such as dog tags, combat boots and army pants. Other items such as bathing suits, shorts and even dresses are even patterned with the classic military camouflage pattern. Whether you’re wearing Canadian or American army clothing to be patriotic or simply love the way you look in olive-green khaki pants, take a look at some of the history behind army uniforms.

The word uniform comes from the Latin “unas” and “forma,” which means “one form.” That’s why items such as the green uniform have become synonymous with the army; the military has always ensured that soldiers all look similar. Depending on a soldier’s rank, his Canadian or American military clothing would be decorated with patches, metal bands or stripes that showed how high up he was. Military uniforms used in colder climates were heavier and soldiers wore fur hats and gloves to stay warm. In warm climates, soldiers wore short-sleeved uniforms made from lightweight summertime fabrics.

Over the years, American and Canadian army clothing has evolved a great deal, but one thing hasn’t changed: it has always been a source of pride among soldiers. During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), American soldiers took great pride in their hats, which were decorated and worn cocked, sometimes even when they were off duty! When it was discovered that earlier styles of uniforms became easily wrinkled and made soldiers look unkempt at functions or during travel, the military came up with a more durable yet lightweight fabric. It didn’t matter what rank a soldier was; his uniform was to always look clean and pressed.

By the time of the Korean War (1950-1953), modern technology had made military gear much more protective. American gear included lightweight body armour, and the news was filled with amazing stories of men who had survived direct gunshots to the chest with only a few bruises, thanks to these nearly-indestructible vests. A nonmetallic type of body armour, made of glass fabric and plastic, later replaced this earlier style, and was much more comfortable during combat. Also, these nonmetallic vests were credited with saving the lives of many soldiers, who otherwise would have been listed as “lost in combat.”

Today, soldiers do not just have one uniform for all occasions. Many soldiers now have American or Canadian military clothing for a variety of occasions, including combat, working, and even attending functions. The military in both Canada and the US now produces uniforms that are as economical as possible, yet still high quality. The fabrics are now much more modern and lightweight, with decorations depending on the soldier’s rank and country of origin. However, while the design of uniforms may have changed over the years, the similarity of uniforms among soldiers and the sense of pride they feel has remained the same.



Source by Dennis Quaid

How To Win Back A Leo Girl

A relationship with a Leo girl will be a passionate affair, full of love, intensity and warmth. The lioness wears her heart on her sleeve and all too often will be easily hurt. A wounded lioness will be a challenge to any mortal, but fortunately, her huge heart is a forgiving one. To win back a Leo girl, tread very carefully and you may get her back.

When it comes to relationships, Leo’s are probably the most loyal of all the star signs, and will stick with you through thick and thin. The Leo female will place trust and loyalty above all else, and will give her all in love, but make no mistake, she will expect the same in return.

Love is supposed to be selfless, but with a Leo, if they don’t feel, or more importantly, see, like they are getting the same as they are putting in, they will feel hurt and under appreciated. The Leo girl needs to know that you care, she needs to be told and shown that her efforts are not in vain.

Getting your Leo girl back is going to be tough, as Leo is a fixed sign and therefore as stubborn as they come. The best way to get back in favor with your ex girl is to show her how much you care. The Leo girl will measure your affections by the effort and time that you put in to the task. She will expect you to go through hell and high water to show how much you care and how much she means to you. As a general rule, Leo’s love gifts of any kind, and a tasteful gift symbolising your love will get her attention. Leo’s have lavish tastes, so avoid anything trashy.



Source by Richard Breban

Maternity Swimsuits – Awesome Pregnant Bikini Styles You Will Love to Wear

When you're pregnant, you might be a little reluctant to wear a swimsuit. Yet, pregnancy really is something beautiful so why do not you show off your wonderful body. The exciting news is that you'll find many great maternity swimwear alternatives you are going to love.

These swimwear choices are designed to provide you with a beautiful way to enjoy swimming, the pool, and your baby bump. Beside, swimming is a great form of low-impact workout. To help you get ready to hit the pool or the beach, here are a few wonderful pregnant bikini choices.

One great maternity bikini style to think about when you are searching for maternity swimwear is a bikini that has a halter top. You will find that the halter style's straps will help offer you a bit more support, as you might be needing it these days. Halter straps are alluring as well, and will let you show off your finest assets while you're swimming.

Another great option in pregnant bikinis would be to opt for a polka dot design. Although you do not want huge polka dots all over your maternity swimsuits, dainty polka dots are sure to go perfectly. They grab attention and will be guaranteed to set off your baby bump nicely. Naturally, black polka dots are always going to be a lovely alternative that will look really good, no matter your skin tone.

If you're still a little timid about exposing a lot of skin down below when you are expecting, you will find that some maternity bikinis feature small small skirts for your bottom. This gives you some more height coverage from your maternity swimsuits, which tend to make you feel more reassured when you are out there enjoying the sand and surf.

As we discussed, you can find wonderful bikini maternity swimwear alternatives out there. Regardless of your style or simply how much skin you wish to bare, you can get an attractive pregnant bikini that will allow you to enjoy swimming as well as show off that beautiful baby bump.



Source by Melissa Bennett

Lace Dress Reviews

One trend in clothing for women is the casual and everyday use of the lace dress. No longer just reserved for a formal wedding dress, the lace dress deserves a special place in your clothing collection. While most fashion aficionados focus on the lace wedding dress, here we will take a look at two types of this style. Specifically, we will review the lace dress cuts for both the empire waist style and sleeveless cut.

The lace dress was once reserved for the feminine and fragile personalities, but if you want to reveal your best look there is no better way than with this style. Lace has gone through many changes over the last one hundred years and now it is being combined with more materials and fabrics than ever. You need to know that just about anyone can pull off wearing this type of dress, and it is quite appropriate for wearing the office, a quick trip to the mall, or for a night out on the town. For you romantic types, this style of dress gives you a tremendous avenue for expressing this side of your personality. The best thing of all, with a dress such as this there could no material that feels more comfortable, and makes you feel pretty at the same time.

The first style we will consider is the empire waist lace dress. With this style the waist line has been placed directly under the bust line. This produces a lovely flowing look that will flatter the figure of almost any woman. The empire waist is extremely forgiving and tends to hide troublesome spots that you would rather not have others focus on. This cut also compliments your figure and accentuates your strong points, giving you an extremely flexible garment to wear just about anywhere. Here are a few empire waist LD offerings we like right now.

Newport News Empire Waist Lace Dress Review – You may have already seen this dress as it lately been advertised in many popular magazines for women. This lace dress is absolutely striking full flowing length. It has a surplice neck line that accentuates this area of your body. Feel equally comfortable wearing this for either a casual or more formal gathering. It has a hidden back zipper and the material is full nylon, and imported. One thing to note is that this dress tends to run small, so keep this in mind when ordering. The manufacturer recommends dry cleaning only for this garment. You can find this dress on sale at Amazon for around seventy dollars, not including tax and shipping.

Calvin Klein Strapless Empire Waist Lace Dress Review – Here is a tweener type of dress that is more suited to a formal occasion, yet could be worn as evening attire. This dress is a beautiful full length lace bodice style, that is probably closer to an evening gown. It comes with a long sleeved lace jacket that hits at the waist, and it pairs with the dress quite elegantly. This lace dress screams sophistication, elegance, and grace. This offering is imported, and should only be dry cleaned. We have seen this offered online are various boutiques for around one hundred dollars, but be advised to compare prices for the best deal.

Halter Beach Empire Waist Lace Wedding Dress Review – We would be remiss if we did not review at least one wedding lace dress. Here we have an absolutely striking dress sure to make any bride look absolutely beautiful on here special day. It has a strap that comes around the front behind the neck, with an open back just above the mid waist line area. It has a stunning hem at the bottom that flowers open and flows beautifully from the empire waist. This lace dress material utilizes a combination of satin, taffeta, and silk and comes in white, ivory, and champaign. Please be advised that this dress will take approximately two weeks for delivery. Overall cost to your front door is less than two hundred dollars, and we are sure you will be pleased with it.

Next we want to give you some reviews for the sleeveless lace dress. If you are looking to add a dainty and feminine look to your lace dress that is when you want to go sleeveless. This cut is a more casual look, and best suited in more temperate climates or during the summer months. Made popular in the early eighties, you will see that the sleeveless lace dress is coming back now more than ever. And for good reason, lace is a lightweight and airy material, and combined with a sleeveless cut you an almost perfect dress for warm weather. Here we will take a look at three more offerings for the sleeveless LD.

Free People Sleeveless Lace Dress Review – This first sleeveless lace dress review is very popular at the moment. Free People has made this particular dress perfect for the woman who is going on for a night on the town. The sheer lace lavender material with a scoop neck just screams romance and style. It has a unique tiered detailing in the chest area, with a scallop lace trim on the bottom of the dress. There is a lovely ribbon trim that adorns the neckline, and the inner lining has an adjustable length and is removable. This is a rayon and nylon material, with a cotton slip. Free Republic recommends hand washing this stylish imported dress. We have seen it priced for around fifty dollars, but be advised to shop around for the best pricing.

Calvin Klein Plus Size Sleeveless Lace Dress Review – Plus size anything is hot right now, and even more so in this type of dress. This is a lovely dress that is perfect for the times you want express your charm and romance. It has a scoop style neck with seaming detail, and a removable waist ribbon that can be added to fit your particular style or mood. This lace dress has a back zipper design, and an added three button closure. The color is midnight black lace, and it comes in sizes through sixteen. You can buy this particular dress online at Bloomingdale’s for around seventy dollars, which is quite a bargain from our perspective.

Candela Sleeveless Mini Lace Dress РHere is unique offering from Candela, where you can make a statement with a mini skirt cut in your in this style of dress. This dress is sophisticated and seductive, that has an unusual side zipper for closure. The lace is darted bodice to accommodate your particular figure, the back is slit, and a viscose lining is added as well. This lace mini dress drops to about eighteen inches from your natural waist, just enough coverage without being too risqu̩. The material is a taupe nylon lace, and its imported. This lace mini dress is available from Saks for around a one hundred and fifty dollars, a little pricey but that includes free shipping.



Source by Elijiah Rampart

The Charm of Handbags

Jimmy Choo, sellers of some of the most expensive shoes is now considering selling accessories such as handbags and eyewear. Wow! That is great news. But how many of us can really afford to buy a Jimmy Choo? Stars from the sports and film fraternity, with billions of dollars in their banks can consider buying from such brands. This makes you think that all you can do is day-dream about owning something like that. If you want even you can start carrying handbags which are at least designer inspired.

Do you think that women are basically handbag freaks because they seem to be willing to spend any amount of money while buying a handbag which they specifically hang on their shoulders? That's not true. They actually require handbags for different occasions. The bag that they would carry to the work place would certainly not be the same as that of an outing or a vacation. Sophisticated bags are what needed at office and funkier ones are needed for other fun times.

So, you are really passionate about getting multiple handbags for yourself, there are many online dealers who have trendy designer inspired handbags for sale at affordable rates. So you can have a number of these accessories. You will get handbags such as totes and clutches.

The handbags for sale can be purchased by both individual customers and retailers. For example, if you have a shop to sell bags, you can easily purchase them from wholesalers at reasonable cost and then in turn sell them to your customers. These accessories are durable and easy to handle. They are in many ways similar to the real designer ones and there before you can carry them with a sense of pride. When you go out with these, you can bet people will glance at them for a second time. That would be nice, would not it?



Source by Michell Dsoza

Makeover Games – Games For Young Fashion Experts

Right before she befriends diamonds, dolls are always a girl's closest companions. Hours will whiz past them with not a single boring moment as they worry over their dolls. With regards to dolls, girls never tire of the make-believe of sewing clothes, doing makeover, dressing her up etc. But in a matter of a few years, dolls resemble less and less the cute companion to a picnic at the park, and more and more of the smart and chic corporate woman. And now, such new matches in playing makeover games online are now here as well.

Cloe, Yasmin, Jade and Sasha, members of the teenage sensation Bratz dolls, have every fashion fancy you would dream of. As everyone the world over knows, Bratz are the new dolls on the block, with a passion for passion, and are the teen answer to the queen of the fashion doll universe, Barbie. If you are keen to catch their latest fashion adventure and be part of some learning on fashion, then a Bratz makeover game is your simple passport to their world. Once you are able to have Bratz games as part of your daily routine, you will be in the middle of the action and on the scene as the fantastic and the glamorous Bratz as they face head-on every fashion dilemma any social function can present them way.

With Bratz makeover games, the seemingly distant dream of being able to check out any current outfit can materialize now with the Bratz. With the Bratz, women make the fashion, and not vice versa, so to speak. Every individual item of clothing design now becomes a jewel that is a potential complement to effect you are after.

With the Information Superhighway known as the Internet at our fingertips, you have at your disposal websites that offer online makeover games. Aside from games where you can give a dress makeover for your doll, there are available accessories too that are surefire flatterers and complements, like earrings, and necklaces. Talk about being hassle-free for parents! There is absolutely nothing here about sewing actual doll clothes, collecting accessories or even buying an actual doll. Everything happens on single screen.

Online games are very much known these days for being user-friendly. Just one case in point for being rich in graphics too, are Bratz games. What basically happens is that you as a player need to pass several levels of difficulties and challenges to gain rewards like "cash" to buy clothes or food for your doll. The games are actually varying in theme, ranging from dress up games where you get to scroll through hundreds of dream outfits, to beauty makeover games, to timer- and buzzer-beating race games.

Bratz makeover games is only one amongst many fun-filled activities accessible across hundreds of websites. Not only is it a good medium for entertainment, nor helping out stretch one's creativity; it can also put in a thing or two in one's fashion sense.



Source by Lea Smith

Eco-Friendly Fabrics – Fashion School Experts Examine the Pros and Cons of the Top Green Fabrics

It was not long ago that clothing made with eco-friendly fabrics brought up images of treehuggers in burlap. But with ever-growing demand for clothing made from sustainable fabrics, more top designers are embracing the environmental trend. So which fabrics are truly eco-friendly? So many manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon, we've asked a panel of fashion school experts to guide us through the choices. The fact is, even if a garment is marked as eco-friendly, the label does not need to tell you everything about what makes the fabric good – or bad – for the environment.

Organic cotton . Organically-grown cotton is produced without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. This sustainable farming practice not only results in cotton that is free of chemical pesticides, it creates a healthier workplace for farm workers. But just because a garment is made from organic cotton does not mean it's completely eco-friendly. If it's been dyed, see if it was done with low-impact dyes that are better for the environment. Better yet, look for organic cotton in shades that it's naturally grown in, like cream and light brown.

Bamboo . Bamboo is currently the superstar of eco-friendly fabrics, and on the surface, it appears to have everything going for it. More like a grass than a tree, bamboo grows quickly, and after it's cut, regenerates itself. And bamboo fabric feels as soft as cashmere. But the way it gets that soft is primarily through intensive chemical processing; in fact, the chemicals have been linked to health problems like headaches and nerve damage. And the news gets worse. As bamboo becomes more popular, environmentalists expect over-harvesting that will impact wildlife, as well as the clearing of forests to grow additional bamboo.

Wool . While some clothing manufacturers consider wool sustainable because it's a renewable resource, it's not a pretty picture for the sheep. They are subjected to toxic pesticides and handled roughly by handlers who, during the shearing process, slice off more than just wool. Wool that has been certified organic, however, comes from sheep that have been treated ethically and humanely.

Silk . Silk is a natural fabric that is renewable and biodegradable, so that's a few check marks in the sustainability column. But silk is usually produced in China, India, or other Far East countries where where US fair labor practices are not in place, and then transported across oceans to reach us – not great for fuel consumption. And then there's the little matter of the moths that are boiled alive after they've finished spinning the silk. For a more humane choice, look for vegan, or "peace" silk, in which the moths are allowed to live.

Linen . True linen is considered eco-friendly because it's made from flax, which is not usually farmed with pesticides. But as organic cotton, linen is better for you and the environment when it's in a natural shade, or dried with low impact tints. Our fashion school experts also caution us to be wary of "faux linen," which is actually just conventional cotton that's textured to look like linen.

Hemp . Hemp is considered one of the good guys because it requires no pesticides or herbicides and requires no irrigation. It even improves the soil where it's grown. It also has strong, typically long fibers that can be spun with minimal processing. However, hemp is not well regulated, so there is little monitoring of chemicals that growers may or may not have used. You just have to take their word for it.

Recycled polyester . An increasingly popular textile marketed as eco-friendly is polyester that is recycled to make new polyester. Basically, it's used clothing that's been shredded and processed to produce new fabric. How eco-friendly it really is depends on one's perspective. On one hand, it's polyester, which is not a natural fiber, so that's a minus. But it's saving old clothing from being dumped in landfills, so that's a plus. But it's processed with chemicals, so that's a minus again. Yet it takes less processing than if the fabric was made from scratch, so that's another plus.

PET recycled fabric . It sounds like a miracle: polyester fabric made from recycled water bottles. What a great use for all those millions of plastic water bottles we throw away every day. Just be aware again of the toxic chemicals and processing necessary to turn that bottle into a fleece jacket.

Tencel . Another man-made fiber, Tencel is made from wood pulp from managed forests. Because it's made from wood, Tencel is biodegradable. It's produced using less energy and water than conventional fabrics, and processed with a non-toxic chemical that is continuously recycled. The resulting fabric is breathable, with a hand that can feel like suede or silk. Just be sure to check the label to make sure that the Tencel was made from sustainable wood.

As you can see, sifting through all the organic and eco-friendly claims can be confusing. But while there is probably no one "perfect" sustainable fabric, at least environmental efforts in the textile and fashion design industries are heading in the right direction. We just need to be educated, and learn to distinguish truth from hype.



Source by Lily McCallister

Plus Size Maternity Clothes – Looking Good is Simple

For most women, being pregnant is both an exciting and frustrating experience. Exciting because you will become a mother soon; and frustrating because you will have to make an extra effort to look your best, especially considering the changes in your body. The good news is the solution is quite simple. All you require is the right plus size maternity clothes.

You will be delighted with the large selection of clothes exclusively designed for expecting mothers like you. They are made with superior comfort in mind and comes in various styles that are appropriate for all occasions.

Evening Wear

Staying at home instead of attending a formal dinner or event is what most pregnant women would do particularly if they do not want to feel self-conscious for the entire evening. But if you pick out a maternity evening gown or dress, all your shyness will disappear. Most of these dresses are constructed to allow you to move about freely and at the same time, look ravishing. Choose a strapless floor length gown with an empire waist and you are all set for the night.

Casual Wear

For ordinary days, being comfortable is your obvious priority. There are maternity tops, bottoms and even dresses that will allow you to feel relaxed, mainly because they are constructed to accommodate your growing belly. To enhance your natural glow, you might want to wear a maxi dress. You will look extra feminine and feel cool the entire day.

Swimsuits

If you happen to love the beach but worried about how you will look in your old bathing suit, you should simply go out and purchase a swimsuit made for ladies with full figure. Such swimwear will attract attention to your best features and allow you to feel confident as well since it will also hide your flaws. To enjoy the best of both worlds, you should purchase a stylish tankini which is known to flatter any body shape and size.

Lingerie

With the changes in your body, you will definitely need particular lingerie that will provide support where you need it most. There are nursing bras, girdles, panties and even nightgowns that will fit your needs perfectly.

If you are excited to shop for these plus size maternity clothes but do not find the idea of going to different stores and malls appealing, you should consider shopping online. Most designers have a detailed catalog of their clothes. Better still, you get to but these clothes at a discount.



Source by Kevin Wynn

3 Tips You Did not Expect To Hear From A Wardrobe Stylist

Do you spend fundamental time every morning washing what pant or shirt you'll wear before heading to work? Do you try mixing and matching different outfits before going out with friends at the restaurant or the pub? Or maybe, you're the kind of person who goes shopping for hours hiring to find the perfect clothes for a special event, but end up returning home hands empty and disappointed! On the other hand, your shape may have changed recently following a pregnancy or an increased appetite during holiday seasons, and in result your closet has become your worst enemy reminding you consistently of those extra kilos.

Relax! That's not the end of the world. The following tips from a professional wardrobe stylist will help you re-organize your closet in a way that makes it easy for you to find instantly what to wear for any occasion. It is worth mentioning though that you might have never expected to read such tips from a wardrobe stylist; But in reality, wardrobe stylists work today with all kinds of persons starting from the young girl who needs some advices for her prom, to the retired persons who like to take care of themselves and their look.

Tip No. 1: Do not be a fashion victim!

Fashion is great! It's a creative art that is a necessity to our daily life. However, we all have different body shapes and styles. If miniskirts are this season's hit but neither your shape nor your age are suitable for such type of clothes, then there's no need to rush buy one just for the sake of looking trendy.

Tip No. 2: Think budget

Sure, fashion changes dramatically every year. You will not appear old fashionable if you wear that tight pant that you bought last year that looked great on you even if this year's fashion is all about baggy pants and loose shirts. Beside, there are lots of clothes that are considered as basics such as black shirt or skirt. What matters is to feel comfortable and at ease in what you're wearing. So grab the opportunity and go shopping at end of season's sales. You'll certainly find some bargains at an incredibly discounted price.

Tip No. 3: Love yourself

There's no doubt that it's very important that each and every one of us loves and accepts himself or herself the way they are, because it's only by loving ourselves that we can love others. And in the context of our topic, it's very important to love your curves and body shape to be in a positive and cheerful attitude when buying outfits rather than frowning whenever you go shopping desperately looking for clothes that hide your curves and body imperfections.

If you still wonder how to organize your closet regularly above advices, then why not seek the services of an experienced wardrobe stylist. You'll be amazed of the valuable tips and tricks you'll gain following a dressing session or a shopping excursion with your wardrobe stylist.



Source by Wendy Mak

A Brief History Of Woman As Thing

We see it everywhere. There is the striking image of Adriana Lima, famous for modeling for Victoria's Secret. Tens of thousands of girls desperate to be loved and expected would do anything to be her. Including starve themselves to death. Actually, they have no idea what it is to be her, they really want to look like her. This is a significant point of distinction that we should make as we consider Adriana Lima's body image: as a person, she is illegally unknown to the public. She is, at least in the public eye, a thing. Surely Ms. Lima is a being, and quite possibly a wonderful one, but how she functions in the public consciousness is as a carefully engineered human marketing message.

Ms. Lima elicits a strong sexual response from a wide spectrum of people, large men, when she appears in her underwear. This leaves young women who have no notion of the depth of real love with the thought "I want to be adored like that". Her sexual identity is based on her ability to trigger the basest of human instinct and is confused by young people as real admiration. She is the sexual version of a Big Mac shown on late night television to entice hungry people to visit the drive-through window of their local fast food restaurant.

Teenage years are already afraid with careful insecurity as almost every young person is trying to figure out who and how to be. Being pounded with fashion and body imagery suggesting that there are physical standards beauty that are passed off as empirical stratifies us into a rigid caste system based on genetic luck and marketing greed. Suddenly, bald men can not win elected office even if they are organizational geniuses. Heavy women can not be news anchors as beauty-caste consciousness perpetuates itself through our entire society. The cultural conversation of idealized beauty leaves everyone except for the large self-proclaimed beauty Brahmans feeling bad about themselves.

This phenomenon is doubly disturbing when you realize that body image marketing extremely impacts natural selection and, while doing wonders for the next generation of trophy wives, it is informing breeding selection based on looks rather than characteristics that actually benefit survival and the future of the human race, like intelligence. There is no suggestion here that people who are fortunate enough to match the beauty ideal du jour are lacking in other qualities. This is certainly not true. The point is that as a society, we should rethink the merit of allowing marketing dynamics to influence our sense of human value at all.

The marketing strategy behind the body image of Adriana Lima is carefully calculated to drive consumers into the store to buy lingerie. It is the consumer culture equivalent of driving lemmings off of a cliff. In the process, young women, especially those in their teenage years, are highly vulnerable to the not-so-latent suggestion that being pretty is powerful because pretty triggers sexual responses. This type of thinking causes young people to look in the wrong direction when it comes to finding a path to success, social contribution and happiness. We are a culture that worships mannequins and promotes life practices of self-starvation and purging to pay homage to those gods. We really need to find a new religion or at least a more wholesome hobby.

In the beginning of the history of woman as thing, the image of woman was reverted as symbol of fertility representing the potential of survival. One of the first known instance of the objectification of women can be found in pre-historic art, specifically, in a statute known as the Venus of Willendorf. Found in 1908, this small statue is estimated to be over twenty thousand years old. It is a matter of scientific assumption that this image of a heavy-set woman is somehow related to fertility consciousness. This hypothesis is evidenced by the visual emphasis of large breasts, substantive body fat and the detailed articulation of the vulva (not pictured here). These visual emphases suggest that the sculptor was focused on these characteristics, and possibly idealizing them, thereby conveying a reverence for highly fertile woman.

While the details carved into the Venus of Willendorf tell us what was on the sculptor's mind, the details that are missing tell us what he or she considered to be unimportant. The Venus of Willendorf has no face. One could argue that this is simply an oversight of due to the primitive technique of the sculpture, but the facts suggest otherwise. The artist here took great pains to sculpt the fine plaits in her hair, presumably a prehistoric fashion statement. In other words, the Venus of Willendorf as a symbolic communication, depicts a fertile beauty which personal identity is unimportant. This statement is similar to carvings of other things that prehistoric humans held as the necessary to sustain life, mainly wild game and other animals.

Twenty thousand years later, our cultural iconography is still generating this very same consciousness. We are still obsessed with the object of woman and do not needarily care to know much about her as a being. While our art allows women to have a face, it does not allow them to have an identity other than what is predicated on fashion. That is not a lot to show for twenty thousand years of evolution.

It appears, after all these years, that we may finally becoming to a bona fide age of equality. Sexual objectification is now an equal opportunity affliction. There are billboards on the side of most urban freeways of young men's torsos rising out of their partially opened pants that expose the waistband of their boxer shorts as prefect abdominal muscles ripple upward to join a flow anatomical structure that appears to the ordinary man as a hopelessly impossibility.

Sometimes we see his face and sometimes we do not. His image has been carefully selected to jolt some of us into sexual arousal while suggesting to the rest of us that we are not worthy because we do not look like that. Even heterosexual men can not help but look on in awe.

In the next decade or two we will not be looking at real human physiques in visual art. Computers will calculate the most appealing possible human image and fabricate virtual people for advertising. Since we do not need the advice of fashions to help us find ways to world peace, the need for an actual person to associated with a body image will disappear entirely. Will there still be the lucky few who meet the physical standards of the ever-fluctuating virtual standard of beauty or will we all be in therapy because we can not possibly compete with our own computer generated fantasies?

When you have children to feed, your paunch is an artifact of a different set of life choices than those suggested in fashion advertising. House payments and braces replace gym memberships as we resign ourselves to be something that we are told is visibly less admirable. Young people are programmed by marketing media practically from birth to believe that following a temporary body image fad will acquire for them some ill-defined value. Girls in particular, seem suspicious to believing that being able to trigger sexual attraction is a form of personal power and validation. In a world where a hot body gets you what you want, at least in round one, where is the incentive to become more?

My eldest daughter attended high school at an all-girls school. Like any high school, there were dances, but because there were only girls in her school this required my daughter to invite boys to be her date. As her very first dance approached, she invited a boy with whatever she had attended grade school and he accepted her invitation. A week or so before the dance, she heard through a friend that her intended date was not going to go to the dance with her, but instead had changed his plans and was intending to go with a tall, slender girl who had just weeks before was one of my daughter's close friends. It turns out that this fellow had gotten what he felt was a better offer and decided to trade up. Not coming from a family of any breeding or familiarity with common decency, my daughter was standing up without as much as a phone call just days before her first venture into dating. To my daughter's merit, she attended that dance anyway with another boy, a family friend, which in my book took intense courage.

This was my daughter's first excursion into the world of boys and my first excursion into the world of having a daughter in the world of boys. She was thunderstruck by the rejection and, of course, as we all do, went searching for answers. As we were sitting on the couch one afternoon, she asked me a question that simply broke my heart. "Daddy, am I pretty?" Every father of a daughter should be prepared from the moment that they take their daughters home from the hospital for the first time to answer that question with a resounding "yes." Being consumed with my natural tendency to over intellectualize everything and simultaneously being completely unprepared to handle my own pang of sadness at even being asked such a question, I froze. She took my hesitation for a "no". No amount of convincing thereafter would make up for me not having my answer on the tip of my tongue.

This has since come to infuriate me. First, the creep that cave her cause to have this moment of doubt should have been thrashed within an inch of his life for being a vulgar, gutless cretin. Of course, I might just be a bit overly paternal on this point. But the fact remains that my daughter is not a pair of sox to be traded out on whim. Second, no one should ever have to question their own validity like, especially not teenagers. Ever. No one should ever have to live in doubt that they are anything less than perfectly lovely and possessed of the value of an angel. The mere fact that we live in a society where we can objectify people and then imposes upon these human things of our own making subjective interpretations of their appearance based on arbitrary standards concocted the ignorant is enough to make you want to go blind and be free of such nonsense forever.

And for the record, my daughter is lovely – truly lovely. Every time I look into her face, she reminds me of the pictures of my favorite grandmother when she was young. I do not see my daughter in three dimensions. I see her in four. I can still see her former infant self in the curve of her forehead. She has her mother's hands. She is the little girl scrambling into my lap and the powerful woman walking into the office building of the United States Senate to go to work. She has thick curly blond hair and the most beautiful blue eyes that have ever graced a woman's face. Because she is not a thing to me, because she is a being that represents an intimate personal and family history and is the culmination of a life of experience and virtue, she can not be anything but awe inspiring. This is not true just in these old eyes, but in the eyes of anyone who truly sees.

Every person on this planet, without exception, is here because for millions of years their ancestors have kept the spark of life alive and successfully passed it on to the next generation. They hid their children in the tall grass outside of their villages to conceive them from invading hordes. They nursed them through famine and disease. The living are the artifacts of a life force that has forgiven for its existence for millennia. How are we then to degrade this with underwear advertising? We are a species of walking miracles. We are a race, the human race, of highly improbable animals. How dare anyone find fault with the appearance of any one of us.

Since the beginning of the species, human iconography has been used as a shamanic device, a totem image, expressing the deepest and most urgent of our desires. Art is a form of prayer. It not only declares what is on our mind, but what we want. The art of marketing attempts to create the image of what we want to be after it tells us that we want to be it.

In the domain of true religion, however, human iconography sends a different message. We see a crucifix and even if we are not Christian, we are reminded of the power of unlimited human commitment and sacrifice for the sake of compassion. In the image of the Buddha we see the possibility of unlimited happiness through tranquility and the development of human consciousness. Of course, these images have been subverted as well. Victoria's Secret, for example, had to be told by the Thai government by mandate of law that an image of the Buddha was an occasion decoration for the crotch of women's panties.

So when we see Adriana Lima in her underwear, out attention is not strictly drawn to a pretty thing. For those for who she is an object of sexual attraction, she is a visual mantra of sexual consumption. For those who yearn for the power of her sexuality, she is an inspirational deity of a truly false religion. It is mesmerizing. It is instinctive. Like throwing blood into a shark tank, she is a thing that triggers and extremely controls basic human instincts. She is the sacred goat tied to a stake in the jungle that lures the tiger.

Human sexual dynamics and the historical trend of male domination over them has been worn like grooves into the collective consciousness of humanity. Food and sex are things that humans must instinctively seek out. It is the basis of our physical survival and our point of greatest psychological vulnerability. It is the ring in our nose by which we can be lead to market.

Thousands of years later, our culture still uses images to objectify both women and men. It is a form sexual exploitation that is no longer limited to corralling women so that they may be dominated by men. Modern marketing seeks out and even fabricates images that are designed to appeal to our sexual instincts so as to control our behavior. Marketing is using this imagery of sexuality to control our buying habits just as it used to be used to control our breeding habits. No longer is woman as thing being used as a symbol to socially manage human sexuality, but now she is being turned into things that ensure that we buy certain products.

This is the main point about objectification. It is always a means of domination and control. It has not always been a device of manipulation for just marketing agencies. There is a history of worker as thing, Jew as thing, enemy as thing. The history of woman as thing reveals a process by which women have been measured against a societal standard to create social expectations and to ensure compliance. Clothing and the expression of sexuality have played a very large part in this control scheme. You can practically measure the degree of power that women hold in a society by what they are allowed or encouraged to wear. As women have cooked for equality with men in Western cultures, there have been a correlation lift in fashion.

Just over a century ago, woman as thing was depicted as a vision of modesty and compliance. The image of a woman in a wasp-waist dress who avoided from any public expression of her sexuality was iconic through much of American history well into the Twentieth Century. As the women's rights movement gathered momentum culminating the winning the right to vote in the United States in 1919, women started shrogging off the image that was forced upon them by a male dominated society. They began to publicly control their own sexuality by cutting their hair and wearing more comfortable and revealing attire.

If you would like to see the modern version of this rebellion against the domination and control of female sexuality, look into a 20 year-old Egyptian girl named Aliaa ElMahdy. Aliaa has a blog that recently ignited controversy across Islam when she posted a nude photograph of herself. While by Western standards, this type of photograph is relatively common as young people grapple with and communicate their sexuality in the Information Age through social media and sexting, it is shocking in the context of Muslim culture. Women have been stoned to death for less. As it stands in Egypt, her iconic nudity is a one-woman assault on the forced modesty imposed on women by her culture. It is a version of bra-burning in the Age of the Internet. She is saying to her culture that she is beautiful on her own terms and that her sexuality is hers and hers alone to manipulate. She has had many Western counterparts in this type of rebellion.

In the late Nineteenth Century, a woman named Mary Edwards Walker, the only woman to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, was several times arrested for wearing men's clothing. She was one of the first women doctors trained in the United States and was a decorated war hero having served as a field surgeon for the Union Army during the Civil War. She married a man, but felt that it was inappropriate for a male-dominated society to force women to wear uncomfortable clothing. When she died, she was buried wearing a man's suit.

In the 1910s progressive women began to "bob" their hair bucking the tradition that short hair was the fashion of prostitutes and sluts. In the 1920s, women began to wear sleek and revealing dresses that left little to imagination as they took control and used their sexuality on their own terms. In the 1960s, women of the Women's Liberation Movement began to appear in public without bras thereby taking additional control of their own bodies and their public presentation. Aliaa ElMahdy now joins the ranks of those women who have stepped out of the paddock of sexual control and have used their body image not as a symbol sexual manipulation, but of sexual self-determination.

And yet, for as much as Gloria Steinem and Aliaa ElMahdy have bought to use body image as a badge of freedom, business has subverted even this newly liberated body image once again for greed and control. Thanks to feminists, it is no longer shocking to see ads of women in lingerie even on a billboard, but it has lost its meaning as a symbol of liberation from male domination and become, once again, a means of entrapment.

Thousand upon thousands of teenagers flock to stores to buy all manner of decoration by which to show off their sexuality because they have been lead to believe that being the object of sexual instinct is a source of personal value. This often comes at the expense of developing more realistic sources of personal value and greatly diverts attention away from the evolution of whole being. As long as human beings insists upon turning themselves into things, a self-defeating act of self-objectification, they will be moved about through time and space like furniture rather than as essential beings that are capable of deeply influencing the human experience.

True power comes from thoughtfulness and relatedness. It is the development of wisdom and the skill to use it that makes the world a better place because our children and sons have lived. When we teach boys and girls to contemplate the meaning of who they are and help them become aware of themselves as people who have the power to love, the power to commit, the power change the world around them, then we have transcended for all time the domination of objectification.

So how do we bring the history of woman as thing to an end? We can not do it for women alone. We must do it for all living beings. When we stop using physical beauty as a proxy for value, we start a cultural conversation for real value that exceeds sex appeal and allows us to recognize the value of every member of the human race. If our sum- total of attraction to each other is sex and beauty it will create a new generations of naturally selected children that meet our visual ideals, but if they grow up to be vain and incapable of understanding value beyond appearances, then we will have evolved into a species of well-sculpted idiots. We are half-way there now.

The danger of treating people as things is that it traps our awareness into the tiny confines of three dimensional existence. The shape of a thing is the least likely indication of its value. It is the usefulness of a being, what it does and what it causes in the world of living beings that matters most. There are women who faces bring tears to the eyes of many and thoughts of compassion and social commitment for the betterment of humanity to the minds of all. They are beautiful in ways that an underwear model can never fathom. They hunger and thirst for the well-being of all people, not to sculpt their bodies to look a certain way. It is not because of what they wear, but because of how they live, that inspires us and ignites benefit to sweeps through the collective consciousness of humanity.

People are beautiful because of what they think and do, because of what they create and bring to life in the world. If we allow our marketing systems to continue to measure us against a narrow set of ideas, we will missively devote the opportunity to evolve into our full potential as beings. Keep in mind that the consciousness of people as thing, is the consciousness of people as targets, as slaves, as objects of manipulation. The evil of this perspective can not be underestimated. Beings do not have to look a certain way. They are not dependent on their shape. A truly free mind appreciates this and can embrace beauty everywhere.



Source by DM Kenyon