Responses to “The Mysterious Case of the Shrinking Closet”

To the Editor, I’m not usually one for confrontation, but when I read last weeks article titled “The Mysterious Case of the Shrinking Closet” by Sole Whitechurch, I walked to The Cynic office to find out how this article had made it into publication. I will assume that this article was meant to be tongue and cheek and not to be taken seriously, but it hurt the feelings of friends of mine, and I thought the topic warranted a reply. The message this article sends, whether it was meant or not, is that if you don’t have a perfect body you better cover it up because it offends people. We shouldn’t be suggesting that some girls conceal their bodies while others are encouraged to display them. No one should be asked to hide themselves as if the way they look is something to be ashamed of. Popular culture has made it hard enough for girls to feel proud of the way they look by setting unrealistic standards of beauty. All girls should be encouraged to wear whatever they think looks good, regardless of what others may think. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and think “I look good today,” then you should trust that. You can’t please everyone, so don’t even try. -Calvin UtterTo the Editor, This is not meant as a personal attack on you the editor-in-chief, but maybe the fact that you are male has you totally oblivious to the offensive article published in your paper on Tuesday. “The Mysterious Case of the Shrinking Closet” is a display unlike the general ideals that UVM stands for and represents. “Mini-skirts, on the other hand, should not be worn by anyone over a size four.” Guess what, there aren’t too many people smaller than a size 4, and fat America or not, we are not all Barbie dolls. Even if everyone was thin the criticism would never cease, and people like Sole Whitechurch don’t help our ever-increasingly self-involved, shallow, narrow-minded society. Have some respect for your fellow student’s body and accept that there are differences between people’s body types, morals, ideas and opinions. Everyone is entitled to all of these – including Ms. Whitechurch. When I read it, I cannot help but think of my little Sister – who is not really “little”, as she is sixteen – and I how much I want to save her from reading such garbage and looking into the mirror and questioning her self-worth because she isn’t smaller than a size four. – Jaime RecoreTo the Editor, As I read the article, “The Mysterious Case of the Shrinking Closet” in the April 4th edition of your so-called “Life and Style” section, and considered the subheading, “choosing the right size is not always easy, but it is necessary,” I thought that the author would do well to consider that aphorism in relation to her ego. On her recently established weblog, Whitechurch further asserts, “I can write whatever I feel like writing, I’m not making anyone read my crap, or claim that what I write has any literary value… If you don’t like my article, just don’t read it.” When most people write something they don’t think has literary value, however, they don’t push six thousand copies of it under students’ noses. One theoretical question the article raises is whether a standard of beauty and body type exists, or is even desirable. My inclination is to answer emphatically ‘NO!’ on both counts. Belief in any such thing, even if more ‘objective’ data could be trumped up, amounts to little more than a wish to curry favor with a particular group of people. While there is no doubt in my mind that she genuinely sought to ‘help’ the targets of her disapproval through her fashion suggestions, what she accomplished was an imposition of her own notions of beauty on women. We must dispel this myth that the index of size corresponds directly to an index of beauty. Whitechurch uses of the term ‘average sized’ in a somewhat derogatory manner and puts forth a corresponding description of what would be acceptable for such people to wear, if indeed they exist. This shows an obvious bias toward what can vaguely be described as a late Victorian image of the lithe and helpless beauty, and does not do anything to circumscribe that notion. This is as physically dangerous as it is culturally imperial. The likely effect, conscious or subconscious, of the article is to disparage women who do not have a similar figure to the author, and to reinforce a standard of beauty with people such as herself at the forefront. -Patrick McAllister Haigh