|via Rosa Posey|
While Posey writes that she used the project to understand different women's conceptions of sexuality, what drew my attention to the image was Dr. Lisa Wade's article, The Balancing Act of Being Female; or, Why We Have So Many Clothes. In the article, which references the above picture, Dr. Wade writes about the ways that these skirt lengths, each with their different label, can make it hard for women to choose the right outfit for the right occasion and, consequently, explains our tendency to have so many clothes. "Women’s closets are often mocked as a form of self-indulgence, shop-a-holicism, or narcissism," she writes, "But this isn’t fair. Instead, if a woman is class-privileged enough, they reflect an (often unarticulated) understanding of just how complicated the rules are." Go too far, she says, and women are "slutty" or "asking for it," too far the other way and they are "matronly," irrelevant, both of which can have real social consequences for women. Not only that, but what is "cheeky" in on situation may be "inappropriate" in another.
Sewing, for me at least, provides a way to cut down on my store-bought clothing consumption as well as set some of my own fashion rules. I can make clothes in the exact lengths I want, and convey exactly the messages I want to (if my projects turn out...). I no longer own anything in "slut" length, and I have a skirt that I love that would probably be considered "matronly," so my first reaction to this article was that sewing made me exempt from some of these struggles. But one look at my closet and you'll see that it is overflowing, constantly rotating, occasionally out of control with clothes. It made me think that this overflow of clothes may very well be part of my struggle to define myself socially and personally in a complex world.