Body-squishing womenswear … occupies brainspace and consciousness that could be better used scheming, creating, or just daydreaming

In his 1976 essay “Lumbar Thought,” Italian writer-philosopher Umberto Eco recalled wearing tight jeans for the first time and finding that the constant feeling of clothing pressing on his body made him aware at all times of his exterior form, limiting his capacity for internal thought and stunting his ability to manspread. “As a rule I am boisterous, I sprawl in a chair, I slump wherever I please, with no claim to elegance: My blue jeans checked these actions, made me more polite and mature,” he wrote. “I lived in the knowledge that I had jeans on, whereas normally we live forgetting that we’re wearing undershorts or trousers.” Eco concluded that tight or uncomfortable items of clothing-bras, girdles, hosiery, heels, Wedgie Fit jeans-are significant contributors to women’s oppression. Body-squishing womenswear does more than inhibit free movement, he surmised. It occupies brainspace and consciousness that could be better used scheming, creating, or just daydreaming.

Christina Cauterucci

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Some things I read this month

it’s my responsibility to seek out women writers

There’s a reason I’m translating a woman next. I think about that; I think about the question of women writers in translation. I’ve translated on commission a lot, so I tend to just choose the best of what I’m offered, and that’s happened to be male writers. But I do think that it’s my responsibility to seek out women writers and to translate them.

Natasha Wimmer

Some things I read this month

Some things I read this month

Some things I read this month

Some things I read this month

Some things I read this month

weird is good

Students are attracted to design in the first place because they see the world in a different way, slightly askew. They are weird. Most of them have heard this many times in their lives-and it was not intended as a compliment. But Weird is good; it’s an anomaly and it’s unique. I teach on the simple premise that the things that made you weird as a kid make you great as an adult-but only if you pay attention to them. If you look at any “successful” person, they are probably being paid to play out the goofiness or athleticism or nerdiness or curiosity they already possessed as a child. Unfortunately for most people, somewhere along the road their weirdness was taught out of them or, worse, shamed out of them. Crushed by the need to “fit in,” they left their quirks and special powers behind. But it is our flaws  that make us interesting. We need to not only hang on to them, but hone them. I don’t try to make my students “Designers.” I want to make them “free-er.” It’s my job to teach them to look inside, to covet their weirdness, to help them direct it and take the rough edges off-or even add a few new ones. It’s my job to help students understand and cultivate their individuality and innate weirdness and turn them into a powerful tool. Weird is good, but only if we put it in your work.

James Victore