«The demands of fashion for women reveal sexism, for men experience much less pressure to conform to clothing trends. While they are not totally immune, the basics do not change for them – suit and tie, pants and a shirt. Casual clothes can be very simple as well, with little attention to fashion “shoulds.” Women’s fashions, on the other hand, change constantly, and many risk being judged and in some arenas ostracized for not staying current. For women, casual clothes are rarely casual. To feel socially acceptable and succeed at being a “real woman,” keeping up with fashion trends is a requirement at all times.
«Fashion exerts control over women by defining the current standard of femininity and each era has had its own method for keeping women anxious, uncertain and dependent. But today, sexism in fashion is dictatorial, unforgiving, and oblivious to individual variations in body type, weight, or preferences. Although the buying and selling of status and self-worth reflect the basic American values of democracy, materialism, and opportunity, taken to the extreme as it has in the fashion industry, it can destroy a woman’s freedom, creativity, self-esteem, and health, no apologies offered. Let’s call it “fashism.“» source: BODY WARS: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies, by Margo Maine.
«The two most blatant cultural myths that are invoked in the advertisement are the standards of what beauty and femininity are in Western Culture. “Roland Barthes used the term myth to refer to the cultural values and beliefs that are expressed at this level of connotation. For Barthes, myth is the hidden set of rules and conventions through which meanings, which are in reality specific to certain groups, are made to seem universal and given for a whole society… These norms constitute a myth in Bathes’s terms, because they are historically and culturally specific, not ‘natural’ (Sturken & Cartwright, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture).”
In understanding what representations and myths plague the world of images and especially advertisements, we can better understand the relationship between culture and their target demographic. The relationship is somewhat one of reciprocity and exchange in that culture grooms society while simultaneously being created by it.» source: What Do Images Really Say? A Semiotic Analysis