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The Thinking Housewife: In the wake of Sandy, why are New Yorkers dressed so drably?

Now THESE gals are dressed for a hurricane.

The single strangest reaction I’ve seen thus far to the devastation of Sandy comes from Laura Wood, the genteel bigot and feminism-hater who blogs as The Thinking Housewife. After looking through a gallery of photos on the Daily Mail showing some of the damage in New York city, Wood suggested that the real problem is that New Yorkers aren’t wearing cheerful enough clothing:

THESE Daily Mail photos of New York City after the hurricane remind me of just how ugly the streets of Manhattan are, with almost everyone dressed in drab, uninteresting clothes that rival the uniforms of Maoist China for their homogeneity and lifelessness. America is one of the most aesthetically impoverished nations in history. I wonder how many thousands of people are on medication because they are depressed by their own clothes and their ugly, hostile environments, surrounded as they are by impersonal denim, sneakers with tire treads, plastic-covered down jackets, billboards with oppressive smiles, and the austere, chilling cliffs of modern skyscrapers. This is the environment of a people that idolizes equality and sameness. The only way to survive amid such poverty is to possess an interior castle, a place of tapestries and mahogany where denim and sweat jackets are nowhere to be seen.

Just make sure this castle of yours isn’t reduced to rubble by 85 mile-an-hour winds and flying debris.

Speaking of New York, here’s an interesting (if a bit shaky) video of a walk through that city’s dark streets after the hurricane hit.

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The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
8 years ago

LOL I can just picture her meltdown at the very idea!

the terrible twos
the terrible twos
8 years ago

The commenters fail to note Twisting Housewife’s great innovation, this being a rebelling against feminist dogma. It takes a strong man and an even stronger woman to resist the fragrant pull of FEMINISM, the smell of roast duck, the immediate gains one may get from a hate movement in one’s favor. However, the men and women of the manosphere have looked at the long-term effects and they have seen that feminism leads to nothing but ruin. It is a divicions, slopped.

kysokisaen
8 years ago

Retro dresses are pretty cool, and I own a few from pinupgirlclothing and the like, but they aren’t the be-all end-all for awesome clothes. Plus Tokyo – and I imagine New York and other large, busy cities – is updraft nation. Every time I went out in my Thinking Housewife approved faux-50’s dresses this summer, I felt like I was constantly Marilyn Monroe-ing the people around me, and not all of them appreciated it. Constantly batting your skirt down on the subway escalator isn’t exactly graceful. It also doesn’t combine well with the all-too-common urban creeper pastime of upskirt shots. Those big flouncy dresses give a guy more opportunity to get the picture without your noticing.

Sgt Grumbles
Sgt Grumbles
8 years ago

You don’t need colours. Black and white chiaroscuro is all your need.

HMDK
HMDK
8 years ago

Yeah, fashion is the first casualty of disaster… no wait it CAUSES it… No wait, women should be wearing dresses, no wait homosexuals cause huricanes, no wait… Ain’t got time to wait for your stupid rightwing brain to spit out something remotely comprehensible.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

@ Kittehs

I was going to say, looking at the pics that she posted of her idea of a better way to dress in the wake of a disaster, the men’s suits were all pretty awful. Not the fault of the individual men – it’s just that most suits from that time period were ill-fitting and dull. With the women’s clothes she posted, none of them were particularly glam or exciting, they were just very clearly gender-coded.

So, like I said earlier, it’s a coded lament on the whole why-can’t-women-be-feminine-and-let-men-lead thing again, except this time she decided to piss all over a bunch of people who just lived through a hurricane to make her creepy little point.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

(If she says anything about the way people were dressed after Katrina I’m going to lose what little remains of my patience.)

hellkell
hellkell
8 years ago

It is a divicions, slopped.

WTF is this mess?

trix
trix
8 years ago

I’m not sure which I despise more: the CONTENT they (the manosphere) write or the WAY they write it.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Well now I’m hungry for roast duck but I’m stuck in San Jose with no idea of where to get a good one. Back in LA there’s a place in Chinatown that I like…

Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte)

She accused New Yorkers—New Yorkers!—of being “drab”?

New Yorkers. The only people in the world who rival Paris in their devotion to cutting edge, outrageous fashion. This is a city where people earnestly complain that they don’t feel right running down to the corner store without wearing something fashionable. This is a city where there are entire resales shops built around only reselling top dollar designer duds. Telling New Yorkers to dress better is like telling Jon Hamm to be handsomer.

Yes, people wear raincoats when it’s raining here. That’s because they don’t want a drop of water to touch their carefully arranged outfits.

As for the Times Square photo: Uh, those are the poorly dressed tourists that natives make fun of, a group I can imagine Thinking Housewife has more in common with.

Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte)

@amavra: The weirdest thing is that if you want to go to a place where all the men are in suits and all the women are in dresses, you can find that, no problem, in NYC. It’s when I go to red states where I see people who live in T-shirts and khakis.

What we have here is a good example conservatives reflexively believing everything has to be wrong and evil about the big urban centers they’ve learned to hate. “Drab” is a negative word, and NYC is all things negative, so it must be drab. Evidence and reality don’t penetrate.

As for Day-Glo, Williamsburg hipsters made that a mini-trend a few years ago, but got over it and are now into earthier tones.

Seraph
Seraph
8 years ago

Roast duck? Am I missing a reference, or is this just word salad?

Naira
Naira
8 years ago

As for the Times Square photo: Uh, those are the poorly dressed tourists that natives make fun of, a group I can imagine Thinking Housewife has more in common with.

In any case, isn’t pretty shitty to be making fun of people for what they’re wearing? Aside from reams of classist overtones, it is well beyond juvenile.

The “Thinking” Housewife is being incredibly self-important by psychoanalyzing a whole city by how people are dressed in one photo. That kind of sweeping generalization is either a.) untrue, as in this case, or b.) totally trivial, e.g., “New Yorkers breathe.”

gelar
gelar
8 years ago

@princessbonbon: You know what’s bizarre about the exchange in that link you gave?

Everything. EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT EXCHANGE IS BIZARRE. Holy ever-living fuck.

cloudiah
8 years ago

Roast duck? Am I missing a reference, or is this just word salad?

I’m just glad the terrible twos acknowledges that FEMINISM smells pretty.

Actually, speaking of the previously unknown connection between ducks and FEMINISM, I did find this gem in a post titled “Feminism is a Bitch”

Women are not only just as violent as men but women trigger violence in men. Every tale of knights and princesses betrays the violence women encourage. Men of course respond by slaying whatever the fair lady has labeled “dragon” because sex is the reward for slaughter. Ever watch ducks? I have. My granddad kept ducks. Female ducks do something I have only seen one other place. The female duck will go over and antagonize another male other than her mate. Then run back to her mate squawking while looking back at the angry enemy as if to say, “Honey, are you going let him talk about me like that?” The other place I have seen this is of course out at clubs where the fight almost inevitably ends in the male going to jail, never the egotistical and manipulative female who provoked the entire skirmish.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

Didn’t we have a discussion about ducks on another thread, say, two or three weeks ago? Is someone trolling us with waterfowl?

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
8 years ago

Fitzy, I vaguely remember that conversation. I think it started out with duck rape and then transitioned to parasites.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

Nepenthe, that’s what I thought. I seem to remember necrophilia came up briefly, too. Whatever the case, it made me start giving the poor little feathered friends who live in our community pond the gimlet eye every time I take the kids for a walk.

Raven
Raven
8 years ago

I don’t often come across other people whose views are quite so alien to me. I mean, I do catch myself judging people based on how they’re dressed at times, but then I understand that that’s a pretty stupid thing to do. I’m just not willing to assume someone is less smart because they like to wear hats or denim or baggy clothes, on account of how those notions just utterly fail to hold up in real life. If anything, personal experience (especially in retail) has led me to think men who wear suits are more likely to be assholes and idiots, but that’s another prejudice I’m trying to outgrow. There are some really amazing people in the world who have better things to do with their lives than worry about fashion, even when there isn’t a giant hurricane around.

wordsp1nner
wordsp1nner
8 years ago

Duck rape (and the resulting trauma to humans) is kind of a meme on my campus, because we have a stream, a couple of ponds, a lot of ducks. We also have squirrels, but their sex lives aren’t as interesting (so far as I can tell, they chase each other around the trees for a bit before settling down).

What the ducks do like to do is screw with my ecology class. We went out to feed them to test optimal foraging theory (we had two feeding stations, 1 at 1 bread piece/five seconds, the other at 1 bread piece/ten seconds) and the ducks just didn’t cooperate. They didn’t seem to be too hungry.

But the pond we chose was right behind a dorm, so I wonder if they were just overfed…

Wandarox
Wandarox
8 years ago

Ducks are such bitches. God.

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
8 years ago

Wordsp1nner, in my experience ducks (and squirrels) anywhere on a college campus are full to the point of bloating from dropped sandwich halves and the usual dribblings undergrads leave. I loved fall at my old campus because the squirrels were so pudgy they could barely leap about properly.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

We had Canada geese, squirrels, and nutria on my college campus. The geese pretty much ignored everyone, but the squirrels and nutria were little beggars (I had a squirrel come and clamber onto my knee one morning while I was eating a biscuit on an outdoor bench). It was always fun watching newbies feed the nutria. They’d toss stuff into the pond, saying “Do beavers like bread? Awww, he’s eating it! Good beaver! C’mere, boy!” Then the nutria would waddle out of the water, and as soon as the feeders saw that long, thin tail they’d scream “OMIGOD, it’s a giant RAT!” and scramble like they were going to get plague. Meanwhile, the nutria would stand there looking confused and abandoned. Poor thing.

Falconer
8 years ago

@Fitzy: Nutria?! Holy cow!

Falconer
8 years ago

Oh, a squirrel once chewed through the corner of my brown bag lunch on a university campus, without me noticing until I tried to eat my lunch.

Sammiches should not come pre-chewed.

Karalora
8 years ago

@Falconer

Holy coypu!

pecunium
8 years ago

I was in Lower Manhattan yesterday. It was not depressing. Surreal, and familiar (I’ve been in a lot of disaster areas, fires, riots, earthquakes, windstorms, and now two hurricanes). Below 20th, there were no cops. There was no power. The restaurants, and some shops, were open; they were running on gas, candles, and cash.

Everyone was doing something, and almost everyone was cheerful. I found a new (to me) bookstore. I stopped in at work. I talked to the staff at the place I get my morning coffee. I was offered lunch twice. I had some cheese at Murray’s.

The same here in Jersey City. Lots of town is a disaster, people were working. People were helping their neighbors. The music store across the street (instruments, not records) called to let us know we had power. People with generators were letting anyone come up and charge things.

My boss teased me, “I didn’t recognise you in pants”. Because I’ve not worn anything but kilts to work since June.

That’s because I, like so many in/around, New York, am a boring person, who wears “drab” clothing, and is miserable because of it.

Or, yanno, not.

p.s. Kitteh’s: I’ll take 1580-1600 Britain, or the Regency, 1795-1810ish.

Fitzy
Fitzy
8 years ago

@Falconer – They were the cutest invasive species on campus 🙂

@Karalora – I’m totally stealing that – it’s my new catchphrase!

Jodi
Jodi
8 years ago

Bet she wouldn’t like Helsinki, either.

http://www.hel-looks.com/20120925_01/

mythago
8 years ago

It’s like she wants to live in a fantasy world, and complains when the real world fails to match up. The fact that it’s ridiculous or impossible for real life to match her fantasy is irrelevant. I mean, they do that stuff in movies, right?

Diogenes The Cynic
Diogenes The Cynic
8 years ago

Well, the myth that back in the day people believed baths were unhealthful seems alive and well here. That was never the case. It was just hard to take a bath without indoor plumbing.

In terms of how crappy things were back in the day, a few people hit the nail on the head. Most people didn’t have any changes of clothing. Toothbrushes were unheard of. Toiletpaper didn’t exist till almost the 1900’s and stones were used before then. Even among the wealthy, they used to roll up rose petals and stuff them up their noses just to tolerate large public gatherings of rich people in their (relatively) nice clothing.

But as far as how the upper crest was dressed back in the day; it was to the nines. Bowler hats, and corsets make for some pretty well dressed people. Don’t deny it.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
8 years ago

Try reading Concepts of Cleanliness by Georges Vigarello before you prate about attitudes to bathing. Attitudes have varied but there were periods (the seventeenth century, for instance) when bathing was a medical treatment undertaken with caution and on doctor’s orders only. Cleanliness in that era was related to changing one’s linen. These attitudes changed slowly; the idea of cold baths being done for health came in during the eighteenth century and sea-bathing was popular in the nineteenth, but they were still matters of health, not cleanliness. These attitudes only changed during the nineteenth century and even then, that didn’t mean daily bathing was seen as a necessity.

Did you deliberately ignore my lengthy description of the difficulties of indoor bathing in nineteenth century middle- and upper-class houses?

“Toothbrushes were unheard of.”

Just what class are you talking about here, sonny? We’ve been talking about the middle and upper classes. Regardless, you’re talking nonsense. Toothbrushes existed as long ago as 1600 BC, in Africa – that’s proper bristle toothbrushes. They’re recorded being used Europe from the seventeenth century. They were being mass produced there from the 1780s. Mass production implies a market, as does the fact that the manufacturer became wealthy.

“Toiletpaper didn’t exist till almost the 1900′s and stones were used before then.”

Rubbish. Paper was recorded being used in China from the sixth century AD. Many materials have been used, from sand to plant matter to wool and lace, depending on the country and class one’s talking about. Modern toilet paper is credited as the invention of Joseph Gayetty in the US in 1857, which is hardly “almost the 1900s”.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Does Diogynes know anything about anything? So far every single thing I’ve seen him state as a fact has been wrong.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
8 years ago

Yeah, I was starting to wonder if he has some weird dictionary that gives “cynic” as a synonym for “ignoramus”.

The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
8 years ago

Well, I’m off for the night. There’s Inspector Morse to watch.

I probably won’t be online much for the next week-odd, my buddy’s arriving from the US tomorrow and we’ll be off doing Tourist Stuff. 🙂 Take care, all.

kysokisaen
8 years ago

“Toiletpaper didn’t exist till almost the 1900′s and stones were used before then.”

That doesn’t even pass the common sense test. I think sometime between the actual stone age and 1900 someone would have looked at a leaf and a stone, done some experimenting, and from that time forward the human race would have never looked back. It’s such a great idea I’d be shocked if multiple people didn’t have it. When was the first Sears catalog published?

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
8 years ago

@kysokisaen

That’s the trouble with common sense, it’s frequently totally inaccurate. In the Middle East they used small stones. I guess they’d just never seen leaves.

pecunium
8 years ago

Baths may have been uncommon, but “washing up” wasn’t.

I’ve gone a long time without shower or “bath”. From 29 Mar, to 26 Jun, 2003, I had one shower, on 12 Jun. I was with thousands of people in the same boat. We weren’t filthy.

We had soap, we had water. We bathed. I can wash “The Stink” off with a cup, maybe two, of water, and a bit of soap. Give me 3 liters and I could do my entire body, tip to top; including hair. Hair now would be a lot harder, because I have a lot more, but dust washing and a regimen of brushing will cope with that.

What is more difficult is to keep the smell down without soap. Soap didn’t become (in England at least) a common thing until the 17th century (and they mocked the Scots for using it). I suspect the much more common use of soap in Holland was carried over to the US by the Puritans; who also engaged in more common (weekly) baths, as well as daily “washing up”.

But those, “wash basins” in people’s rooms, weren’t just decorative. When you look at portraits and see clean shaven men, it’s certain that part of the regimen involved cleaning, because there is no way to shave a face without some form of cleanliness.

As to, “rose petals up the nose”… daft as a brush. Look up “pomander”.

Na&iuml&f doesn’t begin to explain the stupid in that one.

pecunium
8 years ago

In the middle east they used water, and their hands. It’s why they never offer, nor eat, with their left. In europe all sorts of things were used, same in the US. Corn-cobs were replaced with Sears & Roebuck.

Part of the reason for, “squat” toilets is they make it easier to clean one’s bum.

Historophilia
Historophilia
8 years ago

My University Campus is awash with ducks as well, at the centre of it is a huge artificial lake and there are more ducks, geese, swans, moorhens and the like than you can shake a stick at.

We have a pair of them that have adopted the accommodation block where I live and turn up every day and wait outside the front door to be fed. They actually tap on the glass with their beaks! It’s both adorable and kinda weird.

However all this means that there is an awful lot of duck and goose poo knocking around campus, And I mean A LOT.

jennydevildoll
8 years ago

So here in NYC we and people we know (and admittedly I know a pretty lumpen crowd) have gathered food where we can, set up portable grills or what have you to feed our communities without power to cook or keep food, some have handed out dry ice (I think Con-Ed) was even involved in that, and in two spots at least even GENERATED small amounts of electric power with rigged up bicycles (remember news stories last year when cops cut the power to Zuccotti Park during OWS? They’re those bikes.)…

Annnnd “Thinking” Housewife wrote a shallow article with classist overtones complaining we didn’t dress cheerfully enough to do it? Way to go down in the history of this disaster as a certified Asshole, ——— Housewife.

Diogenes The Cynic
Diogenes The Cynic
8 years ago

@The Kitteh

http://www.snopes.com/history/hoaxes/bathtub.asp

The topic here is Victorian era. I wrote my post to reflect that. Not gonna read the book you suggested because I’m behind in what I already want to read. My general knowledge of cleanliness comes from a book titled “The Good Old Days: They Weren’t So Good.”

I didn’t ignore what you wrote. I deliberately acknowledged it, in fact. Maybe if you didn’t selectively read you would have seen that. Its hard to bathe without indoor plumbing.

I’ll retract what I said about toothbrushes. They became popular 50 years before I thought they did.

But toiletpaper? I’m right about that. Maybe in your convoluted way of thinking, finding a single instance outside of what I said may make you right, but you would have to ignore a few things for it to make sense. I am not writing a dissertation, I’m making an argument deliberately based on a specific viewpoint, and that viewpoint is written from the perspective of a Western educated person. I’m not Chinese, and I would assume you’re not either. Heck, I know they made the Pythagorean theory first, but both of us still call it by the Greek name. I bet most Chinese do too. Our perspectives are entirely Western, and its goofy to presume otherwise.

Diogenes The Cynic
Diogenes The Cynic
8 years ago

@kyso

Which of us has read 2000 year old Aramaic texts dealing with this topic?

They used smooth stones. If anyone is missing common sense, it isn’t me.

Diogenes The Cynic
Diogenes The Cynic
8 years ago

@pecunium

Our college econ professor was the one who told us about the rose petals in the noses. I dunno, take it up with him if you don’t believe me.

And the whole left,right hand thing is post-Moammedian. What do you think they did before Mohammed?

Nepenthe
Nepenthe
8 years ago

If you read Aramaic, then I’m a unicorn. *gallops off to poop cupcakes and cry on cancer patients*

Ugh
Ugh
8 years ago

<blockquote Heck, I know they made the Pythagorean theory first, but both of us still call it by the Greek name. I bet most Chinese do too.

And you’d be wrong: http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8B%BE%E8%82%A1%E5%AE%9A%E7%90%86

“勾股定理” Gou1gu3ding4li3 : :lit, “The Checking Distance Units Rule.”

Protip: Ethnocentrist assumptions of what other languages call anything: usually incorrect.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

If you want to know something about history, you might want to consider asking a professor of history rather than a professor of economics.

I’m very amused that you’re now defining the period pre-Islam in the Middle East as modern. It doesn’t exactly line up with the Victorian period in the UK as far as the timeline goes.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Also, I wonder if you realize how many very unpleasant things you reveal about your worldview when you act as if things that happened in China can be waved away as not relevant to discussions of human history. I’m willing to believe that you’re that Eurocentric, but not everyone is, and not everyone here grew up in the EU or the Americas.

Ugh
Ugh
8 years ago

And the whole left,right hand thing is post-Moammedian. What do you think they did before Mohammed?

Doubtful. The Zend Avesta makes it clear that the left hand is for covering and touching the private parts, while the right hand is for touching food and most ritual objects.
http://www.avesta.org/ritual/rcc2.htm