In today's NY Times, Tierney's views of women's attire evolve owing to his son's interest in the Civil War. His initial impression of women at Civil War battle re-enactments is puzzlement as to why they would want to dress in heavy clothes just to play a supporting role for their warrior husbands, who get to do all the cool stuff, like pretend to kill people and die. I am inferring this from his statement: "We could understand guys wanting to play soldier, but why were their wives willing to camp out with them and swelter in as many as a dozen layers of petticoats and undergarments?". I'm glad he can relate to the guys wanting to play soldier, because I can't.
Anyway, he comes to realize that these women are in fact liberated by their bulky clothes. Even fat women look pretty good when encased in many layers, and the presence of hoops makes them even more appealing (to Tierney). These body-covering clothes allow women "to rebel against the American obsession with fitness..". How clever to work in the word "rebel" in an essay that mentions the Civil War!
I really don't see why Tierney stops his essay where he does, as he doesn't quite get to the natural extension of his argument: that women would find wearing a chador or burkha very liberating as well. If only they could find a man to bring them to a swell event like a battle re-enactment.
6 months ago