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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cesar Padilla ponders a desperate situation...

Recently, the best-selling novelist Ira Levin (Rosemary's Baby, The Boys from Brazil) passed away. As I read his obituary, I fondly recalled what is, in my opinion, his greatest work, The Stepford Wives—so prophetic in recognizing the decline of the post-feminist woman. I now realize that everywhere I go, the Desperate Housewife is the new Stepford Wife. Across the country, women en masse seem fascinated with losing their identities in an effort to consume that most boring, uninspired look seen on TV. At best, the look is Donna Karan; at worst, TJ Maxx—the same nasty blonde highlights, the same damaged and fried look, same eyebrows. Ad nauseam. Housewives, newscasters, lawyers, politicians, socialites, debutantes, strippers, single women, moms and so on. Should they show crack or not? Valley or no valley? These are the new degrees of separation.

And as American women do their best to channel their inner Desperate Housewife, fashion companies across the board have done a tremendous job in the homogenization of these women. As I venture into retail establishments, I realize how uniform women's fashion has become. The urban woman is now the suburban woman and vice versa. What was once relegated to Stepford is now everywhere. What is the difference between Urban Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Gap, Old Navy, Bebe, Forever 21, Calypso and the rest when they all have the same color palettes, fabrics, styles and cuts, give or take a few inches? C'mon ladies, rise above.