Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
More Delicious Austen|
|Date:||November 11th, 2004 12:27 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: My answer, part II
I think there's still here something to nitpick about :)
Let's look at the classic Austen-type female. She's looking for a husband and spends most of her time making sure she's not only attractive, but up-to-the-second in all the current fashion. When she goes to a ball, she pagents back and forth in front of the men in hopes one of them asks her to dance. She lives her life with one intention - making herself the most attractive to male suitors.
What Austen said in that excerpt (in my opinion, of course), is that much of this effort is wasted on the men. They can see she's pretty and attractive, but they don't care if the dress she is wearing is the latest in french fashion, streight from Paris, or one of her grandma's old dresses, that happens to fit her. They care if she looks nice, but they don't care about the fashion behind it.
So Austen asks "Why then do women put all that effort into being so concurrent?" And there's the rub. There could be several reasons. One is that they really don't know that men couldn't care less. That's what I think Austen thinks, but I also think that's not true. Another reason could be that they do it to be more 'correct' than the other women in her group, fighting over the same pool of available men, and thus somehow surpass them and beat them to submission. I think that is much more plausible.
The women you talk about, I think you'd agree, do it for neither of these reasons. Today's gal knows that she has to be pretty for her own sake before she can do anything about finding men. So she dresses nice and puts on makeup even if she isn't looking for anyone, for her own sake - and thus she also loses interest in the ever-changning fashion industry. I think those two are linked - if you're doing it for the wrong reasons, you'll fall into the fashion trap.
Austen saw that it was a trap and the excerpt is a warning - beware! A trap! All the excerpt says is just a 'beware' - check what your motives are. If you're doing it for the men, you can stop. They won't notice. The line you quoted says something more, though. Not only why you shouldn't do it, but also why you should - for yourself. If you do it for yourself, be ready for no one else but yourself to appreciate it, but at least you'll be doing it for the right reason.