Like other narrative arcs that replay over and over in our fairy tales and myths, the poison dress resonates for a reason. Clothing is intended to shelter us, to provide a firm barrier between the squishy stuff of our personhood and the sharp edges of the outside world. Clothing should protect us and shield our nervous parts from the thorns of Eden.
But despite its intended function, clothing is often harmful—particularly to the women who wear it and the workers who make it. Beauty is pain. And it’s a pain that begins far before Glauce tightens the strings on her golden bodice, long before ladies shimmied into their arsenic-laced gowns, long before we stepped into our Forever 21 high heels and stumbled towards the nearest bar. It’s a pain that begins in production.
I keep forgetting to post this, but it’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written. Support your local freelance writer! At the very least, you’ll learn that there is a shoe museum in Toronto which is amazing and filled with gorgeous old things. It’s a bit like my hair art piece… but even more fun to research. Go read it!