Posts Written by Jenna

The Clothes Do Not Make the Man: A Feminist Response to J. Bryan Lowder’s Most Recent “Fine Whine”

Recently, J. Bryan Lowder contributed his two-cents to Slate’s “A Fine Whine” feature, detailing his judgments on the clothing choices of his fellow travelers in “Take a One Way Trip From Tatty to Natty.” Typically reserved for frivolous topics, “A Fine Whine” usually provides a stage for snarky yet delightful commentary on unpopular opinions. “Fireworks Suck,” by Troy Patterson, was a particularly tickling example of snark done well; a hyperbolic poke at the absurdity of a tradition we take for granted.  But snark, as we know, is a delicate art, and as Lowder proved this week, missing the mark can mean providing the reader with a less-than-fine whine at best—and hateful, shallow noise at worst. Lowder’s piece laments what he observes as a trend toward the general public dressing sloppily for travel, revealing not only his own, solipsistic standards for dress, but his judgments against those that offend his sophisticated sensibilities. I began the piece hoping to be entertained by the smarmy musings of, say, the avuncular curmudgeon, but I left wondering, Who the hell are you to tell me what to wear? 

The basic premise of Lowder’s argument is this: when he has to suffer the indignities of being thrown into Coach Class with the rest of us plebes, he goes out of his way to dress up for it, to prove to the rest of us, via his refined fashion choices (clothing likely produced by low-wage workers who ...

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