One of my students, who has quite the flair for the dramatic, was talking to me recently about the Renaissance Faire that she went to this summer. Of course, she dressed up in her best Renaissance garb. “You know who won the costume contest?” she asked me. “A FAIRY.” She practically spat the words. And I have to agree with her sentiment. How is it that a fairy can win a Renaissance costume contest? Seriously, people, get a grip–it’s not like fairies are an extinct species that only existed in the Renaissance. Life is not a Shakespearean play, regrettably.
I think popular culture has left some with the impression that Renaissance women dressed something like a cross between a pirate, Xena Warrior Princess, and a Victoria’s Secret model. Just because you slap a corset on doesn’t mean that you’re from the Renaissance. A ton of cleavage is not a trademark Renaissance look, despite appearances. I know this; I’m a History teacher.
Consider this rather cranky post a substitute for the unwritten post I should have done for Halloween, that would have been subtitled “Fairy Tale Princesses are Not Whores”. It seems that Halloween is a chance to reinterpret classical female character costumes with short skirts and tons o’ boob. Hello! Alice in Wonderland was approximately 8 years old. Not a slutty 27-year-old skank. Also, the Middle Ages were known more for practicality than for hearty-bosomed fun. It’s hard to adjust your neckline just right to show cleave and shoulder when you’ve got the Black Death.
(P.S.–how much do I love that the owner of the blog where I found this last picture named it “Mensa”? I think I’ve found my soulmate.)