Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

More fashions from Laos Enosi

I've run whole plots that I put less thought into than these clothing designs. These are the ones for the humans.

The first two images are females; the last is a male.

Unlike the foxes, Laosian culture assigns gender roles to humans, which is in part responsible for the striking difference in human male and female attire.

Human male attire is fairly simple: over-the-knee leather boots, closely-fitted leggings (knit material), loose shirt with bat-wing style sleeves (similar to the fox's, but humans typically wear simple braided belts instead of the "cummerbund" style), and a gikeko (similar to the fox's, but without the split in back, and usually with a high, stand=up collar, not visible in this picture). Country folk also sport the little cape shown here, made of leather, and worn outdoors when it's too warm for a full cloak. Townspeople may wear the same style of cape, but usually as an affectation, and made of some lightweight material. Gloves are common to both rich folk and poor, but the style shown here are leather "working gloves"--nobility wear tightly fitted gloves, of fine leather for travelling, and lightweight knits for ordinary wear.

Human female attire is ridiculously complicated. Human women get to be the barbie dolls of the Laosian peoples, for two reasons: one, they are regarded as weak, frail, and generally helpless in physical matters, and two, they are considered particularly vulnerable to the effects of skotono.

"Skotono" is the reason that everyone in Laos Enosi wears as much clothing as they do--particularly humans, especially women. Skotono is a kind of "acid rain"--except, without going into too many details, let's just say that skotono is exceedingly dangerous when it's falling. It falls mainly during the "storm season" (in late autumn) and can kill an unprotected human in a matter of minutes. (It will kill foxes, too, but their fur offers some natural protection, so they're not quite so paranoid about it.)

Since human women are considered near-useless for physical work to begin with, there's no pressing reason not to layer clothing on top of them. Since they're considered "extra vulnerable" to skotono, and clothing (especially leather) offers some protection from it, there's added incentive to heap layers on them. As a result, they wears gobs of clothing.

The first female picture is of a woman in her "underwear"--which consists of a long-sleeved, lightweight dress closely buttoned down the forearms, and a corset-like lace-front neck-to thigh garment. (They also wear a sort of thin "culotte" thing under the underdress, but there's only so many individual layers I'm going to draw.) The "corset" isn't the Victorian-style I-can't-breathe variety; once a woman finishes dressing you can't tell how thin or fat she is anyway. The sleeves of the underdress are the only thing that still show once she's fully clothed.

Over the underdress is another dress with "batwing" sleeves that push to cuff at the elbows. You can see a glimpse of this dress also as the center strip down the front. It's not a full dress--the sides are open. But you can't tell that, because over it go two long "side panels" (like a dress missing the middle of the front and the middle of the back. It is held together by the girdle). Then over that goes a wide girdle with a long flap in front and a longer one in the back (traditionally, leather). And on top there's another cape, except the woman's fastens up the back and has a high collar. Traditionally, the woman's cape has no hood...but that's because they get saddled with that hat-and-veil arrangement.

Incidentally, women wear the same over-the-knee boots as men, not that you can tell.

Fully dressed Laosian human women tend not to do much in the way of exercise, or even, say, moving, during the hotter parts of summer. Apagorevo, it should be noted, has fairly mild summers.

Though originally developed for protection against outside elements, for human women in particular, wearing the traditional clothing has taken on cultural and social implications. In certain provinces of Laos Enosi, human women will not remove even the veil except in the privacy of their own homes, and without company. In the province of Sychi, however, it's generally considered acceptable to remove the veil and the cape as long as the woman is inside. Taking off any other layers would be immodest, however.

It's also worth noting that different classes of women are subject to different rules. Broadly speaking, the upper classes are more sedentary and educated than the lower. Poor working women, and country folk especially, treat clothing as a more practical matter, and not with the degree of ceremony that the middle and upper classes will.

Though human women get severely stereotyped, it is not to the degree of regarding them as chattel or property. While their physical abilities are considered virtually non-existant, human women are encouraged to study and to teach, and the vast majority of leading philosophers, mathemeticians, and theorists among the humans have been women. These pursuits, and generally, any theoretical study, are considered "women's work" and human men are discouraged from serious involvement in them. ("You're a man, you wouldn't understand.") Certain art forms are also considered the province of women, and they also are assumed to have such gender traits as "nurturing," "compassionate," "empathic," et al. The stereotype sword cuts both ways, as human males are commeasurately assumed not to possess such qualities. Broadly speaking, however, human women get the short end of the stick in terms of real power; they get a lot of coddling and protection, and a certain amount of genuine respect, but they are still isolated by their position from the mainstream of society.

Though it's generally understood among the Laosian population that "humans and foxes do things differently" there is inevitably a certain contempt for the ways of the Other, especially among the less tolerant. Humans tend to think of fox females as "shameless hussies" who "don't know their place." Foxes see human women as pathetic and incompetent (admittedly, humans sometimes see human women as this way, too) and the men as undereducated and barbaric. They also regard the whole human race as "dirty", because humans sweat, and because they don't take off their shoes when entering their own houses. (Only a truly stupid human, or one wishing to insult their vulpine host, doesn't take off his boots before entering a fox's house, however.)

Humans, especially human women, regard foxes as intellectually inferior to their own race, mostly because few foxes show the same level of interest that human women do in theoretical studies. (Even foxes often send their children to schools taught by human women, or employ human women as tutors. The foxes, however, don't see this as a matter of "human superiority". Rather, they regard the excellence of human women as a matter of over-emphasis on too-narrow fields, where the foxes prefer a broader base of education for themselves, or more practical pursuits.)
Tags: apagorevo, art, gaming

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