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Passage Twenty-three (Women and Fashions)Whenever you see an old film, even one made as little as ten years ag

Passage Twenty-three (Women and Fashions)

Whenever you see an old film, even one made as little as ten years ago, you cannot help being struck by the appearance of the women taking part. Their hair-styles and make-up look dated; their skirts look either too long or too short; their general appearance is, in fact, slightly ludicrous. The men taking part in the film, on the other hand, are clearly recognizable. There is nothing about their appearance to suggest that they belong to an entirely different age.

This illusion is created by changing fashions. Over the year, the great majority of men have successfully resisted all attempts to make them change their style of dress. The same cannot be said for women. Each year a few so- called top designers in Paris or London lay down the law and women the whole world over rush to obey. The decrees of the designers are unpredictable and dictatorial. This year, they decide in their arbitrary fashion, skirts will be short and waists will be high; zips are in and buttons are out. Next year the law is reversed and far from taking exception, no one is even mildly surprised.

If women are mercilessly exploited year after year, they have only themselves to blame. Because they shudder at the thought of being seen in public in clothes that are out of fashion, they are annually black-mailed by the designers and the big stores. Clothes, which have been worn, only a few times have to be discarded because of the dictates of fashion. When you come to think of it, only a women is capable of standing in front of a wardrobe packed full of clothes and announcing sadly that she has nothing to wear.

Changing fashions are nothing more than the deliberate creation of waste. Many women squander vast sums of money each year to replace clothes that have hardly been worn. Women, who cannot afford to discard clothing in this way, waste hours of their time altering the dresses they have. Hem-limes are taken up or let down; waist-lines are taken in or let out; neck-lines are lowered or raised, and so on.
No one can claim that the fashion industry contributes anything really important to society. Fashion designers are rarely concerned with vital things like warmth, comfort and durability. They are only interested in outward appearance and they take advantage of the fact that women will put up with any amount of discomfort, providing they look right. There can hardly be a man who hasn’t at some time in his life smiled at the sight of a woman shivering in a flimsy dress on a wintry day, or delicately picking her way through deep snow in dainty shoes.

When comparing men and women in the matter of fashion, the conclusions to be drawn are obvious. Do the constantly changing fashions of women’s clothes, one wonders, reflect basic qualities of fickleness and instability? Men are too sensible to let themselves be bullied by fashion designers. Do their unchanging styles of dress reflect basic qualities of stability and reliability? That is for you to decide.

1. The main idea of this passage is
[A]. New fashions in clothes reflect the qualities of women.
[B]. New fashions in clothing are created solely for commercial exploitation of women.
[C]. The top designers seem to have the right to creating new fashion.
[D]. Men have the basic quality of reliability.

2. Why do the general appearance of actresses look ludicrous?
[A]. Because they want their appearance in the fashion.
[B]. Because the top designers want them to follow the fashion.
[C]. Because the top designers want them to make fashion.
[D]. Because the top designers want them to lead the fashion.

3. Why are women mercilessly exploited by the fashion designers?
[A]. They love new fashion.           [B]. They love new clothes.
[C]. They want to look beautiful.       [D]. They are too vain.

4. What are fashion designers interested in?
[A]. Outward appearance.             [B]. Comfort.
[C]. Beauty.                        [D]. Durability.


1. dated                            过时的
2. decree                           法令,命令
3. dictatorial                        专制的,惟我独尊的
4. arbitrary                         任意的,专横的
5. take exception (at)                 生气,发怒
6. take exception to (against)           对……提出异议
7. dictates (pl)                      意旨,命令,指令
8. squander                         浪费
9. hem                             褶边,折缝,镶边
10. flimsy                           薄的,没有价值的
11. dainty                           雅致的,讲究的
12. fickle                           易变的,轻浮的
13. bully                            欺负
14. lay down the law           (制定法律)这里指服装设计师发号施令或定出条条框框


1.  lay down the law           制定法律。这里指:发号施令或定出条条框框。
2.  Next year the law is reversed and far from taking exception, no one is even mildly surprised.
   [参考译文] 第二年,条例又反过来,人们远没有生气,甚至连稍稍的惊讶都没有。




1. B. 创制新时装就是对妇女的商业性剥削。答案遍及全文。也有几段突出描述。如:第二段第四句“每年,巴黎,伦敦的一些所谓高级设计师定出条条框框,全世界妇女竞相服从。设计师的条令难以预测,说一不二。”第三段“要说妇女年年被无情的剥削之事,只能怪她们自己。由于她们一想起在公共场所穿着过失的衣服就会发抖,所以他们每年都被设计师和大商店讹诈(勒索)……”第四段:“许多妇女(每年)浪费大笔钱财来置换她们从未穿过的服装,时装变化就是故意创造浪费。”
A. 时装反映妇女的秉性。这是在最后一段结论中提及,不是中心思想。   D. 男人具有可靠性的基本素质。不对。    C. 高级设计师似乎有权创造新款式。这是作者在批评设计者。

2. D. 因为高级设计师请她们领导时装潮流。只是常识,设计师新颖服装的推出,首先是让演员试装——等于时装模特的效用,掀起可以领导时装的新潮流。
A. 他们要打扮入时,这只是演员的一方面。      B. 随大流。     C. 作作样子。 都是不对的。

3. D. 他们太好虚荣。 这在文章的好几段内都提到。如第一题中的第二段,三段,四段的参考译文。如第三段后半部分“只穿了几次的衣服就因为时尚的命令而弃之一边。当你想到只有妇女能站在堆满衣服的衣柜前,悲哀的诉说她没有衣服穿。”第四段的后半段“花不起大笔钱财买衣服的妇女会花上好几个小时把他们已有的衣服换来换去”。第五段后半部分“男人一生中经常可以看到大冬天妇女颤抖在薄薄的衣衫中,或者穿着精致的鞋在雪地上选路走,这都令他们发笑”。最后一段结论,画龙点睛的以问点明“经常不断的换时装。人们不禁要问,这是不是反映了妇女轻浮和易变的基本素质(秉性)?”
A. 她们爱新时尚;   B. 她们爱新衣服;   C. 她们想瞧着美。这三项只是虚荣的部分组成。

4. A. 外观。答案在第五段“没有人认为时装工业为社会作过真正的贡献。时装设计师很少关心保暖,舒服和耐穿这类紧要的事,他们只是对外观感性趣,他们利用了妇女的心理:只要看着美,她们能忍受一切(痛苦)不舒服……。”
B. 舒适。   C. 美,时装不一定美。       D.  耐穿。


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