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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bias Against Clean-Cut, Ivy-Type Guys

The blog Ivy Style was founded in 2008 by Christian Chensvold, a New York-based writer who publishes about male fashion. He has founded also the websites, and Chensvold attended Cal State Fullerton on a fencing scholarship, where he was conference champion while studying English. He is an author of the books The Stylish Life: Golf and Ivy Style: Radical Conformists.

In 2009 he wrote an article, titled Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, about Robbie Gould's Ivy-Style clothing in Dirty Dancing. Here is an excerpt, as illustrated:
Dirty Dancing ... showed Hollywood’s bias against clean-cut, Ivy-clad guys on the path to success. In other words, the kind of characters who used to be the good guys.
Robbie Gould wearing a madras jacket
in the movie "Dirty Dancing"
Every so often Hollywood makes a film that perfectly crystallizes the inversion of values that has taken place in America since the 1960s. Dirty Dancing — made in 1987 but set in 1963 — perfectly illustrates the new-found bias against clean-cut, Ivy-type guys who wear madras jackets.

Set at a summer resort in New York’s Catskill Mountains, the movie is a powerful piece of counter-cultural propaganda that, through the medium of cable television, repeatedly brainwashes American women into thinking that uneducated hunks in leather jackets are preferable to college boys in oxford-cloth button-downs. Johnny, played by Patrick Swayze, is poor and dresses in all black. He is the film’s hero. Robbie (pictured) wears white bucks and tennis sweaters. He is the film’s villain.

Yeah, try and wrap your head around that one.
Robbie Gould wearing a tennis sweater
in the movie "Dirty Dancing"
Robbie is a Yale med student working a summer job at the resort. Evidently planning to study gynaecology, Robbie has no less than three dalliances during the course of the film.

But while Robbie has the collegiate look, he’s no rich kid: Not only is he forced to work as a waiter to pay for med school, his sense of superiority, unsupported by high birth, must seek its justification in the novels of Ayn Rand. At one point Robbie spouts a cynical remark about the superiority of the select few, then whips out a tattered copy of The Fountainhead. He’s promptly called a sleazebag.

At the end of the film, the resort’s owner laments how the business has survived two World Wars and the Great Depression, but he isn’t sure he’ll make it through the ’60s.

“It all seems to be ending,” he says wistfully. “You think kids want to come with their parents and take foxtrot lessons?”

Here are some comments that follow Chensvold's article.
This is a great article. It’s so true in American movies. It makes me think that the movie directors/writers were picked on, bullied or had some issues with the clean cut “ivy style” type of guys when they were young, and so they wanted to get these guys back by making them look evil in the movies.

Another Swayze movie that shows this bias is The outsiders. The Greasers are the poor class and fight the preppie “Socs”. The Socs are portrayed as huge jerks and evil villains, and the movie tries to show the poor Greasers as cool, heroes, etc.

After living life, I hope most kids realize that these movies are fake, and people SHOULD emulate college type, educated people rather than punks who try to destroy civilized society.


The barbarians are not at the gate, they are among us, and have been for a long time. Anything that can help to slow their progress and create a reaction deserves our praise and support. Thanks again, Ivy Style, for fighting the good fight.


.... I didn’t go to Yale medical school, but I have worked as a ballroom dance instructor. Also, whenever I lock my keys in my car, I have a tendency to smash the window rather than call Triple A.


I understand the enduring reality (and wisdom) of De gustibus non est disputandum. And I have lived long enough to know that there are natural- shouldered jerks and polyester-shirted gentlemen.

That said, the Ivy/Establishment style never fails and never betrays because it is so rooted in a long-proven, quiet practicality, quality and sensibility which imparts its own authority. That very authority makes it the inevitable target of those (movie makers, it seems, chief among them) who are, in Nat Henthoff’s penetrating phrase, “class voyeurs” — always busy playing the politics of envy and resentment.

Thanks, Christian, for pointing out “Dirty Dancing” as a prime example.


Nice article for several reasons:

A. for highlighting the class-envy politics of Hollywood

B. the inherent wank tendency of your average so-called ‘meritocrat.’ This particular villain is perhaps so nasty because of his own crisis of confidence.

In my experience real pretension usually arises for individuals who don’t necessarily have the foundation to back up their presumptuously haughty airs.


You’ve approached, but have not quite hit, the target. It’s not just “bias against clean-cut, Ivy-type guys who wear madras jackets” that Hollywood and the rest of the mass media promote; it’s bias against traditional values, Western civilization, and, ultimately, white people themselves.

Although this movie is only a minor player in this overarching motif, if you look at society at large, you will see this is a significant thread running through it.


So, let me get this straight: A guy in an oxford and weejuns is a guy with values. A guy in a leather jacket on a motorbike is devoid of values and wants nothing more that to destroy Western civilization?

This may be the most trite article I’ve ever read!


The preppy rich kid is pretty much the archetypical nemesis of every John Hughes or other 80s teen movie. It’s quite a simple device from a narrative point of view to pit an outsider who is challenging the old guard as the hero (who has to get everything on his own merit), and the representatives of the established privileged class (who live the easy life off daddy’s money and social networks) as the villains. This fits well with American notions of class and meritocracy, individualism and ‘revolutionary/rebellious’ political and economic values.

That said, John Hughes did a better job than many of his peers who used the trust fund preppy as main rival to the hero for the attentions of the girl by often playing with the fraught nature of cross-clique romance, often featuring the ‘sympathetic’ rich kid (Blane in Pretty in Pink, Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) in Some Kind of Wonderful, Jake in Sixteen Candles, Claire in The Breakfast Club).


.... I think Christian is spot on with this realization that Hollywood hates traditional values. They promote the worst in almost all films. It’s been said that a film like Lord of the Rings could never have been made in America these days (too much honor, loyalty and selfless sacrifice). This is also why they absolutely hate and defame Mel Gibson (Braveheart).

It is most definitely intentional. Their goal is to corrupt our youth and they have done a fine job of it for decades. It has long been their plan to lay the rails for a pathetic multiculturalist society.

More examples:

Caddyshack (they destroy the golf club at the end; anti “right of free association” propaganda

Dead Poets Society (prep kids CAN be “enlightened” –with Marxist ideology!)

Karate Kid (Rude a-hole Johnny hangs out at country clubs, his preppy ex loves underprivileged Danny; to the films credit, Johnny realizes he’s been wrong at the end and personally hands Danny the karate trophy)

I just realized I’d have to list almost every teen comedy since 1978 to point out all the twisted messages aimed at kids in films.

We used to look up our betters and strive to emulate their success. Now youth are being conditioned to despise anyone perceived as better than ourselves. Rich vs poor (and now women vs men via the destructive poison that is feminism) rhetoric and portrayals proves to any thinking man that our media is in the hands on communist lunatics.

.... Preppy clothes, to me, are an outward expression of a person's values. Young girls especially are brainwashed with movies into wanting the rough characters from the wrong side of town and hating the affluent kid who’s going somewhere. The media knows the likely outcome. They love destroying your daughters. They get off on it.

The portrayal is always thus: underprivileged kid is noble, creative, sensitive, polite and trustworthy; the prep kid is evil, cunning, insensitive, rude and untrustworthy.

Best thing you could ever do is shield your kids from the media, and even televised sports (weapons of mass distraction). I’ve even gone so far as to explain how the media works, who writes the dialog, how someone with an ideological axe to grind can portray things in any fashion they want. Once you do this Hollywood's power to influence is vastly diminished.


.... Look at Hayes Code-era movies. They have adults acting like adults, childlike children, brave men, feminine women, and moral messages. Although there may be innuendo and suggestion, the violence mostly takes place off-screen, and the love-making is conducted through singing, dancing, virtuous action, and emotional depth. The woman falls for the right man, the brave man wins the day, families come together or stay together, and all is right with the world at the end. All without profanity, blasphemy, or other crass elements.

Contrast that with the vulgar, violent, nihilistic filth that passes for “entertainment” these days. Movie do not just reflect the culture; they also guide it.


The preppy douchebag was a fixture in movies in the 80’s. Given that, I don’t think it was much of a stretch for the audience in ’87 to be convinced that a guy dressed Ivy League was the bad guy.

In a following article, Chensvold speculated that a madras jacket in Ralph Lauren's new collection for the Spring and Summer of 2015 perhaps was inspired by Robbie Gould's wardrobe.
A madras jacket in the Spring/Summer 2015 collection
of designer Ralph Lauren

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