Dressing Up Anne Frank

by Seth Oelbaum


Anne Frank is one of the most fortunate creatures to ever be compelled to live on earth. If I wasn’t a boy – that is to say, if I was a girl — she’d most likely be included in the Top 5 Girls Who I’d Want to Be. And it’s just not me who admires Anne so. Angela Chase, the moody heroine ofMy So-Called Life, envies her too. When Angela’s high-school English teacher asks her to describe Anne’s predicament, Angela answers, “Lucky.” Maggie Nelson – a one-percent poet – is fascinated by Anne as well. “But who can guess / what Anne would have said / about the last place she went,” Maggie speculates, with fantastic suspense. There’s plenty more examples – including a significant sample of sexualized feminists who harp on Anne’s clitoris – but that’ll do presently.

What’s of primary importance is that Anne’s life was preponderantly sensational and romantic. Her setting was one of a studio movie (the Holocaust), but, being confined to a secret annex, it was also one of a stormy Victorian romance novel. She kind of resembles Bertha Mason. Both were concealed from external society due to dark, devastatingly charming forces: Hitler and Lord Rochester. Then Anne’s also sort of like Harriet the Spy (Paramount Pictures). Both Anne and Harriet meticulously record their thoughts, especially their mean ones: Harriet is contemptuous of Sport’s (one of her BFFs) lack of money; Anne. meanwhile, puts down her future one true love, Peter, by declaring: “Can’t expect much from his company.” Yes, Anne’s disposition is commendably catty and literary. But a famous literary boy, Harold Bloom, says:

A child’s diary, even when she was so natural a writer, rarely could sustain literary criticism. Since this diary is emblematic of hundreds of thousands of murdered children, criticism is irrelevant. I myself have no qualifications except as a literary critic. One cannot write about Anne Frank’s Diary as if Shakespeare, or Philip Roth, is the subject.

Uh-uh, Shakespeare was probably bisexual, or, according to rumors, an average person whose name was usurped by a member of Queen Elizabeth’s court (or the Queen herself) for a pseudonym. There’s nothing special about liking boys and girls, nor is there anything worth noticing about the middle class. As for Philip Roth… well, we know what Baby Adolf would say about him.

A more marvelous evaluation comes from Girl Land author, Caitlin Flanagan:  “Anne Frank is an imp, a brat, a narcissist, a sulker, a manipulator, a manic talker, a flirt, and a person who insisted on the rapt attention of everyone around her at one moment, and on the pure privacy that all misunderstood people demand at the next.” Anne is moody and mysterious. She might possess some relationship to Fiona Apple or Lana Del Ray. These girls contain conflicting traits too. Conflict is quite entertaining, and entertainment should look lovely, and Anne Frank shall be just that since I shall dress her up.


As with most great girls, Anne is inevitably entranced by boys. “One simply can’t seem to avoid it,” declares Anne. Boy are adamant about not avoiding her as well. According to Anne, “As soon as a boy asks if he may bicycle home with me and we get into a conversation, nine out of ten times I can be sure that he will fall head over heels in love and simply won’t allow me out of his sight.” The transition to the secret annex did not squash the spell that she had over boys and vice versa. Peter, a boy who she shared the attic with, is initially dismissed as “gawky and shy.”  But two years of sharing the same hiding spot with the boy modifies Anne’s mindset. Indeed, it’s as if Cupid had flown into the Holocaust and flung one of his bows into Anne’s heart. The crush is considerable enough for Anne to fuse Peter with the identity of a former pre-secret annex crush Petel. “Will I ever feel his cheek against mine, like I felt Petel’s cheek in my dream?” laments Anne. “Oh, Peter and Petel you are one in the same. They don’t understand us.” That’s true, most mommies and daddies fail to comprehend grand romances. They’re too busy turning money into commodities and then back into money again. But Anne’s mommy and daddy also possess justification for trying to constrict her access to her humongous crush. Of course, boys are big, tough, mean, and aggressive, and you want them to do so many things to you; yet, conversely, it’s because boys are big, tough, mean, and aggressive, and they can do so many things to you that they should be kept away from you. Boys are, alas, a contentious contradiction. So when Anne wants Peter/Petel to be near she should wear this John Rocha Fall 13 flowery dress. Smelling splendidly is what flowers do, and everyone with any principles whatsoever wants to be near flowers. But when Anne doesn’t want Peter/Petel to be near her (even though she probably really does), she should sport this Meadham Kirchoff dress. The veil will prevent any kisses and the apron-like middle will alert Peter/Petel that she aims to be a dutiful housewife, not the kind of girl who goes around kissing any boy who happens to be hiding in a secret annex with her due to the fact that an Austrian boy wants to kill almost every single human on earth beginning with the Jews.

John Rocha Fall 13

John Rocha Fall 13


Meadham Kirchoff Fall 13

A dilemma that academic feminists are dealing with is also one that Anne had to face – that dilemma is the dilemma of reverence for your elders. According to J. Jack Halberstam, elder feminists are peeved at the lack of appreciation they receive from younger feminists, while younger feminists are frustrated with the confines created by previous generations. Anne, too, brims with disgust for her mommy (her actually mommy, though, not an adviser or a speaker that heard at a conference). “I’m boiling with rage,” announces Anne. “I’d like to stamp my feet, scream, give mommy a good shaking, cry, and I don’t know what else.” Anne abhors her mommy’s mocking glances and sly digs, and she certainly condemns how her mommy is more understanding towards her big sister Margot than to her. Anne’s distaste for her mommy is such that she refuses to permit her to listen to her prayers. According to Anne, she and her mommy are “exact opposites; so naturally we are bound to run up against each other.” But a collision would be avoided if Anne was attired in this angelic pantsuit from Comme des Garcons. An ensemble such as this would furnish Anne with wings, and then she could fly away from her archenemy to some place pleasant, like Disney World, which invariably smells of vanilla or peppermint.

Comme des Garcons Fall 13

Comme des Garcons Fall 13

On 29 March 1944 (a Wednesday) an MP on the Dutch News from London announces that they “ought to make a collection of diaries and letters after the war.” The news starts Anne’s mind speeding down the path to fame. “Just imagine how interesting it would be if I were to publish a romance of the ‘Secret Annexe,’ ” speculates Anne. “The title alone would be enough to make people think it was a detective story.” A couple of entries later, Anne declares, “I know that I can write. Anyone who doesn’t write doesn’t know how wonderful it is.” Though Anne isn’t a Christian, she shares the same faith for the recorded word as John Milton. Milton, based on his evaluation, is the “strongest Christian.” To him, Christianity and God are entwined with knowledge. One of the primary ways one bestows knowledge is through books, which, to Milton, contain the “precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” Even if you’re dead you will still be alive because your spirit will reside in your books. This is quite ghostly, so Anne should wear this white, billowy dress by Giles.

Giles Fall 13

Giles Fall 13

The dress is also perfect for Anne’s final destination: Auschwitz. Anne will die here, but, since she spent her earth time dishing out insight, she’s pure, so she should have little to no vexations acquiring access to heaven.