Fascist Fashion

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People are weird.

Whenever they see me wearing something that does not fit my usual color scheme of black, blacker, dark and darker, they say “Wow, you look nice! That shirt/pants/dress is totally in style now!”

I’ve had white hairs since I was 16, and people always regarded me with a look that said “Why isn’t she dying her hair? She must have zero fashion sense”. Yet, just recently, a friend of mine saw my white hairs which tend to grow mostly in the front and said “Wow! I wish I had that streak of white hairs! It’s totally in style now!”

And anytime I walk into a clothing store (which happens VERY rarely since they never have what I’m looking for and I end up buying my clothes online), the employees always suggest things that are in style even if I asked for something completely different. So a conversation might go something like this:

Me: “I’m looking for a pair of jeans that are not skinny and are low rise.”

Store employee: [pulls out a pair of skinny high-rise jeans] “Try these, they’re totally in style now.”

Me: [audible sigh] “Never mind. Do you have a hemp purse with a long strap with no shiny decorations on it?”

Employee: [pulls out a faux leather purse, with a short strap, embroidered with fake diamonds and beads] “Why not this purse? It’s way more fashionable than the one you want.”

This is yet another reason why I don’t waste my time going to clothing stores that sell stuff that is “in style”. The employees just never listen to me.

People don’t seem to understand that I don’t buy, wear or look for stuff that is “in style”. I’m looking for stuff that is MY style. Because, God forbid, if I ever wear something that just isn’t me, I hate every minute of it and I feel like a fraud. This one time I went to a party I didn’t want to go to, but I was forced into going by my cousin who was visiting from Canada. My cousin also forced me to wear fashionable clothes and shoes because she said they wouldn’t let me in the club if I was wearing my regular metalhead attire.

“Good!” I said. “I don’t want them to let me in. I don’t even want to go!”

But my cousin was unrelenting. I wore the fucking ugly clothes and wanted to kill myself the entire fucking night.

This is the curse of fashion. People will force it on you, and at times, they will force it on you so hard that you will eventually give in if only to make them shut the fuck up.

You have no idea how awful I look with stylish clothes, and you have no idea how awkward I feel. And it seems to me like my husband is the only one who understands me because whenever I wear something that isn’t me, he doesn’t say what everybody says (“Wow! You look great, you’re in style!”). Instead, he says it like it is: “Meh, it will take some getting used to.”

Peace, love and conformists

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Your Roots Are Showing

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I just saw a post about why a white person having a mohawk is offensive to First Nations. One of the reasons was that appropriating a traditional Iroquois haircut is another form of theft committed by white nations and can be considered racist. I think that’s a pretty reasonable argument.

But then I thought about white people sporting dreadlocks which is a traditional Rastafarian hairdo. Is that also a form of culture theft or racism? And what about white people sporting Afros, originally an African do? Some Jews have them too. We call them Jewfros. Are we racist? And what about white people braiding their hair in all the funky ways that African-Americans do? Is that also culture theft? And what about white people who clean shave their heads? Are they guilty of stealing the traditional Tibetan monk haircut? And what if one day, wearing sidelocks became the next haircut fad? Should I feel offended that white people have appropriated the haircut of my fellow religious Jewish people? Should I accuse them all of antisemitism?

What if the situation was reversed? What about African women who get a perm? Can they be blamed for stealing the traditional do of white people, straight hair?

And what about clothes? Can white people be guilty of culture theft if they wear a poncho? Or a kaftan? Or a kimono? Also, what about food? Are all my friends really anti-Japan because they all happen to love Sushi?

What about other cultural stuff? Musical styles, musical instruments, languages and dialects, body art and body modifications? Am I racist because I have tattoos, which originated among African tribes? Really?

Where do we draw the line for culture theft? Where do we draw the line for racism?

Peace, love and roots are made to be broken

Give Me Back My Body

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I just read a blog post about rape culture and how the blame of rape is put on the victim if she was drunk or wearing provocative clothing. Throughout the post, I felt like ownership of my body slipped right from under me. It’s not like I never knew it before, but every time I read a story about this girl or that woman being raped, followed by statements by the others such as “She shouldn’t have been drinking,” “she shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt/shirt/shorts/hairdo/makeup,” I feel objectified and just plain disgusted by the entire world and this shitty fucking society.

Like is mentioned in the above linked post, I sometimes get responses such as “Until you go live in the Middle East, you have no right to speak about rape culture.”

Number one, rape culture exists in every corner, in every cave of this godforsaken world because patriarchy perpetuates it and makes it ok to demonize a rape victim.

Number two, dipshits should know I LIVE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. So there. We’ve just cleared me of any silencing statements and from any declaration that says I have no right to speak my mind.

In terms of my opinions regarding ownership of my body, I feel like I constantly need to prove myself and stand up for myself in that respect. I’ve mentioned it in countless earlier posts, but my family clearly feel like they have the right to tell me what to do or not do with my body, my style of clothing, my hair, and body art. This for me is a blunt expression of “I own your body and can therefore tell you what to do with it.” If I were to confront my family about it, they would dismiss my claim as an exaggeration and make me feel stupid and guilty by saying something offensive like “Gosh! We can’t even talk to you anymore!”

Just this past month, I’ve been made to suffer endless pleads from my mom to show up at the Passover table wearing something “festive.” She was simply following her usual banter whenever holiday season comes around and dreads the moment I would show up at my grandmother’s house wearing plaid pants and an Arch Enemy t-shirt. Now I won’t have any problem wearing a skirt (except that I do prefer plaid pants and a metal t-shirt), but why do I still need to justify my style and claim my right to individuality and self-expression at 30 years of age?

Under the law, I’ve been considered an adult for the past 12 years. Twelve motherfucking years! Why can’t my mom just accept that I’m an adult, an individual, a mature woman with a unique style and who, despite all of society’s claims to the contrary, owns her body?

I’ve had this conversation (read: fight) with my mom on countless occasions. And on all counts, she made some dismissive statement that ultimately made me feel guilty.

I am in the process of writing a book about my years of psychological therapy and how I learned to free myself from the chains of guilt imposed on me by my parents. And although this therapy took place over four years ago, I feel like I’m back to square one. I know for a fact that my mom would make me feel guilty if I showed up with an outfit she doesn’t consider festive, or with a new piercing or a new tattoo… And she could do it without saying anything. The disappointment on her face would be inflicting all the guilt in the world and reiterating the same “I gave birth to you. I own you,” statement she says without even speaking.

I am so upset right now, I could cry. There is absolutely nothing I can do to make my family understand that I don’t want to be treated as a doll. If I said anything, it would be dismissed as quickly and painfully as a slap to the face.

OK, now I really am crying. My inner child is in pain. This isn’t right. This isn’t right.

It’s not fair that none of my male cousins get this treatment. They own their body from day one, no questions asked, while I’m 30 years old and still have to keep insisting and fighting and kicking and screaming for my body, and still have no claims to it.

I don’t wanna go to my family’s house for the holiday. I don’t want to cave in to my mother’s pleas and take my inner child’s needs for granted once again. And I also don’t want to respond to my inner child’s needs and suffer the guilt inflicted on me by my mother’s expression, yet again.

Enough.

DIY Month – Day 24: Patch Design

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I have dozens of grrrlVIRUS patches. I’m selling some, trading some, giving some as gifts, sewed a few on my clothes/bags, and more than I know what to do with. So I decided it was time to make a different patch. I considered a few ideas:

– “I ❤ Zines”
– “Fuck the press. Zines are the best.”
– “Metal Grrrl”
– Some feminized version of the Holy Name in Hebrew (Elohima, Hakdosha Brucha Hi, etc.)

But then, I thought of the obvious. I never had a riot grrrl patch, so why not make one? So I used a piece of fabric, some black and pink fabric paint, and stenciled a simple yet pretty riot grrrl logo. I’m quite happy with it. Once it dries, I’ll sew it on my backpack.

RG PatchRG Patch material

Peace, love and Riot On!