May 5, 2014

Relatable Me

vintage shorts, shirt, and cardigan // topshop shoes //

It's gauche to be caught trying right now, even more so than usual. When the term 'blogger look' became shorthand for donning more than one trend at a time and looking like a bit of an asshole, everyone suddenly wanted to be down with quiet, subtle style, only now we say 'chill' or 'low-key' because 'good taste' is old fashioned. I like excess. I want bright, architectural things on and about my person at all times, but this is becoming slightly untenable. I take Lyft as often as I can, because it makes me feel rich, or at least like I have a lot of friends, but my daily bus-and-walk commute to a casual office has prompted me to start building a casual wardrobe.... or at least to start thinking of what casual might look like... to someone... like me.

It looks like lots of elastic waists and shitty old t-shirts. In my excess I have decided that even casualness must be taken to extremes. Which is great. But dressing down also makes you look friendlier than you actually are, and I have no interest in looking relatable, because relatability is not a virtue in and of itself. Right now TV is gunning hard for relatability in the form of the adorkable phantom-everywoman known as the Female Slacker, an imaginary BFF who shares your realistic problems and only slightly unrealistic dreams. It's opened up more roles for female actors, but good television isn't necessarily important television: adding one more trope to the narrow canon of female archetypes is neither here nor there. Jubilation over 'relatable' female characters who are actually losers is a pyrrhic victory.

It's interesting too, that this image is being perpetrated by smart, hardworking, ambitious women in positions of power. Privileged or no, the Female Slacker is being created by anything but, while us hoi polloi are still playing dress-up and praising one another for looking more than human. Someone once commented "how are you even real!" on one of my Instagram photos and for a second I thought WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN BITCH HOW AM I NOT REAL? She was just being nice, but superlatives like  babe. goddess. dreamy. unreal. iconic. perfection  seem... I don't know, objectifying. They're not actually about me, or you. They're placeholders of a recorded apprehension, and very little thought. When someone asks how you're doing, you blurt fine or great! before even getting the chance to think. Every time I quickly thumb out "BABE!" on a photo because I'm too lazy for a more sincere or nuanced reaction, I bend to language, when language should be bending to me.

But of course, a lack of hyperboles and baroque punctuation just comes off as sarcasm, *aNd ThErIn LiEs ThE pRoBLem*


Amanda Bowen said...

Yes! I love this. I'm right there with you... if I'm going to dress in a t-shirt and jeans, it's at least going to be some cool jeans and a Jurassic Park t shirt. Also, that third photo is perfect.

Jenn from Fashion and Fringe said...

This post rules! I love that you are standing ground with your own personal style. No matter how easy casual dressing is - it doesn't mean shit if you look like everybody else. Very inspiring!

Zoƫ said...

Well damn, this is so articulate - it says everything that is necessary, in the blogging sphere of 'neutral' toned COS coat and Zara dresses. " Every time I quickly thumb out "BABE!" on a photo because I'm too lazy for a more sincere or nuanced reaction, I bend to language, when language should be bending to me." I need to adopt this as my mantra before I start doing the same thing myself. All this 'goddess' language does seem sincere, and objectifying, but you've articulated why it makes me feel uncomfortable.