girl things

Nov. 3rd, 2011 09:23 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
I've been feeling surprisingly interested in being more femme lately!

I mean, I guess in a way it's not surprising, and that way is that I get bored very easily. My hairdresser mentioned last time I saw him that I've probably had eight different hairstyles in the time he's been cutting my hair where most of his other clients have had one or two. Other stuff that might be going on:

1) I pooped out a baby! And now I am feeding him from my boobs! I am pretty sure that somewhere in my brain biological determinism is going "huh, now we are a mama...I guess we should step up our female game?"

2) I have been reading [personal profile] sparkymonster and her cronies geek out about fabulous eyeshadow and such over Twitter and, you know, it sounds like fun! I mean, I have always liked costume and elaborate clothes. I wear a lot of hats!. See above re: inconstancy, I have had more butch periods and more femme periods in my life, but if I had to pick my favorite overall gender presentation or the one that has appealed to me most throughout my life, I would have to say: foppish. If I could choose what I would look like it would probably be Adam Ant. Oh, sorry, under-35s: like Captain Jack Sparrow, but with fewer bodily parasites.

3) I've been feeling ugly, and lord knows that the fastest way for me to get some strokes for my appearance is to conform more to gender rules. And it would be so much easier to be more femmey. (In some ways. In other ways, it's so nice to have stuff that I just handwave and say "that does not apply to me because of my gender presentation, thank you." Things like leg depilation. I would have to deal with that again, and damn is that not appealing.)

4) It might be as simple as the fact that I am growing out my hair, actually.

But see, there's just one of the many problems with this idea: the whole reason I am growing out my hair is that short hair only looks good if you get it cut regularly, and it's much harder to get the time to do that right now, so I thought I'd try to get a haircut that would be more forgiving! I have no time! It's not a good point in my life to get curious about makeup! If I have ten minutes that I could spend zerberting the baby, or sleeping, or fucking around on the internet, or reading, or drawing on my eyelids: YOU LOSE, EYELIDS.

I don't know. I have a wedding to go to this month, and then there are holiday parties, and I need something to wear, because none of my pre-pregnancy tops fit right anymore...maybe I will buy a dress and see how it goes? Igigi is a good place to buy dresses, right? Fatshionistas, help me out - where should I be looking? Also, shit, if I wear a dress, I'll need a purse, right? They don't have pockets? Where's a good place to get a purse from?
metaphortunate: (Default)
And on another note, I have recently been privileged to see, up close and personal, an didactically clear example of why exactly it is so profitable for various industries to keep us in a constant state of insecurity. Since about my eighth month of pregnancy - and much more strongly since giving birth - I have felt ugly*. It makes a shocking difference to my level of happiness. I mean, I am noticeably unhappy about it every day, all day. Even though whether or not I am ugly affects most of my daily life not at all. I can't seem to shake it**.

And, as a consequence, I'm spending money. I'm not exactly going on shopping sprees - except for nursing tops, I guess, but it turns out I didn't used to own any of those, so I kind of had to - but when I buy things I need, I'm buying pricier ones. I bought fancy jeans to replace the ones that wore out. When I had to buy sunglasses, I bought fancy ones. I bought a pretty watch. Because when I'm feeling ugly, it's more worth money to me that at least my clothes can look nice.

*Please don't comment to tell me about whether or not I actually look ugly; it's not a rational thing, you can't help. I appreciate it if you were gonna. I was considering turning off comments but I'm interested in people's thoughts on insecurity/spending.

**I'm not unhappy all day every day! But I can tell that I'm slightly unhappier than I would be otherwise, because I keep thinking about it.
metaphortunate: (Default)
" economic terms it is a crime, in that it leads to the waste of human labor, money, and materials." - Adolf Loos, "Ornament and Crime", 1908

It amuses me no end that the decoration-is-evil function-straitjackets-form simply-expressed-structure aesthetic philosophy that hypercapitalist Ayn Rand gave her architect hero in The Fountainhead has its roots in the socialism of Red Vienna. Loos makes some fairly dodgy blanket aesthetic statements, but a large part of his argument is economic:
The harm done by ornament to the ranks of the producers is even greater...the craftsman producing the ornament is not fairly rewarded for his labour. The condition among wood carvers and turners, the criminally low rates paid to embroiderers and lace makers are well-known. An ornamental craftsman has to work for twenty hours to reach the pay a modern worker earns in eight. In general, decoration makes objects more expensive, but despite that it does happen that a decorated object, with materials costing the same and demonstrably taking three times as long to produce, is put on sale at half the price of a plain object. The result of omitting decoration is a reduction in working hours and an increase in wages. A Chinese wood carver works for sixteen hours, an American labourer for eight. If I pay as much for a plain box as for one with ornamentation, the difference in labour time belongs to the worker. And if there were no ornaments at all—a state that will perhaps come about after thousands of years—we would need to work for only four hours instead of eight, since at the moment half of our labour is accounted for by ornamentation.

It's hard to believe Loos' argument that ornament is a crime against the worker who produces it, when the woman I bought a nursing necklace from on Etsy (in an effort to keep the Junebug's mind on his work, and completely ineffective incidentally) advertises her necklaces with
Life Circles Necklaces are handmade with care by a part-time working mother. Thank you for helping to support my family so that I can spend more time at home with my child :-)
But is it a crime against me? Does the societal expectation that women spend a good chunk of their income on ornament, make us poorer in the same way that Loos claims it made his Austria poorer:
As far as the economic aspect is concerned, if you have two people living next door to each other who have the same needs, the same aspirations, and the same income, but who belong to different cultural epochs, you will find the man of the twentieth century getting richer and richer, and the man of the eighteenth century poorer and poorer. I am assuming, of course, that in both cases their lifestyles reflect their attitudes. The man of the twentieth century needs much less capital to supply his needs, and can therefore make savings. The vegetables he likes are simply cooked in water and served with a knob of butter. They taste good to the other only if there are nuts and honey mixed in, and a cook has spent hours over them. Decorated plates cost more, while twentieth-century man likes his food on white crockery alone. The one saves money while the other throws it away. And it is the same with whole nations. Woe betide the people that lag behind in their cultural development. The English are getting wealthier, and we poorer…
I think about this when I go to Etsy. And when I pass by stores that J describes as "candles-and-sandals" - you know the ones, they infest every tiny tourist town. And every time I walk down my block, past the nail salon, with the pathetically hopeful balloons tied to its outdoor folding list of prices. There's this sector of the economy that seems to largely consist of women selling pointless ornamentation to each other. I don't understand how it works. It's like that joke about the small town that survives by the residents taking in each others' washing. Where is the money coming from? Is it coming from husbands?


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metaphortunate son

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