About Me

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New homeowner in Black Rock, Buffalo NY. Bachelors in art ed, masters in social studies/ special ed, job where I use neither. Addiction to thrifting, tights/leggings, boots, VHS tapes and liquid eyeliner. Enjoy painting, drawing and occasionally some chalk on the sidewalk. Love de- and reconstructing clothes, knitting, making jewelry and experimenting with fun eye makeup and hair color changes. Love the outdoors, learning to garden, practicing composter. Obsessed with greening up my life but not a preachy, pretentious jerk about the subject (maybe a bit pushy on the recycling thing *cough*). Loads of interests, small circle of friends, always looking for more of both. My fashion is influenced by street style, movies, comics, and my imagination.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Pornocizing of Alternative Fashion

Ever notice when you try to look up anything concerning alternative fashion or alternative women, especially in conjunction with a word like movie or film, your entire search is heavy-laden with porn and dating sites promising you “rocker-chick honeys”?

Does anyone else find it odd that alt girls have become the modern equivalent of African-American women who were heavily exploited in white-centered porn 20 years ago for their appeal as something "forbidden" and “exotic”? In the same way it wasn’t considered “acceptable” for a “nice” white guy to like black girls in the past (and sadly some places this thought process still exists) it’s not okay for “normal” guys to admit they like alt or artsy girls in their “real world” lives. Thus we (I’m just throwing myself in the artsy/alt group here, versus thinking I speak for everyone who is in it) are trivialized to objects of fantasy, locked away in the not-so-real-world internet lives of men the globe over. Think of sites like Suicide Girls and hundreds of others focused around "amateur" emo, punk, goth and non-label alt models and “actresses” (ahem) that commodify certain looks in conjunction with stereotypical behaviors to titillate a largely non-alt audience. These sites claim to be expanding the modern notion of beauty, trying to reflect some of the flack thrown their way by making claims about feminist sub-agendas, but they tend to choose girls with features, weight, body shape and skin color that adhere fairly strictly to what is shown in Playboy, film, tv and other pop culture media as the “standard” of beauty. Throwing a nose ring and blue hair on a 5’9”, 120 pound, tanned, Caucasian, C cup girl with high cheek bones and pouting lips does not really count as “expanding notions of beauty.”
"Alternative" model?

Umm hey... are they twins?

If a guy does approach an alt/artsy girl in “real life” they often do it with a variety of preconceived notions. Here are a few stereotypical reactions to dating an alt girl I’ve experienced or witnessed.

The Hipster: “An alt/artsy girl is going to give me “street cred,” make me look cool and probably get me in with artsy/alt scene people. I’m alt/artsy so I can’t date a girl who isn’t – her personality is inconsequential. If she doesn’t turn out to be “plugged in” to the alt pipeline, or other people don't think she's cool,  I’ll criticize her for being a poser, because she’s not allowed to dress alt if she’s not a starving-artist-bohemian knows-all-the-cool-people type.”

The Player: “You have dyed hair, unusual clothes and/or piercings/tattoos so you must be slutty, a huge partier, more into “freaky” stuff in the bedroom, open relationships, etc. If you aren’t like that I’ll criticize you for not living up to your “look,” because everyone KNOWS you dress like that to lure in guys.”

The Boy Next Door: “I’m doing you a favor dating you. I could get a hot normal girl that would make my parents and conservative friends more comfortable, because they think you are weird or have mental problems due to your dress style, so if you want to keep me you better play down that alt image when you’re around those people. If we’re hanging with a younger, cool crowd I’ll expect you to alt up as much as possible to show off, confusing the crap out of you.”

The Bored-with-Life Guy: “Because she’s artsy she’s going to shake my life up and introduce me to this wild world of romance and adventure. When she turns out to be fairly “normal” and not make every day a copy of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I’ll blame her for “false advertising” and get bored fast, moving on to the next girl who take me out of the rut I’m in.”

Obviously I’m hugely generalizing/ stereotyping here, but to make a point. Why would someone place so many ideals and behaviors at the feet of clothing/hair styles? Why should I, or anyone, be expected to have some specific personality traits, hobbies or types of friends because I like non-mainstream fashion? Let me throw out here that I’m not a prude – I have nothing against polyamory, one night stands, recreational drug use or general debaucherous behavior so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone – and women displaying their sexuality isn’t offensive to me in the slightest. I'm also not hating on alt models who happen to be "pop culture standard" attractive - yes, they're all hotter than me, I get it. It’s when people exploit alt women, expect them to be a carbon copy of a fashion model but with alt trappings and/or pigeonhole them into a certain lifestyle/ personality that they have to live up to that I’m annoyed. I missed the part in fashion magazines where liking leopard print, having blue hair and wearing platform shoes meant you have to be an emotional basket case, coke whore, or Super Scene Sally.

I own a house. I work a 40 hour a week non-artsy job. I'm in a monogomous relationship. I have never done drugs and rarely party. I'm not "in" with any scenesters in my city. None of these things have shit to do with what kind of clothes I like, how I style my hair or how I do my make up, nor do they mean I don't have the "right" to do so without being considered a poser or not living up to my "image."

All images are not by me or of me. Please don't sue. It's practically impossible to get original credits for stuff on the 'net.