Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alt beauty & emo confession of sorts.

More about my own femmeness, beauty ideas etc today.

For our purposes today I'll be using the words mainstream and alt a lot. When I say mainstream what I'm talking about are images or ideas that are everywhere. Beauty magazines, commercials, TV etc etc. I don't think there's something wrong with mainstream beauty it's just not to my taste.

When I say Alt. I mean as in outside of the mainstream.

This may or may not continue as a critique of the whole Alt thing I am not sure yet.

However what I do want to talk about some is how Alt beauty and culture has become an integral part of my own femme identity and presentation despite the fact that I have often not felt entirely at home in that culture.

(Interjection, at some point below this turned into an emo confessional. I'm not sure why or what started it but feel free to skip it if you're not into it. I think I just needed to get it out.)

At some point in my late teens/early twenties I started to become aware of beauty images that were not the ones. I started to find images from the Alt. Beauty scene and I loved them.

I remember buying the first issue of Gothic Beauty. I started seeing models with tattoos and crazy hair. I remember reading the print version of Blueblood (link totes NSFW) and I was excited.

I was excited because finally there were images I looked at and thought yes, YES this is awesome.

i started really consciously developing a style I enjoyed.

However as I got older I realized I was ignoring a huge thing.

Like a lot of the other things I have been interested in for years, I've often had to turn a blind eye to the fact that I'm often (Less so now but back then holy shit) hard pressed to find people of color or fat people.

To paraphrase a recent sometimes alt isn't so alt.

You'd be amazed how difficult it can be to really come to terms with what the things you love and that helped form you are lacking.

For a few years in my mid-twenties I pretty much lost all hope and gave up my love of Alt anything. I think I had hit a wall where I felt very deeply that there was no place for me.

I couldn't afford the clothes, I didn't really have the time or sewing skills to make fancy things and often when I could afford to buy a nice piece of clothing, I was just too fat. And back then, "too fat" was about a size 10. I felt like I needed to divorce myself from my own love of these things, just so I didn't have that gross feeling of not belonging.

I started to figure out that like my attitude with mainstream anything, I needed to temper my love of all things alt with the knowledge that, yes it might be "alternative" but not that alternative. I also had to let go of a lot of my anger about that because there's just not that much I could do about it then or now.

So cut to just lately.

I haven't been super social since Uniballer and I moved from north Seattle down south into the hood/burbs depending on what street your on.

I also (I feel strangely embarrassed) don't honestly own any club wear.



Okay let me pause for a second here and say that I feel like I'm going there with the emo. So buckle up.

To continue. At one time Uniballer was really ill and in the hospital for weeks while we were moving and to facilitate moving I sold all my fancy clothes. All of them.

Since then we are in a more stable position and I have wanted to be social (something I have Sarah to thank for because even though we have not meatspace hugged as of yet, she invites me to things) and I've been trying to find clothes.

I have searched and searched and searched and am finding that I am essentially shit out of luck. 90% of the links to supposed plus size goth clothing are either things like tshirts, stripper clothes or so expensive there is no way unless I bought ONE thing every three months I could afford.

The other night, I had this awful moment of weird shame that took me over.

I sat there at home and had the thought, that of course I couldn't find something nice and affordable to wear that's what I get for being fat.

Holy fucking shit I was sideswiped.

I did. I had that moment and it was awful.

I felt awful not just for the pain of that whole thought process but I felt like some kind of fake ass faker.

I feel better.

I decided that instead of searching high and low and then feeling guilty for not being able to support indie designers etc (because I'm sized out or priced out) I'm going to do like I did when I was young and broke.

A.) I'm not going to get into some kind of fucked up loop of self hate. NO fuck that.

B.) I'm going to go slow and get things I love and that fit me as I am. Fuck trying to harmfully change my body to fit someone else's clothes. Fuck. That.

C.) I'm not going to be so weird and closeted when I feel my self esteem taking a nose dive. I'm going to be nice to myself because I'm human and thus not impermeable.

Okay catharsis achieved.

Um, I think I've gone on long enough and I'm kind of emotionally spent. So tomorrow, I'm going to show you guys with links and whatnot how I am building a little bit of a club wear wardrobe piece by piece.

Homo Out.


Cayora said...

Good luck in your search! I wish I could help, but I've kind of wandered into some combination of mori style and goth as a way of dealing with that very thing. Mori is a lot of things, but it is not clubwear.

Also, I really like the term "meatspace." And thank you for following me on Twitter.

Rachel said...

I know that feeling all too well. I remember being happy in the early 00s that Torrid was not only still a good place to shop but Hot Topic used to have a great selection of plus-sized alternative clothes...that was anomaly enough after I kept hating myself and feeling this sense of longing and left-out-ness by seeing how all those waify alt girls dressed and I always thought "Dammit, I'm one of you, maybe even moreso personality-wise, is it my damn fault the manufacturers won't make a vinyl skirt that'll cover my size 20 ass?" Then HT introduced plus size stuff: And I'd go apeshit on the clearance rack especially on extra 50% off clearance weekends. Oh those finds-- $25-30 dresses when they used to sell them in up to 3X sometimes 4X. $4 stockings. $10 Lip Service skirts! One time I got a beautiful corset for only $4.98 that was a 3X. It was like that place was just for me. I didn't care if people called me a poser for shopping there, that was how I got to have such a great collection of ready-to-wear stuff. HT was the only place at the time that didn't size me out AND that was affordable; didn't have a Torrid near me but bought online occasionally. Unfortunately, Torrid sucks nowadays and HT has gone wayside in both styles and sizing.

But that's where eBay comes in. It's one of the best forms of thrifting these days. I got a brand new Tripp skirt, with tags and all, for only $6.50 after shipping and taxes and it was $44 at Torrid. Hence why I frequent ebay these days; I've come up with outfits from there that were put together for less than $15 and people think I spent a fortune at custom goth shops.

But nice clubwear aside, it's really what's on the inside that counts. I can walk down the street in no makeup, my ratty skate shorts and "I Believe You Have My Stapler" t-shirt without an ounce of shame because I fly my freak flag proudly 24/7 and don't need anything special to prove it.

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