Monday, September 12, 2011

To Alt or well not to.

A friend of mine asked me out of the blue not long ago what happened to my love of all things Alt.

A simple but deep and apparently cutting question because I've been brooding on it for a week.

Here's the thing.

Once upon a time I was an Alt of all flavors lover. Alt fashion, Alt porn, Alt photography and art. If it was weird or different I loved it.

Unfortunately to be frank, Alt is pretty ruined for me.

Despite a lot of lip service from labels (Lip Service I'm looking at you) to porn sites that I used to enjoy everything looks the same.

There are very cute thin White ladies who give or take different hair colors or piercings tend to fall into similar categories.

As I've gotten older I simply don't have the taste to look through hundreds of pictures of essentially (I'm talking as far as looks go) the same women.

I'm tired of supporting X Alt. indie thing and never seeing any return or anything I can relate to or enjoy.

I have removed a lot of Alt/indie types from my blog roll. I don't follow Alt designers or Alt magazines anymore because frankly I don't feel welcome.

There are very very few Alt related anything around where I feel comfortable. I hate that I'm relegated to buying a pin or a tote bag because no one seems to ever be able to make things in plus sizes.

Yes, some people are more polite about it than others but bottom line is I don't like that position. I don't like being told that on the one hand YAY DIVERSITY and never seeing that.

I will say yes there are more Alt models etc of color. I will also say that a large percentage of those I've seen conform to the same body type and style. Long straight hair, very thin etc etc.

I have to be honest that I find it exhausting to have to search so hard for something that is relevant to me.

No not just relevant, interesting to me.

I've seen enough Thin pretty White Ladies to last me a fucking life time.

The Alternative in Alt is just not there for me and a large number of Alt related things don't seem interested in moving past this one idea of what pretty is.

I've decided it's just not worth my time or money.

While I may find X magazine interesting and an awesome idea I"m not going to buy it because there's nothing there for me or anyone like me.

I'll give you a concrete example.

I used to be a rabid Gothic Beauty Magazine reader. Way back when I subscribed and I quite often tried to support their retailers.

Looking at some of their fashion advertisers, there is maybe one that I could purchase clothing from. One.

Further more, some of the designers they've featured (Louise Black comes to mine) wouldn't even hear of making larger sizes.

So why would I continue to waste my money?


Exactly I won't.

I have spent the majority of my life overlooking my own invisibility in various scenes and it's fucking exhausting.

Do you know how awful and tiring it is to go into the Goth shop and only be able to buy lipstick or nail polish? Not for lack of funds but because the Goth shop only caters to mainstream sized people?

Do you know how many times I've opted not to buy a band tshirt or artist tshirt because yes I am a big fat fatty and I don't like wearing mens shirts?

Do you know how frustrating it is to want to buy a fancy dress outfit and be unable to because every indie designer or company you like stops at a small size 12?

Do you know how frustrating it is when someone says oh but look we're diverse here's a Black Girl and the Black Girl in effect looks just like every other girl? That in many ways it's worse that yes there's Black Girls but those Black Girls have been molded into such a Eurocentric point of view it's almost worse that they are included?

At 34 years old I'm just done with the lip service.

I'm done with hearing one thing and seeing another.

I'm done with trying so hard to support something I thought was cool because I had hope only to see that well it's not so cool and no I can't play along.

In my mind Alt or Alternative doesn't mean putting a few tattoos or funny colored hair on someone who could be a mainstream model and calling it fancy.

In my mind Alt or Alternative means that it is an alternative to the mainstream in things other than just name.

It means- rather it should mean a different standard of beauty and embracing that standard of beauty.

So yeah.

In case you're among those I don't support anymore it's not entirely personal. I just don't have the time nor do I have the patience. I don't have enough resources to keep supporting things I can't really participate in or support places where I don't feel comfortable.

So that's that.

If you want my (and other folks like me) support, understand that things like race and fatness are not out of the realm of Alt things. We live intersectional lives and trying to keep our lives partitioned is exhausting. Trying to overlook fat hate or casual racism can be awful.

Okay that's all my darlings. I'm hard at work.

Homo Out.


wriggles said...

I have spent the majority of my life overlooking my own invisibility in various scenes and it's fucking exhausting.

Ahhhhh, this post hits so many spots its like a mental massage-and I've never been into Gothic etc!

Air said...

Tell the truth and shame the devil. That is part of, well all of, the reason why I, as a fat Black working class kid w/ burgeoning Alt taste, always fell way the fuck back when it came to fully enmeshing myself in ANY scene.

I don't think that I am being unreasonable by wanting to see someone who reinforces that I'm not only part of but a vital factor in anything.

I am just a little younger than you (27) and I remember developing an interest in punk around 17 or so. I also remember being wary and scared to fully get involved in the local scene because I was used to being an outsider in my own neighborhood, too weary to constantly keep reexplaining why I was/am.

The few shows that I allowed myself to go to in my early 20's were wrought with folks (included some Blacks who love to be 'The Only One') who regarded me as a novelty or some type of threat. Not to say that I didn't meet lots of cool folks, but navigating the minefield of Alt is too much like navigating the minefield of regular life; I prefer my recreation to be more stress free.

Too bad I love the type of music that I love and too bad that I love it live.


Creatrix Tiara said...

OMG YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. There's a Miss/Mr Alternative competition happening in Australia atm and I swear they all LOOK THE SAME! Just variations on colour and style but that's it really. When I uploaded my profile I got told "stop wasting a spot in the competition". Nice.

Can I quote you?

Shannon said...

Tiara you can quote me anytime you like.

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