Monday, 20 September 2010

Girls just love clothes! Well, no, I really do...

Last night, I read an article on The F Word moaning about shopping. The author of this article hates shopping. She bemoans the enormous gendering of clothing and in some cases, she does have a point, why are socks gendered? I had never contemplated this before. That is indeed stupid. Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I need pink socks, although all my running socks are pink... anyway, I digress.
Her comments about women who are forced into terrible conditions to make the clothes in our throw away culture is similarly concerning. They are issues I am very concerned about and am researching ways to shop ethically. 
And if this lady doesn't like shopping, then fair enough, not everyone has to find it a pleasurable experience.
However, I do. I find shopping a massively wonderful pleasurable experience. It really does give me great joy in life, pretty shoes make me smile.
Does this make me less of a feminist? Does the fact that I like dressing up in clothes that make me feel attractive make me shallow, vapid and a sorry excuse for an educated woman?
Admittedly, my little shopping issue has caused me some financial woe (on a small scale). But no one has forced me into this financial woe, I got into it (and then out of it) all on my own, I just like buying new shiny things too much. I see fashion as a form of art and indeed decorate my little flat with it.
Is enjoying clothing and flaunting your figure sexist? By happily conforming to gender stereotypes are you undoing all the good work of feminists from previous years? Even if you're not an airhead wag (although I wouldn't say some of them are so airhead) but have yourself a very fulfilling career, do what you feel is good, important and enjoyable work and support yourself?
Even if it's 100 per cent for your own enjoyment, you don't dress for men but for yourself entirely? If wearing a pair of killer heels and a nice skirt really does make you feel more confident in a meeting?
Am I just brainwashed? Am I just conforming to this because it's expected of me? Should I not shave my legs or get my hair done or wear a bra? Should I fling my underwear on that mythical bonfire that only existed in the minds of male journalists who tried to demonise feminism?
I have had men in my life ridicule me for my enjoyment of clothes... surely this is just another form of marginalisation? Another way of saying women's interests are not important or significant.
Fashion has given me great bonding experiences with other women in my life. One of my closest friends first approached me because she liked my dress. My mum and I go shopping before every birthday and christmas and it's more than her buying me presents, this way I actually get to spend valuable time with her.
Perhaps I am lucky but I actually don't find 'tight' clothing or high heels particularly uncomfortable and if a pair of shoes are proving uncomfortable, I stop wearing them. Despite appearances, I'm no slave.
It's not like I believe stripping to be empowering or anything (I have read a magazine article arguing that, the mind boggles) but I do feel I use clothes as a form of armour against the world. 
Perhaps liking clothes and shopping doesn't fit the feminist archetype, but you know what, I ain't apologising. I want equality for men and women and I want it while wearing a pretty dress that I can't really afford, simple as that.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Fuck dating guides.

This is to ladies out there who have read 'He's Just Not That Into You' or Zoe Strimpel's recent dating guide: 'What the Hell is he thinking'?
Although there is sound advice in both - I particularly enjoyed the whole, don't take any rubbish stance of 'He's just not that into you' - there is something very unfeminist about both books.
'He's just not that into you' is rather negative as it still suggests there is something wrong with the women. It's basically saying, any man who doesn't treat you wonderfully doesn't like you and thus, you are kind of rubbish aren't you. Perhaps a title such as 'He's just not good enough for you' would have been more sufficient.
Also, it's too cut and dry, even for a very black and white soul such as me. It doesn't take into account shyness. I've known men who have liked me but haven't asked me out because they are shy or think I am out of their league. When in fact, I was sitting there thinking 'I wish they would ask me out.'
Similarly, after reading the book, I was scared to make any move on a man, even a subtle one. When in fact, without those subtle hints that it's ok to ask the girl out, he's just going to be thinking 'oh, she doesn't like me, she'll just reject me.' Not all men are the world conquoring heroes the book suggests they are, some of them get shy, intimidated or frightened of rejection. Life is far more complicated than this book makes out.
With 'What the hell is he thinking' (I've already had a previous rant about this book after reading an article about it in The Times Style magazine.) Well,  I tried to read it, I tried to read it twice and then I just got annoyed. You know what, I DON'T CARE WHAT HE IS THINKING. I've spent far far far far far too much of my life trying to work out what a man is thinking and trying to predict what he might do next.   
And you know what, I have my own life thanks, my own thoughts, my own feelings and the prospect of spending my precious time reading a book of what is essentially a bunch of male bloody excuses as to why they can't be decent didn't exactly fill me with fucking joy.
Also, it would be bloody nice if for once in a blue bloody moon, a man sat with his mates going 'I wonder what she is thinking.' Because for a start, it would suggest that they actually give a damn about me.
If I feel good about how the relationship is going, I will to continue seeing the chap. If I don't feel right about it, I'm offsky. In the words of the Meercats: Simples. I'm sure if the bloke is really that into me, he'll be trying to win me back.
My new rule with the whole dating thing? Fuck dating guides, fuck analysing his every move with my mates, I'm just going to follow my instincts and find what's right for me.