This went from being a pretty light hearted fashion journal, with occasional eats and vacation reports, to a give no fucks feminist diary. This sentiment has always been inside me, coming out when my back has been most up about a particular political issue or injustice. However, in the past few years, I became undeniably complacent and comfortable because nothing major challenged me.
Basically me from 2008 - 2015. And yes, I'm going to illustrate this post with Beyoncé gifs, why the fuck not? Gif credit.
After being a young, pissed off punk in the George W. Bush years, I lived the last 8 with political leadership I actually had respect for. I shook off the awkward, and retrospectively ridic' quarter life crisis years for a content personal & professional existence.
The mouthy dame who had "resistance is bliss" tattooed on her arm in 2005 to remember to always be fuck you first became somewhat settled. And in hindsight that was bloody naive.
But, there is no denying, I did become "I have a New York Times subscription, but I only really dig in for an hour or two on a Sunday" complacent vs. "I read it between meetings, on my commute and every evening (while flicking between news channels)" in a strange state of fear and wanting to not know but needing to know at all times. I became "I love President Obama" complacent vs. "fuck all authority, or at least vehemently question it, always and forever".
I was in the kind of complacency where my world felt a-ok; fashion, travel and the good life were all I wanted to document.
Don't worry, I still love clothes. I still try to get dressed and not look like ass everyday but it is safe to say, like the Colin Kaepernick of fashion and lifestyle bloggers, I've been 1000% shaken from this complacency of late.
Through both Brexit and the 2016 US presidential campaigns/elections, I've been shaken from a "the good will out" mind set. I've gone from sitting on the side lines in my Gucci loafers and casting my vote where I can in quiet confidence that the Force is with the world to "holy fuck, I need to do something and I need to do it now. Actually, yesterday. I know nothing. My truth doesn't mean shit."
I'm not going to harp on about November 9th, a lot has happened in the past few months and I feel like a different person with almost every one of those political twists. But, a strange thing happened to me that day that changed me. It's like my eyes were opened, literally for the first time in my life; this 30-something woman who thought she knew shit, thought she got shit, stays politically tuned in, and considers herself a fucking feminist woke up.
Me today. Basically me everyday for the last year or so, but especially during the past few months. Just a million times less fabulous, and more just the middle finger part. Gif credit.
I read Teen Vogue, I know I'm not the target demo, but it's worth keeping up with. What I've gleaned from its pages is that it is cool to be a self aware, self assured, unique, positive and grounded female teenager today. You are not competing with your peers, you simply like and celebrate each others differences. I wholeheartedly admire this and it fills me with hope for the future. It took me being twice, almost three times the age of a Teen Vogue reader to feel like I've navigated this mentality that is now just the everyday, "duh, no shit" mindset of a generation.
Teen Vogue (and Humanly Magazine, if you're into actual cultural and generational research) tell me that Gen Z has Teflon levels of resistance to the BS of perpetual doubt set upon women by The Man.
The system that told my Mom, and therefore me as I grew up watching the same TV shows, passively looking at the same magazines, and that silently fueled and reinforced a POV already decades old - "you're too fat, you'll never get a man to look after you with those extra lbs. But, we've got a diet recipe book for you, we've got these meal replacement shakes especially for you and this work out video you can even do at home. Because heaven forbid that anyone would see you sweaty."
It cooed in TV spots with catchy music, "you're looking a little old to be considered universally attractive with the totally expected greying of your hair, you'd better buy this hair dye to hide it and as a result, feel shame about a perfectly normal element of your human body".
It suggested, "you can't dress like that anymore, you're a little old. You still need to be put together, but not 'mutton dressed as lamb'. Transition to Anne Taylor LOFT from Forever 21. Because there is literally an opportunity to buy yourself out of all types of low self esteem at every life stage."
And then, on the flip side, you're starving and primped to perfection, "you deserve a treat for all your hard work. Buy the candy, smoke the cigarette, drink the sugar laden Frappucino. Go girl! You're perfect the way you are!". But oh wait, not for long. "You're looking fat again... you've enjoyed life a bit too much. You need to get back in your place; not feeling too good, depriving yourself on some level, striving to the idea of perfection that we control." And so it goes, objectifying and putting women's bodies under a microscope, minimizing the power of our minds, keeping us small.
Yes, this one again. Because it literally is everything.
So, what is my point you're perhaps wondering? Well, on November 9th it hit me like a 95mph fast pitch to the gut that this narrative is the reason Hillary Clinton did not become the 45th POTUS. This life long mainstream communication that women should never actually be taken too seriously, that they are to be controlled and manipulated based on manmade insecurities that reinforce the too easy, "second sex" misconception and spoon feed our minds that the value of a woman should be placed on how well she has kept up with these unrealistic expectations vs. what she does and achieves throughout her life. And that any woman who has ideas outside of this needs to be reminded that this is not her role.
*BEYONCÉ MIDDLE FINGER GIF, AGAIN*
I knew this, but I didn't actually know this until then. Anything that had ever made me feel small, made me feel like I had to hide a part of myself, be quieter, strive to be different and not unequivocally embrace myself was rooted in this. But I thought that was some kind of unique female experience due to personal "only I have can possibly have these" insecurities. Conceited, right? But seriously, moon does not orbit just my ass and my ass alone.
But taking a step back, having thought this - at less assured times in my life - was part of my subconscious playing of the game. Women have been pitted against each other for at least mine, my mothers and grandmother's lifetimes; quietly, inconspicuously. Someone will always be thinner, more beautiful, more funny, someone wore it better than you. Are you team Beyoncé or team Adele? Because you can't possibly accept that each has unique value in their own right, someone needs to be "worse". The aforementioned adverts you watched as a kid, to the POV of the bully in the playground and the celebrities on diets (when they're already 20lbs less than you at their "worst") reinforce you that you aren't enough.
This kind of hyper awareness is exhausting. But it keeps you where "they" want you; buying away your inadequacy, not getting in the way of any
one man. I naively always thought there were exceptions to this rule, and of course there are, but the US is a lot later to this party than I expected. I thought Hillary was going to be the example that showed the antiquity of that narrative, and when that didn't happen and that narrative was, in fact, wholly reinforced, that was the wet fish around the face of November 9th.
Ok, Beyoncé break. Paying homage to my Britishness with this Great British Bake Off jaw dropper. Gif credit.
And that wet fish shifted my focus, and in doing so, shifted this blog. It stopped being about my experience on earth and became about ours. Because what November 9th told me is that we, as women, are in this shit together. We are all being told the same thing, we are all casting an overly critical eye across ourselves because of it and if fucking Hillary Clinton, who has dedicated her life the political cause still couldn't beat an unqualified man to the presidency, then we are literally all fucked. We actually need the strength of each others shared experience to navigate this and move forward. And this tiny blog that a handful of people read can be a small part of that.
So a raging feminist diary, with travel, creativity and style, is born. Getting this sentiment out in the world at this unprecedented time where people, myself included, are seeking coping mechanisms and trying to find the words to sum it all up, is important to me. So buckle your asses in, we've got 4 more years of this. And I promise, i'll throw some transitional pre-spring outfits back in the mix when it stops f'n raining here in northern California.