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Monday, 11 February 2013

Bringing Back the Grunge

Hello friends, and welcome to this week's post.  Today I'd like to talk about something that has evolved over the course of this blog.  As I leave the capitalist mainstream behind, I'm finding that the old me is coming back.  In other words, the more I retreat from the current capitalist construct of femininity -  the products that we as women buy to keep up with trends we've been marketed - the more I feel like someone that I used to be is taking back over. 
And that someone is Grunge, baby.

It started with a conversation that I overheard recently between two parents of teenagers. They were discussing the fact that one of their sons had handed over a list of expensive designer clothing brand names and instructed his parent to purchase his Christmas items exclusively from that list.  I remember thinking, how did the Grunge generation come to this?  To go from the utter rejection of Brand names to complete subservience to them in one generation is staggering.
(Photo from toddlersandtiaras.com)  I don't want my daughter following this trend, particularly since the clothing that young female children are marketed these days is increasingly sexualized.  They're wearing more grown up styles: tall boots, skinny jeans, fitted jackets, makeup, you get the idea.  If I don't want my daughter dressing in a sexualized way I'm going to need to buck that trend myself, something that has arisen more and more as I document my journey towards self sufficiency on this blog.
I started by pledging to not buy makeup, for example.  I was going to still use up the stuff I had, but now that I've gone a few weeks without wearing commercial makeup, I don't even want to use that up anymore.  It's all just sitting there, unused, in my bathroom, and the more I go with only simple colours (well, one so far.  Brown) and leave my hair natural, the more I find that I'm starting to look like myself again, not like a mask I've put on.
Then I started thinking about my clothes.  Much as it now embarasses me to admit, I've worn some pretty low-cut tops over the years.  I've worn things that hug my curves and push my cleavage up and basically, show off all my assets to the best of their possible ability.  It's this that I wanted to talk about more than anything, it's that we as women have been sold the idea that we have to appear as sexually attractive as possible at all times.  Even when we're moms, even when we're married, it's still this clamouring to look hot. It's like the more attractive  you are the worthier you are as a person, and it's no accident.  All that primping and waxing and manicuring and glossing is a massive money-making industry, and what better way to really crank up it's profitability than by convincing us all that looking good means looking sexy.
(Katy Perry photo from www.usmagazine.com )

There's not much left to the imagination with our modern style of dressing, is there?  There's no room in most modern garments to hide even the slightest physical imperfection.  Given that only a small percentage of women actually are the ideal measurements, this has the effect of keeping women insecure so that they buy products to 'improve' themselves.  Now that I've stepped outside of that dynamic, I'm realizing that I never really wanted to dress that way in the first place.  I'm still going to keep up on basic personal hygiene, something that was questionable with the first generation of grunge.  I'm still going to shave my legs.  I'm just not going to tart myself up anymore.  I'm keeping my cleavage covered.  Sorry, but it's my husband's eyes only from this point.

Placing women on a value structure where their worth is determined by physical attractiveness puts us all on a gradation scale where we're  we're constantly evaluating ourselves against every other woman in the room.  Instead of focusing on something that matters, we obsess over our appearances, and in turn, buy products that keep the capitalist wheels turning.

(from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2100336/Grammy-Awards-2012-Katy-Perry-marvels-scantily-clad-Rihanna-singer-wins-awards.html#axzz2Kc3012Hf )

How does it work? Simple.  Corporation A makes weight loss supplements, B makes Smartphones, C makes films, and D makes cosmetics.  Who benefits from the Beauty Myth?  All of the above.  Company C makes movies (/videos/commercials) that portray the 'idealized' image of female beaty- rake thin, big boobs, youthful face.  Corporation A hires starlet of said movie to go on camera and endorse weight loss supplement, D immediately copies it's cosmetics trends on their advertising, and B, who makes devices, has all this great content for people to constantly be viewing on their smartphones while they advertise the next, newest version of their devices.  It's the out-of-control creation of sales, or in other words, the free market economy where everything goes as long as it's profitable.  But in adhering to the mandates of stylized beauty, we are piling money on the up escalator of capitalism, and flying headlong through our planet's resources along the way.  Products such as old cologne bottles, spray deodorant cans, eyeshadow pallettes, nailpolishes, obsolete cell phones, video game consoles, headphones, mouses, have got to be piling up  in a landfill somewhere.  I mean, they're not recyclable.  Are they?
We in Canada operate under the illusion that we're even more environmentally conscious than ever, but once you step outside that illusion it becomes obvious that we're not. I'm here to tell you, I'm done with it.  Screw you, Capitalism.  I reject your evaluating women's worth in terms of sexual attractiveness, your insistence on women conforming to one plasticized image of beauty.  I'm not going to dress like a floosie, and neither is my daughter.  I'm saving my curves for the bedroom, not traipsing them around the grocery store.  I don't need to buy products to enhance myself.  My natural state is good enough.

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