Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pin-up, Von Teese Style

Like a lot of Goth girls, I love (and look up to!) the lovely Dita Von Teese. She has such a lovely, feminine style with a large dash of dark modern whimsy, and I just adore it. In particular, I really admire this toile dress of hers.
I think it's just gorgeous; I love toile prints (more on that later this week) and the print on top of the fifties-inspired dress cut is just fantastic. So when I saw this great Shrine dress at Buffalo Exchange that reminded me strongly of this dress, I of course had to get it: 
Lace Shrug-Love Culture
Shrine print dress-Buffalo Exchange
Black underbust-Punk69
Black tights-Wal-Mart
Chunky black shoes-Repeat Boutique
This is one of Shrine's ballerina dresses, which retail for around $140 according to my research. So not too bad to get such an amazing piece for almost 90% off! There are two small stains on the skirt, but...oh well. :) I love the flirtiness of the cut and the boldness of the fabric. Like Dita's sexy toile dress, it just radiates contrast in the best possible way, which I love. So on Day 2 of my pin-up week, I pay homage to one of the coolest pin-up girls around. Thanks, Dita! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Spaceships, Pinups, and Feminist Rants

This was supposed to be a happy post. A post filled with "Heck yeah, I'm starting a week of unusual pinup-influenced outfits!" and "YOU LOVE MY WACKY PRINTS. ADMIT IT. YOU KNOW YOU DO!"s. But thanks to a comment I got today...it won't be. This will be a pretty text-heavy post. But I think it'll be a pretty important post, too. So bear with me.

First a bit of backstory: On Saturday, I went out thrifting. Got a lot of really cool stuff, and was sitting on the bus with two bags, listening to the Good Omens audiobook on my Zune and generally enjoying life. The bus stopped, and an older man in his late 60s/early 70s got on. I didn't pay much attention, until he walked by me and I felt something brush my shoulder-and then my breast. This man apparently thought it was just fine and dandy for him to randomly grab my breast. Shocked, I loudly said "EXCUSE ME!" and he let go and continued down the aisle as if nothing happened. Heart racing, completely surprised, I announced to the bus at large, "That man just grabbed my breast!" The bus driver heard, two other passengers had seen, and to make a long story short the police were called, the man was arrested, and I left a statement with the police. I was not so much traumatized as angry-angry that that man thought he could touch me and get away with it, angry that he thought my body was his to do with as he liked, angry that he was surprised when I called him out and the police came for him, because he thought because he was old I would let him molest me.

Fast forward to today, and I was telling a friend about what happened during a break in my class. A male classmate overheard, and I explained the whole story to him. As we were walking back to class, he said "Maybe he saw the way you dress (pointing to my dress) and thought it was ok." Shocked and aghast, I glared at him. He hastily added "It was just a joke" but I told him "Not funny, dude" and walked away. I was hurt, and felt like I had been victimized all over again by his "joke" and attitude. I don't mention it much on this blog, because this is a fashion blog, not a political one, but...I am very, very fiercely feminist. And part of being a modern feminist is believing (as everyone should) that rape, assault, and similar crimes are all laid entirely at the feet of the person who commits them. That the victim is never responsible, because they are not. That "she was asking for it" is one of the most false and utterly repugnant phrases in the English language. To say that I take that view seriously would be a massive understatement. There are few things in this world that make me angrier when someone tries to argue that a rape is not a rape because a girl was drinking. Because she wore a short skirt. Because she walked alone at night. Because she trusted the wrong person. Because SHE did something-not because her attacker did something. Any excusal of rape or assault for any reason is utterly abhorrent to me. And yet here was a classmate, claiming I had invited assault by virtue of the way I dress.

For the record, I was wearing an ankle-length skirt and a high-necked t-shirt when this man decided that he wanted to cop a feel. But it shouldn't matter. I could have been wearing a burqa. I could have been wearing pasties and a thong. I could have been as naked as the day I was born. AND THAT MAN STILL SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO TOUCH ME IN THAT MANNER. The idea that women who wear "scanty" clothing "force" men to grope, assault, catcall, or otherwise harass them is not just insulting to women but to men. It implies that men are nothing more than their penises, that they are incapable of exercising even basic human courtesy and self-control in the face of a visible thigh or a cleavage-bearing shirt. That is simply untrue, and it's deeply offensive to all the good, fine, and upright men in the world that some assholes act like to be male is to lack impulse control. A woman's body is her own, and unless SHE, WITH HER WORDS, asks a man to touch it, to comment on it, to share pleasure with her in it, he has no right to it. It doesn't matter if she drinks, it doesn't matter what she is wearing. My clothing does not speak for me; my mouth does. If I want to wear a bellydance outfit out in public, or a miniskirt, I should be able to do so without fear of being assaulted. The fact that I (and millions of other women) feel like we can't is a pretty disgusting statement on our society. These kinds of attitudes are the reason SlutWalk and Take Back The Night were created. This bears repeating: The onus is not on sexual assault victims to avoid being assaulted. It is on the perpetrators not to commit assault.

To buy into the mentality that women who are raped or assaulted are somehow "asking for it" is not just unkind and cruel, it is idiotic. I did everything "right" in this case. I did my shopping in daylight. I was riding a relatively crowded public bus. I was not wearing revealing clothing. And I was still assaulted, because some man thought that the mere fact that I was being female in public gave him the right to touch me how he pleased. HE made the choice to touch me inappropriately. And now, God and the justice system willing, HE will pay the price for it. I spoke up, and the perpetrator was caught (and because he was caught on tape, will most likely be convicted); but the attitudes of people like my classmate, who think it is appropriate to joke that dressing a certain way means a woman invites assault, pervade our society to such a degree that many women in similar situations have not spoken up, for fear of just that kind of blame. If we want to stop these kinds of attitudes, we need to speak out against them-full stop. As members of a subculture, we are already frequently judged for what we wear and how we present ourselves in public, and being a woman makes it just that much harder. However, I refuse to let attitudes like my classmate's shape how I think, act, or dress. I wear my clothing to make ME happy, not to please him or anyone else. For the record, this was the outfit I had on today, that made him think it was ok to "joke" that I'd invited my assault by my manner of dress:
Alien Dress-made by me
I guess maybe it was the provocative alien print? The sexy elbow-length sleeves? Either way, his comment was not appropriate, and neither is the culture that created it. And in defiance of that culture, I will continue to wear what I like, and anyone who doesn't like it or thinks I'm not sufficiently modest or that I'm "asking for it" can take a long leap off a short pier. I will fight for every woman's right to feel safe no matter how she is dressed as long as there is breath in my body, and I will not let misogynistic, antiquated thinking stop me from doing it. More pin-up goodness tomorrow-and if this classmate says anything more, he can kiss my wiggle-skirt-clad ass! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Rainbow of Ruffles

Continuing with my ruffle theme from yesterday, one of my favorite items from NZ:
Hello, Derp Face. Boy, I haven't missed you. Ah well, that aside:
Mini top hat-Ebay
Apache tear necklace-Inherited
Black peasant blouse-Arc
Black pinstriped vest-Goodwill
Ruffled multi-colored skirt-Paper Bag Princess
Tights-Hot Topic
Black slides-Recycle Boutique
You can't see it in the picture (silly flash washout) but the vest has a fine silver pinstripe on it. I love it. I really like this skirt-it's so bright and colorful, and the ruffles give it a lot of motion. Basically, this outfit makes me really happy for no discernable reason except FUN! I want to make several skirts like this with some pretty taffetas I have. Can't wait to start sewing on them! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Ruffly Return

Hi, all! Sorry for my absence the last month, but first I was unpacking everything after coming back from New Zealand and then I was repacking everything to come back up to Denver and somehow blogging just got lost in the shuffle. I'm back at school and regularly mixing it up with cute outfits, though, so hopefully I'll be able to be the blogger you, my lovely readers, really deserve. Without further ado, here is today's outfit:
Skull necklace-Gift
Sailor collared blouse-Buffalo Exchange
White t-shirt-Wal-Mart
Ruffled two-layered plaid skirt-Buffalo Exchange
Navy kneesocks-K-mart
Heeled Mary Janes-Ross
I was told by a boy I ran into on campus that I looked like an anime character, and while I can definitely see that looking at the outfit, I was going more for turn-of-the-century sailor girl. I snatched up the blouse only to find that it was just a *bit* too small in the bust, so rather than wear it gaping and straining at the buttons all day, I just opted to wear it open over a t instead. I love the floppy collar and simple cut of the blouse, and hope to use it as a pattern to make more in different color combinations-lavender with plum trim, neon green with black, black with red...the possibilities are endless! Do any of you own an item of clothing you'd like to have in a ton of color variations?