Saturday, 7 September 2013

It's Okay to Like What Everybody Else Likes




Vice Austria, June 2011, Fashion Issue

Today is the first actual autumn day, proper overcast and gloomy. I like the collective ritual of the seasons. The expectation that everyone has to watch certain movies and TV shows at certain times. It's nice. In a communal 'kumbaya' kinda way. Like your September/October/November may be confusing and scary but as long as you don't colour outside the lines of autumn (wear my Karen Millen kilt TICK! watch its the great pumpkin Charlie Brown TICK! TICK! TICK!) you have a thread to connect you to the outside world, and to all your other selves, from all the other autumns.

October 1990, Twin Peaks shoot for Sassy Magazine

Twin Peaks is tied in real tight, tied into The Tapestry of Autumn Cultural Shit. Twin Peaks stooped being Cool Cool like two years ago I think? I hadn't watched it then but I remembered everyone at CSM getting mad that they'd dedicated their Christmas holidays to back to back box set sessions only to find, less than a year later, that try-hard-wannabe-nobodys were getting black lodge tattoos. They got red faced and sweaty, 'it's such an obvious cultural reference point' they say and unlike it on Facebook never to speak of it again. But I dunno. I actually like it when other people, acquaintances or strangers, like the same things as me. I've never been one of those enforced alienation, outsider by choice, Daria type people. And because my background often feels 'outside' of what is acceptable it's nice to feel like an insider in something. Even if that something is just recognising what a screen cap on tumblr is from. 

arms bend back by Petra Collins and modelled by Tavi Gevinson


I think the reason Twin Peaks captures the 'autumn spirit' so good is that the show is hinged on decay. Memories go yellow and families get swallowed and teen sweethearts curdle and a town defined by its ol' time innocence becomes the start and finish point for Absolute Evil.  Like the decline of Detroit and the death of suburbia in the Virgin Suicides (another 'obvious' reference which I love). That's a seasonal piece too. But Virgin Suicides is end of summer, not start of autumn, so its window, for 2013 at least, has passed. 


Autumn means wrapping up, layering up, hiding your silhouette under duffel coats and oversized jumpers. Autumn is a good time to be trans. 

Which brings me to today's outfit post.

I should say that I don't think I'm like a proper fashion person or anything. My clothes are cheap and kinda crappy, my actual outfit photos aren't artfully shot, I'm not a model, not close, not even, and my overall knowledge of individual collections isn't that strong. I just like thinking about pictures and the stories they tell, and putting outfits together, out of my ragbag wardrobe, is one way to do that. 

So today I wanted to make an Agent Dale Cooper outfit to complement my Twin Peaks collective cultural we're all in this together feelz. But to translate that literally would suck as I'm nowhere near as babe-ly as Kyle Maclachlan who is on like Michelangelo levels of male beauty throughout the show. 


So I decided the upside down vest and boxers look from the opening scene of episode one was the way to go. As you do?! Okay work with me here! I can actually explain why this makes sense. Like in terms of shared culture and trans identity and all the other crap I was talking about. The relationship between screen culture and trans identity is a special one, distinct from other queer identities. Projecting yourself onto this cis movie star or that cis pop star. A way to escape the 'literal' body. Especially when you're a kid. Or at least when I was a kid. Despite the fact that I have *gasp* long hair and wear an equal mix of men's and women's clothes I am actually the really boring "I always knew!!!" model of trans narrative. I'm unoriginal like that. 

This fantasy TV model-I wanna look like that famous dude-is a flawed one of course. There's no denying that. I kinda hate it actually. A lot. Being cis is an unattainable goal and I want to want to not want it y'kno? I want to pick it apart, peel off bits, magnify bits, bend it and break it until I understand what's going on in my head when I find it easier to say 'I wish I was Joseph Gordon Levitt' opposed to 'I wish I was a boy' or 'I am a boy'. Or something else. None of those phrases seem right to describe me. Not today at least. Today I just see myself as a person with gender dysphoria who is trying to make it through the week.  


Back to front Primark pyjama vest (see what I mean about not being a proper fashion blogger???!!!), it is actually a Sesame Street top and big bird is leering through my back, I actually couldn't upload any side shots of this outfit cos his beak was, like curving round my rib cage?! Which is undoubtably Lynchian but nevertheless wasn't quite the look I was going for.

Again what is that stain in the carpet? I have no idea but I do know that I need to take pictures somewhere else next time. 

Topman outer space boxer shorts, worn as regular shorts-the whole underwear as outerwear is a look that I'm really into. Partly as a 5'3 girl I am pretty much as far away physically from a Calvin Klein model as you can get. But also cos when you're a lil trans kid you always have that time when you freak your parents out by crossing the line of acceptable tomboy-ness and being all 'I want a pair of boxer shorts for Christmas!!' And they're all what the fuck is wrong with you little creep, never speak of this again!!

Topman socks with fries, ketchup an mustard print as a lil nod to the Double R Diner

Trench coat from House of Frasier. 

The shoes are my Grandad's and they are so beautiful and well made but sadly I can't actually walk in them cos he has one leg shorter than the other! So they give me a limp whilst stopping his! 


And a final generic shot of me looking like a creepy awkward weirdo. Just cos.

Actually I realise now that with the boxers and the vest the trench coat looks like a dressing gown?! So yeah that is my insider advice during New York Fashion week! Wear your pyjamas! I don't know you guys....

So on that happy, happy, note thank you for being here, I hope your days are happy and whole

Love always,

Bethany

X

8 comments:

  1. i'm a twin peaks addicted: love the magical and hypnotic atmosphere and autumn vibes!
    really cool images from fashion issues
    Cecilia

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    1. Ahh thank you, that Sassy shoot is the coolest thing I've seen in ages!! :D
      Bethany
      xox

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  2. I love this, I don't get people who ignore something they used to love because it's suddenly popular? like, what is that about i'm super psyched when others start to love something i have in the past or still love ahhhh, you're right it's an awesome communal feeling; let's all love things together

    also, adore your outfit and what you felt w/ it/around it/about it. i don't think the trench looks like a dressing gown though, it's a perf trench!! also you are adorable!

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    1. Yes!! Eee I am so happy you agree :)) Even if its someone like, say David Cameron fan-boying over the Smiths, it reminds me not to reduce someone to a character, after all even conservative politicians can be angsty bbs sometimes! Liking stuff is special-shy ppl can do it alone and yet still feel connected to tons of other people and that is a wonderful thing!

      And welp thank you Eline!! I think I over think outfits/getting dressed but I like writing out my thoughts and ordering them in this lil blog so it's all good really!!!:3

      xxx

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  3. I wanted to say hello! And express how much I agree! This whole "I liked it before it was cool/popular/whatever" line has become so old. Common interests are such a great way to generate a connection with someone, I think! Anyway, I saw that you started following me on bloglovin (though the social aspect of the site confuses me so I'm not really sure what that means), and I thought I'd say hi. I'm a current CCC-er and I think I found your blog about a year ago when I was doing some serious internet sleuthing right before first year trying to figure out what I was getting myself into, so I've been quietly reading ever since!

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    1. Oh my gosh, no way!! I kno some people find this blog through searching for CCC and I can't help but question what sort of image I am projecting of the course. Like this is technically meant to be a portfolio site or whatever but it also doubles up as my angsty diary. Its like "apply to this course and one day you too can be a weird Syrian kid taking pictures of yourself in your boxer shorts." Like wut is this.

      How are you enjoying CCC?! I impulse applied, without even going to an open day, so spent the first month in a perpetual state of confusion! I do hope you are enjoying it. If you have any questions I'd be happy to help :)

      Also I just had a look at your blog and you are a such a good photographer! So good!

      xox

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    2. Oh my god quite the opposite! I remember reading some of your essays last year and thinking how much I wanted to spend three years writing like that! I think it's great.

      CCC has been interesting. I remember at induction last year everyone telling the incoming first years to "just stick through it, it'll be worth it if you make it through first year," and I didn't really understand at the time but now I do. The teaching approach is so different from the states so at first (and even still, actually) I didn't feel like I was being given enough work and worried that I would finish first year without anything to really show for it. And then every meeting with Caroline ended in her telling me to spend 30 hours/week in the library reading books, which wasn't the answer looking for. But I'm hoping that second year will be different and even if its not I've realised I just need to make the work for myself that I feel I need rather than complaining about being bored/not having enough to do! I hope some of that made sense. And DESPITE all that ranting I just did I really am enjoying the course and the tutors and London in general. SO excited to get back.

      Also, thank you!!! Really really kind of you xx

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    3. Oh what a lovely thing to hear! <3

      I certainly know how you feel about first year, I think the combination of lack of time actually in classes, combined with moving to a city like London, can make any student starting CCC feel a lil bit lost and lonely. I think it's a question of deciding what you want to get out of the course and taking advantage of all the wonderful opportunities in London.

      Like in first year I felt at a total loose end and, at times, doubted if CCC was the right course for me. However, by second year, I had started interning for places (I interned for British Library in 2nd and 3rd year and did other odd placements and freelance stuff alongside that) and had gained a lot of confidence so figured out what I wanted to do (writing) and what areas I wanted to focus on (gender and race in relation to pop culture and digital culture). Once all that fell into place (which it did for many other students-not just me!) I began to use my time better and saw how I could apply the stuff I was doing in CCC to 'real life' and shape the assignments to suit my interests and expand my portfolio and stuff.

      But yes it's definitely a case of setting your own goals and figuring out what path you wanna take, at first that can feel a bit much and not your job to do. However, once you leave, you really realise how important those skills are, like motivating yourself and creating your own projects. I don't think I'd have got half as much done since I graduated if I'd done a more conventional degree with a rigid timetable :)

      I hope that helps, do let me know if I can help with anything, and best of luck with your second year, I'm sure you'll do brilliantly!!

      xxx

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