Otswald Helgason SS13 & Maddening, Normalized Perversion
I just bought the Rookie Yearbook (you’d think I’d be over the hype of it by now… lord knows I haven’t stopped talking about it since I first skimmed it at the bookstore), but alas I fear for you all that it may only just be the beginning. Upon flipping through it feverishly as any avid obtainer would, I came across an open forum-style feature called It Happens All The Time. The point of the shared experiences all revolved around female sexual and verbal harassment. Warning: I’m about to dive deeply right into the heart of the matter – if you’re in a whimsy, carefree mood, you might want to save this read for later…
It saddened me to read the countless shares of perverts publicly masturbating, flashing, harassing, and displaying inappropriate and twisted actions towards pre-pubescent girls (and I’m not talking about boys their age, try men old enough to be their fathers). Written from the perspective of the girls (on a private contributor-only Facebook group platform that they later decided to publish), I saw in them my own experiences growing up as a teen. While I remember being disgusted and maddened by the offers and cat calls, it never truly sunk in how deeply disturbing it all really was considering my age (and the offers I’d receive from men of such generational contrast). As I took in each and every individual story, my anger increased. An anger always overthrown by shock when the experiences would happen to me first-hand. An anger in always feeling vulnerable to it, and someone else’s impulses.
My family was visiting about two weeks ago for dinner, and my brother said something very shocking at the time, to which I now fully, truly understand without hesitation. “Women are the most suppressed culture/gender/race on the planet – consistently, in the history of the world”. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t surprised to hear that escape his mouth… look at the countless people who have suffered endlessly because of where they were born, what colour their skin is, or because of the religion they practice (or if we really want to shed the ignorance, because governments needed body counts to win wars and/or terrorize/destroy innocent civilian lives, etc.). And then I looked closer. While there may have been times when Cleopatra and Elizabeth ruled, where matriarchic societies existed and prevailed, the bigger picture is far more dampening. Sure, women and children may get special priority when it comes to life and death emergencies, but we are also the first to endure rape and other such torments without being able to equally defend ourselves. Still to this day, if you’re lucky enough to be born in a country where your everyday actions are not controlled by men or government (more often than not abusing their power and exercising brutal “lessons” on women who do not follow their rule), you are forever a go-to target of scarring offences men rarely have to endure. While cat calls may be harmless when they don’t become aggressive and creepy (boys, following girls will not make them answer you – only run), cornering strangers, drugging them, and even befriending them to gain their trust before trying something against their consent, are damaging to women more than they may initially think. Maybe you’re laughing to yourself right now, thinking that these things aren’t important nor serious enough for me to be talking about… maybe you’re wondering why the hell a fashion blogger is making note of it (hold up, I’ll get to it). The truth is, it’s these little offences that grow into the bigger monsters. Don’t correct a behaviour when it happens, and the one creating it thinks they can get away with it (and will often continue to push the envelop further). I wish I had known then what I know now in the sense of how to disarm and gain the power back from these losers trying to belittle and demean these girls. I wish I would have called them out on it, embarrassed them publicly and calmly “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GET THIS MASTURBATING LOSER PERVERT AWAY FROM ME AND CALL THE POLICE?”, and been strong enough to make them feel like the target. I feel like both an idiot, as well as partially responsible for anyone else it may have happened to – especially after having had the chance to make an example of it.
In an age that is supposedly the future, teenage girls are committing suicide from sick internet predators blackmailing them and sending out the results to all their contacts. Then there is the bullying as a teenager, the scrutiny as an adult, the double standards as both (lets not even get into the image and beauty part of it all). I’m not trying to display a sob story for women and girls – this is not about feeling sorry for ourselves, it is about empowering ourselves and not being the victim in these scenarios. It’s about putting your foot down, and stepping up from the damsel in distress act we’ve been told to play. The worst part of it all, is how normal it has all become. How we all have to walk through life feeling paralyzed by the lack of anybody doing anything about it (that’s our queue ladies and gentlemen). How easily we seem to accept the rules put up by others less compassionate to these constant mind fucks. What I’m getting at, is not an aggressive counter attack, nor is it a stand your guard way of life. It’s a look closer, find the reason behind it, and understand while disarming approach. Protect yourself, lose the naivety, and defend your reasons without automatically giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.
And now the fashion relevant part of it all… I know so much heat is placed on the models, the very faces of fashion and mainstream visuals, to which I’d like to take the spotlight off of (regarding hyper-sexualization at a young age). There is nobody particularly responsible for the images they are made to fit. Everybody is (you and me for the most part – we’re the ones buying what the brands behind them are selling). I understand that they are chameleons, and that the creators behind them are the ones who blow them into alternate beings (makeup artists, hair artists, fashion and shoe designers, photographers, editing teams, art directors, etc…). It is those same people who have the ability to either empower, or plant a destructive seed within their self value (you’d be surprised how far a rude body image comment goes to a young girl raging with hormones… or any of us for that matter). The world of fashion can be very anything goes, both enabling total liberation from manners and etiquette, as well as reason and sense (you know the repeat offenders – many celebrated for their larger than life personalities… not usually so charming in realtime). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen things happen that others in any other trade would drop their jaws at. How many times red warning flags shoot up signalling breaches in inauthenticity. The egos can get to a point of carelessness, and impose ownership on everybody they surround (at least attempted). Lines get blurred very easily, and in unprofessional circumstances, also crossed. Fashion is very much a business, and at sixteen, can be an atmosphere impossible to separate from the personal. Regardless, the projection of the ads you see and experience in magazines should never even be considered as a source or an “egg on” excuse for inappropriate behaviour from others. Anyone who claims that a woman or girl “tempted” them to act out improperly through “makeup and mirrors”, seriously has their head on backwards. This mentality is so dangerous, and has allowed a very demeaning and harmful culture to continue it’s existence.
Ladies, be responsible with your thoughts, words, decisions, and attitude before judging another one of your own. Stand up for the younger version of yourself facing the music you couldn’t quite hear clearly at the time. Learn, and teach others how to respond and correct these ugly societal misdemeanours. Think of your own future daughter (visions of me strangling strangers enter my mind…). Find ways to not be a smart ass, but instead the intimidating political woman (with a possibly better wardrobe). I’m a personal fan of Hilary Clinton checking reporters back in their place…
Thank GOD all these idiotic pro rape, anti-abortion idiots representing the States have been momentarily shushed. How close we continuously come to losing all the progress we have made. Speak up – there are plenty of disillusioned and ignorant women out there brainwashed enough (I mean, what the hell else could it be?) to take away even our most basic rights to our bodies and minds. Respect yourself, and others will learn.
xoxPosted under designer, fashion, My thoughts exactly..., Uncategorized by Robyn