Why do you care if you’re ‘on trend’?

Why do you care if you’re ‘on trend’?

What does it matter to you? It doesn’t matter to me. I have my own style and feel no need to follow the ‘fashions’, plunging money into cheaply-made ridiculously-priced clothing that will fall apart by the time I’m no longer sure why ‘orange and blue go so well together!’

Honestly? Why do we follow it?

Confidence sets the standard of beauty, not some entity or fashionista. Prices skyrocket because there is such a high demand for fashionable ‘on-trend’ clothing. When enough people quit buying this crazily-priced cheaply-made nonsense, prices will drop. And when enough of us speak up, the quality of garments may improve as well.

The problem today is that people continue to tolerate it. Buying uncomfortable shoes and clothes, necklaces that hurt our necks or smell bad, rings that impair the movement of our fingers… why? Because of some pretty photograph on the internet, and a precious little word or phrase like “bespoke” or “oxblood” or “mint green”.

By the way, this is the color of mint:

The plant commonly referred to as ‘mint’.

So what can I do, as a smart person? I find these measures to be quite an ‘innocent rebellion’:

  • Trade clothes with friends. Surely just because you don’t like this shirt anymore doesn’t mean it goes in the trash! Maybe a friend of yours would enjoy wearing it.
  • Buy clothes at a thrift store or consignment store or on ebay. There is well-made clothing with high-quality fabric for sale everywhere if you just look.
  • Make your own. Learn to sew! Use a pattern! You’ll find how very freeing and empowering this can be.
  • Settle on the idea that your wardrobe will last a long time, contain shapes and cuts and fabrics that look good on You, and will potentially not be ‘on-trend’. But lucky you! You’ll look much cooler than anybody else who is screaming ‘how high??’ when the fashion blogs command them to jump.

You are so much smarter than marketers give you credit for. I’m increasing my wage just by refusing to sink money into disposable uncomfortable clothing that I truly don’t need.

Agreeing with Hubby

I’d like to propose a tweet:  A #strong married #woman agrees with her husband because she chose a husband who has similar #values to her own. #feelinggoodfeminism

Make it go viral.

I recently have read some things stating that women ought to agree with their husbands out of respect for their marriage, and ought to cede to her husband’s decisions because he has the final word. Aside from suddenly needing to vomit, I feel that there is something inherently dangerous about this idea of unconditional support based on convention rather than based on intelligent agreement and trust.

I would choose to marry someone who upholds the same values I do, both in words and actions. I hope that my fellow women feel the same about choosing a partner; that partnership is based on similar values, trust, respect, and intellectual interest in one another’s ideas and projects. I believe in equal cooperation.

I would hope that men can do the same, seeking a partner who is similar to you intellectually and morally, so that you trust in her decisions. Choose the path of strength; be honest with your partner, tell her how you really feel about things so that you both make informed decisions about your continued partnership.

I can say these things all day long, and the most important portion remains that I must continue to practice making good intelligent decisions for myself, learning who I am and expressing my personality in everything I do, and speaking my story to those whom I come to trust will treasure it.

How to Survive Valentines Day

I used to be the first to assert that ‘holiday pressure’ didn’t get to me, and yet, it has been doing so lately. I’ve decided that for Valentines day, which can be one of the most pressured of the year for many people, I am going to be my own Valentine.

DSC_0405

I have always been one to go a little overboard for a holiday which is all hearts and flowers! Once I designed a lovely bouquet at a florist’s shop, and gave a ring and several mix CDs to a beau. Another time I made a youtube playlist, gave an artistic and highly-personalized handmade card, baked something sweet, and spent a sweet evening watching a favorite movie together. For a third and non-romantic example, I made three watercolored hearts and added glitter and kind messages of thanks and friendly adoration. All I want is for someone to show the same devoted attention to me! So I am.

  • Baking a banana bread for myself
  • And a cupcake, with frosting of course, and totally allergen-free
  • Making a lovely handmade and glitter-full card for myself, which says sweet things
  • Watching a favorite movie or show (Downton Abbey? Stardust? haven’t decided yet)
  • I considered buying myself a red rose, and then nixed the idea for now.
  • Letting myself off the hook. I am not obligated to do any of this for anyone. I’m doing it for myself to show myself how worthy and loved I am.

I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do for years; show myself the same love and consideration I show to other people, and doing so because of me. Simple as that. I always used to develop a reason related to someone else if I were to do something kind for myself, and now the reason is me. I deserve kindness, simply because I am.

No More ‘Sad-Vertising’!

Personally, I make it a point to avoid purchasing products which use “sad-vertising”… a term I’m using to refer to ads which encourage women to feel bad about ourselves in some way.

You know what I’m talking about… commercials where we’re portrayed as being inferior in some way, until we buy the product. They play on the desire many people have, of wanting to be liked. They also promote a lie that affirmation comes from material possessions, and even worse, that self-approval relies on other people’s approval of us.

Women are not the only targets of this, of course. Men are frequently targeted as well. It needs to stop. And we need to speak up about our dislike of it.

SAY NO TO SAD-VERTISING. I’m #notbuyingit

#saynotosadvertising

We also need to ACT on our dislike of it by consistently avoiding purchasing items promoted using sadvertising.

Money changes everything. We have the power to make change,* and we have the right to use it.

 

*ten points to any pun-sters who caught that.

Love you, THEN reproduce

Unfortunately in some situations abortion might be the most loving choice. What is absolutely 100% better, however, is just not to have sex in the first place if you don’t want to give birth. ‘Sexual freedom’ and sexual wantonness are totally different things. Women have the freedom to have sex with men outside of marriage. We also have the freedom to choose to not use that freedom.

Whether or not you agree with me doesn’t matter, but have an open mind for a minute.

I’ve known several people who told me they knew their births were accidental because of things their parents had said, who had been treated terribly by their parents, or who were adopted and had never forgiven their birth parents for having a child and being unable to take care of it. These people have suffered so greatly. I have such compassion for them. I would absolutely NEVER say that these people should have been aborted, because I don’t feel that at all. I believe these people deserve all the love in the world. I am glad to have known them. I do feel that it’s cruel to bring someone into a life that you aren’t ready to provide them, or aren’t emotionally capable of providing. A person needs to love their self before they can teach a child how to love itself.

Are you wondering if maybe you don’t love yourself that well?

do you smoke? drink for oblivion? use drugs at all? use sex to block out emotions? neglect to eat/sleep/bathe/brush your teeth? (You can’t love yourself if you’re destroying yourself.)

Or perhaps you do have a healthy love of yourself?

do you care more about being true to yourself than about what other people think of you?

do you make your needs priority ahead of your desires?

can you give up something that’s harming you?

do you seek positive healthy situations?

can you set boundaries and hold to them?

can you sit with and truly feel strong emotions until they pass?

I would like to gift you the quest for love that I have been taking… I am seeking to love myself in the kindest ways, to have self-compassion and to take great care of my well-being. I am passing it on to you.

“Too Skinny Minnie and Gendered Halloween Costumes”

Gendered (and sexually obectifying) halloween costumes are far and estranged from my heart. Then again, they were never ‘near and dear’ my heart to begin with. Read what Jennifer Siebel Newsom has written for this week’s Miss Representation action email!

“The recent “re-imagining” of Disney’s Minnie Mouse, the iconic animated character beloved by children the world over, is a frightening example of our culture increasingly sexualizing children and perpetuating a limiting standard of beauty for women and girls. The new Minnie, created for retailer Barneys New York, is depicted impossibly skinny and is stretched beyond recognition. In its efforts to sell a product to young women, Disney and Barneys are reinforcing the media’s already unhealthy and dangerous body ideals for girls.

With Halloween fast approaching, the season for scary displays of sexism is upon us. Costume shopping for October 31st has become a disturbing yearly experience – an unavoidable reminder of just how much money is being made through the objectification, sexualization, and degradation of women.

These days you can put “sexy” in front of nearly anything and make it into a Halloween costume for women (in fact, there’s already a “Sexy Minnie Mouse” costume); and, as a result, girls are learning at younger and younger ages that the point of Halloween is to show off their bodies.

Last year we wrote:

“Halloween seems to amplify our cultural trend of women being raised to manipulate their bodies and boys being taught to master their environments. With these costumes, are we again teaching girls to value themselves only for their beauty and boys to glorify violence? When are we going to provide a wider array of opportunities for our girls to portray characters that aren’t easily objectified or sexualized? Where are the costumes for my daughter that actually represent power or authority?”

We want to counter gender stereotypes again this year by presenting positive Halloween alternatives for our daughters and sons.

This week, submit your favorite positive costume ideas on Tumblr or send them to us via email! 

You can also use #NotBuyingIt on Twitter to call out the most egregious and offensive costumes – not to mention companies – you find.

Over the next two weeks we’ll spotlight the best costume ideas from Tumblr and continue to keep pressure on retailers and corporate America to give our children healthy ideas on who and what they can become!

Warmly,

Jennifer Siebel Newsom & The MissRepresentation.org Team”

I think that non-gender-specific costuming is a fantastic idea. Costumes for girls or boys that are creative and empowering, fun, and spooky without being violent. I look forward to seeing what tumbles through MissRep’s Tumblr…

I’m feeling good about creativity in costuming, and just saying ‘no’ to sexual objectification.

Inspiring All-American Women

I love receiving emails from Jennifer Siebel Newsom, of MissRepresentation.org as many of you are aware of by now! I post about the topics she introduces on a regular basis and give due credit every time.

Recently Jennifer mentioned the oddity that an ‘All-American Woman’ is consistently posited as baring-cleavage, sexually objectified, and little else. How unfortunate, when there are so many cool women doing worthy things, worth appreciating. The challenge she issued is to redefine the All-American hero by writing about the top 5 “amazing women you aspire to be like.”

1. I appreciate Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and aspire to be like her. Though I have been passionate about equality for women since before I heard of her, Jennifer’s dedication and positive public image really put feminism ‘on the map’ in a better way than it was before her documentary. A large part of the reason I admire her is that I want to see the tv and film industry CHANGE. I watch films with what Netflix refers to as “strong female leads,” which typically means women who are not portrayed as sexually objectified, and are shown generating action and positive change in their own lives. Real women often seem to feel paralyzed and unable to break out of negative life patterns, and I personally believe that watching films where women don’t make moves and changes does influence that trend of paralysis.

2. I’ve always wanted to be like Rachel Carson, an environmental “warrior” scientist active from the 1930s-1960s. She wrote the book ‘Silent Spring,’ creating awareness of the effect of chemicals on the environment. She testified before the U.S. Senate on the misuse of pesticides, demonstrating admirable bravery. She was called ‘alarmist’ for bringing to light the dangers commonly-used pesticides pose to wildlife. And yet Rachel held her ground, speaking to remind governing officials that humans are part of this world that we pollute, and the effects of chemicals on the environment adversely affect our human health as well. Several environmental organizations were created following the publicity her discovery received, due to positive reception by the public. She is an American hero, and I believe even the EPA owes its existence to her.

3. I admire The Great Kat for her musical talent and charisma. Katherine Thomas is a classically trained, thrash-metal, shredder/guitarist. She also plays violin, and promotes herself on her website as a ‘violin goddess’. Her confidence is undeniable and valuable to her in the often ruthlessly-rejecting music industry (which is -historically- especially intimidating for females to break into). Kat defies the odds, with mind-blowing technical skills on guitar and violin. I frequently wish that more women will pursue technical skill sets in music; the world needs more of us who self-identify as ‘Great’.

4. Elena Levon, whom I posted about not so very long ago on this blog, has the adventuring free spirit I wish I, too, can embody. Her travels and adventures, her devotion to humanitarian projects (such as the Lubasi Home, and UNICEF), and her artistic expression all impress me to a degree I cannot explain with words. Elena overcame tremendous odds at a young age to pursue her dreams. She writes a travel blog as well, and has recently been sent a letter which makes her eligible for my list of ‘All-American’ women who inspire me. Congratulations, Elena!

5. Another creative soul I admire is Miss Alana Rose, “mother, artisan, Renaissance woman, student of life.” I serendipitously stumbled across her shop on Etsy, seeing beautiful organic clothing, feathers to clip into hair, and crystals adorning necklaces. Her call to her Tribe spoke to my soul, and I felt I’d found the words to call my own Tribe:

“we’re a Tribe of new folk free-thinkers
higher-consciousness seekers
meditation & yoga practicing
mindfulness awakening
creating with our hands
a caravan of backpack travelers, fire performers
& drum circle dancers
barefoot walkers with Totem animals
& feathers in our hair
the Tribe is on a journey
whether our feet do ramble
or our spirits ascend
while choosing the path of compassion
to find
we are all mirror reflections
within the Universal Mind”

I am inspired by her mission, art, adventurous spirit, and environmentally-conscious commitment to up-cycling materials for her shop. People who make their income through creative means are the ones who show me the way.

Thank you all for being amazing. Thank you for showing me it is practical to live the life I dream of. I’m feeling good about women succeeding.