i probably won’t actually rip your neck open

I don’t do the goth thing all that often, really. Not as often as I’d like. When it comes down to it, I like color and variety way too much.

There’s a fantastic compilation of goth stereotypes on deviantArt. It’s pretty damn accurate. I lean toward the sleeker, sexier ones. I’m really not much for camo or plaid or ripped t-shirts. There’s almost nothing I’d rather be called less than “baby bat“. I’m into a more elegant, atmospheric expression. The spooky and sinister rather than the aggressively steampunk. Loreena McKennitt over Marilyn Manson.

snake vintage I

snake vintage II

snake vintage III

snake vintage IV

This little friend crawled up my dress mid-shot.

snake vintage V

These goth goblets are one of my favorite possessions. Since I got them, I can’t drink red wine out of anything else.

snake vintage VI

snake vintage VII

I have no idea why, but these pictures are making me think of the time I made a haunted house in the Sims Nightlife expansion pack, the one that lets you have ghosts and vampires. I’m pretty sure one of my Sims wore a similar dress. The brain’s funny like that. Things we considered fleeting at the time – the style of the dress my avatar wore in a video game seven years ago – end up getting committed to memory. Sometimes I bite into a slice of pizza and remember biting into another slice of pizza at exactly the same angle sometime prior to now.

snake vintage VIII

This outfit could benefit from some actual shots by a real photographer. The black on black looks incredible in person, but my webcam doesn’t quite capture it.

snake vintage IX

snake vintage X

snake vintage XI

This dress is straight-up made-in-America vintage. I got it for $10. Odds are there isn’t another one like it in the state, maybe even the country. That delights me, because I’m more of a hipster than I’d like to admit.

snake vintage XII

snake vintage XIII

Cell-phone selfie in the bathroom at work.

Dress, Jacket, & Scarf: Classy Closet Necklace & Belt: Battery Street Jeans Tights: Gifted Boots: Handed down from Mom

In honor of today’s gothy motif!

coulrophobes beware

Yeah, I know I used this title a while ago. I decided it would fit better here, so I retitled the other post.

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This was one of my absolute favorite dresses in high school. I wish I hadn’t let it slip into retirement after I graduated. It’s shorter than I usually go for, and after I finished high school and stopped being skinny, I was uncomfortable with where it hit my thighs. I’m better acquainted with realism now: no one’s supposed to look like they did at 16 forever. I might as well settle into my adult body, T ‘n’ A ‘n’ all. (Keep in mind that I’m not trying to get all “real women have curves!” on ya, because I find that abhorrent. This is statement on me and my own body and nothing else.)

Also, I honestly love this dress so much that I’d wear it no matter how it looked on me.

clown I

There will be a picdump today. I feel awesome in this dress and felt like whoring it for my cameras as much as I possibly could.

clown II

clown III

clown IV

clown V

clown VI

clown VII

Today I’m preying on fear of clowns. You have no idea whose skull that is around my neck. It probably belongs to whoever’s skin is draped across my back.

clown VIII

clown IX

clown X

This dress has fantastic texture. I’m pleased with how it translates to (metaphorical) film.

clown XI

clown XII

clown XIII

Dress: The Classy Closet Boots: Handed down from Mom Hat: Handed down from cousin Jacket: Handed down from neighbor Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Tights: Gifted

Carbon Leaf’s new album is FANTASTIC, you guys. This is serious business. I’m pretty sure I want “A Song for the Sea” played at my funeral. They also released a complementary bootleg album on NoiseTrade, which is totally free (though tipping is recommended). Parts of it were recorded in Vermont, at the concert I had the pleasure of attending back in November. “American Tale” is one helluva live performance.

My friend Lisle claims to be audible on one of the tracks, but I have yet to pick him out.

alice: the gritty reboot

My original title for this post was “queering the wonderland”. I let it stand for about half a second before diagnosing myself with a serious case of postmodernism. “Queer” as a verb? What’s next, “addressivity”? ”

You might remember that I wore this dress to my high-school graduation, going on two years ago now. I haven’t worn it much since then: I didn’t find that it suited my collegiate style very well. It’s long overdue for a resurgence, though. Today I’m enjoying my guise as a slightly punky Alice.

alice II

alice III

I like to believe the skull belonged to the White Rabbit. Times get tough down in Wonderland. Magical tea cakes only fill you up so much.

alice IV

alice V

I love the color of these tights. They play up the surrealism of the outfit by making me feel like an android. Or a gynoid, if you want to get technical. And since it appears to be PoMo Day here at Color Me Brazen, we’re gonna get technical.

alice VI

alice VII

alice VIII

alice IX

alice X

Vest: Richmond Food Shelf Thrift Store Dress & Bow: Old Gold Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Tights & Docs: Gifted

I’m getting my hair cut this week. I know exactly what I want, and I can’t wait to surprise y’all.

something something complementary prints

Guys, you all know how my style works by now.

So the other night I sat down and made a list of every possible outfit combination I want to try over the next few months. They got increasingly outlandish as my brain worked itself into a fever pitch, and I’m really, really excited now. Listmaking is a special pleasure of mine.

This was the first outfit on the list.

french III

I feel very parisienne today.

french II

french IV

french V

french VI

french VII

french VIII

french XI

Bird-print tights!

I’m on the fence about these shoes. They’re a little too hippie for this look. I didn’t want to cover up the tights with boots, though. A good loafer would probably work best.

french IX

french X

Blouse, Coat, & Belt: Handed down from Mom Skirt: Richmond Food Shelf Thrift Store Bracelet, Necklace, & Hat: Gifted Tights: Urban Outfitters Shoes: Danform

My favorite band has a new album out! So today, instead of posting a shitty YouTube bootleg, I’m going to gently urge you to actually plunk down some money, because they deserve the support.

the filthiest of all the attention whores

I never post all the shots from any given shoot. I tend to select the best of the best for internet use: I don’t want to dilute the impact. And that means I have plenty of outtakes for “round-up” posts.

Behold a bunch of shots I didn’t post after their respective shoots!

IMG_1397

Copyright Anna Rutenbeck 2012

This shot has such great composition. It’s from the first formal shoot I ever did. Anna and I have been friends for something like six years, and she was willing to schlep around with a camera on an incredibly hot day just to help me get a few decent shots.

IMG_1556

Copyright Anna Rutenbeck 2012

obelisk

Copyright Anna Rutenbeck 2012

Kind of a strange angle, but I love my hand on the cross.

moorish X

Copyright Brent Gould 2013

moorish XI

Copyright Brent Gould 2013

I like shots in which my face looks really foreign to me. This is one of them. I don’t quite recognize myself.

If I trained a mirror on myself for 24 hours, how many moments like this would I have? How many things about my physical comportment would surprise me?

moorish XII

Copyright Brent Gould 2013

speaking easy III

Copyright Brent Gould 2012

My mother says I’m starting to look exactly like her mother. I’ll post a picture of her sometime for comparison. It’s really getting kind of uncanny.

vintage XIII

Copyright Brent Gould 2012

Such a frigid color scheme. I feel like the most regal of the ice queens.

vintage XIV

Copyright Brent Gould 2012

yellow dress X

Copyright Greg Gouwens 2012

woods XLIX

Copyright Stephen Hayes 2012

If you look really closely at the right side of my neck (my right, not yours), you can see the scattering of pink welts. I didn’t notice it until after I got home that night, and I assumed it was just an odd configuration of mosquito bites.

Turns out it was a motherfucking rash. I went on to develop a fever and be sick for three or four days.

I really, really hate rashes. They don’t gross me out, per se (nothing really does), but something about skin ailments just gets to me. I’d rather have a week-long stomach bug than a full-body rash.

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Copyright Brent Gould 2013

woods LVI

Copyright Stephen Hayes 2012

For levity’s sake. I have no recollection of what was going on in this picture, but looking at it makes me laugh out loud. Every. Single. Time.

Also, you have no idea how much I wish I could post my nudes! Some of my best work ever has been nude, and I’m really proud of it. But even though it’s not pornographic (for the most part), there are all sorts of regulations for blogs that host “adult” content, and in my effort to reach as many people as possible, I’d rather not have to worry about the restrictions. If you must go looking, though, my ModelMayhem profile is not exactly hard to find.

a little pedagogy with your nightcap

Last week, the Cynic, one of UVM’s student papers, released a Valentine’s Day issue. Its cover featured a girl unbuttoning her flannel shirt (as though there were any doubt that we’re Vermonters to the syrup-dripping core) to reveal a lacy camisole. This week, the following letter to the editor was printed. I’ve redacted it for brevity and boldfaced parts most relevant to my subsequent critique.

I appreciate the [Cynic‘s] efforts to balance itself as a viable news source while remaining edgy to retain the attention of its target population – college students.

The Cynic has taken this a step too far, however, with the nonsensical objectification on the cover of its Valentine’s Day issue. Because, while this “Sexy Issue” is meant to be the Cynic “unbuttoned”, the only thing truly unbuttoned in this issue is the cover model’s shirt.

Besides the cleavage gracing the cover, the photo posted online the night before with an alternative cover titled “Something big is coming” with a suggestively half-naked male, is equally concerning.

Within this issue, there is no explanation for the displays of skin, no caption or follow-up article. The somewhat forced theme of romance and sex is present, but the cover is only implicitly connected to these stories, which simply leaves room for a shady interpretation.

There are interpretations that could accuse the Cynic of objectifying women … and men. Or maybe the newspaper has decided to just throw some skin on its cover for more student readers. Perhaps the Cynic has decided to embrace its naked culture and become a porn magazine – it’s all up for interpretation.

This sleazy marketing strategy is definitely an attention grabber, and a totally unwarranted one. The choice is ultimately not risque – only tacky.

Anonymous, Class of 2014

Objectification. Something tells me Anon here doesn’t do too many photo shoots. A photo shoot is a collaboration between model and photographer. It’s a lot more nuanced than the subject/object dichotomy to which many critics are fond of reducing it. To use a graphic but (I hope) illuminating metaphor: the dom in BDSM, or even the top in more vanilla sex, is not necessarily in control. It’s a partnership.

I find the word “objectification” itself more than a little insulting. The word itself, and the attendant concept, reduces me to an object far more than anything a photographer could do behind a camera. When you say that a person (usually a woman, and I’ll get to that soon) has been objectified, your implications are themselves objectifying her. You are saying that being photographed is something done to a woman rather than something in which she actively engages. When you tell a model she has been objectified, you are telling her she is an object without choice in the matter of her portrayal. I’ve always hated hearing media critics talk about how women “are portrayed” – passive voice, as though women themselves are never the primary actors. Give them a little agency, for chrissakes. Rarely do I hear anyone raise the possibility that women collude in their own portrayals.

I don’t know anything about the girl on last week’s Cynic cover. I have no idea what the terms of her shoot were. For all I know, the use of her image wasn’t consensual. But it’s patronizing to assume the negative. When I see a woman posing provocatively, I owe her (and all women) the dignity of assuming her choices are her own unless stated otherwise. For me, in that instance, to call her objectified (or sexualized, or any other passive-voice adjective) would be tantamount to shitting on her personal agency.

And it’s always women. I’m using the feminine pronoun not by accident or whim but because these conversations, 95% of the time, are about women. At least Anon threw in a little nod to men’s potential objectification. Other than that, I can count on one hand, maybe two, the number of times I’ve seen similar “concern” applied to male models or actors or athletes. Men, for better or for worse, are generally granted the assumption of autonomy. A man takes his clothes off, and people don’t look twice. Maybe a few of them swoon a little. A woman takes her clothes off, and everyone and their sister’s chihuahua has to have an opinion: why did she do it? who is she doing it for? is her decision “good for women” or “bad for women”? I’ve always hated the buzzphrase “good for women”. We rarely ask whether something is good for men. Men are afforded the assumption of independent agency, while women are still regarded (often by nominal feminists!) as not only fundamentally reactive but as interchangeable. Monolithic – what’s good for one woman must be good for all, because god forbid I be a human before a female.

You can disagree with what I do. By all means disagree: I enjoy and encourage debate. But I draw the line at being told I’m not actually running my own life. You’re perfectly entitled to think my sexy photos are disgusting and ought to be shipped on a flaming raft to the sluttiest circle of hell. But don’t you dare try to tell me that these photos were something done to me. When you “accuse the Cynic of objectifying women”, you’re forgetting that there’s a living, breathing human behind that photo. That, not the close-up of her cleavage, is what I call objectification.

someone stole my colors. send help.

I got this jacket at Old Gold’s $10-per-bag sale. I’m pretty damn sure it was originally part of an Air Force costume. I admit it doesn’t photograph too well, but I like how strict it looks, how clean the lines are. I feel like a dominatrix. I accentuated its spare, futuristic look with black and white. My work here is done if you feel like you’re seeing me through a rather trippy dream.

white jacket VIII

white jacket I

white jacket II

white jacket IV

white jacket V

white jacket VI

I need to stop wearing these grey tights every single day.

white jacket VII

white jacket IX

white jacket X

Jacket: Old Gold Scarf, Tights, & Hat: Gifted Skirt: Richmond Food Shelf Thrift Store Boots: Handed down from Mom

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Once again, I need a haircut. It grows hella fast: it’s already back to the length I chopped it from roughly seven weeks ago. I do love the pigtails this particular cut enables, but I can’t wear pigtails every day. What do y’all think of this cut?

i want hair like this

slytherin girls need love too

I consider this the nascent-spring variant of January’s Slytherin look.

Also, a friend once told me I resemble Loonette from Big Comfy Couch. Some days I can see it more than others.

green dress I

green dress IV

green dress V

I got this dress at Stella Mae’s buy-one-get-one sale last week. I’ve never been a big fan of tie-dye, but the print was so subtle and adhered well enough to its theme that I couldn’t resist it. It screams “serpent” louder than “dirty hippie”. (Bit of a “no true Scotsman” there, I realize.)

My favorite thing about it is the sheer cut-out.

green dress VI

These prints together. I can’t even handle it.

green dress VIII

green dress X

Shorter than I usually go for, but it doesn’t ride up.

green dress XI

I was very happy with today’s print-mixing.

green dress XII

green dress XIII

I didn’t get to take outfit pictures today until well after dark. In the living room, I rely on natural light for a decent shot. This is admittedly shitty, but I wanted to give at least an impression of the dress’s whole silhouette.

green dress XIV

Dress: Stella Mae Jacket & Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Hat, Bracelet, & Tights: Gifted Belt: Handed down from Mom Shoes: Danform

green dress VII

I’ve been in a really good mood today. Come at me.

my fungal valentine

Sometimes I’m glad my webcam glosses over the finer points of any given shot, because otherwise you’d be able to tell exactly how sick I am. Seriously. I got a flu shot back in November, but it’s done fuck all. This is the first I’ve gotten out of bed in three days: I’d eked out the very last of my shampoo and toothpaste and didn’t want to be even more disgusting than usual. I thought I might as well dress up, though. It’s not much harder than throwing on yoga pants, and feeling put together always has a pleasant psychological effect on me.

valentine I

valentine II

valentine III

valentine IV

valentine V

valentine VI

valentine VII

This is one of my favorite dresses. The pattern, unfortunately, doesn’t photograph too well.

valentine VIII

valentine IX

valentine X

valentine XI

Dress: Bella Boutique Sweater & Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Shoes: Danform Ring & Belt: Handed down from Mom Shoes: Danform Bow: Old Gold

for once in my life i don’t feel overdressed

I attended fashion show practice today. Four hours per weekend I have to spend in heels higher than my name. As much as my feet whine, though, my posture is markedly better.

I don’t spend much time with other fashionistas. The online community more or less makes up for that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great to surround myself with chicness four hours a week. This is a crowd I actually don’t feel overdressed around. So many blazers, scarves, and skinny jeans. I feel gloriously urbane.

This is what I wore to practice today.

practice IV

practice II

practice I

Yesterday I hit up Old Gold’s 40th anniversary fill-a-bag sale. I got an OBSCENE quantity of stuff for $18, and this sweater and green necklace were among them.

My hair still looks nice and smooth from last night.

practice III

practice VI

practice VII

Some of these photos were taken with my cell phone during downtime at practice.

practice V

practice IX

practice VIII

practice XI

practice X

practice XII

practice XIII

practice XV

This is what happens when I wait too long to take pictures. Shitty, shitty light.

Sweater & Green Necklace: Old Gold Jeans: Battery Street Jeans Spider Necklace: Gifted Shoes: Stella Mae

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I’m plugging Miss Broadway Dork again. I really, really love her YouTube channel.