This was seriously one of the best weekends I’ve had in a while. On Saturday I did makeup for a local zombie-themed fun run; on Sunday (Josh’s 26th birthday) I tabled for Nightmare at a pumpkin festival up in the mountains. Silly costumes, foliage, a huge-ass birthday cake that we’re still working on – oh, and getting to pop someone’s eye out, as seen above. This post is not for the squeamish, but if you’re squeamish, then why are you even here.
My beloved steamfreak – and Nightmare’s monster mascot, Janey, whom Josh helped build.
Cake cred to my mom, who I’ve mentioned before is a professional baker. Nutella outside, pumpkin/carrot inside.
Holly asked for “zombie rock star”.
Nightmare went to lunch in full makeup.
So I haven’t stopped reading GOMI. I know I said I didn’t want to give them pageviews, but the more I think about it, the less I want to judge any forum by its lowest common denominator. Not that the lowest common denominator isn’t fucking awful, but y’know. There are literal Neo-Nazi blogs on tumblr; that doesn’t make the whole platform responsible. And a lot of the GOMI stuff really does make me think.
For one thing, it keeps me on my toes. A lot of the commenters are actually pretty sharp fashion-blog connoisseurs. They know what works. Some of the writing/photography advice is bang-on. And some of it affirms petty hatreds I already harbored. If I’d had any desire to sign my posts “love, Skye”, it would have been well and truly quashed by now. That can only be a good thing.
For another, it raises questions that have interesting implications outside fashion blogging. I’ve read a couple of debate threads re: what bloggers “owe” their readers. There’s a lot of criticism of bloggers who choose to curate their lives and not share anything that isn’t tidily presented. The argument seems to be that if blogging is your livelihood, you owe your readers the kind of content they want.
And I’m sorry, but no.
First of all, does anyone actually think blogs aren’t curated? While you’re clutching your pearls, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you. Artists want to present their best work. That’s to be expected, and it doesn’t make them “fake”. Are you also outraged that novelists edit? That painters don’t sell their rough drafts? If you don’t like the way I present myself, you are free to stop reading and to withdraw your financial support. I despise the whole “I pay your salary, now give me what I want” entitlement. Bloggers aren’t government-subsidized. If you don’t want to support a particular blogger, then don’t. Withdraw your money and stop demanding that her work fit your specifications.
Second of all, this kind of hunger for personal information ruins lives. Maybe that’s hyperbole. I haven’t heard of any bloggers driven to suicide by the ravenous public. But it certainly happens to celebrities of other stripes. Whether macro- or micro-, it’s the mentality that keeps tabloids in business. I’ve written before on the confusion of objectification and sexualization, and this is a perfect example. How is ragging on bloggers for not laying their lives on the table anything but objectifying? Far more so than a naked photo.
I am a fashion blogger, not a feels blogger. If I share anything beyond that, mazel tov. But I don’t owe it to you.
Before I pick up the mic, let us all acknowledge that I am Halloween and it feels wonderful. There we go. This is baaaasically my full-time job right now, aside from, y’know, my actual full-time job. Tomorrow I’m getting up at 6:30 to do makeup at a zombie-themed fun run. On Sunday I’m driving two hours to volunteer at a pumpkin festival and then taking Josh to dinner for his 26th birthday. Yes, the latter counts as a Halloween activity. I’m not sure Josh was born so much as sprung, fully formed, into being at Shub-Niggurath’s teat.
So I discovered GOMI today. And no, I’m not going to give them the pageviews, so you can Google it yourself. “Get Off My Internets” is a forum for eviscerating internet personalities. (I realize every other fashion blogger already knew about this, but I am late to the party on nearly everything. I mean, I still have a flip phone.) Some of the stuff on GOMI is actually really funny. I enjoy fashion-girl parodies and lampooning of the more overt tropes. “ModCrap” has a certain ring to it. But a lot of the posts leave a decidedly skeevy taste in my mouth. The thread that made me stop reading was devoted to dragging up a particular blogger’s internet history and posting her “sexy” MySpace photos from ten years ago. There is no universe in which that is a valid critique of a person’s work.
I don’t really have anything career-killing to hide. I don’t exactly keep my nudes a secret, and I’ve never had a Tumblr or LiveJournal or any kind of ~feelings~ blog. But I despise the whole “you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” canard. Even if nothing bad would actually come of them, I fear such invasions on principle, and I think most people do. I use half a dozen Reddit accounts because the idea of being doxxed turns my stomach.
Usually when there’s some “scandal” like this, I’m able to reason out why it would never happen to me. I’m mot high-profile or controversial or doing anything illegal. But this one actually hit home. This blogger does more or less the exact same thing I do. She got her teenage mistakes splashed around the internet because someone “didn’t like her stupid face”. Yeah, I don’t have anything to hide. But that is so not the point. The point is that I’m disgusted to have given pageviews to people who have nothing better than this to do. They’re not welcome on my internet.
Look, I’m the biggest fan of free speech and free discourse you’ll ever meet. I’m also a big fan of treating others like humans, not objects for your entertainment. I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. Fashion bloggers, like everyone else, do things worth mocking. We – at least I – can take it. We’re also, y’know, people. Just remember that.
Taken at Barge Canal Market this past weekend. I think the reason I love taking photos in antique stores is that I get to practice my technique without having to set anything up. I get to work on capturing a scene already arranged for me. At home I have to haul out lamps and dress forms and, I dunno, electric toothbrushes to create the same effortless effect.
That, and, I mean, antiques.
On the one hand, finding high-quality vintage in the bargain bin is practically an erotic experience for me. My dress, jacket, belt, and pearls (real pearls, teeth-tested and all) cost me less than $20 combined. And they are in such good condition I could immolate myself in sacrifice. The jacket even has a grey ILGWU tag, dating it to ~1950. On the other hand, it pains me to see slices of history handled by retailers who clearly do not know what they’re worth. “Eh, this is old. No one will want it.” It’s Antiques Roadshow writ small across my lame, lame life.
I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Recreation, and I have come to the conclusion that I am the Leslie Knope of vintage: ruthlessly passionate about something that most people agree is nice but few actually give much thought to. Parks are pleasant. So are Granny’s antique hats. But my god, woman.
Bebe Zeva of Fated to be Hated wrote a few months back on fetishization of the past and why she can’t identify with the vintage girls. It strikes her as a sort of arrested development. Bebe’s commentary always makes me think, but in this case I’m conflicted about what to think. I do cringe a little when vintage bloggers rhapsodize about the mores of the ’50s and beyond: okay, yes, you looked fabulous and men opened doors for you, but you had little, if any, social capital. That goes double if you’re not white. It’s one thing to romanticize the aesthetic of a period. Quite another to actually impose its values on the rest of the world. I do think some bloggers blur that line, and it makes me slightly uncomfortable.
But? The fashion industry as it’s currently run is growing less sustainable by the day. The endless fast-fashion seasons are not doing this planet any favors. Making vintage and handmade cool is one of the best things anyone who loves fashion and beauty can do.
Sometimes I feel vaguely guilty for taking pictures in front of churches. Like I’m exploiting other people’s sacral lifeblood for my own aesthetic reasons. I genuinely believe that spirituality is open-source, that adding a little of it to an artistic endeavor never hurt anyone, but…others don’t necessarily know I’ve thought that far ahead. I don’t want to look like just some basic bitch taking church selfies.
But? If you’re gonna take outfit pictures in public, strangers’ reactions are kind of the last thing you should be caring about.
On that note, though, I’ve become increasingly aware recently of how outfit pictures are perceived outside of the fashion blogosphere. I know perfectly well that they’re considered narcissism barely disguised as art. And that nags at me sometimes when I take photos in public: is this just vanity? I don’t think so. I really don’t. I love photographing the human form, especially the artistically clothed one. I’m around me 24/7; it’s just plain more practical to experiment on myself than to enlist other models. And I’m also fundamentally a creative loner: I find it difficult to communicate my ideas to others and open them for amendment. Controlling every aspect of a shoot myself is usually more satisfying to me.
Not only that, but using yourself as a model when you fall so considerably outside the range of acceptable mainstream models can be really powerful. Now, I’m not a “personal is political” kind of person, and I’m not a big fan of throwing “fuck you”s in people’s faces…but I do think fashion blogging is awesome in part because of how democratic it is. May the best outfits win. I follow bloggers of so many sizes and colors and genders, and I love that I can do that.
It’s not gonna change the world. But it might help change my little corner of it.
Too Americana for words. Though I pretend to be, there’s no part of me that’s even slightly urbane. I leave my front door unlocked, for chrissakes. But I do look damn citified in my spiffy New Look suit. Some outfits make me feel capable of sucker-punching the universe and licking the blood off my knuckles, and this was one of them. It would even blend in with all the red.
I’ve seen other bloggers report roundups of the media they’re consuming, and I think that might be fun. My tastes, however, are embarrassingly antiquated. I read posts about “top ten albums of the year”, and I’m all “did ten albums even come out this year?” This is not the place to go to be hip to all the young lads. This is just what I like.
I enjoy a fair few modern musicians too. I’ve seen Carbon Leaf four times and I’m gunning for a fifth. But generally speaking, with music as with most things, the older the better. Hearing a song I know has been passed down since I was but a twinkle in my great-grandfather’s balls makes me feel whole. Connected. As someone who tends toward loneliness, I need all the connection I can get.
…this might be a good time to mention that I’ve been featured in September 2014’s Vogoff! Vogoff is a zine compiled by the incomparable Mel of Bag and a Beret – a.k.a. the progenitrix of the Traveling Yellow Skirt Freak Show. It’s a balls-out celebration (my, I certainly have testicles on the brain today) of “people who give the biggest flying fecks of all”. Art, sex, poetry, and a big ol’ helping of not taking anyone’s shit. I’m by far the youngest woman to be included, and that thrills me. I like to think I’m getting a good start on becoming the garish harridan I was always meant to be.
Read Vogoff here!
It seems I can’t even wear my favorite sweater without being told to “go home” because apparently “it’s not even October yet”. Love you too, everyone. I just came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now. At least my sweater cares.
Even though it’s nigh October, haunt season started months ago. “Halloween is six weeks away, for Chrisssakes!” outsiders cry. Yeah, exactly – Halloween is six weeks away. I’d like to see you design, build, outfit, and rehearse an entire show in six weeks. My haunt, Nightmare Vermont, is the only one in the state that performs a complete coherent story rather than a series of skits. We write and produce a play from scratch, essentially.
…so yeah. You’d be freaking out too.
I’m so ready for fall, though. One last blaze of crunchy-leaved glory before seasonal depression settles in. Is anyone else champing at the bit for season 4 of American Horror Story?