Tuesday, April 5, 2011

frivolity, femininity, fatness, fashion, frustration (and feet)

I had a great shopping trip the other day.  The kind where everything fit and some of it, you know, mighta kinda looked good.  (And the fact that I did not have two shopping resistant children around and could actually, you know, try stuff on instead of grabbing something and hoping for the best, didn't hurt either).  The greatness of said trip is a kinda a big thing - because no matter how much I've try to be a 'rock-your-body-whatever-body-you-got' kinda person - shopping always channels back those old, deeply ingrained anxieties.

Growing up I always wanted to be that pretty, slight, girly-girl who looks smashing in everything.  (If I'm being honest, I probably wouldn't turn down a chance to try on her shoes now, either).  You know,  the one that everyone in the room wants to simultaneously take-care of/throw over their shoulder caveman style.  Yeah.  Not so much in the cards for me.  (Not saying that there aren't people out there that think I look reasonably good.   Just that those aren't the type of responses girls like me tend to elicit.  S'okay - that script of femininity is kind of, old and tired -and heinously sexist-anyhoo...)

I was raised by a decidedly not-girly strong (beautiful) feminist mama, who wore a dress to her own wedding only because my dad insisted, and picked it out for her.  She dressed me in baggy brown overalls and my brother's hand-me-downs and pooh-poohed girly-girl-ness and feigned girly-helplessness (and to this day is absolutely baffled at how I became a make-up wearing, dress loving, heels coveting kind of person).  And so I watched my delicate cousins and friends flounce around in beautiful, poofy dresses and Mary Janes with all kinds of unbridled envy.  (I still have a massive love affair with Mary Janes.  Big, big love).  

Unlike lots of queer girls I know, I did not spend my adolescence developing mad crushes on the beautiful, glamourous women I saw on television.  Nope. ( I wasn't really all that into girls until I discovered butchy girls...and then... h-e-l-l-o.  Doo-dee-doo, digressing now.)  I did watch the gorgeous tv women with longing, not because I wanted to date them, but because I wanted to be them.  And lots of wistfulness, because even at a really young age, everything pointed to the fact that I wasn't ever going to be tall, slender, or glamourous.   

Fast forward to grown-up time.  I get to pick my own clothes now.  I'm not tall.  I'm sure as hell not slender.  Probably not glamorous.   BUT - I'm tough as nails.  I have hips that can carry a 45 pound kid on one side and a 25 pound toddler on the other.  I gave birth twice with no drugs.  I can fix things (if I have to.  But L. does it for me and I'm much happier that way).  I'm pretty damn scrappy.  I can pitch my own damn tent and light a campfire in the rain (in regards to the latter, in case you were wondering, a squeeze bottle of Muskoil can come in very handy).  I don't really need or want anyone to take care of me.  I'm not the kind of girl people are gonna throw over their shoulder cave-man (woman?) style.  And I'd probably kick the shit out of them if they tried.  I'm a still that girly-girl I wanted to be when I was younger.  I'm just a queer-fat-take-no-prisoners-brick-house kinda girly-girl.  Or at least I'm working on the take-no-prisoners part.  Funny how things begin to shift when we drop those dominant versions of femininity. 

And I still love the pretty stuff as much now as when I did when I was younger.  Fashion does not make this easy.  The stores that carry the kind of clothes I want to wear aren't generally the stores that carry the kind of clothes that fit my body. (How exactly is one supposed to pull-off being a hot, fat chick when the clothes and designers will not cooperate with your obvious hotness? *and yes - that is me poking fun at my own bravado*. Also - I'm broke and generally have no childcare - factors which can frequently combine to kill the joy of shopping.)  And then there's the not so trifling matter of my feet (shakes fist at the sky).  Finding gorgeous shoes to fit my Barney Rubble feet is, well, difficult.  (Makes for a whole lot of  Cinderella's ugly step-sister moments).  These feet are a cruel joke of nature.  They shoulda been given to someone who liked workboots not kitten heels.  Anyways...

But all that background aside - I had an amazing shopping trip the other day.  I bought nothing sensible.  It was terribly frivolous and unpractical of me.  And a whole lot of wonderful.   I might even do it again, brokeness be damned.  (No, really brokeness.  Be Damned!).

Clothes to leave the house in - check.  

Events to leave the house in said clothes, babysitters, more bravado -  a work in progess. 

(And as a total aside -  if you happen to want to check out some awesome writing - Tasha Fierce is a blogger (RedVinylShoes, Sex and the Fat Girl) currently writing for Bitch Magazine about a variety of topics re: fat chicks and sexuality.  S'good stuff.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh how this spoke to me. I spent undergrad rejecting any feminine clothing, make up, etc. in an effort to disguise my femininity. I perceived that I appeared weak and faced the extreme criticism of my gender studies classmates. Establishing oneself in an aggressive and dominantly-male workplace didn't help. I have only in the last few years become comfortable with expressing a more feminine appearance. A great shopping trip, with clothes that express your hotness, is always to be celebrated. As for shoes, I have the opposite problem - so narrow I walk out of shoes without straps or ties (see also my Mary Jane obsession). I've been told the key for shoes is on-line shopping.