The siren has called. I have been invited; I have a place at the table. We are coming together to form our first outrageous, courageous, open mouth questioning and analysis of the patriarchal, colonizing racist and homophobic oppression dialogue and my question is, what do you wear to a badass feminist blog meeting?
In my day just wearing blue jeans to work was telling the authorities to stick it. No shit, they had rules in their policy handbooks, even though high fashion was claiming the working man’s aura with denim suits on Paris runways and Club Whatever where the hipsters hung out. Just as middle class white kids colonize the baggy jeans of prison wear and hand me down poverty, the ragged rips and flaws of third world leftover reject clothes, thrown out by the Dollar Store and sewn into Chic Boutique designer du joor that costs more than your daddy’s week’s salary or wage. What does Rage wear?
No shit, then they took me aside and told me with a smile that I would be promoted but I had to be aware that I had to be presentable and put away those hippie clothes and make sure your jewelry does not clink, accidentally or not, distracting us from our Business of State. Which Is Very Important. And the suit would be better if it was blue or black and low heels for sure but don’t forget the power red just a touch so as not to scare others with the thought that you might BE powerful. Or female. And the tighter the uniform the less we can breathe the whole self and the more we swallow our womanhood the more we mortify ourselves in the sacrament of Capital. Go(l)d is Good. What does the person without sin wear?
What do you wear when there are fiery activists who move like tigers with hair that glistens with youth, with deep eyes and sharp mouths who say ‘don’t fuck with me’ by the very arch of their back or their eyebrow, who cite Michelle and maybe Angela and even a rag gleams like finest silk reflecting their auras, worn with insouciance that they don’t give a shit. And the motherly saints of The Movement wearing the modern equivalent of burlap and Birkenstock sandals with hand knit socks, bras burned, frizzy hair haloing their faces mottled by long marches in the sun, hands gnarled around signs painted in wavering lines. Each wrinkle tells the story of a sacrifice, whether triumph or defeat, of love, of indefatigable pursuit of consensus.
The Sisters of Color got their own thing going on. More about that later.
There’s always Black, the Hipster, the Goth, the Ninja, the I Don’t Care Because We’re All Going to Die Anyway. The 1960’s black leather bracelet with silver studs has never really gone out of style with the disenfranchised. The Black that makes you look thin, the absence of light that will make people love you. The Black if only I were invisible color. The Black that sucks in light. The Black of Black Rage, of glamorous evenings in little black dresses. Cool, sophisticated, color of grief, color of death. What do you wear when you need something darker?
What do we wear is not a frivolous question. We choose what to reveal about ourselves in the language of the first look, the seven seconds we decide to open the envelope or throw it in the circular file. It has everything to do with belonging to a pack, to being in or being the axis of evil, with us or against us. In today’s hyper media we are brainwashed by a billion dollar advertising industry, to stereotype our selves, to sort and select our clothing and our friends to look like us, to reinforce our own opinion of who we are, to choose who deserves a share of the pie or not. It is everything about internalized oppression.
If we are not aware and on guard we let those stereotypes build walls between us. We think that clothing and accoutrements define feelings and needs. Because they are not like me they cannot feel (my) pain; we numb ourselves to believe this is true. Our fears deny us the beauty of knowing another human being and her wrinkles, the organizing knowledge of her strategies and experiences. It denies us the capacity to work together across political identities to overcome the onslaught of oppression. It benefits the oppressor. Our courage will be to just be ourselves, flawed, human, passionate, vulnerable, to let our hunger for justice bring us together in a new space in a new way that embraces us all, exactly as we are. Our mandate will be to open ourselves, to pause, to choose, to connect. To do otherwise is to reproduce oppression and maintains the status quo.
What do you wear to a Badass Feminist Blog Meeting? Come to one and we’ll see.