Obseshes - Feminist Fatigue
Oooooh la la, you guys, it’s Nike Sky High City Pack “Tokyo” Dunks release month! I put it on my iCal. How are you? How is your heart? Can I hold your teacup face in my hands, just for a second, or a second too long? Let’s make this all about feelings, OK? Or mostly, anyway. I’m Pre-Monster-Screaming or whatever that’s called.
I mean, aaaaaahhhh. This girl! I like when she hops around in her sports bra in that movie I haven’t seen yet. Except, as my fashion-professional bestie pointed out, she was wearing an actual wedding dress to the Oscars which is, at first pass, “Whoah/gross” but one beat later is maaaaaybe who-gives-a-shit-ish and cool? I am still waiting for a Juliette Lewis/Bjork/Amanda de Cadenet-and-Courtney Love-in-1995 figure to arrive on the red carpet (now actually a more TV-appropriate, “carbohydrate, sequined-jumpsuit, young-girls-in-white-cotton-panties, waking-up-in-a-pool-of-your-own-vomit, bloated-purple-dead-on-a-toilet phase”-purple-red-carpet) with a fashion-commentary-stakes-defying dress and some baditude, but in the meantime, I’m down with this girl. OK, so this isn’t about feelings. (Also, that’s from Wayne’s World, of course.)
Turns out I was right about necks, at least according to my recent shoppings. See you soon, transition toward wide and densely fabricated necklines! This isn’t about feelings either.
GIRL NEWS: FEMINIST FATIGUE
This is, though. To square away an important through-line of current feminist discussion, which is a strawberry-sweet way of saying “internet dry-heaving”: feminist fatigue, the kind of philosophical sleepiness that sweeps through me/you/everyone when there is too much to say no to (covered by Lindy West at Jezebel andJessica Valenti at the Nation and by other women in other places that I didn’t see/can’t care about because ZzzQuil) is something I feel, have felt, for years and years, in waves. Not nice warm ocean waves like in Florida but, like, The French Lieutenant’s Woman waves.
Girl News - The Girls’ Guide to Winter
That it gets dark at noon or w/e is of less consequence when you think about winter as a Laplandian fairytale (Lapland is like Narnia but without all the stuff) instead of something brutalist and immovable and boring. Also, can I be a little bit real with you? I’m missing Rihanna to write this, and that’s because instead of doing it before, I am doing it now, and that’s because I am the kind of perennial dummy who doesn’t understand Future Kate as a real being with needs and limitations. But I did get a new coat in the mail today, and that makes up for it? So actually winter is really boring but in a way that is restorative for summer hedonisms so we should do a little thank-you prayer for winter even though it sucks a million.
Have you guys been paying attention to Taylor’s new record? What do we think about Red? Here is a lil’ taste: “Losing him was blue like I’d never known / Missing him was dark gray, all alone / Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met / But loving him was reeeeeeed” etc etc etc. Like you are also pretty sure she is laughing at us all the time, right?
Anyway, winter is silver, for me. I guess it’s a triple-obvious to initially characterize a time/month/season as so totally synesthetic—that is, for a thing or idea to correspond to a color, the way some people hear “eleven” and think “purple”—but so much of what a season is is experienced around it, before or after (see above re: summertime wildtimes, you know what I mean, you can feel that sun on your shoulders and that convertible backseat dick-grazing already) and the synesthetic experience of winter is silver, all the way from a dull, frozen metal silver to a glittery, tinsely fairy-lit silver. Or, in magazine or blogspeak, the “color story” of winter is silver, and even if you have to squint at a pile of filthy snow to make it happen, you can do it. Recasting a Total (if temporary) Drag-thing like this, like something almost fun and special, is just better for you.
Word to all girls and to any boy who has paid actual, intellectual attention to the girl experience, and knows that being cold is this common, constant bodily reality, and therefore knows that like anything else boys want to complain about (work, pain, political oppression) you probably had it worse. (Oooooh faced!) (I’m just kidding, fucking relax.)
“Sweatpants are disgusting” is the bottom line, but that’s only part true. The legacy of Juicy Couture asses and Free City thighs and high school kids on the subway in daytime sweats have left the mostly correct impression that sweatpants are too hard and too horrible to get right.
Most sweatpants are doing something that is “college” (too soft, pastel, slouchy, worn in a compromised, hunchy posture, the inside lined with a steady, clammy mist of hangover sweat from the malt liquor pre-drinks and the runny bar rail G&Ts and then a tasty slice and then whatever non-cure—Coffee? Laxatives? Froot Loops and an ice-cold can of Coke?—you took that morning), but what you want them to do is something that is “second grade” (that sort of not-soft and structure-giving outer material, drawstring pulled into a bunny-ears bow, cinched ankles and a no-nonsense color like navy blue or heather gray for maximum PLAYING results), where the haptic experience (a.k.a. “feeling”) is one of active but chilled ease, and not hopelessness.
Jeans in real winter will actually hurt your body, and will, like, reverse-burn it with freezingness (Ooooooh you know when you come inside in the winter and jump out of your jeans while you hop to the bathroom to pee and when you sit down your legs likesizzle because they got too warm too fast?); tights are too perfect and too played out to abuse and should be reserved for like Thursdays and Fridays at work; nylony leggings are cold as shit. A pair of new sweatpants that you call “trackies” when your boyfriend is around and understand as a pants-facilitator of “fun” and “doing” instead of “couch” (listen, when you’re that hungover just get naked, take a long steam, and drink Gatorade wrapped up in a cotton sheet all day, taaaa-rust me) subverts the expectations of sweatpants and will improve your winter Saturday ten-fold. Don’t sleep in them, though. Sleep in something silkaaaay.
Two ways to go with boyfriends in the winter. (If you have like an actual relationship then I guess skip this part or nap through it or whatever I don’t care.) The common wisdom is to get with someone cuddly-cozy, he probably has a beard and a big scarf and the whole point is not so much to “like” each other but to pass crunchycozycomfy time with movies and microwaved snacks until you check off shit like “the boring part of Christmas holidays” and “New Year’s Eve” and “that first week of March which remains horrible” and basically do arctic warfare with the weapon of a boring Starbucks relationship. So that’s fine. The second way is to find a beta fish who will worship you for five solid months and go out in the cold to walk your dog and pick up your library books and will be available to you for the aforementioned movie cuddles (because, look, everyone needs movie cuddles) but all without falsified and presumed interest, just more standard sexual power dynamics writ large by frosty windows. Choose wisely.
Girl News - Everything Is the Best
Not “the best stuff about being a girl” or whatever because ewwwwwissaboring! And doesn’t that depend on basically everything? And probably that would amount to the list equivalent of a sad pile of empty candy wrappers. I have a little, sad pile of crumply and crumbly candy wrappers right here and it’s just really tragic, like, they might as well stop-motion-style reorganize themselves into a frownyface. Fuck Halloween. Anyway, even though I do want to engage in an endless—literally endless—amount of offensive and incorrectly specific cataloguing of the girlsperience, because it’s fun, I think instead this could just be about what stuff is the best stuff right now. It’s more, just, like, aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh maybe we can take five fucking minutes to revel in the post-Tuesday-ness of this week and be IT’S THE BEST!-ish about it? Also maybe I was hecka situationally depressed for a year and now I’m NOT ANYMORE and maybe it feels like so many millions of undemanding, vacant-poolside oral sexes so I am in the mood.
DON’T FUCKING TELL ME WHAT TO DO A.K.A. THE OBVIOUS
So did you also wake up after that electoral confirmation that nobody is interested in being legally mansplained about sex and bodies, all crying and sleep-smiling, smiling so big that your skin turned into hard, clear plastic and we could see your muscles and organs inside all lit up neon purple and green? I did, totallys.
Have you noticed how pouty and jealous boys are about Clueless being decidedly un-theirs? They want in on it so bad. So bad!
Yesterday I watched Camille Paglia (go-go Google fingers!) do a talk about art and the best thing she said is that there hasn’t been a legit avant-garde artist since
Robert Mapplethorpe was photographing downtown/New York/gay/S&M shit. She said that artists who aren’t risking something really real—like their careers or livelihoods or communities—aren’t avant-garde, and since the avant-garde was folded into the official art world (which is fine, it just was) there isn’t any existing or even possible (???) risk available, making “avant-garde” not… avant. Real risk, real alienation, real struggle is so crucial and minus Frank Ocean puhhhhretty absent in mainstream or mainstreamish culture. Which is exhausting when you consider how post-irony-invested you are in your hugely corny iTunes, you know? Anyway this all just emphasized the incredible value and possibilities of high stakes, and of trying, and of how much can happen if you’re just willing.
My current obsession is the side of men’s tongues, which you can only see when they specifically show you, because when you are actually using it you are busy. HALLO, why aren’t we fetishizing the thickness and animal texture of this area already?
GIRL POP CULT BESTS I: BEYONCE’S TUMBLR
Beyoncé is problematic on her own. It’s too easy to get excited about her (and I mean ex-ci-ted) because she is so many different ways of perfect, when in fact she is a stalwart representative of the white-beauty industrial complex, and she seems to be weird about men, and probably other stuff, but of course mostly I love her. Her Tumblr, though? Her Tumblr. Can we just start up with the Year in Review shit right now so I can make, like, “Marfa photoset” the first thing on the Everything list?
Girl News: GIRLSPLAINING PART TWO: RETURN OF THE GIRLSPLAININGS: DAWN OF THE GIRLSPLAINS: GIRLFATHER PART TWO
Last week we did the first round of me answering your girl questions, because I’m not actually a real person but an all-knowing deity; here is round two. Let’s do this again sometime, but not toooo soon, because all y’all seem to care about is getting your lawn watered.
What is the right response time for social media or phones? Like, what is with the crazy timelines/deadlines people have and their wild responses to not hearing back from someone and jumping to conclusions?
Post-AIDS panic, sexual anxiety seems to center around, like, emotional user’s manuals. Obvs better than AIDS panic buuuuuut this is in its own way extraordinarily boring. Guess what? I have totally liked a guy and not written him back for two months because I just didn’t. But other times you feel like texting right away because your joke is just *smooch* and needs immediate transmission. If a girl cares a lot about when you text her back, that sucks, UNLESS you say you’ll call and don’t, because in that case, you shouldn’t have said “I’ll call you.” That is just regular logic. But seriously, the next time you are like “Why” about this just throw some glitter in the air and spin around three times while it falls slowly into your hair and wonder about something more interesting.
Providing comfort in the form of sex to a friend you otherwise wouldn’t do it with: Is it appropriate/problematic/completely fine? I feel like it could get a bit tricky… I don’t know.
No, it’s not appropriate! You stupid bitch. What? No! Here is why books and TV are dumb: I never understand why any of the women do anything they do. Like why would you have sex for any reason other than if you don’t do it with this particular person, your pussy will vacate your body and move in with someone else—even on the couch in the basement—because it is mad at you? Trading sex or using it is the WOOOORST and that includes relating to men you aren’t specifically interested in via pussy instead of via, like, heart-plus-brain or whatever “friendship” is.
ALSO: “Comfort” isn’t sex. Sex is awkward and manic and transcendent and challenging and absurd. “Comfort” is human attention, a next-level hot chocolate preparation, many hours of listening in a real way.
I feel like some girls are more willing to like eye-rollingly fuck a dude than do the sometimes genuinely hard work of being nice.
Why are girls so complicit in enforcing the systems that bind them to insecurity, self-doubt, and shame?
Because when you are the sucker in an eternally established power dynamic, it is a lot easier to take a lil’ nap than be showing up cocked and pissy every day. Here is what my friend Gchatted yesterday: “I don’t want sisterhood sometimes. I just want to be a regular lady.” The idea of onus is really interesting, like, being complicit isn’t some shady on-purpose sociopath thing, it is just the least resistance.
I get why you’re asking but that’s just an axel jump, spewing nega-ice everywhere, away from the actual thing of Because Sexism. The thinnnng is, it shouldn’t have to be up to me to actively oppose the grimiest misogyny at all. Every girl is already subject to the huge, hard daily sexism tablets; liiiike why is it my responsibility to fix? That is for straight men to do (gay men? I don’t know. Men, though) with other men. That is how a message is transmitted to the people who need to know it the most. Men should be talking to other men all the time about women and sex and consent and anger and fear. Girls just aren’t allowed in the dirt. That is not me being an essentialist jag, that is me knowing that even my best best best guy friends don’t tell me everything and couldn’t because I would cry and throw up.
“Every single girl has a sex, food, drug, or alcohol habit that not one other person knows about.”
This week’s Girl News, “Girls and Secrets”, is a doozy.
Girl News: What Girls Hate. Haaaate.
This column started out as “Girl News: Boys” Oh, FACE! Just kidding, jkjkjkjk. I love boys so much. Here is What Girls Hate, though.
“HATE IS A VERY STRONG WORD”
I think hearing this from the other summer camp junior-associate-bitches on the tennis court is what made me who I am today.
Everything that girls like (“everything”; “girls”) is both abbreviated and embellished. I’m not assigning a value to this, so calm down. Threat Level Green, just, relax. Tired of everyone except my cool friend Natasha being so mad at me for presumptive collective statements; do they feel like I’m telling them to like print out a column and stuff the crumply pages all up inside? I’m not. Just, do what you feel. Do you. Do it. Do. Anyyyyyywhoooo (that’s a Halloween word). Experience and expression has often been compressed by women into fashion, and I feel like we are at a place where long-form anything has been girl-universally abbreved into the most compact version of itself. Maybe not the “most,” maybe one day we will have Emoji-novels tweeted and bejewelled onto our fingernails.
According to my internets, girls want you to know where they are most of the time, who they are with, and what their stuff looks like. My totally lazy thesis about this is that it’s just advanced, preventative FOMO and remedial bragging and also re-re-re-re-re-claiming (there are soooo many internets to do and look at now) the safety and security of one’s place in the world, which gets more important the more tenuous an adult life feels, and to me, adult life feels pretty fucking tenuous. All of those things are just fine.
Why is everyone’s hair the same and also boring? Most girls hate diverging from whatever their genre’s stylistic norms are, which is fine because “most girls” = “most people” and it’s important that a majority exists to have something to respond to (the internet doesn’t work that fast), so fine. But why do professional fashion girls hate cool hair? This whole fashion month (ooooh that is too corny to even type in this Starbucks in my hometown, where I am for the retardedly scheduled Canadian Thanksgiving), I mean, sorry, during the multiple fashion weeks that together approximate a month, I was checking out these incredible, expensive, next-lev feats of proportion, color, and texture in the clothes and makeup. BUT, OK, so why is every fashion girl’s hair the same lank, formless, shiny (but not like Miranda Kerr shiny, so shiny and sparkling that it gets charged with obscenity) hair-colored non-Hunger Games-ed-anti-erotic-art-item? Why is the one pursuit of a reasonable semi-natural look-element happening in hair? Just go full retard.
THE WRONG WAYS OF FEELING FEELINGS
Basically the/any problem between two people is because everyone is totally desperate (dying, dyyyying) to be known (not understood necessarily, that’s another emotional battle and one you will lose, but To Be Known) and yet totally disinterested in the work it requires to know anyone else: All that Tempurpedic-give-and-take vulnerability is so, so hard. So anyway girls fucking hate it if you want to feel at them in a way that will exhaust or confuse or threaten them, and they hate it when they want to feel at you and you are exhausted or confused or threatened by it. Being comfortable with feelings as a theoretical is only the preamble to actually being good at them, which is only for… who? I think I’m too far up inside my own bag of candy-corns for this one, maybe. Let’s watch that new Xtina video together instead. I like the part where she fucks up on the baseball bat.
Telling a girl to smile is the very same as inelegantly and impossibly and enragingly trying to mediate her and her body’s entire experience of the world and like who wants to be that guy (#nodads)? I mean, lumber into a psychic dimension that is inhospitable to what you think and then tell it what to do instead of learning how to breathe, I guess, but that’s on you, and this shit is probably why nobody likes you. Also, there is not really a better example for dudes of the many and ever-demeaning ways in which misogyny works that are too subtle for their brain’s palate to detect. I hate being told to smile more than I hate a lot of the more explicit worst-isms.
Girls and College - Girl News
I don’t even have a sense of how to position college in the Girl Experience because a) I literally don’t remember it—not a single class, what I did, what I looked like, or what I learned—even though I have an honors degree in politics. (Quite aside from the really intense full-time graduate work I did in getting way fucking high, that is weird, right?) And b) college is very much like ‘family’ in that the meaningful corollaries of experience between girls that we can talk about here, while we chew gum and daisy-chain the wrappers, is just too bound up in so many other traditions, experiences, and standards that there’s less of a wayin to the whole, common thing of ‘THIS IS COLLEGE.’ We don’t even call it ‘college’ in Canada, even though it’s just as letterman jackets and sweatpantsy here, we call it ‘university,’ just like Daddy does. This necessitates a different Girl News approach than, say, blowjobs, because no matter your personal context, where you come from, whatever, a blowjob will always be a blowjob (unless, like, Norwegians do them really weird? WHOAH, DO YOU?), like, we all use our thumb-pads to deal with jizz spill-off. And c) because college no longer seems like a singular, mandated, teensploitation-ready experience of familiar tropes for whoever is in, like, the top three-quarters of the socioeconomic spectrum or got good grades in high school or gives even a tiny baby shit about doing what you’re supposed to do or has parents that make you go. Now college, like fucking everything, is less of an assumed rite of passage and more of an economic transaction colored by Sex Terror and debt and date rape (OK that’s pretty 90s, when we thought ‘college’ meant ‘date rape’ and ‘date rape’ didn’t mean ‘everywhere all the time’). Do you know what I mean? Not to dive into the nostalgics this early, but when I was little college meant something mythic and Skull and Bonesy and forever, where I’d wear certain things (brown Prada boots; navy blue tights; tweed skirts, button-downs; reasonable ponytails) and come out so much smarter, and now that I’m a degenerate grownie college seems, like, just an enormous Visa bill you accrued when you were drunk. Is it still even fun? Email me.
Let’s start here since I do have some kind of memory of tripping balls in downtown Toronto in the winter without a coat on, which would be consistent with the facts of my college experience, and hallucinating that the thin red strings in weed were floating out of the baggie and onto my eyeballs, criss-crossing their broad white plains in the mirror like lonely backroads. And what I do remember, synesthetically, about college, is being very wet and cold and dirty most of the time, which is why I will go for a brisk walk when someone so much as rolls a joint, because my sense memory starts to transmute into just being fucking freezing and uncomfortable and getting terrible grades and knowing so many things that I couldn’t bring myself to say because what if I didn’t know them in the right waaaaay? This is very frownyface.
I am just totally opposed to the idea of college roommates because surely having a stranger sleeping across a room from you when you are at what has to be the most vulnerable time in your whole life will undermine your personality forever because you can’t fucking even masturbate??? Y’alls should totally contact Human Rights Watch about this.
Power structures are wildly different in a college setting than in high school in that the most important girl is a little hedgehog from some shit town where she was Max Fisher But Worse. Ugh, and she’s always real smug and doesn’t know that she’s not cool, or that her coolness taps out at the top of the nerd pyramid? BUT DOESN’T CARE? Anyway the point is that professors are still not allowed to fuck you, but are a little bit more allowed than in high school, but you will be commensurately that much less interested. Wait, is sex in college boring?
Guys, it is Girls and Fashion: Part Deux: The Fashioning! Guess why. No guess. No guess. Because it is Fashion Week, which is when a particular subset of the beautiful and the damned do not so much descend on New York as wiggle-wobble into and around it like very attractive gelatin steak-strips in Prada silkies and rough denim and mean jewelry. And, yeah, we did a “Girls and Fashion” part I like a month ago, but then I hit bottom, wrote a column called “Everything Is The Worst” and asked for two weeks off. So. Now it’s fall.
It is basically the funniest, always-guaranteed-100%, when “fashion” is applied to something unfashion, like, “Week.” Or, the “Fashion Café,” which was a project of the Supermodel Era (don’t even worry about it) and a precursor to models’ mid-to-late-career-diversification, which usually includes self-branded bedsheets, lotion, Kmart-y bras, “eco,” collaborations with whoever, photography careers, blogging, I dunno. My point is that while fashion is a legitimately important and huge-scale industry and responsible for a lot of beauty, art, commerce, and innovation it is still basically embarrassing.
Paper magazine just did this oral history of X-Girl, which was a clothing line so 90s-covetable (Ask me if I still have X-Girl stuff, even though my personal fashion philosophy is mostly a low hiss of “This is garbage, get it away from meeeeee” because yes I obviously do but you have to be rookie-card-careful with something like a shittily produced nylon X-Girl bag) that it lives on in the girl-institutional memory even more, maybe, than its co-founder Kim Gordon. Peeersonally I was always more about Milk Fed, a Coppola joint, and Tocca, which nobody ever talks about even though their dresses were the perfect shades of melting popsicles, all creamy blues and raspberries.
Anyway, this week Kim Gordon sold her clothes through some rando vintage store in Oakland (???), and not to be a traitor or whatever but I was more ew-ed out by on-stage sweat-grungies than I was really interested in buying one of her old Marni dresses, you know?
Last night was Fashion’s Night Out, which means that a zill fashion girls and boys and designers and models and then that number of people times infinity of PR interns do little thingers around New York like DJ while little bunny-rabbit girls buy limited edition t-shirts, or draw designs in their sidewalk dinner-barf with a stick, or whatever. So the good part of all of this is nothing, or nothing specific. The bad part of this is that we are subjected to the real-time reporting of Fashion’s Night Out via tweets that say “Victoria Beckham in a clementine dress. #FNO” as though it’s fine, as though it’s creative, as though it’s OK, to just verbatim-report something like that without a little basketball-spin. There are a lot of big eyes and big ideas in fashion, but are there big brains???
I spend a lot of time googling “+ heroin” but it seems like all that has been classified? WAIT, SHIT, IS THERE A FASHION ILLUMINATI TOO???
Girl News - Girls and the Weekend
It’s not just the weekend, it’s the mega-weekend. (And haaaaai, while I was half- watching Paul Ryan deliver his oversized FedEx foam-packed box of lies at the Republican convention, my very first boyfriend/love/adult sex called me twice and will be “in town” for “the weekend,” sooooOOOoooOOOooo let’s do a series of disgusting winks and cringey faces and thumbs-ups and eventually just shuffle away, embarrassed.) Done right, the weekend is a two-day-but-endless-feeling dreamy Theatre of the Absurd, and as such justifies itself as a sanctioned, pre- packaged Fun Time. Like, you can’t really argue with “weekend.” Actually, even when it’s done wrong, it does all that too, I guess. KAY BYE getting a cookie to stare at all afternoon while I wait ticktickticktick until six or whatever.
There is a half-populated Girl News in my Documents folder called “Girls and Rape” (i-yi-yiiiii! Maybe next week? Maybe whatever week I spend quietly alone enough to feel comfzers and unweird devoting my good-times girly-times internet-pocket to the sickest shit we know about? Buuuuuuuuuh, right?), but because this is the extra-Friday-est of Fridays (like, obviously summer has already turned over and turned into autumn, but I have three days in which to pretend this is not so, and drink sandy Cokes and eat sandy peaches on the beach and finish reading all those September issues), let’s not go that way. Let’s not be sad. Let’s be “FRIDAY,” the most singularly celebratory battle-cry that I most recently shared with, get this, a series of men who I watched (from a sun-smoked Starbucks patio, last week, where I was crying into my phone) walk off a construction site at like 4:30 and dustily, sweatily climb into gel-shiny BMW SUVs and tear into downtown traffic, all hip-hop and hidden smiles. “Friday!” is universal.
Labor Day weekend is a holiday but not an important one to have plans for so instead of doing stuff how about fill a bowl with strawberries and milk and get a spoon and a book and walk that mess over to a park and lay down on the starched grass and just be there, aggressively doing some bad pushups or just lolling? Or whatever else you can do that is atypical of your usual weekend plan and atypical of your usual holiday but something that confronts the idea of “not working” directly, baroquely, fun-ly?
Weekends are for taste-in-absentia, by which I mean there are or should be a lot of Exxxtreme Outfits. For your nighttiming, you want whatever you’re feeling as sexay in the moment before you go out, I don’t care, do what you feel, pumpkin- muffin; for your everything-else outfit, you don’t want some compromise-version of your ush, you want a satin-edged blanky pinned around your body in the manner of those Lindsey Thornburg blanket-capes, maybe some boxer shorts (PAUSE, here: why come nobody talks about cotton boxer shorts as maybe the ultimate in girl- schmattes? Fuck the perfect blue cotton Oxford shirt, what of the perfect blue cotton boxer shorts? Is this a conspiracy??? Have you seen the ways in which it maybe obscures but makes the best possible use of your butt-area???), slip-ons (Converse are SO. MUCH. WORK. that even before they were ultimately co-opted by olds they were official fashion), day-jammies, probably a ball cap somewhere in there; general, abstract experiments in freshness (if you never fail at fashion, you’re not trying hard enough). Mostly what I want is for everyone to dress on the weekend the way they dressed on the weekend in sixth grade, not for sad nostalgic value or reupped-cuteness but because there are a lot of good ideas within t-shirts and horseback-riding pants and massive socks.
This is like when a 40-year-old with 327 Twitter followers calls himself a “social media expert” because the majority of my Instagram content is boring, nature- oriented, unsure of itself. BUT here is where your weekend succeeds in photo form: nutso elements of international hotel rooms; new clothes you have bought that are laid out nicely, shoes and accessories espesh; decontextualized rando shots of drunk people. Don’t harass me with your cat and your toes, OK?
Lil’ Thinks - Witness the Whiteness, by Kate Carraway
Some imperative sociocultural maneuvering was missed when Girls debuted; instead, a really embarrassing junior-kindergarten level of communal reinforcement led to the collective conclusion that Lena Dunham’s show is racist (and, yeah, that communally reinforced idea was right, because that show is racist to the point of making Brooklyn look like a sundown town). It is still being missed, which is cute because of how everyone I know—the “communal” in the “reinforcement”—is sure about race and especially about whiteness.
Following the retrospective social insight of five or ten years, Lena’s trial by ordeal will probably seem painfully, entirely, wholeheartedly retarded. There is, of course, everything right with calling something that is racist what it is, but often, something that is all milky white is criticized simply and specifically for its milky, cummy whiteness and not criticized specifically—and more crucially—for its values, assumptions, casting choices (the first season of Girls skewed very Magical Negro), and antiverisimilitude. (No affluent white girl in urban North America is without rich Asian and Indian friends. She’s just not.) So while the story within the criticism was all “La-la-la-la-la Lena!” whiteness and white culture snuck by unexamined.
Ignoring whiteness as its own thing to be considered is the easy way out, yeah, but it’s also a dangerous re-re-reestablishment of a bad precedent, in which whiteness generally is positioned and congratulated as being the dominant culture. And since whiteness holds fast to the most capital of every variety of culture except “cool” and remains very few generations (fucking one! one generation!) removed from institutionalized and mandated racism, it’s left as the cultural standard to which everything else responds. Which, as everybody knows, is racist.
Two important contextual items, here: America isn’t so white. If you didn’t know or live somewhere stupid, more black, Hispanic, and mixed-race babies were born last year than white ones—and since you and I have been conscious, the internet has (correctly) negated the social, economic, gendered, whatever boundaries of once-discrete subcultures. Sooo, that’s good. But because the collective consciousness moves as fast and elegantly as you do jogging in a hot tub following diazepam and margaritas, whiteness remains understood as this abstract, almost-imaginary but deeply embedded dominant paradigm.