Lit Links

This week’s links didn’t seem to have a theme to me, but as I’m looking back over them… I suppose they’re all really about the characters we build with our clothing and the political ramifications that building has.

I love this interview with John Waters and, though it’s not all about clothing, he makes a really interesting argument about today’s “revolutionaries” and their lack of a coherent style. It seems like he’s bemoaning the loss of a symbol system, but I think that they’re just being multiplied…

  • John Waters: Subversive Success:“I used to come home from kindergarten and tell my mom that there was a really weird kid in our class, and he only drew with black crayons. But that kid was me. I was creating my own character, I guess…When I was young there were beatniks. Hippies. Punks. Gangsters. Now you’re a hacktivist. Which I would probably be if I was 20. Shuttin’ down MasterCard. But there’s no look to that lifestyle! Besides just wearing a bad outfit with bad posture. Has WikiLeaks caused a look? No! I’m mad about that. If your kid comes out of the bedroom and says he just shut down the government, it seems to me he should at least have an outfit for that.”

This piece from Helen Guri is a really thought-provoking meditation sparked by her friend’s decision to dress as neutrally as possible, to draw no attention to her clothing. She ends us talking about the pressure to “let your accomplishments” show in the workroom (code for not looking like a slut, but still taking the time to make sure you have a little cleavage, duh), the poetry of Sonnet L’Abbé, and the immense importance of context.

  • Dressing Not to be Noticed: “The degree to which I prefer not to be singled out for my appearance has occasionally surprised me. A few years ago I took a trip to Spain, where I spent some of my time working on farms, and the rest of my time trying not to look like a tourist in the cities. On the farms, the prototypical woman looked something like this: long floral hippy skirts, the kind of deep tan that is in fact part dirt, and a full array of unwashed, unbrushed hair on every body surface that could conceivably support it. I couldn’t grow my leg hair out fast enough. But on arriving back in the city, suddenly surrounded by urbane, groomed women in swishy poly-blend outfits, I’d panic. Where was the nearest shower?

I love Hana Pesut’s photography project, switcheroo, which pairs portraits of couples (swapping their outfits). It speaks volumes about gender, individuality in a relationship, and still manages to be playful…

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