Saturday, July 2, 2011

Me as a feminist

Sorry for the totaly silence of late. I have been reading your posts, but haven't been able to write a scrap of a post until now. The reason has been, apart from the usual year 12 mumbo jumbo, on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week I had the Mid Year concert, which is an annual concert at my school. This one was pretty big for me because I had a solo in our Symphony orchestra (the flute solo in Prokofiev's Montagues and Capulets! see the video) where there's just me playing and the violas playing pretty gilssandos over an octave and some pretty tuned percussion. Pretty nerve racking, but I felt I did well. Also, I was made leader of the woodwind section in the symphony orchestra which was pretty cool. I was also asked to conduct the school string orchestra which, naturally I agreed to. Who wouldn't turn down a fantastic chance like that? Only two year twelves get seleced to do the conducting (One for the string orchestra and one for the 7 and 8 strings) so that was pretty awesome, not to mention scary! I was really freaking out even though both pieces were in two and there weren't really and difficult tempo or dynamic changes. (2/2 and 2/4. It's so strange how a time signiture with less pulses gets more tiring. By the end of it my arm was killing, despite the lack of movement. I think it's that lack of momentum.=D) as well as being in the flute ensemble and in choir. Wow I'm so busy nowadays, but it's music really is my life.

The solo that I played begins at 3:09. This, obviously isn't our recording but it's very similar.
Even before we were performing this, it has been a true favourite of mine. There are so many emotions captured within this piece.

So this has been something that has been kicking around in my brain for the past few years. For a long time I've hung around with many feminist adults and knew that I too agreed with  many things, but... well I never exactly fitted in with that awful 'feminist' stereotype. (Does anyone?) You know the one, A thin, small boobed youngish adult who smokes cigarettes, covers skin and does add in the ocassional 'comment' to a largely male dominated conversation. The awful thing is I do know some people who do fit this description. Then there's the whole bra burning thing...
More specifially I did many things that were potentially looked down on by other hard core feminists. For example, I shave my legs and underams to silky smooth perfection. I wear lots of thick makeup. I pluck my eyebrows. I dye my hair unnaturally. I wear short or potentially 'sexy' clothing i.e fishnets, lace, short skirts and am all too happy to show some boob or thigh in the right outfit. And Hell, no one would EVER see me without a bra on. I'm not as lucky as some who can get away with not wearing one. All of these things are often seen as ways to please some high standard set by the Devil knows who in order to please men and seem more feminine. So... what makes it different for me? Is it even different for me?
I am naturally a pretty 'girly' person. I mean, I love clothes, makeup and dressing up. I like my beauty products and my perfumes. I actually enjoy shopping (on the right day of course). Conversely I also many things that are decidedly not girly- I love my Sci Fi, Horror, Fantasy and general spookiness. I'm a massive Simpsons and Star Wars nerd.

So, for many years I was in this grey area when it came to what I believed in. I knew my morals and values, but I knew that I was unintentionally against many of the things that were 'typical'. Then, once I moved to the beautiful Melbourne that I call home and had decent access to the internet that my veiw was expanded. Musicians, in particular, stood out to me probably because, I'm assuming, I am a musician.
Women such as Amanda Palmer and Emilie Autumn resonate the most with me. Sure, Amanda Palmer doesn't shave her underams, but she does shave her eyebrows and wears lots of makeup. (Did you know that she has many beautiful freckles?)

She also prances around on stage wearing only a bra on top. That's pretty fucking bad ass, if you ask me.

Similarly, Emilie Autumn claims that she is a feminist but has recieved some slag from girls because of some of there more... ahem... provocative photos that have been takern.  I personally disagree with those people for the same reasons that E.A said somewhere... at some stage. Anyway her exact response is now lost to me (and after a good while searching the internet, I really can't find it) but it was along the lines of "I dress this way because I want to. It's not about pleasing anyone else"(I honsetly cannot remember)
 I found this intersting little snippet from the site the F Bomb
"What´s interesting about Emilie Autumn from a feminist perspective is also the way she utilizes her sexuality. Several of the Bloody Crumpets have backgrounds in burlesque and art modeling and Emilie and her Crumpets are often dressed in elaborate yet scanty costumes. But the way they interact with each other is playful and within the context of being subversive, ie girl-on-girl kissing where you get the feeling that the girls in question actually *gasp* like it beyond just titillating the audience. Whatever project Emilie is tackling, you always get the feeling that she is the one in control. You´re just along for the ride."
And hell yes that is exactly what she does, and boy she does it well.

Learning more about women such as these two, plus things like Riot Grrl movement and the like gave me a hell of a lot more to think about. I mean, I am essentially a punk who wears black and lots of makeup (The word Goth may get brought up at some stage soon). The difference between my makeup and other girls is that it's dark, heavy and accentuating. I'm not trying to hide anymore because, finally after 16 years I became comfortable with who I was. I knew that makeup was part of me. I don't care who else see's it becuase I don't wear it for them. This naturally permeates through almost everything else in life, from clothes to music to movies to toys. I do it because I like it. Similarly, I then knew that I would never be a size ten, due to the shape of my skeleton. I'm not fat, but didn't fit that 'skinny pretty girl' thing either. Yet, I am still able to dress up and have fun because I know that I do look good even if it may be a bit 'risque'. I'm awfully average height wise as well, but dressing up with makeup and interesting clothes helps me stand out from the crowd, in the best way possible.

The thing that really got me was the whole shaving of the legs. Why do I do it? I know why I initially did it. It was for a dance concert and I felt so incredibly self concious that I knew I couldn't bear my legs it that state. I was about 12 then, and I've matured and I know that during my early teenage years I had no self confidence what so ever. But things have changed now. I still shaved though, partly out of habit for sure, but I think there's something more than that. I have a boyfriend of nearly two years and he has said that he doesn't care about it. I believe him and am not trying to impress any other men.

I knew that I was shaving because it still made me feel more... empowered. I did it because it makes ME feel good. I do it because I like it. I am not swayed by whatever modern fashions are currently bombarding the pop culture of today, I do my own thing and, thankfully, so do pretty much all of my blog readers.

xxx Lilly


  1. I agree 100%! I feel inspired to write a blog on the same subject, but I pretty much agree with everything you say and it would simply be your blog in different words. Anyway, great post!

  2. I knew that I was not the only person who felt this way! =)

  3. I consider myself a feminist and I shave my legs, wear make up and dye my hair unnatural colors. Feminism is about women having choices, not about fitting in to a stereotype. There are a lot of misconceptions about what being a feminist means, and the male dominated media have successfully made it into a bad word. The bottom line is this, if you believe men and women are equal, that women have the right to make their own reproductive and sexual choices, and you believe women should be paid the same as men for doing the same job - guess what? You're a feminist!

  4. I won't lie, I'm really not a feminist. I love the fact that women have power, but I'm not going to assume every man is looking at me like an item he could own if only he knows the right words to say. I shave my legs because hair is NASTY, and I don't want it anywhere but my eyebrows and head. You do what you want, and you look to NOBODY for approval; whether that be other feminists or anyone. Be who you are and call it a night.

  5. This post really has nothing to do with what anyone (particularly me) believes in and rather a written out examination of my personal acceptance and understanding that has developed over time. I'm not here to argue with anyone about what constitutes a feminist and what doesn't.
    I have felt pressure from some women who claim to be feminist about my choices and this is essentially how I define my own personal choices, for myself more than anyone else. I really need to make sentences around thoughts to be clear with myself. =)

  6. Feminism doesn't mean manly. It means you think that men and women are equal and should be treated like it. End of story.

    That was mostly directed at Stephanie.

    I get what you're saying, though. Sometimes there is pressure to fit into certain stereotypes. You just have to look past that. There are stereotypes with everything and there will always be narrow-minded people who insist that you fill them.

    I know this is going to be something I elaborate on in the next couple weeks.