Thursday, June 3, 2010
Yesterday's thrifting trip was quite successful. Maybe that's because I take rule number 2: "have an open mind," of successful thrifting too seriously. I managed to get 11 pieces for $34. This partly because I mostly bought shirts, which are about $3-4 to begin with, but also because all non-green tags were 1/2 off on Family Day. I pleased to report that this is a 100% thrifted/second hand outfit.
I wanted to give my two cents about the style blogosphere's discussion of SATC2 (I know I am late to the game, but it's taken me a while to get my thoughts together). Edit: This is partially inspired by the post over at Fashionable Academics yesterday. Particularly, I was intrigued by the argument put forth by Jackie Ashley in the Guardian. I won't be seeing the movie (but I don't see many movies in the theatre, although I may drag Blokey to see Girl With the Dragon Tatoo). Ms. Ashley's key claim is that the widespread judgments of SATC2 as an example of crash consumerism is likely amplified by sexism. Here are some of the ways she says it better than I could:
"My contention is that there is nothing more intrinsically objectionable in women fantasising about big shopping and the ups and downs of urban sexuality than men fantasising about war, gangs or fast cars."
"Yes, it's true, Sex and the City celebrates a shallow consumerism that it is the purpose of serious journalism, and indeed serious living, to challenge. But it's the same shallow consumerism that, for instance, allows all those techie boys to jump around waving their Ipads outside the Apple store. The working conditions of the Chinese producing Ipads are horrible. These are machines designed to do "cool stuff". They are more complicated than the products of Jimmy Choo or Versace; but they are no more serious, or deserving of inherent respect."
This relates to an awesome post by Sal about whether stylish women were at odds with feminism. A common contention is that anyone interested in clothes and fashion are reproducing patriarchical scripts. I doubt this, because there is evidence that mocking women for their interest in style predates feminism. Many styles and fashions do not cater towards dominant understandings of heterosexual femininity, whether is it the boyish flapper gowns, the tent-like mod scooter dresses, or gender bending Annie Hall suits. The crazy styles of the 1980s often had very little do to with appealing to heterosexual desires. I increasingly believe that there is something misogynistic about the ways in which interest in clothes and style are disregarded as "crass" and "frivolous," while other kinds of focused consumption are not. Why is someone who spends alot of time and resources on the latest, best wine a "connoisseur" but I am a thrift shop-a-holic? Those who spend a lot of time and money (and self esteem) on working out, listening to live music, or theatre are lauded as healthy or patrons of the arts. Additionally, why do I readily share my cooking blog with real life friends but only a few know about this blog?
Yes, liking to shop for clothing/shoes/bags can become self-destructive if a person overspends, but so can liking/collecting single malt whiskey, intense dedications to working out, or buying gadgets. I know plenty of folks who have gotten in to debt for a number of non-girly shopping reasons, but the resulting social judgment is about lack of budgeting skills, not for the person's interest in computers, going out, or musical instruments.*
Do you think that it's possible that anti-SATC2 sentiments are related to long standing sexist
disdain for women's interest in clothing/shopping/style? Do yo think it's fair to reclaim shopping as simply another kind of consumption?
*Blokey told me about this vintage guitar message board he liked to read, in which men gave eachother hints like "When you buy your newest vintage Stratocaster, be sure to put one of the old ones into storage, so your wife won't know that you bought a new one." Smooth move, guitar man.
Blouse, American Rag, thrifted
Skirt: Cynthia Steffe, thrifted
Shoes: Aerosoles, thrifted