onsdag 14 december 2016

Jämställdhet in absurdum

På sista tiden har jag verkligen inte bloggat om min sömnad, däremot lagt ut diverse politiskt laddade poster och här är en till. Men det är min blogg - jag skriver vad jag vill. (And this time only in Swedish.)

"När jämställdhet går till absurdum." Snarare när idioti går till absurdum. Det finns absolut ingenting med jämställdhet som kan gå till absurdum! Om det skulle vara det så innebär det att det finns en gräns för hur långt jämställdhet får gå. Det innebär att förlegade, inaktuella och skadliga värderingar, könsroller och stereotyper bara får motverkas hit men inte längre. Om könsöverskridande, så som dagsaktuella att killar ska få vara Lucia är jämställdhet in absurdum så innebär det ju också att könsöverskridande är fel. Att som tjej gilla andra tjejer är ett könsöverskridande. Att som kille gilla t.ex. baka är könsöverskridande. Killar som gillar killar gör ett könsöverskridande. Personer som identifierar sig som ett annat kön än könsorganen de föddes med är ett könsöverskridande. Att döma ut vissa könsöverskridanden samtidigt som man låtsas acceptera andra är bara skenheligt. Och då undrar jag - är folk faktiskt okej med att jag är lesbisk - eller bara artighet och en hemlig förhoppning om att jag ska ta mitt förnuft till fånga och hitta en kille så småningom? Jag har de senaste dagarna sett folk som både hållit med och skakat på huvudet åt Höglunds artikel om tramset om att låta killar var lucia. Ni som håller med henne och därmed ställer er emot könsöverskridande (ett riktigt bagatelliserat könsöverskridande egentligen, det är fånigt att ni ens orkar bli upprörda) - ni ska veta att ni gör mig både ledsen och osäker på hur ni ser på mig, min läggning. För orkar ni tycka så inskränkt om något så litet som vem som vara lucia - hur tycker ni om större saker så som sexuell läggning? Anser ni ens att jag ska ha lika rättigheter som heterosexuella?

onsdag 28 september 2016

Why Pride is Important

This week is Linköping Pride or regnbågsvecka as it is called, and I have had a lot thoughts buzzing for awhile now. And this has absolutely nothing to do with historical fashion - but I still felt the need to write it down in the open. HBTQ (Swedish for: LGBTQ) is however not a modern thing, so it is very much historically correct to write about it.
Very common arguments against pride festivals in general are: "why do the gays need to make a spectacle about themselves?" or: "I don't mind it as long as they don't flaunt it in my face." "Why do they have to have it written in their foreheads?" (The last one was heard by my girlfriend when we were in Göteborg for their Westpride in June.)
I recently just finished an essay in literature at the University. It's a comparative study of Radcliffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness from 1928 and Sarah Waters' novel The Paying Guests from 2014. I chose these two books partly because I owned both of them already and partly because they both have the 1920's in common, although I was to find out that The Well of Loneliness didn't take place in the 1920's at all. Anyhow, authors are dependent on the context of their time, i.e. their societies, opinions and way of thinking that surrounds them. Therefore it is likely to assume that The Well still is a fairly good representation of the 1920's way of thinking, same as The Paying Guests that takes place in 1922 still is a good representation of today.
If you haven't read Sarah Waters, I recommend it, except for one of her books, they're all lesbian, they take place in different times in history, the main characters just happen to be lesbians, that their sexuality isn't the main plot. They are also heavily researched and that shows through.
But I digress, as is my talent.
I compared stigmatisation in the two novels, in some way they were different, in others quite similar. And by stigmatisation I mean feelings, the way Stephen Gordon and Frances Wray felt about their sexuality, the way their surroundings did, their love interests feelings and combined Goffmans theory of stigma with Rosenbergs theory about heteronormativity. Basically, there is the assumption that everybody is straight and if you don't follow suit you're being stigmatised one way or the other. It was a very interesting study, well worth the read if I say so myself.
Coming across Tiina Rosenbergs theories however made my mind buzz. Because part of heteronormativity is to make HBTQ invisible, or allowing the existens of HBTQ on its terms. Heteronormativity is defined by what it is not (I think Butler said that though), so it is dependent on HBTQ in order to define itself: heteronormativity is not HBTQ therefore it is what it is. As implied by the word itself HBTQ is not part of heteronormativity, by heteronormativity's standards HBTQ is the other. It's dangerous, it needs to be ignored or silenced. It shouldn't be seen. Recognise this? "Why do the gays need to make a spectacle about themselves?" "I don't mind it as long as they don't flaunt it in my face." "Why do they have to have it written in their foreheads?"
In Sweden most HBTQ-people are well protected under the law: same-sex marriage equals straight marriage, discrimination due to sexuality is by national law forbidden, etc. And I know that I as a Swedish lesbian woman, is extremely privileged compared to HBTQ-people in other places in the world. Some people face death sentences for being HBTQ, some are refused service because it goes against the server's religious believes, etc. What goes around the rest of the world does effect Sweden as well, we are not isolated. Swedish same-sex couples wishing to adopt are met with discrimination because the bureaus are afraid other countries don't want to adopt their orphans to gay couples. It is not enough to be equal under the law, there is an entire mind set that needs to be changed (that is also why feminism in Sweden is still needed, the work's not done people!).
Heteronormativity has a major affect on our lives, even I fall victim for heteronormative thinking from time to time, even though I've studied queer theory. If I see a girl-boy couple I assume they're straight, I don't assume their bisexual or pan or what else they might identify as. I don't even consider the possibility that one of them might be gay but have yet to realise it. This is how powerful heteronormativity is - this is how powerful any normativity is! We're all brought up to think that one thing is normal and almighty, and the other one isn't even likely.
This is also why it takes people different length of time to realise they are HBTQ. We all assume we are "normal" until we realise that we are not. As a teenager I assumed I was straight and the reason why I didn't fall in love with any of the boys at school the way my friends did, was because I was picky and the boys didn't measure up to my beauty standards. I didn't think much of it, I didn't suffer from being single, around 17-18 I started pondering about bisexuality and by 20 I realised that no - boys just don't have the same effect on me as girls do.
In my case it was not very painful, but it doesn't mean that HBTQ-youth today has it easy - not even in Sweden. Suicide among HBTQ is still common, self harm and denial is still common. It is still common that parents to HBTQ-youth do not support their children for being who they are.
In my family there was always an accepting attitude to the possibility that I or my brother would be something other than straight, but I was still about nervous when I had to tell them. Because the way  I thought about back then was "Straight people don't have to come out of the closet, why do I?" and so I told them nothing until I was asked on a date by a girl who lived so far away from me that I had to spend the night there. It seemed their biggest issue about me going on a date with this girl was that she lived so far away and that we had only met online. It ended platonically but it was no boogieman out to serial-murder me. Time went on and I met my girlfriend that I'm now living with and have two cats with. Her parents don't have any issues either about it and they do introduce me as their daughter's girlfriend. Again I'm extremely privileged compared to other parts of the world.
So why is it that Pride is important?
If you, like me, have nothing to lose on being open, it is important to be visible for all the people that  cannot be. It is important to be visible for the people struggling to make sense of their feelings. It is important to be visible for the people that are caused harm because they identify as some kind of HBTQ-person. It is important to show them that it doesn't have to be that way, it can get better, they are not alone, that there is a whole community for them they can turn to.
Why is it important to be an allied?
Because it is important for everybody to take a stand against mistreatment, abuse, and bullying. It is important to take a stand against harmful structures in our society. It is important to take a stand against homophobia, to show that HBTQ-questions are not just a matter for the HBTQ-community - it is a matter for everyone. It takes everyone to change a mindset, and the more that join forces and participate in Pride, the clearer it is shown that homophobia is not welcomed, and is not accepted in our society. Take a stand against hatred.
We are all humans, and if we should be judged by anything it definitely shouldn't be because of who or how we love. Hatred is what should be condemned as unnatural.

And just to be clear: heteronormativity is not the same as homophobia, however heteronormativity enables homophobia to exist. It's like I said, somethings are seen as normal and what is not seen as normal is being made out to be something dangerous, to be controlled, or ignored.

fredag 22 juli 2016

Sexy but modest, I wish girls nowadays would... NO! Bad internet user! Bad!

This is a rant, because I am so sick and tired of reading this kind of comments.
Ever been on Pinterest looking at pictures of historical and/or vintage clothing? To be fair, people rarely comment on victorian clothing as sexy but modest, it's more something you read to the pictures from around 1930-1940's. I might add that I don't spend a lot of time looking at fashion and pictures from later than ca 1947, because I'm personally not a fan of the New Look nor 1950's and so forth, although I've, as of late, started peering a bit at cigarrette pants.
So what is that bothers me so? 
My style of choice is "vintage", well things I've sewn myself, based on  1920's-1940's actual clothes, but I don't spend a lot of time worrying about correct fabric prints, these are my everyday clothes, the fact that I wear them although it's 2016 is an anachronism on its own. Obviously I too prefer these clothes to the contemporary fashion. No, a top showing of my belly button with hotpants is not my style. I prefer high-waist trousers, in summer a tie-blouse, and during the rest of the year tops and blouses that I can tuck into the waist, because my belly tends to get cold unless it's summer. I also do prefer a cleavage that is above the bosom not below it and I would rather not wear a skirt with a slit up to the thigh, nor do I enjoy wearing skirts that are too short. I don't mean to say that this is contemporary fashion, I'm just guessing that the "sexy but modest, I wish girls nowadays would"-kind of people are referring to these kind of clothes, that shows a lot of skin.
The problem isn't that people would prefer for example the 1940's fashion to today's fashion. I do too, obviously. The problem isn't that people might not be comfortable with showing too much skin, obviously neither am I. The problem isn't that people have different views on what is appropriate, I obviously have my personal view and others have theirs.*
The problem is the judgement implicated in this sort of comments. People are judging, whether it's intentionally or not, their contemporaries. Which I think is a shitty thing to do for several reasons.
1. It is not anybody's business what somebody else is wearing. Their lives, their style. Their bodies, their choice. My body, I'll dress it anyway I choose.
2. The (somewhat) freedom people today have to show "too" much skin, is the same freedom that I enjoy when I choose to wear my repro-vintage clothes.** I daresay it is more acceptable today than just ten years ago to express yourself through choosing your own style. Maybe partly because environmental awareness, having people frequent second hand stores. I remember we talked about this in class when I was 14, in 2004, and back then it was not acceptable. It was a poor person's alternative. And by somewhat freedom I mean that people can't wear what ever they want without being judge. How often do you not come across: "Oh my god, she was wearing that? Well no wonder she got raped! This man is clearly innocent, she was asking for it." Spoiler alert: No, she was not asking for it. Bad internet user! Bad! He was asking for a prison sentence by committing a crime. End of story. And yes, comments wishing girls nowadays would be as sexy but modest as the women in the 1930's is as bad as the "she was asking for it by wearing that".
3. For all that I really love the 1920's aesthetics, the clothes, the hair, the music, the shoes, and for all that I'm really interested in baking and sewing and knitting and history in general - I do not want to live in the 1920's. Sure, I wish the fashion would come back, but I'm quite happy living in 2016. Some quick reasons why: I'm a woman, I'm a lesbian, I'm Swedish. As far as racism goes, I probably would have been spared, but then maybe not. Sweden has that shameful history of race hygiene, so who knows if I'd gone safe? I'm a lesbian, if they found out, they might've wanted to examine me as well. Sweden was also an extremely poor country in the 1920's, homosexuality was illegal, which it sadly still is in several countries. In Sweden both female and male homosexuality was illegal, compared to UK where it was only male homosexuality. Sweden in the 1940's classified homosexuality as a decease (but from 1941 it was no longer illegal). And what does this have to do with the "sexy but modest, I wish girls nowadays would"- comments? Fashion echoes the values of its time. One must always be aware of the historical context, it is very important always, not only when it comes to historical fashion. Far back in history, a peasant was not even allowed to wear the same colours as the nobility. Nobility wasn't allowed to wear the same colours as the king and so on. Everybody was to be kept in place.
During regency (called empir in Sweden), Classic Greek and Rome were ideal, and the women were made up to look like dorian columns, with the high bosoms and straight silhouette. Wartime saw simpler dresses, the 1920's saw the boyish silhouette and shingles as a way for women to free themselves from yore. The 1940's saw again simpler clothes.
But I think people often forget that these people were still heavily influenced by victorian standards. We are today as well, just look at our gender roles, but there was still a certain "must" that we don't experience today, I think. A must to be like everybody else, and follow suit. A must to appear pleasing and feminine and accentuate certain features that would signify good childbearing. People were locked into gender roles, albeit suffragettes and the likes. Women were expected to marry, stay at home, care for the household and raise children. After the war women were forced back into housewifery and so on.
This "must" represents things like this! A way of keeping people in place. The fact that "girls nowadays" feel comfortable showing a lot skin, is a good thing. People today are not being kept in place to the same extent as they were. I'm sure that here will come the old argument that they have no self-respect for dressing this way. I have four words to say: Bad internet user! Bad!
True, there are always the right reasons and the wrong reasons to do something, the wrong reason being to do something to please others even though you yourself are not comfortable with it. It means if these girls are uncomfortable putting on more clothes just to please you, they shouldn't. It means if you judge them because their outfit makes you uncomfortable, you shouldn't. It's not your problem, worry about your own clothes instead.
Me, I'm perfectly comfortable with my hairy armpits and my hairy legs, so I'm not about to shave just because society thinks so. I'm not about to put on a sweater that covers my armpits just because somebody is uncomfortable with seeing a hairy woman. I'm not about to cover up my legs on a hot summer day just because somebody doesn't want to see my hairy legs. That would indulging childish behaviour, and no, I'm not going to do that. Just like I'm not going to stop being gay just because there are bigots in this world that think it's wrong or a sin or a sickness.
Back to the point: today we have a lot more freedom to be ourselves, and choose our own style, and it should be embraced. It is irrelevant if it is a style to my liking or not, it isn't my place to judge what others are wearing, just as it isn't their place to judge what I'm wearing. People also need to stop romanticise history, be aware that things weren't better before, even if the fashion was prettier! I will soon have a university degree in history, what is thoroughly stressed throughout the education is to critically analyse the sources, something that I do apply to my interest of historical fashion, to my taste of clothes. There is nothing wrong, obviously, with preferring 1940's fashion to today's fashion, but at least be aware of the basic historical context and that the fashion does come with values. Do not compare then to now and think how much better things were back then when people knew how to dress "modestly".
And no, I'm not saying that people interested in vintage styles or historical fashion need to take a history test before they get their license to wear these clothes, I'm not saying that it is wrong to wear these clothes without knowing the historical context. Obviously I don't walk around thinking about all the bad things about the 1920's when I wear a 1920's dress, if I did, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy this hobby of historical sewing. Basically I'm saying: I wish people could respect each other, and respect that people might not have the same taste in clothes instead of shaming each other for it. Respect the fashionista for being fashionable, respect the woman/girl/man/boy in hotpants, respect the muslim woman in her hijab, the vintage-fascionado in their vintage style, respect the people in their onesies, their sweatpants,  the jeans and t-shirt-wearers, well everybody, no matter how they dress. Do not write the ugly "sexy but modest, I wish girls nowadays would..."-comments, it is not anybody's place to do so! 
This song is not about fashion, nor is it some suiting 1920s/1930s/1940s song, but I still think it is an appropriate ending to my rant. End of rant.

*And yes, there are pictures of men in suits from the time that has comments wishing men today would dress like that. So much more style and all of that, but these comments do not condemn men of today for being too sexy, for showing too much of themselves. Even the fashion of wearing suits is a way of keeping people in place.
**As all readers can tell, I'm speaking from a western world perspective,  but the comments that bother me so are comments on western world fashion. I'm well aware that the somewhat freedom I'm speaking of cannot be applied to all countries around the world.

måndag 5 oktober 2015

The Importance of Small Steps

It's a grey day today, the leaves even" autumn-ier" than they were a week ago. The wind dances with the tree branches, leaves fall to the ground, and it's chilly outside, but it's not more. No rain, no stormy winds or anything like that, it's just a grey day with a soft breeze, there's no drama at all to the weather today, it's just dull and grey. So if you're at home, because you're a student of humanities, and you usually don't really have to go anywhere, unless you want to, the dullness of the weather is increasingly mood setting. It's a boring day, a slow day and not the sort of day where you'd like to do stuff. An autumn blues rather than an autumn depression, which I've had for some time, it is just so hard to get a grip and do what I have to do! So for weeks I've felt bad about the dissertation I have to write this term, I have to find historical material to base my study on etc. Even the other class I have left this term (because there's only three, one is finished) that is nothing but reading is hard to get done. I have felt bad about the fact that I need to find material, I have felt bad about not getting it done, blah, blah, blah, blah! And of course I just want to throw up on the whole thing, but it's only my fault, because I could have got it done ages ago, and then I wouldn't have to feel bad about not doing it, but well that's procrastination for you. On top of it all, the library books are due today, the books that I need to read for my non-essay class, and people are in line for them so I can't reborrow them!
Well thank world that swedish universities are state-founded, tax payer-founded, that means that you often can get access to ph.d. dissertations for free legal download, so I've managed to get my hands on three of the books. The other two, well... one is american, so I either have to wait in line for it at the library, or buy it. No getting that one for free download... the fifth one was available at the city library, so it's on its way.
Okay, yes I could have done all of this ages ago, of course I could've, I shouldn't have postponed it, but the longer you do postpone something the harder it gets to do it, and here's my point, that is way the small steps sometimes are so important! They may be small and delayed, but at least they get you on track, moving you forward, and after the first step, the next will be easier to take. So sure, I could've and should've done all of this so much earlier, but if I could travel in time, I wouldn't sew my historical articles of clothing, I'd use my time machine and visit the era of fashion I'd be interested in and purchased the clothes, hired a tailor or whatever. (I'm studying History, remember, give me a break from historical accuracy, puh-lease!)
So rather than looking back at what could've, should've been done sooner, perhaps celebrate the small victory over procrastination, that is the small steps. I have found almost all the books I need for one class, and I have done the first step regarding the second one, I have found a lead that I will follow up, even if I haven't done that yet, which, agreeably I should've done at once but haven't, because the more you procrastinate the bigger the issue seems, which is silly, I know it isn't that big really.
But that is why I write this none sewing-related post, it's a reminder that the small steps are important to, they need to be celebrated, because if you start beating yourself up over the fact that it took you so long, rather than being proud over the fact that finally you beat the first obstacle in the way that is procrastination, the task might once again seem herculean, and procrastination will once again wrap its claws around you, dragging you back the steps you finally were able to take.
So why yes, I'm pleased with myself, however small of a thing I got done today, however long it took me, I'm on track. And step by step it will all work out in the end.

onsdag 30 september 2015

Some 1920's fashion inspiration

So if you've seen me in person as of late, you'll know that I'm really into the 1920's right now, yeah even the first 5 years of "bag"-dresses, but resources are a bit limited, I mostly have to rely on american resources, such as Everyday fashions of 1920s as pictured in Sears [...]. And although fashion probably wasn't that dramatically different, there are aspects that differs Sweden and America. Economy for one, we didn't have the liquor probation, it was voted on, the nay-sayers won with only a mere difference. Sweden has a different climate than most of America, I don't know if Sweden was poorer or richer than America at the time, but emigration to America was still going on at this time so... one can guess. But we are closer to Europe, with effects of the war, even though Sweden didn't fight, we're closer to France, the fashion-metropol, that might have made a difference. Opinions, way of life, etc, also influence fashion. So even though Dover's books about fashion are great, I still miss swedish resources to compare them to. But today I stumbled on this youtube video, and not to be critical to the uploader, but the music isn't 1920's, so if I watch it again, I'll probably just mute to add to the feeling of 1920's. This video contains Swedish fashion films, there seem to be two short ones. You have to be quick to catch it, but the inter titles are in swedish, speaking of french fashion, but nevertheless, this is what was stated as fashion in Sweden in the early 1920's.

This is also a great one, but you'll have to skip forward until 04:50, because the player doesn't allow linking from a specific minute. 1926 swedish hairstyles also it didn't allow to me to put the video directly in the post. But it's a great watch. 

måndag 28 september 2015

The Sewing Machine

Albeit the sewing machine is quite the jerk to me, but works wonder for anybody else using it, I haven't quite sworn those bastardous machines off yet, they come in handy, the few minutes at a time that they actually work.
However, found this rather catchy tune in a Facebook group, she seems to like sewing machines as much as I do(n't)!
It was a bit funny, wonder what musical it's from though, it could be fun to watch it, even if it isn't about hating on sewing machines.

An Autumn Adventure

So it's been a while, I've actually got a lot of sewing done, two dresses, a blouse and a skirt and a pair of knickerbockers. All by hand because... well the sewing machine is being such a jerk!

This far, I haven't exactly kept up with the Historical sew monthly challenges, but I'm thinking the knickerbockers will be my something brown.

Hoping to cure the touch of autumn blues I seem to have got I took my knickerbockers out for a walk today. It worked so and so, but maybe if I keep it up... sun light is suppose to help they say.

Being a country girl in a city is a bit, well, I'm used to having nature around the corner, and kind of miss it living here. But I went exploring and found what I was looking for, not too far away from where I live, just that it this far has been unexplored by me or my girlfriend. I just think it's great to have forrest, meadows and fields so close by, and not just as a park, but as an actual forrest, meadows where livestock roams, fields that the farmers plough.
Sitting on a bench photographing my knickerbockers.

The view from the bench

Barely visible a ploughed field 

Apple trees with red apples and a gärdsgård/round pole fence