So today was my last day. And boy oh boy was it a long one. Up at five to get to class on time and running late because it takes me so long to get dressed. On top of this no one takes you very seriously on a highway when you look like an oversized minnie mouse. But I was polite in traffic I didn't swear and I even tipped my head to some strangers. GO GO GADGET harmonious Bella.
I decided I would go out with a bang today: Gothic Lolita.
I think I have become immune to stares, also i'm rather enjoying wearing high heels all the time so I feel tall and don't have to look up at people when I talk to them. It makes me feel a little less awkward about bowing. WHICH people have generally reacted to with more discomfort than I do. In a western society where in older times is marks servitude or an acknowledgment of superiority. This act of bowing is one of the most difficult things to get my head around as it is such a foreign motion to my muscle memory. Japanese people do it without thinking like we would look someone in the eye while talking to them or shaking hands firmly upon meeting. Also its difficult not being able to speak my mind. Especially today because it was such a long one and i generally get more and more sarcastic the tireder I am.
As i was saying about being immune to stares. I went to the cape quarter again today to get some lunch with a friend, whose hand I had to hold in order not to fall in my mountainously high wedge boots on cobbled paths. As she was in such close proximity to me I actually though she got the brunt of the confused,blatant,curious,shocked,disgusted stares which initially irked me so.
Stares of :"How can you hold it's hand?"...."Whats wrong with them?"..."(deep sigh) "kids these days".... "HUH?"
I think I could actually adapt to being an exhibitionist. More so than I ever thought I could. These last ten days I have thrown my OCD out the window along with my cynicism, sarcasm and shyness. I have found in a warped sense a new found confidence and a liberating feeling of rebellion. I say rebellion because in a sense thats exactly what I have been doing. Rebelling against my western conditioning, rebelling against how society expects a young caucasian female to dress and rebelling and challenging my surrounding and its inhabitants and rebelling against my own sense of self. I have been judged and I have judged myself. The two judgements I am sure are on separate spheres of the universe with my personal judgement being one of accomplishment and deeply personal growth and the other judgement being that i'm an angsty teen or pretentious creative looking for attention.
HAH! Well you're reading this so I got your attention.
Lolita fashion as I discussed in my previous post appears to be a rejection of societal roles or expectations favour of a whimsical escapist life, but also it is a rejection of the homogeneity of most Japanese Culture and society ( focus on the collective above the individual) Until mid 1960's there was a shared beauty ideal by women and even today the cutesy Kawaaii aesthetic is prevalent in mainstream fashion. Lolita in contrast offers up individualism, all be it regulated individualism. Lolita fashion has stringent rules as to what classifies a Lolita outfit and how to combine them. In this way it continues homogeneity of appearance coupled with an escape from the mainstream.
I have been immersed in ignorance, my own and the ignorance of others. You would think with the absolute tragedy that is Japan currently people would go out there and research it a bit? Or take some sort of interest. No, I have weighed and measured the western society through my new set of eyes and I have found it to be wanting. Has being harmonious and putting others above myself given me a new perspective?
I hope so. WE are a society consumed by ourselves, obsessed with our bodies and constantly trying to change them be it with diet,exercise, surgery,what we buy. Can we take the time out of our consumerism to pause, take a breath and think about someone or something other than ourselves? I certainly hope so.
In our pursuit of the ideal body why do we ostracize the subversive? In a general sense.
These past tent days I have projected myself as subversive particularly today by western standards. Yet have i found my own ideal beauty within my subversity. I think so. I find not the clothes or the shoes or the attention beautiful, but rather the bravery. My ideal body is a brave body, a body ungoverned by physical size or measurements but rather a body of courage one which radiates its essence to the world regardless of repercussions or ramifications. You may call it subversive but to me it is the physical embodiment of what we all seek: Confidence within the self
The theorist Bourdieu said "the body is a bearer of status, of power and of distinctive symbolic forms that are critical to the acquisition of power "(1984) (14)
Confidence within the self regardless of your appearance is power. It allows you o define the world and not let the world define you. It allows for a comfortable balance between the body within the spheres of the public and the sphere of the private.
"Identity is embodied in the external performances people give and over which they feel they can exert varying degrees of control" (Shilling, 1993) (15)
My identity for the last ten days has been constructed, thought out and a performance. I have been in complete control . Has projecting such extreme versions of parts of myself lead to an ever stronger sense of self, or one altered? Only time will tell.