Friday, March 21, 2014

The Mutant Anti-Mammal

Gotta love Vice. I love articles like this even (and sometimes especially) when they contradict my own preferences.

It is true that hair removal (for anyone) is neither natural nor logical. But you know what else? There's nothing wrong with that, as long as everyone can be clear about it. It's okay that I'm not so down with being a mammal all the time, and maybe don't want other mammals, because mutants are hot. I appreciate that this author refers to hair removal as producing a mutant state, because technically that's kind of correct. That's a beautiful perspective. And if you find being called a mutant or attracted to mutants objectionable, perhaps you should seek the hairy life. It's all about framing.

I may "fetishize" hairless men in the same way that this author "fetishizes" hairy women. (Air-quoting because I'm always skeptical of the use of this word when simply describing a sexual attraction to how a person lives in their body.) I say that it's the same because it highlights unconventional choice. It takes courage to be a hairy woman, whereas it takes quite literally nothing–like actually a gaping, disturbing absence of anything–to be a hairy man. In this case I'm talking body hair, because men's facial hair grooming is sometimes a whole other thing. Even though I'm not into it, I can appreciate it at times.

I respect my hairy lady friends greatly for this reason. And people who do not find it attractive need to dish out the respect, too. Because when you take the time to think about it, it's pretty disturbing that we want to look out into the world see a parade of people who suit our individual taste. Being on a blind date is one thing, but when it's just people in the world? What is that? Don't answer that, actually. Just stop doing it.

Wax, razors, lasers, I've done all of it. That's right, LASERS AROUND MY VAGINA. That's INSANE, right? It totally is. And I'm so pleased with it. Not only with the result, but with the actual insanity of it, that the future is here and that's how I'm experiencing it. Like tattoos or hair dye, it is a body modification. It just happens to be a matter of subtraction rather than addition.

I think that accepting the insanity of hair removal is beneficial to everyone, whether you revel in it or reject it. Even though it is my preferred aesthetic, I suspect that many individual women will benefit from rejecting it. So many may only do it because after a lifetime of magazine brainwashing and unthinking boyfriends, they may not know how not to. I have in moments of crisis wondered if I too am merely a victim of cultural brainwashing, but I know that my choices are my own. I know this because if I had a male body, I would make all of the same ones (and I'd be so hot, ohman). It is a labor intensive timesuck and walletdrain. That's why it's so important to be sure that you are really the one who wants it.

Ladies, gents, etc., do not take your choices for granted, whatever they are. There is no right, and the only wrong is thinking that there is.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thesis Pieces

I've been severely neglecting this blog. However! Did you know it's for a super awesome reason? That reason is that I'm working on a book that deals with these subjects in a much more distilled, almost prose-poem style. When I say "book," what I really mean is that it's my MFA thesis project, the goal of which is to be a publishable creative work after graduating. I'm trying to train myself to say "book" rather than "thesis" in most cases simply because it sounds so much more legit.

When explaining it, I classify it as a memoir, sort of, though it is not all about me and my cute little life. Many parts dwell in histories that I did not live (nineteenth century dandyism and 70s glam & goth), and others dissect the impact that individual words have on our perception of gender and aesthetics. It feels super slow going, but it's also pretty exhilarating to see a cohesive project coming together. This is a first for me.

Also a first for me: I never publicly share things I'm working on, especially in draft form. But I want to share one of the pieces that IS about me and my cute little life, because I had wanted to make a post to the same effect, but never did. The following is super drafty, and will probably be different in a couple months, but this is a blog, in theory that shouldn't matter.


In Which I Become Clip Art

Living the dream: in 2013 I became an internet meme. It began with a club photo. On the patio at the Dragonfly, I stand beside one of my posing and gesticulating friends, giving the photographer dagger eyes over a glass of whiskey, as if only noticing him in passing. By the time the meme happened, the photo was already about two years old and another hair color ago.

In my new life as clip art, I leave the Dragonfly and travel to the Taj Mahal, to space, to the pyramids, to a Syrian warzone, to ComicCon, all with the block-letter caption: VESTA IS NOT IMPRESSED.

I had a moment of worry that strangers on the internet would come to view me as some gother-than-thou douche-bag (such are the concerns of our day and age), until I recalled a fleeting passage in Baudelaire’s essay The Dandy. It was one of very few lines that previously had not resonated with me: “It is the delight in causing astonishment, and the proud satisfaction of never oneself being astonished.” According to Baudelaire, this aura of indifference, disdain, of being thoroughly and consistently unimpressed may be a cultivated affect of my dandy persona.

In my regular human life, I emote unconsciously yet obsessively. To act effusively polite and engaged is exhausting–especially in a corset–and the merits of honest disinterest are one of few points on which Baudelaire and Robinson* might agree. For this reason I have come to accept the teachings of my clip art self.

*Mary Robinson was an 18th century feminist who meant well but said some pretty shitty things about femme men, and she shows up toward the beginning of the book.