Good Housekeeping Colored Glasses

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:43 am
pen_grunt: (Fred and Ginger Dance)
[personal profile] pen_grunt
As part of a new experiment/project, I've been making some buttons using my grandma's old vintage magazines and my grandpa's old button maker. 

Looking at magazines from the 50s and 60s, it IS easy to sigh and sigh and sigh and say, "Oh, look how pretty and SIMPLE everything was then. Wasn't it just better? Don't you wish we could go to there again?" There--a place I've never been and that didn't exist. 

Enough mid-century-modern will do that to a person. It's worth noting that going into about 1969 it starts to feel more like a dystopic hell of dark wood paneling and pre-soiled-looking shag carpeting and dicey propositions of male advertising executives trying to commercialize on women's lib while simultaneously enforcing the roles of mother-wife (and if you MUST have a job...sigh...).

But looking at all the prim pictures of pretty, unharried, early 60s mothers whose only goal is to provide the best for their angelic children and be the social center of the home is tantalizing. You only have to come up with new meal ideas (have you tried the onion-fish-pimento loaf? Your family will say "that's different!") and decorate your home in a tasteful-yet-distinctive way (the vinyl-asbestos tile is easy to clean, and comes in so many gay patterns!), and think of ways to entertain and quietly suffocate (the homemaker of the year in 1969 was a Minnesota woman from Brooklyn Center whose husband was a Greyhound driver--gone for 15-20 days at a time, missing all the births of their children....of which there were 6 boys...can you feel the silent cry for valium in the tension of her perfect homemaker smile?)...

I mean, not for me--that kind of thing would make me go out of my skull in a hot minute (but think how clean my house would be if I had kids at school for 8 hours and zero responsibilities aside from keeping the house clean? SO MANY PICTURES of shirt-waisted women reading by the pool in their suburban ramblers.) One could not keep up with the standard. Hence the lifestyle magazines always giving the white-washed picture of a glistening life. Hence the push to make yourself more. Be prettier. Reduce. Douche. Do more with less. Get the perfect coif. Change your coif. Be just unhappy enough with the imperfection of your life to buy this and this and this to get closer to a fly trapped in amber on a magazine page--a second of perfection captured for eternity. 

You know...the more things change, the more they stay the same. We still get images of that picture-perfect life; gleaming modernist condos--all chrome and exposed ductwork, a cherubic baby on a strategically placed, suspiciously white, sheepskin rug overlooking a view of Manhattan or Chicago or Minneapolis or or or... The trends have changed but the message is the same. The pictures have changed, but the deception of the veneer is the same. 

Life is so much messier and imperfect and nuanced than an impeccably groomed brick rambler with Eames chairs tended by a young mother with salon set wave in her gleaming platinum-dyed bob. The people who look back and say--"I wish we could go there again"--aren't remembering that "there" never existed outside of the glossy pages. But somehow real memories of drama and trauma and pain and dirt and the sloppy business of life (and the racism, sexism, classism....the stifling patriarchal construction pushing down women and squeezing the life out of men) have been supplanted by rosy perfection. 

But it's hard not to look at all the loveliness and want it. 

RuPaul Atreides

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:26 am
pen_grunt: (Default)
[personal profile] pen_grunt
I still have not decided if I'm going to CONvergence or not, or--if I do--to what level I'll cosplay. I've been told that a lot of people crossplay; cosplay mixing different characters/genres, or subverting the gender expectation of a character, etc.

And I came up with an idea for a character: RuPaul Atreides. Combining RuPaul (drag queen) with Paul Atreides (Dune).

But I can't do it.

1. While one does not have to have the exact physical bearing to cosplay something, my physicality is so different than either character that it would lose a lot of recognizability. And by "a lot of"...let's be real--I mean "all of". 

2. I don't have the supplies or talent/experience to make such costumes.

3. I don't have the means to buy such costumes. (The wigs alone! Whew! RuPaul cannot be replicated with cheap wigs, easily)

4. I don't think I should cosplay a POC [person of color]--even if one half of the cosplay would be white, so I could play up that aspect I guess. But *slow intake of breath through the teeth*. 

I'll say a little bit about #4.

I have no problem with people cosplaying characters of another race (but no blackface ever-ever-ever). Black Wonder Woman? YES! Asian Superman? YES! White Princess Tiana? Um. Maybe? Maybe not.

Here's the thing. I don't think you need to be the race of a character to love and admire that character. BUT. There are so few characters that are POC (though this is improving) that I kinda feel like the white folks should lay off. Or *I* should. I'm okay with other people doing it (so long as, you know, NEVER blackface), but it's my personal preference not to. If the ratio of White:POC superheroes, sci-fi characters, etc., were totally equal--have at everything, everyone.

It's not that way, though, so I personally feel deeply uncomfortable playing a black character as a white person, even though I *love* that character. (I weep for loving Uhura but feeling like Nurse Chapel is where I have to go.) This isn't a moral pronouncement from me--I'm not even sure it's the right way to look at it. It's squishy, but it's how I feel--I think I should lay off. No one is going to miss a short white girl not playing a statuesque black drag queen/Dune character, anyway.

The Friday Five for June 16, 2017

Jun. 16th, 2017 04:11 am
spikesgirl58: (sunny day)
[personal profile] spikesgirl58 posting in [community profile] thefridayfive
Are you ready for the Summer?

1. Have you ever been to summer camp?

2. If so, was it fun or did you hate it?

3. If not, did you ever wish you had?

4. What movie says "Summer Time" to you?

5. Did movies like "Friday the 13th" put you off summer camp?

Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DW or LJ. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so please feel free to suggest some more!

**Remember that we rely on you, our members, to help keep the community going. Also, please remember to play nice. We are all here to answer the questions and have fun each week. We repost the questions exactly as the original posters submitted them and request that all questions be checked for spelling and grammatical errors before they're submitted. Comments re: the spelling and grammatical nature of the questions are not necessary. Honestly, any hostile, rude, petty, or unnecessary comments need not be posted, either.**

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