L O U
~Predicaments Of Lou~
A place to indulge in low-brow pop culture, ease into high-brow think pieces, devour recommendations of The New Age of news and sigh over fine tailoring. Welcome to #Predicaments. A corner of the Internet for all things high, low, in-between journalism with rays of girl-bossery and millennial contemplations.
The New Age has begun.
Category Archives: Girl Power
Halloween is here once again. The girls are ghosts and the guys are girls, dressed up in all horrors. And one of those horrors is the one we see every Halloween; the ‘slutty’ Halloween outfit.
Popularised by Mean Girls as Halloween “is the one time of year a girl can dress like a slut and nobody can say anything about it”. But let me tell you – I don’t half see a lot of people saying a lot about these provocative costumes. So we can say that claim by Cady Heron is more dead than a zombiefied fresher.
But let’s be real – what is it about those outfits that rile us up so much? Is it the exposed skin? The girls on social media feeling confident? The change of your favourite Disney characters for Adult Friendly viewing? And if it is the exposed skin, why is there such a call on ‘sluts’ when during summer girls will wear crop tops and shorts? By adding some fake blood and badly done eyeshadow for vampire eyes, it suddenly makes everyone... dare I say it… a prude.
Society seems to hate a girl with confidence – I’ve always said a girl with confidence is a revolution. And so many guys come out, in their own bad Halloween costumes (your tshirt with fake blood isn’t original, the same way me painting whiskers on my face isn’t), slagging off girls for what they wear. And no doubt this will either be before or after they’ve actually attempted to try and hook up with a girl in a sexy costume. The rejection stings, even more so than a regular night out, because those who cry over sexed up costumes are usually the ones frustrated over how good the girl looks.
It’s easier to tear someone down in costume, because people put thought into their costume. They’re excited to go out and have fun with their friends, keep Halloween as a holiday going as they mature and yes mature Halloween up as they do so.
We cant go out trick or treating, so we’ll wear fishnets and know we look good as hell.
But why exactly do we demand to have a say in what a woman wears? What makes your opinion over a provocative outfit so important, that women should stay away from these costumes and obey the idea of not being the 'slut'? Why the hell should you get a say on what I wear, and why do you deem in to be bigger than my own personal choice? We need to stop caging women into one ideal; women are human beings too, in case you forgot. We don't bend to every will and perception of a stranger, a media outlet or simply a man. We are filled with sides and complexities to ourselves - so don't tell me how boring it is when a girl dresses as a cat.
It's boring when you think I should care. And even more boring when you and your 'lads' all are wearing tshirts covered in blood. The same white tshirt.
And for girls who call other girls out as sluts or whore, tweeting their dislike for those who have dressed sexy, all I have to ask is this. Who hurt you? What makes you so mad at these strangers you see walking down the street? I get it, they look good. They’re feeling their outfits, themselves. You can see the confidence as they walk in their fishnets or holdups. And don’t they look good? Maybe it’s jealously leaking out with your words. Maybe you feel you don’t get enough male attention, so crave validation over sharing the same opinion. The one they will drop in a hot minute as soon as a Lara Croft or a sexy devil starts flirting back.
Halloween is a night of fun. It’s a night of alcohol and dancing when you’re in your 20’s. The times where you don’t actually have to be so sensible you’re a prude. You can let your hair down. Shake a stocking-clad leg and do the Monster Mash. Wear outrageous lipstick you don’t dare wear normally, because everyone’s dressed up. Dressed up to have fun. The way Halloween is intended to be – for fun.
And really. Have you never been low on money so drawn some whiskers, instead of forking out £40 on a costume?
This Halloween, if you don’t feel like dressing up as something sexy then do the easy thing and let others. Dress up your attitude into one that’s not stinking of misogyny, internalised or otherwise.
Because really, the only reason you don’t like the girl dancing in lace is because you A) want to be with her or B) want to be dressed like her, confidence and all. Try it. Have fun.
But don’t talk up on girl power and solidarity, if you can’t let girls do whatever they want. Especially on a holiday that’s made for having fun. Hating on ‘slutty’ outfits isn’t fun, but wearing them? The most fun.
With the high street becoming overrun with Girl Power inspired slogan t-shirts this summer, taking inspiration directly from Maria Grazia Chiuri debut Dior collection: I wonder, how feminist is the fashion world, exactly?
The fashion industry has seen a surge of Girl Power and the reintroduction of pink as a staple colour, as millennial pink graces all areas of the catwalk and our Instagram feeds. Our t-shirts are now emboldened with feminist slogans and girl gang mantras. We use #squad in our captions to do our best Bad Blood music video. Most notably of this is Chiuri’s debut design, a t-shirt with the slogan ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. The tee was inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TEDx talk and essay, both of the same name. Knock-offs come in at £10 on Etsy, as Topshop sell ‘Feminist’ branded sweatshirts for £24. So what exactly is the price for feminism? $710 or £24?
And how exactly did this movement become fashionable?
It is a function of fashion to reflect our time and in it, our desires at its fundamental element. Social media has given us the opportunity to delve into worlds previously unknown; learn of cultures and lives around the world. However, this has also given way for cultural and social issues to become trendable - rather than something more long standing. In fashion terms, trends come and go with the seasons, so should feminism really be treated as such?
Couldn’t this movement be like the LBD and actually, stay?
Moreover, we have to analyse whether or not the fashion industry and high fashion houses are truly championing feminism as a movement, or treating it like a trend. It appears as though Chanel did so back in Spring/Summer’15, with a catwalk march protest seemingly for women’s rights. Signs were held aloft by models read ‘History is Her Story’, ‘Ladies First’ and ‘Women’s Rights Are More Than Alright’. Well thank god for Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld to say so, right?
It’s been three years since Emma Watson was announced as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and graced the cover of ELLE UK. 2014 was dubbed the Year of the Feminist, with many big fashion houses getting behind the cause like Chanel. In their S/S’15 campaign, Celiné had Joan Didion as their campaign star, a feminist icon and a writer who embodies a level of cool we all crave to reach. Since Phoebe Philo took over in 2008, the house has become a staple for thought-provoking campaign images. As Chiuri keeps feminism alive in the fashion stratosphere, eagerly helped by high street stores like Topshop and H&M, we have to start looking past the printed tee.
How feminist is it...
when those same t-shirts are being made by a woman being paid pitiful money in a third world country, in appalling conditions, who has yet to see any benefit of feminism in her lifetime? As I.D proclaimed “fashion is big business” so really how much of a movement is this fashionable feminism, as the industry would like us to think (and shop). As reported by I.D, ‘for the first time since the Spice Girls, Girl Power has a marketing sweet spot’. And it appears its beginning to sour.
As Gaby Basora at Tucker commented, “it’s not only the woman who wears the clothes who makes a difference. It’s the women who sew the clothes, the pattern makers and the women who go off to work to support their families.” If we are to support our fellow women, the sisterhood that’s being reborn with each Girl Power mantra t-shirt sold, then shouldn’t that mean every type of woman? Dior may now be taking the helm of the high fashion movement, but lest we not forget Dior’s advert campaigns and catwalks have been predominately white.
The label still lacks diversity, both in race and body shape.
As Susie Lau best said on the Chanel S/S’15 shows
“whatever Lagerfeld’s true stance on feminism is, it is difficult to believe the conviction of a uniform of women, held up by an unrealistic standard of beauty, waving such banners whilst wearing clothes that are prohibitively expensive.”
We cannot claim a human rights movement for fashion, if we do not fully show and believe in the core values. A feminism for the catwalk, will not truly be feminism unless it is intersectional. Many things we women today take for granted, was built on the backs of those who fought hard for our rights. Were they catwalk models, of aesthetically pleasing statue, holding aloft banners that read ‘boys should get pregnant too’?
I think not. If feminism is to stay in the mainstream and continue its fourth wave fight, then we need to do more Women’s Marches and less actions designed purely for zeitgeist approval.
#Squad pictures included.
This post was written for Obsessory.com
I thought my level of uncomfortability over fake empowerment reached its height with Taylor Swift’s depiction of girl power in THAT Bad Blood music video. It turns out, Kendall Jenner can make something worse.
If you have yet to see the new Pepsi ad, encouraging people to ‘live for now moments’ is cringe inducing as one would expect from a soda company (it’s basically sugar and doesn’t taste all that, so they’ve got to make it shiny and new each time to attract our attention). But it’s problematic, for a number of reasons.
In the advert, Kendall Jenner is taking part in a photoshoot wearing a blonde wig and generally looking gorgeous and looking like a model she arguably is. She notices a protest outside but hangs back, posing some more. Then an attractive male cellist player comes along and they make eyes at each other. This is A Moment. He nods encouraging toward the protest. Suddenly, Jenner realises she too can be a part of this protest now. With the approval and encouragement of a boy, she rips off her blonde wig and smears her lipstick, yet her brown locks are still perfectly undone and the lipstick wipes off flawlessly. The blonde wig? Why it’s thrown into a black woman’s arms as Kendall struts off to take part of The Cause. Yet this cause looks oddly similar to many Black Lives Matter protests, just more bubble gum and cutesy. So like, why is Kendall going and not the unnamed black woman?
Oh and the sign’s all have the same tagline of ‘Join The Conversation’. On blue background signs. Because you can LOOK like you’re doing something hastag iconic, but don’t actually go out on a limb and make a stand over a political issue. That’s taking it too far. Stay #onbrand with marketing colours and keep your likability (read; markets) like both Pepsi and Kendall Jenner have done.
When Kendall waltzes through the crowd in impeccably double denim (also blue, hey Pepsi) it is a simple nod at the attractive cellist and she continues to surge to the front. People notice. They sense that Something Is Happening. Kendall breaks away from the crowd. She confidently and oh so bravely walks towards the line of police officers. A POC woman is looking on in awe, because when really making a difference, it’s only wealthy white women who can do it? Wearing her hijab, she eagerly lines her camera out to take a photo of this Iconic Moment. The cop takes a sip from the can and people cheer enthusiastically. This is it! Peace has been created!
And the moral of the ad? We should all be like Kendall Jenner; white, privileged, wealthy, slim, successful, young and most importantly, brave enough to take a stand. To be an ally to the movement. But wait.
Here’s why this ad is problematic; (if you haven’t picked up on my sarcasm yet, you’re in for a ride).
Firstly, Kendall Jenner is white. Yet she is the one that ‘saves’ the protest as she coolly and peacefully hands a cop a can of Pepsi. Forget peace talks! Share a Pepsi! Donald Trump worrying you because you feel like your very existence will be erased? Don’t sweat it, someone might give him a Pepsi! Brexit talks getting tense? They’ll pass round a six pack of Pepsi!
So to make a change, be white.
Secondly, why be an ally, when you could take over and end a protest conflict-free? As this tweet shows in a rose-tinted-window-smashing way, once you see that you can’t unsee it. Not only does Jenner end the protest, but she also manages to make it all about her. All POC should bow to her, for she is The Saviour. This is not how to be an ally and help POC – it’s undermining their fight by morphing it into a white issue, when it really isn’t a white issue.
Thirdly, the fact that the cop only then nods to his friends as if to say ‘hey, these protesters might be just like us!’ Because an attractive, commercialised white woman has handed them a soda, so like, why not think human beings might be the same? What a startling new discovery! Dare we say… Pepsi and Kendall Jenner… just ended racism in one single swoop?
It’s around here I’m meant to say ‘when will your fav EVER’ am I right?
By commercialising protests this ad, both Pepsi and Kendall Jenner are doing a disservice to all forms of demonstration. Through commercialisation, it loses its very nature of seriousness. The essence of consumerisation is something that takes away the human part of something else. The idea of protest is brought down to a mind-numbingly playful level. The idea of ‘why take part of a protest, when you can buy a can of Pepsi?’ is placed in the minds of the audience. The core fact that this is a reality for millions of people, protesting the right to live their lives they way they should be able to, without fear or intimidation.
Kendall Jenner fake-solving an issue with a can of soda is insulting, demeaning and frankly, far too fucking easy. It makes people think ‘why cause all this fuss?’ if things are so easy to solve. But spoiler; they are not easy to solve. At all. There are years of oppression to work through and understand, to be able to right across the board the state of equal rights. You cannot cutely solve racism. And you cannot make it into a mockery through a feel-good advert.
And you really can’t do it through a white owned soda company.
And as cringe-inducing as this ad is, it was also released at possibly the worst time ever - the anniversary of Martin Luther King's death. And all I can really think is - are you kidding me?
If Pepsi did indeed wish to make an advert to show their solidarity and support in a frightening political time, why pick a white wealthy model? Why not have someone who actually uses their platform to speak up on social issues. Because really...
When has Kendall Jenner ever spoke up about social issues?
Encouraging people to 'go vote' and leaving to speak up about supporting Hillary Clinton until the final days of the election, really isn't cutting it. Especially when you have a platform as big as Jenner does.
Let's not praise someone for doing the very least thing possible, call it groundbreaking and make everyone feel good about an ad that does nothing but sell sugar in a can. Let's not let this pass over, because there's a level of responsibility when you have a platform and do the whole 'show not tell' on important social and political issues. You don't get praised for noticing.
People shouldn't be thankful you got a pay-check mimicking their fight for basic human rights.
Welcome to the next chapter of #Predicaments, otherwise known as The New Era. A place to indulge in the low-brown pop culture, ease into high-brow think pieces, wonder in disbelief over disillusions and sigh over fine tailoring. Relish in escapism and revel in fashion tales. In short www.predicamentsoflou.com is going to be a manifestation of my own thoughts and pearls of wisdom, odes to girl-bossery and a corner for contemplations. The interior and exterior of myself. #Predicaments has been a place i've found solace, however this satisfaction for writing has grown from this little bubble of Blogspot and transformed into what you're reading on now.
The Main Mood's Of Lou; serious I-think-this-is-modelling-right? face and laughing like a loon.
As frank as I always am with you, I must confess how negligent i have been with my previous Internet corner. And although some would argue I am not obliged to explain myself, I feel explaining will help me understand as well. Does that make sense? I often fear my rambles are just long monologues of stream of consciousness that wiggle to their own desire of direction, rather than circling back to a conclusion. Anyway, I digress. This past year I've hd the opportunity to write as a columnist at my university newspaper, The Strathclyde Telegraph. Which has been un-fucking-believable. And every month I would sit down and write. About anything and everything, forcing myself to think of subjects not relevant to simply me, get out and think about what university students as a whole would be interested to read. Because we always want to read the things that we're pulled towards, an itching in our soul saying 'hey this might help us with X'. So I wrote about body image in winter, the stress of deadlines, the fear of failure among a manner of things. Stuff we individually might knock off or toss aside because we think it's too 'understandable' it therefore lacks in value (spoiler; it doesn't). I wrote in a way I'd want to read it, as the no bullshit friend who straight talks you back to sense after the third breakdown that week. I stopped using the 'I' because I didn't want to talk about me anymore. And I think that's when I started to crumble, just a bit.
You see, around my second column Donald Trump was elected President. And then later, he became President and in this period of two months (how was it only two months?) there were a lot of think pieces and a lot of jokes on SNL and a lot of panic. Nerves were wearing down, and for good reason. And it was sort of like my Twitter feed had erupted like a volcano and there were so many tweets of horror and then later, of sarcasm and then Teen Vogue started to boss it, so hope started to bloom. And the #Womensmarch brought me to tears, because things started to feel very possible again and the power of women blew my mind away. Through all of that, I became overwhelmed with third year university coursework and deadlines, juggling classes on top of a job, on top of a social life, on top of simply having time to b r e a t h e. Not to say I didn't have a social life before, but it's sort of magnified and there are so many more people in my life, who I adore and make me laugh, especially at work where it shouldn't feel like escapism so much, but it does. I took some time out of the headspace of a writer because I needed to just do my thing, take a break from stuff I didn't feel the 'need' to do. Because i never want this to be brought down to a mind-numbing obligation, because if I'm to claim the title of Writer I should be doing it through the want to create, nothing else. And I've adopted this new thing of having fun, for fun sake and only fun, which I'm going to write about because I think now more than ever we've got to get out of our heads and have fun... Have I said the word fun enough?
Anyway. As you can appreciate dear reader, life has been a bit of a whirlwind since I turned 20; I'm not writing to you as a 21 year-old who feels a lot like she's 19 again, in the best way. Third year university has been so many things, I can't think of the words to do the madness justice just yet, and it's not even finished. But what I can say for now is that I have been struggling to decide if my voice is 'enough'. If what I think should be expressed in more than 140 characters and how important it is to get a piece 'right'. How important words are and how conscious I am of everything I say, the gravity it possesses, or lack thereof. I guess you could say that fear people talk about, over doing the ~thing~? I got that, for a while.
But I had also grown out of the space I was occupying. The new #predicaments is a space big enough for everything I want to do and want to say, dare I say it 'worthy' of my words? Well I'm not the person I was when I began blogging, so I think I can have the self-assurance my words have grown in strength the same way my sense of self has. Actually I don't think - I know. And I'm getting (got?) over this budding fear of everything and anything between 'perfect' and 'justified'. Our political and economic climate is a shaky one and the 'woke' celebrity is something increasingly demanded, so this has created a domino effect across all creators, even someone as small as myself. But we're to kid ourselves if we think anyone knows everything. We can't just go and create villains out of everyone, especially ourselves. It's like attempting to find water in the desert, to believe somewhere there are people who have answers and manage to say the most perfect things. We're all just doing whatever we need, and want, to do to keep going. Whatever your religious beliefs, the idea of a deity living among us, able to save us as frankly appealing that sounds, isn't one that will aid us. There's no black and white answer to things, it's all grey. And there will never be one size fits all, for now. But that doesn't mean we have to punish ourselves for not sorting it all out at once. It takes a while to find matching socks after a wash when they all look the same. We can take the time.
I've taken the time. And I'm ready to speak again, on the high-ranking and the trivial.
Welcome to The New Era; Predicaments of Lou.
I hope you enjoy it.