marshtide: (Default)
[personal profile] marshtide
I've been thinking a lot about identity in various forms lately. I've been trying to write about how I feel about my national identity, but that's defeated me several times now, so I'll give it a break and maybe come back later. Instead, expression of identity through appearance.


This is me.

I periodically kind of hate my appearance - which isn't to say I think I'm ugly, or that there would in fact be anything terrible about not being conventionally attractive, before you rush to my defence. It has a lot to do with identity and expression of identity.

I just can't seem to get it right. Though short hair helps a hell of a lot.

I'm pretty small. I'm not the slightly alarming little wisp of nothing that I was last winter (it is so fun when you just stop functioning well enough to feed yourself properly and your body doesn't really know what to do with the food you do give it), but I'm thin, and I still have to buy bras from the Extra Big Boobs Of Doom section. I have what men of a certain age, regardless of how creepy or otherwise they are generally, seem to like to describe as "child-bearing hips." I have, uhm, delicate features, or something like that. No matter what I wear, I will look quite obviously like a lady. I am pretty sure I could wear a binder and no-one would hesitate to treat me as a lady, although I haven't tried this, because I'm actually not sure I could take it.

I don't really want to be seen as a lady. Not just right off, like that. I don't want to be a man either.* But I've had a long-running fascination with androgyny - which has always been and will continue to be something completely unattainable for me. And I've dealt with that by wearing dresses (with or without combat boots and army jackets) and I've dealt with that by wearing men's suits and a wide range of variations in between. I've never really mastered femininity in that whole makeup and jewelry and so on kind of way, but I've sometimes been pretty normal-looking.

More often not,*** though.

I keep thinking about this, anyway - what stuff I do and why I do it and if there's something else that would work better. Maybe one day I will find the perfect style or blend of styles! Not sure, though. Right now the whole financial situation kind of limits me to "what can I afford so that I will have something to wear?"

* although when I was about six or seven I had a conversation with my two-years-younger brother which I remember quite vividly, wherein we both said that this gender crap was completely unfair and we'd like to swap. I sometimes wonder if he remembers that. It may have had to do with the complete unfairness of people (not our parents, I note) thinking it was weird that he wanted to dress up as a butterfly** and I wanted to dress up as a pirate, which is pretty much the definition of great injustice when you are small and otherwise doing pretty OK. But I might well be mixing up stories now.
** He did get to dress up as a butterfly, though! I helped him make wings out of a cardboard box and some crepe paper and lots of paint. And I think he had some kind of fluffy antennae too. My parents had a locum staying with them at the time to do some emergency cover at their veterinary surgery who watched this with great confusion and then went and reported to the nurses at the surgery that there was something "kind of queer" about the vets' kids.
*** dear god, that was a long time ago. When we were tiny and stupider and were drunk in weird parts of Paris a lot! Most of those clothes were not even mine. Still got the boots, though.

Date: 2010-10-05 10:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] valborg
Mm. I have nothing to add. This is complicated stuff and everyone has to figure out for themselves what works for them.

But lots of other people have this problem and you know how I approach everything through books. There is someone called Reina Lewis who writes specifically about gender/queer and fashion. Maybe there is something by her online?

If you google for queer fashion you will also find blogs by people who think about and struggle with the same issues. They may not be able to tell you how to dress, but sometimes it's nice to know that there are others out there. =)

Date: 2010-10-05 01:56 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] madelienegrey
I think many people struggle with this from time to time (if not throughout their lives). I've definitely gone from very butch looks to very femme looks, depending on what, exactly, my relationship with my gender was at the time.

I have to say, though, that you have striking features, and I love your hair length and color as it is now.

Date: 2010-10-05 02:19 pm (UTC)
forthwritten: (hand//sky)
From: [personal profile] forthwritten
I could have written this, especially about being small and the Extra Big Boobs of Doom bras. Expressing one's identity is hard, especially if you aren't really polarised or have a fixed identity.

You seem to manage androgyny well in the first photo and it suits you.

Date: 2010-10-05 04:03 pm (UTC)
eggcrack: Icon based on the painting "Kullervon kirous ja sotaanlahto" (Default)
From: [personal profile] eggcrack
What you say here sounds very familiar to me. I haven't found my perfect style either, though with me it's because I haven't tried very hard to find one; I only have occasional moments of caring about my wardrobe. But androgyny is something that fascinates me too and some day I'll have to do something with that fascination.

Seconding that you seem to do well with androgyny. Your eyes are also super-pretty! :D

Date: 2010-10-05 07:15 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Mmm. No help with the androgyny thing, as most of my fashion is a layer of a brightly colored shirt on top of an undershirt and trousers, which could probably help if the Boobs of Doom didn't get in the way of it.

That said, I express empathy about finding a proper look for oneself, as I strggled with it and I still have times where I wonder if I wouldn't look more like I want to look in some other type of fashion. Possibly with wings and a tail, at times.

Date: 2010-10-05 09:39 pm (UTC)
pulchritude: (2)
From: [personal profile] pulchritude
I love the way you look right now! It's super cute. :) And it's very you (or what I know of you), imo.

I've definitely gone through different phases in terms of appearance as well. I don't think I was really even aware of fashion until maybe I was 14 or 15, when I realized that things were 'in' or 'out' or 'different'. For a long long time I was like meh whatever and just wore jeans and a tee (no skirts/dresses, though, because of course looking feminine=being thought of as weak!), and then I got into designer tees during my short ~indie cred~ phase. Now I just wear whatever I have, until I have enough to wear Han clothing all the time, which is both an expression of identity (that Han is the first signifier I would use to describe myself) and an expression of a position, I think.

Good luck with finding a (more) permanent style that you find satisfying, though!

Date: 2010-10-05 10:33 pm (UTC)
crystal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crystal
I like your hair.

And I like you, too <3

Thatisall. Am at hotel being sick and achy.

Date: 2010-10-06 01:34 am (UTC)
love: (Default)
From: [personal profile] love
I don't have any helpful comment, but I would like to say, that looks good!

Date: 2010-10-06 05:41 am (UTC)
timeasmymeasure: three pairs of hands arranging their fingers to make the peace sign (stock: peace sign)
From: [personal profile] timeasmymeasure
I'd say that the hair works for you in terms of a push towards androgyny. It looks great on you. I do hope you find something a style expression that's most comfortable for you and works for you.


Date: 2010-10-06 10:56 pm (UTC)
storme: (Default)
From: [personal profile] storme
My gender identity is.. complicated and unstable, but thankfully (unlike a year and a half ago, for example) it's no longer the horrifying tangle of OHGODWRONG that sits at the front of my consciousness and causes me to have breakdowns at my reflection. I think I've just accepted that my internal gender boils down to 'none of the above' most of the time; I was canvassed to participate in a rather detailed and extensive (anonymous) queer/trans survey and working through those questions was incredibly theraputic and enlightening.

(Wow, that's probably the most I've said about this stuff in a public forum, ever.)

Right now I'm working my way through the fandoms I recognise on the list at It's a rewarding experience.

Date: 2010-10-07 09:21 am (UTC)
storme: (Klavier posing)
From: [personal profile] storme
It very much helps to be involved with someone who isn't visibly and actively horrified to be even discussing the topic. :P


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