Category Archives: links

2012 in review

forlorn flapper
january

  • looking like a forlorn flapper
  • adjusting to the fact that all of my very close friends had moved away
  • enjoying the harsh cold québécois winter

recommended reading

  1. Instead of an interview with Xtra by Rae Spoon (Jan 3, 2012)
  2. They is me by Ivan Coyote (Jan 10, 2012)
  3. If the Clothes Fit: A Feminist Takes on Fashion by (January 17, 2012)
  4. Homai Vyarawalla, Pioneering Indian Photojournalist, Dies at 98 by Haresh Pandya (January 28, 2012)
  5. If the clothes fit by Arabelle Sicardi (January 31, 2012)

soundtrack:

tumblr_lzm4ko6gPd1qzvsguo3_1280

february

  • mastering the art of looking – and being – surly
  • went to a phenomenal exhibition on fashion in Québécois art, did a short radio report on it

recommended reading

  1. The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League by Lawrence Lai (February 2, 2012)
  2. Islamophobia in Canada: A Primer By Fathima Cader and Sumayya Kassamali (February 2, 2012)
  3. Honor Codes and Dress Codes by Sharday Mosurinjohn (February 10, 2012)
  4. Better Homes & Bloggers: Are lifestyle blogs a new way for women to compare themselves and come up short? by Holly Hilgenberg (February 18, 2012)
  5. When Anger is all I have and why anger is my feminist stand by Flavia Dozan (February 22, 2012)
  6. The Artists: Notes on a lost style of acting by (February 27, 2012)

soundtrack:

none of dem (robyn) covered by austra

mars
march

recommended reading

soundtrack:

julia and iris

april

  • went out west for the very very first time to visit my best friend morgan
  • visited toronto!
  • celebrated james & rachel‘s wedding
  • aforementioned radio documentary was rebroadcast nationally! on one of my favourite shows!
  • read an awful lot, as proven below:

recommended reading:

  1. She Told Us So: Nafissatou Diallo and Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s New Case by Valerie Jean-Charles (April 3, 2012)
  2. Interview with Jenny Zhang at Chictopia (April 4, 2012)
  3. Trying to understand a tragedy by Mary Burnet (April 23, 2012)
  4. The Colour of the Student Movement – “Maîtres Chez Nous”  by Lee Way (April 23, 2012)
  5. The changing face of beauty: the rise of make-up for darker skin by Anita Bhagwandas (April 24, 2012)
  6. Carmen Miranda’s Ethnic Masquerade in The Gang’s All Here by ShienLee (Apr 25, 2012)
  7. Femme Post III on [real] Cuntext (April 26, 2012)
  8. Resistance is not violence: Putting property damage and economic disruption in perspective by Mona Luxion (April 28, 2012)

soundtrack:

may

may

recommended reading

  1. Femme: In Praise of Higher Expectations by Zoe Whittall (May 5, 2012)
  2. What Fashion’s “Ethnic” Prints Are Really Called by (May 19, 2012)
  3. Women Are Heroes: A Global Portrait of Strength in Hardship by French Guerrilla Artist-Activist JR by (May 24, 2012)

soundtrack

june

justyne, jasmine, julia and myriam. best wedding party ever.

justyne, jasmine, julia and myriam. best wedding party ever.

  • chopped off my hair for the 1st time in ages, felt (and looked!) so good.
  • went to europe for the 1st time as an adult, since i lived there as a kid
  • met amazing people in pamplona, wasted hours in bookstores and art galleries and wandering along cobblestone streets
  • rented a scooter and rode along the atlantic coast in france…
  • headed back to canada in time to be a bridesmaid for the very first time, for my little sister jasmine!

recommended reading:

  1. Une autre raison de s’indigner by Sophie Le-Phat Ho, Kevin Lo, Faiz Abhuani, Amber Berson, Dominique Desjardins, Gwenaëlle Denis, Farha Najah (June 1, 2012)
  2. How To Be A Reverse-Racist: An Actual Step by Step List For Oppressing White People by A.D Song and Mia McKenzie (June 27, 2012)
  3. Life, death and the meaning of a wedding dress by Laura Snelgrove (June 15, 2012)

soundtrack:

july 14

july

recommended reading

  1. Field Notes on Fashion and Occupy by (July 9, 2012)
  2. Turbans on the Runway: What does it mean for Sikhs? by Sonny Singh Brooklynwala (July 10, 2012)
  3. Be a fan, not a jerk at Untitled Teen Mag (July 17, 2012)
  4. Doing Femme: Fiona Apple by iris (July 16, 2012)
  5. Make up, my bane and saviour by Teresa (July 25, 2012)

soundtrack:

self-portrait

august

  • celebrated my 5-year anniversary with simon
  • covered an election campaign as a journalist for the first time ever (was particularly amused by this story)
  • had a nice visit with carmelle
  • did not spend enough time in the sun, did not spend enough time outdoors
  • spent far too much time thinking about/working on election coverage
  • struggled with how to deal with that stress, and how my body was manifesting it…

recommended reading:

  1. How To Talk to People Who Are In Wheelchairs by Monica (August 2, 2012)
  2. Hate Crimes Always Have A Logic: On The Oak Creek Gurudwara Shootings by Harsha Walia (August 6, 2012)
  3. At Least Pussy Riot Won the West by Kriston Capps (August 16, 2012)
  4. Manic Pixie Dream Dissidents: How the World Misunderstands Pussy Riot by Sarah Kendzior (August 20, 2012)

sept-1

september

  • went to visit my family in ottawa
  • thought i was going to have some time off, struggled with the ups and downs of being a freelancer
  • worked on some pitches and ideas

recommended reading

  1. «Nous sommes tous responsables» de l’attentat du Métropolis par Catherine Lalonde (8 septembre 2012)
  2. What can’t be published by Stacey May Fowles (September 14, 2012)
  3. Special Victims by (September 14, 2012)
  4. Accessibility to fashion and the visibility of bloggers by GraceLizaBetty (September 18, 2012)
  5. The Good Girls Revolt: The Untold Story of the 1970 Lawsuit That Changed the Modern Workplace by Maria Popova (September 19, 2012)
  6. Ariel Pink And Beta Male Misogyny by Joe Kennedy (September 24, 2012)
  7. I wrote this thing about Grimes’ “Genesis” and it never ran so here you go by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd (September 28, 2012)

soundtrack:

october2

october

  • got sick
  • went for a hike in the woods
  • thought/wrote a lot about feminism…

recommended reading

  1. What the Girls spat on Twitter tells us about feminism by Bim Adewunmi at The Guardian (October 8th, 2012)
  2. A problem that stubbornly refuses to budge by Reni Eddo-Lodge (October 8th, 2012)
  3. Bullying: It’s not just for kids (October 6, 2012) sidenote: this was also the most popular thing i shared on tumblr this year, with over 7000 notes
  4. Her Body Is Not Your Playground: Why the Photoshopped Frida Nudes Are Not Okay by Mia McKenzie (October 25, 2012)
  5. Trolls and the spaces created by trolling by Nora Loreto (October 24, 2012)
  6. Real Talk: Am I living radically? by Katie West (October 26th, 2012)

soundtrack:

november

  • followed the american elections a bit too closely
  • went to the vintage clothing fair in ottawa with steph
  • spent some quality time with my sisters
  • started working on a big project…
  • took a week off and went on a mini road trip with simon

recommended reading:

  1. Die Antwoord’s revival of blackface does South Africa no favours by Adam Haupt (November 2, 2012)
  2. An Open Letter to the AGO About Frida Kahlo’s Unibrow by Sarah Mortimer at Shameless Magazine (November 6, 2012)
  3. An Unedited Rant About Looking Into Fatshion’s Navel by Natalie (November 11, 2012)
  4. Doing Antiracism Wrong at Jezebel at Postbourgie (November 12, 2012)
  5. Are we becoming cyborgs?

soundtrack:

dec2012

december

  • visited and interviewed my grandparents in valleyfield
  • caught up with karina
  • put together Threads: Fur, fabric and fashion in Quebec for CBC Radio
  • celebrated my 27th birthday!
  • got a really fucking good haircut, as pictured above

recommended reading:

  1. The Natives are restless: Wondering why? by âpihtawikosisân (December 11, 2012)
  2. For the last time, stop conflating violence & mental illness by (Dec 17, 2012)
  3. Foreign Tokens: The Blackamoor Brooch by Rama Musa (Dec 17, 2012)
  4. Parsing the online comments on #IdleNoMore: How Canadians are failing a tolerance test by David Newland (December 20, 2012)
  5. White Men are Not in Decline by Sarah Jane Glynn (December 20, 2012)

soundtrack:

all in all, not too shabby!

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currently: recommended reading on feminism

these days, you are far more likely to find me trawling the internet for incisive articles about feminist issues as opposed to seeing me decked out to the nines and taking photos to share with you. so as i was scratching my head wondering about what i should post next here, it came to me: i write about fashion all the time, mention feminism in passing, but hardly ever talk ABOUT feminism. and today, there is no shortage of things to talk about when it comes to the vibrant movement. i’ve been sharing links left right and centre on social media, but i thought it might be helpful to my readers to share some of the best articles here to tide you over as you patiently await a new post about fashion from a feminist perspective. for the most part, these recommended reads omit the “fashion” and focus on the feminism, but i think they will tickle your fancy.

Fuck Patriarchy by Midge Belickis

Dear Patriarchy, Fuck Off by Midge Belickis

lately i’ve been thinking a lot of some of the conversations i come across online or in real life about their perspectives on the voices or faces of feminism. it almost always makes me feel quite uncomfortable, and always gets me thinking: who are my modern day feminist heroes, who i admire and aspire to be like? why are they never in the limelight the same way the “flavour of the moment” famous feminists are? why do i feel so uncomfortable with the idea of feminist figureheads, instead of a vision of an engaged larger group? why do i feel the need to bite my tongue before criticizing aforementioned feminist figures for fear of feeding into internalized misogyny or girl-hate? and last but not least, how do i find a balance between the urge to reject the “feminist” label, since these mainstream feminist figures do not even come clos to representing my beliefs or the feminists i know, and the empowerment and perspective i often get from the very same movement?

"Viva El Feminismo" circa 1936

“Viva El Feminismo” circa 1936

luckily, i’m not alone in these discomforts. lately, formerly highly-lauded self-identified feminists, such as Naomi Wolf and Caitlin Moran, are finding themselves in hot water over head-scratching comments or publications. instead of steeping in their discomfort, many writers and thinkers have been articulating their frustrations in fantastic ways.

Sheila Sampath over at Shameless wrote this fantastic article entitled “The future of feminism?” (October 7, 2012)

I think there is an important conversation to be had around how patriarchy functions in divisive ways, and how this often results in a culture of competition among women and girls. One of the first things I felt I had to do as a self-identified feminist was acknowledge and challenge this tactic in an attempt to overcome it. But without context and analysis, all a statement like that does is say that Wolf isn’t accountable to her feminist community for the things that she says. It’s insulting to critics like Jacklyn Friedman and Laurie Penny, it perpetuates the very beauty myths Wolf herself once wrote about, and it assumes that all of us want to look like able-bodied, femme-identified, zaftig white women. Trust me: we don’t.

Do yourself a favour and take the time to read the whole thing. If you want to read a real take-down of Wolf’s latest book, I think Zoe Whittall puts it best here:

Zoe Whittall tweeting a link to an article entitled "Naomi Wolf's book Vagina: self-help marketed as feminism" suggesting "Maybe read this, and then let's stop talking about Naomi Wolf, forever."

sad to see what one of the first feminist writers you really connected with has come to producing. but! moving on…

another more recent feminist figurehead is Caitlin Moran. a colleague recommended i read her book “How to be a Woman”, and i’ve been seeing more of her words (and face) these days (like in this article i disliked quite a bit). then, she tweeted some stupid shit. many, many times. over the course of a few hours. i try as hard as i can to stay away from twitter shit shows, primarily because i don’t think it is possible to have civil discussions with strangers in short 140-characters-or-less statements, try as we might. but luckily for people like me, there are fantastic plugged-in writers like Bim Adewunmi who offer us insightful rundowns on the situation. What the Girls spat on Twitter tells us about feminism (October 7th, 2012) is one of the best things i have read about the way white feminists often have their head in the sand (or worse) when it comes to questions from women of colour about which women get represented in pop culture:

When we have “heroes”, we look up to them, and feel it especially keenly when they mess up. But even with all of my affection for the series, the omission of black and brown people in non-stereotypical roles was glaring. Is it unfair to ask Dunham to represent all of womanhood onscreen? Of course it is. But here’s the thing: no one did. We merely asked that she take a step back and question the underlying reason for why Girls looks the way it does.

Read the whole thing! Reni Eddo-Lodge tackles the very same question in her article A problem that stubbornly refuses to budge (October 8th, 2012). This sentence says it all:

When feminists can see the problem with all male panels but can’t see the problem with all white television programmes, it’s worth questioning who they’re really fighting for.

A card of a flapper smoking a cigarette saying "I won't stand up for gossip. I prefer to sit down and make myself comfortable."

I Won’t Stand for Gossip.

last but not least, if reading all these posts is getting you feeling like i’m feeding into negative shit-talking gossip, i recommend one last read: On Shit-Talking Your Way Through Life by Michelle over at The Untitled Teen Mag.

My feminism, believe it or not, is wrapped up in shit-talking. The two are intertwined. In one hand, I carry my ideas and aspirations for me and mine; and in the other, a big-ass stick. While I’m working to create new and better spaces for those who are left behind, I’m making sure that those who opt out of helping me and others in our quest will never live it down. My feminism is vicious for those who cannot be. It is loud and ugly and it will laugh in your face if you give it excuses. It will keep your name in its mouth. It will never have a problem with keeping you on your toes where you belong.

let me know what you think! have you read this articles already? what resonates with you the most?

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currently: kicking ass and taking names

let’s keep this short and sweet: i’m in toronto right now with some really fantastic old friends i never get to see and having a really fantastic time. i’ve crossed paths with so many wonderful people i’ve known over the years, surreal is the best word to describe this feeling.

this photo above? really quick self-portrait i took in cabaret vintage, my absolute favourite vintage clothing shop. i hadn’t been there in years and was happy to waste an hour admiring gorgeous hats and wonderful suits, gowns, bowties. toronto was briefly my home in 2008, but it suits me much better as a place to visit. i appreciate it much better that way.

but this post isn’t about toronto! it’s about cool shit happening on the internet i think you’d like to check out. speaking of admiring vintage wares, lately i’ve been pondering what it means to buy used/thrifted for the most part. i have some blog posts in the works around those ideas, but almost felt like these next two posts beat me to the punch!

chloe lum of scroungy glamour

a few weeks back i re-discovered chloe lum on twitter and found her blog. not gonna lie, i’m a minor former fangirl – she makes incredible art and seeing AIDS Wolf when i was a teenager kinda changed my life. i’ve torn old posters of hers off of sign posts and had them on my university dorm room walls back in the day. i always kind of looked up to chloe when i first started going to shows, half terrified of her, and half wanting to be her. i didn’t have too many role models as a young girl in a scene dominated by straight white dudes most of the time. aaaaand now i’m telling this to the internet and am already embarrassing myself…

tout ça pour dire! she has a blog and it’s awesome. i just read this post after having spent a good hour writing about very similar questions, wondering what you can do when you hate the way clothes are made and sold and marketed to you, but love clothing. i don’t know if you guys have noticed but that’s kind of the main reason i started this blog. chloe’s post on thrifting as refusal asks a lot of the same questions:

Now don’ get me wrong , I’m not naive and I don’t see buying second hand as revolutionary act or anything but it *is* a way to keep money out of the hands of folks like Richard Hayne and clothes out of landfills. While that’s far from everything , it *is* something. Right?

Beyond that it’s a refusal of buying “cool” and instead scrounging it , making it , building it , finding it , swapping it and defining it on a personal level.

in a similar vein, iris over at the always awesome bossy femme just posted this: not buying it – disposable fashion. i definitely relate to a lot of her conundrums:

I know that a $5 tank top can’t be manufactured ethically, but I often can’t afford to pay more. I really don’t like this. It sucks when being “broke” in Canada means having to support retailers that undoubtedly are perpetuating poverty globally. I’d really like to hear from any of you who have thought about how to negotiate this…

there are already some great conversations going on over in the comments, and you should go and chime in! how do you find a balance? how important is it that your warddrobe is a reflection of how you live your life otherwise, consuming consciously?

last but not least, recently i’ve gotten quite a few emails asking me for more blog recommendations, usually along the lines of “where are the people of colour/queer folks/disabled folks? where are the folks who blog about the intersection of their identities with fashion/feminism?” my answer is pretty much “not sure,” unfortunately. that is not to say those voices and stories don’t exist, but they are often hard to find and get lost in the shuffle.

luckily, two of my favourite internet friends, chelsea and cassie, are working to change that. they are turning frustrations about not seeing themselves reflected in the media, whether it be the blogosphere or the tv shows they love, into an awesome project. and they want you! here’s their callout:

Calling for those interested in creating a teen mag/mag for young women: Chelsea and I are going to start an online magazine with a strong emphasis on young girls and women of color, trans girls, disabled girls, non-heteronormative girls, queer girls, fat girls, mentally ill girls, etc etc.

We (…) are interested in whatever capacity you are willing to help. Please tell us if you are interested in writing, designing, doing artwork, creating, organizing, CSS/flash coding or something you would like to do that we haven’t listed.

Anybody who is interested, get at us by sending us an e-mail at untitledteenmag@gmail.com. Thanks!

they are also encouraging people interested in contributing/reading to fill out this survey over here. keep your eyes peeled for this awesome project! i can’t wait to see how things work out.

happy reading!

xo

julia

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great things on the internet these days

sorry for the radio silence ’round these parts these days! it just so happens i’ve been busy elsewhere these days… in the best of ways. more on that later, but in the meantime here are some links to tide you over. i participated in kickaction!’s 2012 blogging carnaval, writing about how fashion can reflect your politics and your identity. it was fantastic to participate in a great canadian (bilingual) project, and kind of cathartic to write about fashion in a kind of basic way again. read it here, and let me know what you think! there are tons of other great posts too if you feel like poking around and doing some reading.

it also gave me an occasion to post some old photos of teenage me thrifting in small town ontario. those were the days …remind me again why i didn’t buy that awesome one piece jumpsuit?

screencap of the cultural cringe by clem bastow

moving on! a few days later, andrea, my best australian internet friend, came across this article… which happens to quote me! clem bastow blasts the mulleavy sisters for yet another misstep in the terrible vogue of cultural appropriation. a great read i am proud to be quoted in.

i love her final point the best:

…that’s the great thing about fashion: those of us who love it know it doesn’t have to be shallow, culturally insensitive or offensive. Involve yourself in cultural appropriation for the sake of being on-trend and you make yourself all of those things.

i’ve been hesitating to write about this topic again, largely because the conversation is so exhausting, but lately it really feels as though people need a reminder as to why it’s a shitty thing to do. if you follow me on tumblr, you know my tone is going to be either irrational rage, or utter dismay and cynicism when talking about interacting with folks who unapologetically culturally appropriate. what bastow hits on that fills me with hope, however, is that basic encouragement: just because something is trendy in fashion does not make it okay. having conversations about privilege and racism are super important, and hopefully the more people talking about these issues online means more people will think critically about these issues when they go shopping.

it’s also interesting to think of the parallels between the way the australian government treated it’s aboriginal people, and how the canadian government treated its first nations people – but that’s a whole blog post in and of itself, isn’t it? if you’re interested in the latest take on cultural appropriation from a canadian context, i highly recommend Icewine, Roquefort Cheese and the Navajo nation by Chelsea Vowel over at apihtawikosisan.

last but not least, i complained about this on tumblr but felt it deserved a better conversation space. the gracious folks over at shameless magazine let me air my greviances on their blog about what feminist messages get shared online, and which don’t:

I’m critical of the fact that this is the kind of pervasive “feminist message” that gets out there – and that sticks. There is so much space for posts like these ones, of relatively little substance with cheerleading slogans, celebrating white, straight, cis-gendered women, and very little space for real conversations about the work that feminists need to do to be inclusive, and intersectional. I’m talking about bell hooks’ definition of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, because from what you see on tumblr, these posters really only seem to be challenging the “patriarchy” part of the formula. Which needs to be challenged, indisputably! But it’s not enough to JUST challenge the patriarchy, over and over and over.

please go read it, and comment over there. i’d love to talk more about my ideas on these issues.

so! in short, as you can see i’ve been writing about a whole range of feminist issues these days, not all pertaining to fashion. i have lots of great posts more centered on specific questions about fashion in the works for the spring, ranging from the standard outfit posts to an update on the two year anniversary of the critical fashion lover’s (basic) guide to cultural appropriation.

thanks for reading!

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