Dear StumbleUpon: This is bullshit

July 10, 2012 § 10 Comments

I just went to sign up to StumbleUpon, the web thing that gives you recommended things to look at on the internet. I used to use it a lot – the random nature of it helps trip my brain into pleasantly creative functions. I saw this:

I would be interested to know exactly WHAT THE FUCK THIS MEANS. Why the fuck is this website giving different stuff to men and women? You have to input your interests anyway. What will it give me that it wouldn’t recommend to my wife?

I strongly suspect that advertising is behind this. Advertisers are the biggest culprits of splitting up the genders in the modern world. My facebook account has me down as female, and I constantly get adverts for diets and ‘weird tips to make you look younger’ and such like.

So: dear StumbleUpon: I am a human being with a varied range of interests, none of which stem from my ownership of a penis. There are far more relevant questions that my sex to help you know the sort of thing I would like to look at on the internet. This is not the 70s. Please grow the fuck up.

Shaving

July 7, 2012 § 15 Comments

I am so fucking sick of my facial hair. I am right slap bang in the middle of a girly phase and I want nothing more than to dress feminine all the time, every day. I’ve got some new clothes, some interesting new looks to play with, and I have shows to do in the evenings. The shows require me to be cross-dressed so the material about all this stuff works. In order to do this I’d need to shave twice a day – once when I get up and once before the show, in order that my beard doesn’t poke through under my make-up and ruin the whole look.

People have suggested to be I just leave it. But that is a path towards a kind of gender-jamming thing that doesn’t attract me at all. Some guys pull it off brilliantly, but I just want to look as feminine as possible.

The frustrating thing is that I can’t even grow a beard. My facial hair is exactly useless – thick enough to ruin a made-up face, too thin to actually grow into a heavy-metal-friendly beard when I’m in a masculine mood.

I’m currently doing material about the lie of shaving adverts. They suggest that shaving is the most masculine thing a man can do, which is utter bullshit. Shaving is the foundation of transvestism. A razor is not a blokey accessory. It’s the gateway to femininity. But sometimes I wish I could do without it.

Why I have tattoos.

July 2, 2012 § 8 Comments

Tattoos have had some press attention recently, due to some fuss over a woman in Ascot failing to cover hers up. The backlash against this resulted in people suggesting that Ascot’s dress code should be updated to reflect the increasing acceptance of tattoos in mainstream society. My immediate response to this (on Twitter, the home of the immediate response) was “Part of my getting tattoos is to distinguish myself from the sort of people who want to go to Ascot.”

Since tweeting that, I have had another day of buzzy needle pain (getting Peter Cushing, above), and am currently healing. So I have been thinking a lot about the whole business of tattooing, and since my tattoos are inextricably linked to my gender stuff, I thought I’d share those thoughts here.

So first I’ll explain the t*  link, then via a response to another article I will talk about my attitude to tattoos in general.

I got my first tattoo at the age of 18, at a time in my life when I disliked my body. I have never self-harmed. I have always been rather fond of my self. Just not the form my body took. So to cause myself pain or damage just never occurred to me. However, tattooing was a way I could change my appearance, to alter my body according to my own wishes. To impose changes upon it and make it look more like something I wanted it to look like. To this day my tattoos remain a part of my body that I am totally happy with. I think they are beautiful, and they make me feel better about the way I look. My feelings about that still wobble, as they always will unless I suddenly start looking exactly like Fairuza Balk.

I do not have tattoos in order to express individuality. Far from it. My tattoos reflect the kinship I feel with the underground metal subculture, and are a wonderful way of linking with people who get the references and dig the aesthetic. My Peter Cushing tattoo is a massive hello to other British horror fans, just as my Cthulhu is to Lovecraft afficionados. I say this in response to an article on the contrarian website spiked-online.com which states that “having a tattoo is widely seen as a mark of individuality”. For me as a metalhead is was never really a case of whether or not I was going to get a tattoo, but rather what I was going to get. I think among people with tattoos, that is now the significant thing. We separate ourselves by getting actual art by actual artists, rather than flash picked off a wall, etched in by someone who doesn’t care what he’s doing. In getting heavily tattooed, rather than just having one or two, I am probably making a statement about my class, my aspirations as far as work and my commitment to a particular look, but it’s not much more than that.

Some of my tattoos have a deep and personal meaning (my first band, my best and oldest friend, my first proper Edinburgh show) and some are just pieces of beautiful art that reflect things I like (Cushing, Cthulhu, my Sepultura tattoo). I am not making any real statements and I am not that self-conscious about being different from the herd.

This is true of my gender choices as well. What I wear when I am – in society’s eyes – cross-dressed is just an external reflection of what I am inside. It’s not a call for attention, a way of being different or wacky or a statement. The only statement I am making is “I like these clothes”.

 

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