Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Oversized Dresses and Shrinking Women


So this week I have been pretty busy at uni, and I just handed in a massive Gender & Anthropology essay. So when I was finished, I treated myself to some new blog photos with the forever-clever and cute Annika. It was absolutely freezing on this afternoon, but we were so driven to get at least one outfit shot, as I had lugged a whole picnic basket full of clothes on the bus on the way over ( I have been slowly but surely incorporating my new picnic basket into all facets of life).

I love this vintage dress I found at my favourite thrift shop. I have loved wearing long, oversized dresses lately, and generally as a rule I tend to favour large, comfortable floppy clothes over tight ones. I usually want at least one semi-baggy item of clothing nearby at all times. It's like having a safety blanket. I've put a patent on the word 'flopster' to describe my dress style. Like a hipster, only, uh, floppy.

Jacket is thrifted
Dress is thrifted
Shoes are thrifted and falling apart
Picnic basket... Also thrifted 
Thrift all the things!

This dress also has buttons all the way down, so if you like, you can fashion yourself an alluring split to show off those gorgeous gams. In my case, my increasingly hairy, bruised and scratched gams. They are anything but long, slim and striking, but they have a certain charm. 

And I actually really love them just as they are. I prefer my legs with hair, especially because I've discovered that they are a really lovely golden-red colour. I've never seen anyone with leg hairs like mine- they're like sunshine! This isn't to say that you have to grow your hair long or love your body hair-- for starters, I experience privileges of being white that means that I have a different experience of having body hair to some people. I've been bullies for my body hair, sure, but it's never been racialized. Body hair isn't the be all and end all of being a feminist, this is just where I'm at right now.

I also love the print on this dress. It features both tea cups and wine glasses. I love that. I'm famously indecisive, and I'm pretty darn sure I've been in a situation where I have committed myself to drinking a glass of wine and a cup of tea at the same time. What are these rules anyway? Fuck the system! Drink tea out of wine glasses! Drink wine out of tea cups!



I want to leave you today with this wonderful performance poetry piece by Lily Myers. Poetry is one of my biggest loves, and I'm going to slowly work some poetry into this blog, so, disclaimer and stuff. 

I think this is an important poem for all gender identities to read or listen to. Lily Myers talks about the phenomenon of "Shrinking Women"- she talks about body image, self-worth and the spaces that women are allowed to occupy. It's powerful, and also just beautiful. Watch it! I've also included the words, underneath the video.

Have a great week guys! Leave me a comment below, I'd love to read and respond to them.

Love, Katie :-)


Shrinking Women

Across from me at the kitchen table, my mother smiles over red wine that she drinks out of a measuring glass.
She says she doesn’t deprive herself,
but I’ve learned to find nuance in every movement of her fork.
In every crinkle in her brow as she offers me the uneaten pieces on her plate.
I’ve realized she only eats dinner when I suggest it.
I wonder what she does when I’m not there to do so.

Maybe this is why my house feels bigger each time I return; it’s proportional.
As she shrinks the space around her seems increasingly vast.
She wanes while my father waxes. His stomach has grown round with wine, late nights, oysters, poetry. A new girlfriend who was overweight as a teenager, but my dad reports that now she’s “crazy about fruit.”

It was the same with his parents;
as my grandmother became frail and angular her husband swelled to red round cheeks, round stomach
and I wonder if my lineage is one of women shrinking
making space for the entrance of men into their lives
not knowing how to fill it back up once they leave.

I have been taught accommodation.
My brother never thinks before he speaks.
I have been taught to filter.
“How can anyone have a relationship to food?” He asks, laughing, as I eat the black bean soup I chose for its lack of carbs.
I want to tell say: we come from difference, Jonas, 
you have been taught to grow out
I have been taught to grow in
you learned from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence, you used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much
I learned to absorb
I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself
I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters
and I never meant to replicate her, but
spend enough time sitting across from someone and you pick up their habits

that’s why women in my family have been shrinking for decades.
We all learned it from each other, the way each generation taught the next how to knit
weaving silence in between the threads
which I can still feel as I walk through this ever-growing house,
skin itching,
picking up all the habits my mother has unwittingly dropped like bits of crumpled paper from her pocket on her countless trips from bedroom to kitchen to bedroom again, 
Nights I hear her creep down to eat plain yogurt in the dark, a fugitive stealing calories to which she does not feel entitled.
Deciding how many bites is too many
How much space she deserves to occupy.

Watching the struggle I either mimic or hate her,
And I don’t want to do either anymore
but the burden of this house has followed me across the country
I asked five questions in genetics class today and all of them started with the word “sorry”.
I don’t know the requirements for the sociology major because I spent the entire meeting deciding whether or not I could have another piece of pizza
a circular obsession I never wanted but

inheritance is accidental
still staring at me with wine-stained lips from across the kitchen table.

  - Lily Myers


  1. Wonderful read, thank you for transcribing the video.

  2. I love the way you write - 'flopster' is a brilliant word! the outfit is fabulous. thrift all day and everyday sister.


    1. Thank you, haha! Shine on you bright thing. X

  3. Hairy legs can be so comfy once you're past the awkward stubble phase :D I usually shave them because I like them more that way. But last summer I went to Scandinavia (like right up to the arctic circle, so no chance of me showing bare legs) and gave my leg hair a chance to grow and oh, that feeling was so great!

    1. I love Scandinavia! I went right up into Lapland the year before last and loved it. My boyfriend is from Finland- I am visiting Finland, Sweden and Estonia next month! X

  4. I love that poem. It really hits home about why women diet culture always irks me. I work at a restaurant and I see big pudgy guys come in with their stick thin wives. I hear a lot of guys say things like "look at me- I need the biggest size you got!" while the women are very soft spoken. There is nothing bad with being big or small- but the dynamic was always weird to me.

    1. Exacty. It al comes down to the space that we occupy- I think boys are taught to simply take up more room, and this carries over into body image. Interesting! xx

  5. You two are so stinking cute. That first photo looks like a production still from a period film!

    xox Sammi

  6. That is a pretty fabulous dress!


  7. Oh I always love hearing that poem! You two are so fantastic. Seriously, I love hearing about your adventures and updates together. Plus, I love the dresses and picnic basket <3

    1. Thanks Delores! I love reading your blog too, the amount of colour always brightens my day. Glad you love the poem too! x

  8. I love this dress, I need one exactly like it. And that poem is fantastic, it really does describe almost every girl and woman to some extent at some point in their lives