Why is the Lingerie Community so white?
I spent 2018 reading lots of books about feminism, intersectionality and race. A big shout-out to my top read of the year – The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-Wright.
I also spent a bit of time wondering why the lingerie community is so white. Lots of shapes and sizes, but yeah, mainly white bodies. There are some notable high profile lingerie bloggers of colour (looking at Cora Harrington and @comicgirlsneedbras), and whilst I do not put myself in the same exalted category as them, together we form a small group who are putting ourselves out there in our underwear and saying, “look at me celebrating my minimally-clad body for myself.”
But why are there so few of us? Continue reading “Race and Lace”
The doorway to women’s sexual pleasure.
Let’s talk about nipples. I know, I know. There has been a lot of talk about the hypocrisy of the media and social media around female nipples. It can be boiled down to this (if I could do infographics, it would be so much more impressive):
Child’s nipple = body part
Man’s nipple = body part
Woman’s nipple = sexual body part, akin to genitalia
I don’t want to talk about that because others have expressed this eloquently in art and words. See my friend Aleksandra Karpowicz’s ‘Male or Female’ images on Instagram, and countless other creative attempts by others to highlight the absurdity of the double standards around nipples. Yet the world doesn’t seem ready for nipple equality.
I want to talk about how nipples, my nipples especially, are not just decorative. To say they are a gateway to sexual pleasure would be an understatement. My nipples are connected directly to my crotch by some kind of electrical current. I would go so far as to say that my nipples are my primary form of sexual pleasure, on a par with the clitoris. Without nipple stimulation, getting aroused is almost impossible. With the right conditions, I can reach orgasm with just nipple stimulation alone. I consider myself very lucky. Continue reading “Nipples”
For some years I’ve been consciously shunning big fashion brands, whether luxury or high street, and actively seeking out small independent labels. There are many reasons for this, not least the ability to find stuff that no one else will be wearing. But reading again last week about Burberry and their disgusting practice of burning millions of pounds worth of old stock (which they say they have now stopped), brings to the fore the horrific amount of waste in the fashion industry, which is both environmentally harmful as well as ethically abhorrent. Maintaining the value in their brand and preventing their brand from entering the discount market is the rationale behind this Bonfire of the Luxuries. For the fast fashion retailers, the blazing mountains of fabric are simply the end result of over-production and a criminally wasteful supply chain model. Continue reading “Slow Fashion Fightback”
I am an occasional recipient of a big, juicy cock. Veiny, purple, erect usually, and disembodied from the owner. I have never requested these, and they all belong to men I have never met. I have quite a collection. If you’re a woman with a public social media profile, you probably do too. Continue reading “Dick pics – the scourge of our time”
Who gets to wear my cheongsam?
When you’re 17 years old and choosing your prom dress, the last thing you might think is that a picture of you in a modest high necked, full length dress could go viral and ignite a frenzied, febrile war of words on cultural theft, racism and the colonialism. You probably just think that the silky Chinese cheongsam will make you stand out from those predictable gowns that all the other white girls will be wearing. But may this be a lesson to you, young lady, to do your cultural studies research and may you never, ever again, dare to wear an item of clothing that does not belong to you. And by ‘you’, I mean ‘your race’, ‘your culture’, ‘your heritage’. For a précis of the insanity I’m referring to, read about poor Keziah Daum in this news article.
When doing research for this article I came to realise that the topic of cultural appropriation is wide and deep; a topic that has been interrogated ad nauseum by academics and cultural historians in the fields of art, music, food, fashion, ideas, and just about everything else. I cannot offer no more than some circular musings from my own narrow experience, but I do feel the need to speak up and say: A WHITE WOMAN WEARING A CHINESE DRESS IS NOT OFFENSIVE TO CHINESE PEOPLE.
Of course, there are nuances and qualifications. These days, our discourse does not allow for such things. Extreme outrage is the only currency on social media. The flames are fanned by clickbaiters and Twitter is the accelerant. Such is our society where the wise, funny, imaginative, educational and clever perspectives are tainted by wilful stupidity and angry, shouty people. But hopefully there are still some people who want to engage in thoughtful dialogue and a rounded debate.
I am of Singaporean Chinese heritage. My home country, Singapore, was a jewel in the crown of the British Empire during the time of my great-grandparents and grandparents. I’ve been to many a fancy-dress party where we dressed up as Native Americans. I’ve worn saris to work parties. I’ve worn kimonos in photo shoots. I’ve painted my face as a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull. Until last year, I had never worn a cheongsam or qipao, the supposedly traditional dress of a Chinese woman. This is partly because I am drawn to contradictions, and for a Chinese woman to wear a cheongsam, to me, seems lazy and unimaginative. I feel it also promotes the stereotype of the demure and exotic Asian woman (see my earlier post on The Asian Woman Fetish). You could say that I’m a ‘bad Chinese’, a banana – yellow on the outside…. I’m the one who has to ask other people when Chinese New year is. Don’t ask me the origin of Chinese customs. I can count to 10 in Mandarin but not much more. I can’t eat spicy food, can’t cook any “oriental cuisine” except a stir-fry and my favourite food as a child was a sandwich. This is not just deficient. It’s almost a visceral and deliberate rejection of my roots. When I came to England as a teenager, I embraced Western and European culture. Literature, movies, philosophy. fashion, music. I know many Indian and Asian friends who have done the same. Isn’t it funny how my race gives me a free pass to wear a traditional Chinese garment even though I’m the biggest banana in the fruit bowl? Continue reading “It’s just a dress, you can appropriate it”
Have you seen the “sexy mum” at the school gate? You know the one who wears the clingy low-cut top and a red lip at 8.30 am? Or the one with the languidly dishevelled rock ‘n roll hair and bootylicious jeans, who looks like she’s having an affair with an indie guitarist? There is one at my kids’ school who works a golden glittery block heel most mornings. Another one who always has sunglasses in a colour to match her many cute bodycon outfits. How do we feel about these women?