Friday, 19 November 2021

The Wastrel Trans Minstrel Show

 

The Wastrel Trans Minstrel Show - aka Melbourne Fashion Week is over for 2021 in a triumphant explosion of tulle and sequins and us ordinary people can breathe a sigh of relief as the cleaners move in to sweep up the mountains of shedded glitter and clear the womens loo of discarded condoms.



Shame on Melbourne Fashion Week for all the womens fashion businesses and models who had their opportunities supplanted by the male poseurs who adopted trans or non binary identities. 

@melbfashweek would never acknowledge the existence of a hairy cave dweller like me, and nor would my lowly opinions be known to them, but I was hard pressed to find another image of a bloke in a dress featuring in subsequent images on Instagram after bagging them.(somebody responding to a comment I made on @melbfashweek jeered at me for being a craftsy farmers market wannabe)

The truly stylish who shop at Vinnies are glad to see the whole mincing display of mediocracy sashay back into the cupboard for another year. But without doubt the whole ghastly shebang will spring out of said cupboard next year for another discordant celebration of rampant consumerism. 

The festival of unsustainability and willful ignorance. Silly stuff for silly people. I'll be keeping a beady eye out for how many bearded blokes mince the catwalk in 2022.

And for those who still think they might they might be genuinely non binary heres 10 helpful tips

The Unicorn Test


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A podcast from Radio National

Greenwashing, what to buy for Santas Birthday (if you must)

For education about the waste, unsustainability and lack of ethics in the fashion industry here is an excellent Australian activist to check out.

ClarePress, Wardrobe Crisis

I don’t share Clares optimism that things can or will change. In response to her discussing recent contributions to an international think tank for change in the fashion industry I wrote (italics added by me) 

I totally agree with your first sentence to the comma (she wrote: Sometimes it feels we talk too much & do too little, but actually how we communicate about #sustainability is super important) After that I see well intentioned, idealistic people trying to negotiate with a business model that is fundamentally incompatible with sustainability. My cynicism is such that I believe activists (for sustainability and ethics in the fast fashion business model) are simply being mined for more clever ways to maintain a pretense that the fashion industry cares. Just like ladies who ask patriarchy nicely not to be so mean to them I don’t believe anything effective can, or ever will be achieved asking fast fashion nicely to behave responsibly. My answer has been radical rebellion, you just stop participating in the system and don’t buy anything new. Though I have made my first exceptions for 3 years to buy 3 teeshirts reading – TERF, My Pronouns are Hea/Then and one that must be written in code as it us so terrible Instagram will ban me for saying it – tra(i)ns women are men.

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This coat is a recent make by me. 100% upcycled fabrics consisting of tapestry table cloth runners, offcuts of upholstery fabrics, an embroidered cushion cover and doona covers.








The colour palette was inspired by this fabulous vintage embroidered cushion cover that was gifted to me by somebody who loves textiles.

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READING:

Recommended

One of the upsides of having recently dusted off my rusted 2nd wave feminist badge is diving back into reading my old rad feminist heroine Andrea Dworkin.

I’m dazzled that her literary oeuvre not only stands up to contemporary happenings in the world (trans gender identity ideology) but was really prescient.

Last Days at Hot Slit; the radical feminism of Andrea Dworkin

 


One of the reasons Dworkin became alienated from the clique of more popular late 2nd wave feminists was for her unrelenting damnation of how prostitution and pornography harms women. Not a very cool stance back then and hardly more so nowadays for women who feel shamed to be dismissed as prudes for not thinking that what gives men a stiffy isn’t necessarily the definition of the kind of great sex women lust after.

In 1995 I almost had the whole collection of Dworkins literary works but they ended up going to the tip during a house move. I tried to donate them to Vinnies but the ladies shook their heads dubiously at titles like “Woman Hating”, “Intercourse”, “Pornography” and “Our Blood”, probably in the fervent hope that the nice citizens of Kurri Kurri had no need for that kind of reading matter (and they must have been relieved I was leaving town). I look forward to collecting them all back again in digital format.


Not recommended 

Another little pamphlet I read lately was Alok Vaid-Menons little bit of pink fluffy propaganda

“Beyond the Gender Binary”.

At 64 pages it only takes an hour to read and you don’t need to have a vocabulary that has words with more than 6  letters in them.

It is essentially a sustained whine about how hard life has been for a femme gay boy. Nobody has been nice or very understanding, He has been laughed at, catcalled and shamed. Alok takes it all very hard and is infuriated at the unkindness of the world.

His whole tedious existence would have been easy to dismiss if he hadn’t taken out his revenge on the world by endorsing gender identity ideology.



The quotes surrounding Alok in the picture above were directed toward him by other trans identifying males.


Tuesday, 16 November 2021

this hag is too subversive for Melbourne Fashion Week

I offended Melbourne Fashion Week with a post made a few hours ago that had to be removed. 

In their self congratulatory enthusiasm for their recent event they posted...



...I can't remember the exact words I reacted with but my offending post went something like this...

So now radical and inclusive defines men who are appropriating feminine styling and clothing. 

This is the new regressive.

Non binary is the new word for cross dresser.


I do not understand what is being claimed to be "diverse" or "inclusive" that is happening at Melbourne Fashion Week. 

What does that mean!? 

Men wearing dresses, makeup and high heels isn't displaying "diverse". It is cross dressing which men have been doing forever. It is same old, same old....nothing new, adventurous or wtf "diverse" means.....



Rather than a whole lot of inclusivity or diversity champions I saw cross dressing men basking in validation and getting the most prominent roles of the evening. I noticed women designers and their work getting less coverage having been eclipsed by the agenda of "inclusivity"...which in my opinion equals giving men more attention at the cost of less recognition for women.

Of course, this is all my personal speculation based on 62 years of experience living in patriarchy, perhaps I'll be flooded with positive messages from women designers who were at Melbourne Fashion Week saying they feel the new gender identity affirmation is wonderful for everybody, especially women.



Perhaps women feel nothing is being appropriated from our culture? And perhaps other women feel we should be kind and polite to this very "vulnerable" group of non sexed people because we might hurt their feelings...?  (In Australia the levels of violence experienced by trans or non binary identifiers is insignificant to that suffered by women) 



I wish they'd stop demanding we care about their desire to display their interpretation of femininity. Go away and play with your own friends and stop pretending you're more important than women and displacing women in places where we deserve equal representation. 

As for all the non binary emperors at Melbourne Fashion Week - no type of non sexed human has ever been recognised in any culture ever so why is this necessary now? Asking us to believe a person is a golumphant is just as credible. 

It would be simpler to say something understood by everybody “I’m a man who likes cross dressing and I demand everybodys attention”




Sunday, 14 November 2021

refuse to wear it


 





Melbourne Fashion Week is asking everybody to pretend the emperor has no clothes too. 

         Deni Todorovic says he is non binary and we all have to pretend he is neither man or woman.

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I listened to a podcast today about children who have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) that was instigated from child sexual abuse. 

Radio National podcast: Dissociative Identity Disorder

I wonder if there are parallels with encouraging children to dissociate from reality when it is insisted that a man must be addressed as a woman, and IS a woman, when that person is obviously male?




Men who self identify as female, who call themselves trans women or non binary, demand that everybody has to believe that they are no different from a woman with breasts, vagina, cervix and uterus. That they are no different from females who went through puberty when our bodies were awash with estrogen and other hormones that activated our menses. 

By saying the magical mantra "I identify as a woman" or I am "non-binary" they are entitled to use the spaces designated for women. 

As you can see from information provided by Instagram influencer Schuylar Bailey (followers = 336,000) being a trans woman or non binary doesn't mean that those people have altered their physical bodies in any way trying to resemble women. They can be fully intact male sexed bodies. Through saying the magical mantra the rest of society is being compelled to buy into the charade lest we be reviled as not nice women, haters, transphobes and bigots.

I'm not saying I want trans/non binary ppl to adopt the outward appearance of the sex they want to mimic - not at all. I have no concern whatsoever what they want to wear or how they choose to alter their bodies by surgeries - if they are consenting adults over 18 that is their choice.

I just want them to stop trying to coerce the rest of the world into believing they have actually trans-formed into the opposite sex. Its not possible to change a male body into a female body. It is only possible to perform a simulacrum of it.

Performing the pretense of biological sex change should not entitle these men to appropriate the sex based rights of women and girls.



If you encounter a transwoman using womens toilets or changerooms tell them their presence makes you uncomfortable and you'll wait outside until they leave. If you happen to be with a girl don't pretend to the child that that person is a female.


Why Gender Ideology is not the new Civil Rights Frontier



Saturday, 13 November 2021

Be careful what you wear

Emilia Bergoglio is a fan of Alok Vaid-Menon and his activism for the recognition of non binary gender identity. Emilia also identifies as non binary so Alok must obviously be one of the heroes she looks up to.

In the second part of her series Degendering Fashion published in Seamwork Magazine #77, April 2021 there is a picture of Alok Vaid-Menon published.



He looks sort of sweet and harmless in that picture.

Here are some more pictures of Alok Vaid-Menon and some of the ideology he stands for.






I have a lot of problems with Aloks gender identity ideology and his anti feminist ideas about women. I do not believe that Alok was ever a cute little girl that grew up to be neither man or woman.

I remain appalled that Seamwork Magazine published the series Degendering Fashion. 

And here is what the late great Magdalen Berns had to say about Alok.








Thursday, 11 November 2021

Seamwork Magazine hates women

Frankly, I don't expect that this will ever get acknowledged but I sent this to Colette Media and Meg Stively, the editor of Seamwork Magazine, today.

If you strongly disagree about the views expressed in the Degendering Fashion series published in Seamwork then feel free to cut and paste anything I've said here and write to Colette Media.

Contact Colette Media

After being briefly reinstated to following Seamwork Magazine on Instagram I'm now blocked again.

I cancelled my subscription when it was up for renewal last month.



11/11/2021

Murrurundi, Australia

 

Dear Colette Media

Re: Seamwork Magazine, Degendering Fashion, Meg Stively

 

I’m writing to express my deep concern for the 3 part series that was published in Seamwork Magazine issues #77, 78 and 79 called “Degendering Fashion” by Emilia Bergoglio.

I have been a subscriber to Seamwork magazine for 6 years and generally keep a low profile interacting as I’m a patternmaker selling my own range of PDF sewing patterns and didn’t want to seem as if I’m trying to gain attention to publicise my own product. I have always really liked the classic Seamwork designs and have bought about 18 patterns.

When it was promoted on Seamwork Instagram that the Degendering Fashion series was upcoming I was surprised. It seemed such a political stance that would likely polarise the views of women sewists in the community. I published some comments indicating my discomfort that were relayed to Meg Stively by somebody who felt my comments were “hate speech”. Within an hour she blocked me from commenting and deleted the comments made by myself and others. The person who Meg supported in banning me from Instagram then stalked me on my own Instagram over 2 weeks accusing me of being a transphobic bigot and was joined by several other trolls labelling me a hateful and vile person.

Being unable to share my views with others on Instagram to find out what they thought I wrote to Meg in her capacity as Seamwork Magazine editor 8 times over several months outlining my concerns about the views that were expressed in Degendering Fashion and also asking Meg to reinstate my access to Seamwork Instagram. She allowed me to rejoin Instagram after 7 months

When my subscription came up for renewal a month ago I cancelled it.

I had numerous concerns with things that were written in Degendering Fashion. I wrote about my views extensively on my blog www.pearlredmoon which you can view here…

https://www.pearlredmoon.com/2021/03/the-political-dressmaker.html

Most of the correspondence I exchanged with Meg is published there too. The blog posts cover several months and are interspersed with other blogs that aren’t about Seamwork.

Please note that in that March 2021 blog I was endeavouring to politely address Emilia by her preferred pronouns but since then I’ve completely revised my view about using pronouns. I now understand it as coerced language by a group of gender identity ideologues whose views that men can be women I am utterly and totally opposed to. Men aren’t women and nor can they become women regardless of hormones, surgeries, breast implants, wigs or stiletto heels.

Quite apart from the women shaming propaganda promoted in Degendering Fashion one of my greatest concerns was Emilia Bergoglio endorsing and describing the practise of breast binding. This is a very dangerous and potentially physically damaging practise. It is usually carried out by women who have a mental health condition known as body dysmorphia which leads them to feel distressed by their breasts because they would rather be male. Emilia doesn’t even feel comfortable about the word breast, she demands that everybody use the word “chest” instead, for her comfort and validation.

Breast binding inhibits the normal development of breast tissue or flattens out mature breasts. The discomfort and pain caused is the least of the potential problems. It can cause ribs or the entire ribcage to be malformed if started young enough. It can cause the nipples to become infested and even atrophy and fall off.

I hope that Seamwork Magazine will publish a clear statement that Colette Media does not endorse or support breast binding and urge all readers to understand it is a very dangerous practise.

 

Yours sincerely
Pearl Red Moon

Monday, 8 November 2021

Trans: Hitler responds to #GenderWooWoo

Have your drip pads handy, there will be liquids exploding.

This from Graham Linehan. Follow him on Substack at The Glinner Update


Sunday, 7 November 2021

Small people with enormous righteousness

 

Well there you go people. I've been shut down on Instagram already. I posted the pictures below a couple of days ago.







These are 2 teeshirts I recently bought. The acronym TERF on the pink shirt stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.

These shirts and the words printed on them are considered by a small number of people to be HATE SPEECH. On that basis somebody reported my account to Instagram and had me shut down.

Just prior to my silencing somebody called @moon_child_jla posted a rather pompous comment saying my words, actions and philosophy are problematic. Then she immediately blocked me so I couldn't reply to her. What a hero! The reason she didn't want to hear back is because there is no defense for believing a man is a woman just because he says so. 

A week ago in London, outside a Feminist conference a mtf Trans Rights Activist held a placard saying "S#ck my dick, you transphobic c**nts". That is the level solidarity and love that that transwoman has for women, probably shared with his mates. 

Women who defend the right of these privileged, entitled whining dick owners are equally without integrity. @moon_child_jla you should be ashamed to sell out your sisters to defend in men in dresses yelling through a megaphone that we must suck their dicks.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Goodbye, but not the end....

 This blog may became relatively inactive in the future. 

I started writing it in 2008 and it will always be a valued archive. In many ways like a public diary that has been shared with others.


the back of my home, August 2021

Pictures of my textile art garments that I've shown here started getting appropriated by the China based mass manufacturing company ChicV International over 3 years ago. Since then they have illegally placed images of 15 of my creations in their online shops pretending it is the item they sell. I have no idea how many people bought these items and were defrauded. I have no idea how much profit ChicV has made made through the theft of my intellectual labour. 

It was an extremely traumatising event in my life, and I still feel the effects of it every day. Even as I write this I still see advertisements scrolling by on social media with pictures of my work, being sold by ChicV. 

Many months were given over to making complaints to Facebook, Instagram and Paypal demanding they recognise and protect my copyright. All that effort was an absolute waste of time, I was ignored or deflected. As an artisan, working and producing my art entirely from my own labour and imagination, I am insignificant and powerless. Though many people - the Australian politicians I wrote too, arts organisations, copyright lawyers - acknowledged that my situation was unequivocably an illegal infringement of copyright, no one could act on my behalf because of the complexities of enforcing copyright on The Peoples Republic of China.

AS WE GO INTO THE FUTURE

Some of the stuff I wrote here in the last few years has gotten me into big time trouble. At this point I've never significantly edited or deleted anything I've written. Some things could have been expressed more tactfully, but on the whole I have no regrets or apologies to make. I'll stand by it all and if that changes in the future I'll say that in public too.

I am still a big mouth bombasting all over the place. I deleted my first Instagram account after less than a year having gotten into too much trouble. I took a month out trying to better educate myself on how Instagram works. 

Then I started up again.

You can follow me on Instagram

@pearlredmoonart

To sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter "Get Stitched" use the form at the top left side bar. 

I am unreliable at publishing newsletters, I can't predict whether there will be one a month or one a year.


The best place to follow me where I will be writing regularly is on Patreon.

Pearl Moon: by the light of the Moon

Patreon is a safe place where I can discuss my objectionable points of view around art, feminism and politics. As an artist I have never been able to separate my personal from my politics. I am fundamentally unable to make myself a compliant unit of capitalism. 

On my Patreon I intend to work toward providing a balance of sacred and profane, frivolity and profound. 

But you can look forward to this sort of fare getting mixed up with sewing, food, housekeeping, gardening, sustainability, etc…

Everything to do with being a woman getting through the day in the 2020s.


Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Up the Zambeesi

 A few weeks ago a friend gave me some upholstery fabric offcuts. I love using these fabrics because they usually have a high cotton or linen content and are robust fabrics intended for durability, longevity and hard wear. 

To the 3 fabrics I was given I added some pieces from my own stash. I sewed a coat using my pdf pattern "Zambeesi Jacket" adding another tier to lengthen it into a coat.

Zambeesi Jacket PDF pattern

In the picture of the pattern cover above the brown and gold version of the jacket shown at the bottom is also made from upholstery fabric offcuts.



The buttons were unmatched vintage ones salvaged from other used, discarded garments. I don't worry about measuring exact distancing between the button placements so they are positioned 2 to a section of the front placket at random.



I really love that fabric on the upper right front. It was originally a cotton hand appliqued cushion cover, quite a large one at 50x50cm, bought for $3 from a thrift shop.




The picture above on the dress model shows the coat length.

If you have the Zambeesi pattern, or are interested to buy it, this is how I added the lower tier to lengthen it into a coat.

I cut 14 pieces from the pattern piece "Centre Front(6)" and sewed them together into a row, with the tapered sides up. Incredibly, the length of the strip created was exactly right to fit to the hem without needing to cut any excess off. (I made a Medium size, this may not happen if making any of the other sizes, but its simply a matter of cutting off any excess to get it to fit) This was then sewed to the hem. To lengthen the front placket to fit down the longer front I cut and added another section 15.5 x 22.5cm, inserted as the third section down.






Saturday, 3 April 2021

More garbage to take out

What I'm making. 

For my upcoming July exhibition - Garb/Age - along with dresses I'll be showing some lengths of embellished textile. This is one such piece I'm working on, measuring 112cm wide by 176cm long, but I'll most likely add to the length before its finished.



It is a combination of stenciling, hand painting, applique and patchwork on an upcycled cotton sheet.

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 What I'm reading 

Alana Lentin - Why Race Still Matters

Koa Beck - White Feminism (audio book)

Iain McGilchrist - The Master and his Emissary; The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (audio book)

Plus these 2 books from Japan, the one on the left is a technical book for Sashiko stitch patterns and the one on the right a pattern book for womens clothes.


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Continuing my critique of Degendering Fashion

The second part of Emilia Bergoglio’ article “Degendering Fashion” is published in Seamwork magazine #77.

Degendering Fashion

In this Emilia creates a history about seamstresses and tailors which is simply wrong. Few of the claims they make are based on historical facts and in many cases, such as the paragraph below, the assertions are so completely incorrect I'm at loss where the information came from.

In the West, until the 17th century, womenswear and menswear were fairly similar. They were both based around a tunic-style garment and made by the same professionals—the tailors. Generally speaking, the clothing divide was based on class and not gender. The great divide, which is the precedent of the gendering of clothing we see now in the West, started in France.

In fact prior to the 17thC men and women wore different clothes and clothing was not ungendered. There is no time in history that European people of any class wore gender neutral clothes. The statement that men and women wore a “fairly similar….tunic-style garment” is baffling. It is such a stretch of imagination I can’t conceive what that would refer to. As Emilia won’t communicate with me I can’t ask them directly what on earth that garment would be. If anyone knows the name of the garment, or has a picture of it please educate me.

 


Firstly, European women never wore trousers. Right up until the 1920s it was considered so radical and outrageous that women literally went to jail for doing so.

Since the 12thC women have always worn gender specific underclothes such as petticoats, chemises (also called smocks or shifts) and corsets.

Womens undergarments

Over the undergarments either a one piece dress or skirt and blouse was worn.

Men wore pantaloons, shirts, jackets and various types of waistcoats and jerkins. In Europe, apart from the Scots kilt, men never wore skirts.

This is the very famous Arnolfini portrait painted by van Eyck in 1434. Mr Arnolfini seems to be wearing something that could be described as a tunic, but the Mrs is definitely wearing dress. Perhaps if her dress was unbelted it may be more tunic like? However, if the garments were switched it would be dissonant because the clothing is still styled in ways that signify the gender of the wearers.

 


The second sentence from Emilias paragraph stating that the tunic-style garments were made by tailors is also errant nonsense. In truth, it is actually deeply insulting to the true history of how women have laboured throughout history to make clothing. Tailors were, and still are, a professional class of men devoted to making clothes mainly for men. There was not an equivalent class of women doing the same because women were not permitted to have careers, professions or occupations outside of the home until the 20thC. The garment making labour of women was a huge industry hidden behind the fa├žade of domesticity.





Tailors served the needs of the wealthy, privileged classes to have their clothes cut from expensive, luxury fabrics and fitted to the body and embellished with embroidery, laces and whatever the status signaling of the day required. Tailors had special training in how to measure the body and create a pattern for the item of clothing that would fit the specific proportions of the client. After measuring and cutting the cloth tailors had a workshop of people who would then sew and finish the garment. Such workshops typically comprised other tailors, one or more male apprentice tailors along with the tailors wife, daughters and possibly other female relatives. If there was a lot of work to be done the tailor would have a network of outworkers. Sewing work would have been sent out to skilled women workers who worked in their own homes doing “piece work”.


It is the labour of women who cut and sewed clothes for themselves, their children and male partners that has created almost all the clothes needed in society and over history. Tailors were a professional class of people in business for themselves to serve the needs of wealthy classes for high status garments. The description “tailor made” still has a ring of privilege and exclusivity about it, no one ever boasts “seamstress made”. And as it has ever been, the tailor who measured and created the pattern and cut the cloth most likely wasn’t the one who personally sewed the whole garment to completion. They did very little real stitching themselves, that work was turned over to skilled women who were low paid because of their sex.

More to come in a few more days.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Trailer trash feminist

Continuing my critique of Degendering Fashion, by Emilia Bergoglio, published in Seamwork magazine #76, 2021.

I think Seamwork magazine #77 Balanced, may be published. It will contain the 2nd part of Degendering Fashion, but at this point I haven't been able to read it so what I've written today refers only to part 1, from Seamwork #76.

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 Questions to ask........

What would the response to Degendering Fashion have been if it appeared in a publication for tailors and male hobbyist sewists? 

What sense would it make to an audience completely of men? 

Would it make sense to a woman in Guatemala who takes pride in and makes a living from making clothes with the lavish embroideries her female predecessors taught her?  

Would it make sense to a woman in Mali who makes traditional mud cloth? 

What sense would it make to a Hmong hill tribe woman in Thailand embellishing fabric with traditional cross stitch?


link to an article that expands on this idea

Missonary Feminism

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Would a man wear this?...and why not?


Considering Degendering Fashion in a historical context

In all of human history clothing has never been degendered. There is no culture in which all genders wore the same clothes. So I think if degendering clothing was a desirable thing humans wanted to do it would have happened before the last 10,000 years.

I agree with Emilias view about "unisex" fashion in their article. It is de-feminised clothing made to appeal to females who prefer masculine styling. It was never intended to be marketed to men as something desirable to wear.

If there is any gender that could benefit from the essential message of Degendering Fashion  it is men. I think they are the ones we should be urging to wear a full range of colours, prints, dresses and skirts. Rather than suggesting the way to degender fashion is by women wearing more blazers and trousers I think we should be educating men about the comfort and pleasure of wearing dresses and skirts. 

Men in Indonesia and Sri Lanka understand this and the traditional sarong is worn everywhere as commonplace, everyday attire. They would probably be baffled if men of other nationalities told them it signifies feminine and not masculine.

Sarong 

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Same old, same old shaming

In the next paragraph all phrases in inverted commas are taken from Degendering Fashion

Degendering Fashion suggests that it is women who must change their ways of dressing in order to achieve the goal of "gender neutrality". Emilia suggests that a good way to begin is to "eliminate binary nomenclature in fashion" by erasing terms such as "bust darts" and "fitted bodice dresses". Coming from a person who defines themself  not-woman and binds their chest to appear flat I can understand why gender neutrality is something desirable for them. However, personally I cannot understand why adopting less gendered clothing, by wearing clothing that is less feminine, is a way forward for women to gain more equality and empowerment. 

The view that women are complicit in their subjugation has been taken up no less enthusiastically by high status, privileged women in the 21stC. Ever since the feudal system was created to control, exploit, and keep the peasantry oppressed women of the superior classes have always policed the unruly female underclass demanding they behave better, work harder, keep your home cleaner, drink less alcohol, buy more stuff, wear these clothes, don’t wear those clothes, educate yourselves better, have more/less babies – endorsing whatever is the prevailing need of patriarchy and its capitalist agenda. 

Back in the day those women would have been from the aristocracy and gentry and the wealthy mercantile, land owning class; in modernity the former mistresses have switched to be high status, tertiary educated, professional, white or light skinned, independently wealthy women taking up the same role. From the podium of their Manolo Blahnik stilettoes they shame, harangue and blame women for not being more free and happy. They imply it is our personal fault not having achieved power and agency in our lives because of having babies too young, being without a male partner (or choosing a low status one) or for choosing to wear fitted bodice dresses.

High status women cannot conceive of how the machinations of privilege have given them access to successes more by accident of birth and nationality than as a personal achievement. High status women already have all of the things low status women need – a home, education, birth control, careers, personal wealth, regular income, safety (most of the time) from male violence – and they believe all these things came to them through their own striving on the level playing field of society.

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Clothing choice as societal signifier

Signifier 

In Degendering Fashion Emilia touches only briefly on how clothing is a “signifier”. 

In simplistic terms this refers to what a viewer reads about a person by how they present themselves physically. This takes into account not only the chosen clothing but numerous other things such as age, height, weight, hair styling, etc. Emilia only discusses how clothing choices can be a signifier of gender, they don’t examine how clothes also signal class, status and wealth.

Here is a little quiz to help explain how visual signifiers work. 

Match the pictures of people to a letter that best describes how you would rate their power, status and privilege.

a)              a) professional, well educated, high status job 

               b) career person in their workplace, well educated, waged

               c) working class, low education, low wage

               d) low status, low education, not waged

               e) high status, tertiary educated, rich

               
















I hope this helps illustrate how clothing choices (and skin colour) put people into stereotypes where we make assumptions about them. Does the woman above look like she has a tertiary education and owns the factory where she is labouring? Perhaps that is more likely one of the women in the 6th picture down? Or perhaps those women are the company accountant or marketing manager? Perhaps the woman in the 5th picture down is so rich she is a shareholder in the clothing factory and doesn't need to manually labour to get a wage?
       
Have you noted that the people wearing trousers and suits are always the more high status and waged? That the women wearing more colourful, patterned and "ethnic" clothing are more likely to be identified as low status, low wage and low education? 
      
That is why I think suggesting women should dress more like men, or as Emilia puts it "gender neutral", serves more to keep women oppressed than making us free. It is true the clothing worn by women is a signifier of low status, power and privilege. However, I think it is masculinist culture that needs changing, not the clothing preferences of women. Degendering Fashion judges and stigmatises women of other cultures who have long, proud traditions of textile art and making clothes. 

Degendering Fashion comes from a hegemonic, highly privileged view of cultural mores and could not be instigated outside of the global north. If its not good for all women why would it benefit women of the global north?
     
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Here is an Instagram I follow that I think presents a genuinely revolutionary take on degendering fashion and deconstructing signifiers.

LagosSpaceProgram




Wednesday, 24 March 2021

stitching my mouth up

Developments in csf.

Email sent by me to Meg Stively, editor of Seamwork magazine 23/03/2021


Dear Meg, I am reaching out to you again as you kindly asked if there was anything else you could help me out with.

I am appealing for you to stop blocking my access to Seamwork Instagram.




I wish to recover comments recently posted there by myself and to keep following the comments being made by others about the Degendering Fashion article.

As a Seamwork subscriber I feel it is unfair to limit my ability to participate in the community. Stopping my interaction implies my views are not respected or held as sufficiently valid for others to decide themselves.

Publishing Degendering Fashion in Seamwork #76 indicated openmindedness to a newly emerging cultural identity that is to be applauded. Non-binary and trans people in the sewist community are bravely stepping forward to talk about their experience. I wholly support this. As bi-queer myself I am part of the LGBTQI+ community and have read widely in the area of gender politics and ideology over decades. Reflections from me aren’t coming from an ignorant, misinformed or prejudiced position.

Yesterday I published the first part of a critique on my blog and plan to keep following up as the 2nd and 3rd parts of Degendering Fashion are published. Believing in the validity of my counterpoint view I plan to seek out other sewist forums who are open to presenting a balanced range of views.

I am appealing to you to allow me to participate in Seamwork Instagram. Going forward with my critique as subsequent parts of Degendering Fashion are published it will be relevant for me to hear the comments made by others.

As a feminist it’s my belief that all speech is political speech. Having had my participation in Seamwork Instagram stopped I feel it signals the position of Collette Media is to believe gender identities are not contested territorities, but have arrived at a place where they are now fixed and cannot be challenged, examined or deconstructed. That it requires policing, censoring and denial of interacting in public forums would seem to contradict that.

Please note that I don’t regard my correspondence with you as confidential and may choose to publicly share what your reply or possibly non reply is.

____________________________________________________________________

 Email sent to me in response to message above from Meg Stively


Hi Pearl,


Our community guidelines are stated on our website and our online community. You did not follow our community guidelines. Here they are in case you need to reference them: https://help.seamwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/360004211473-Community-Guidelines

I have also attached a screenshot of our community guidelines in graphic form. 

Thank you for reviewing these guidelines.



Meg


___________________________________________________________________________

 Email sent by by me in response 24/03/2021

Hi Meg

Thanks for response. I read the community guidelines and are no more clear which one/s were contravened by me.

As I have already monopolized your time a great deal and being sure you have a more important job to do than engage with an irritating, misbehaving person, I won’t ask for it to be clarified what guideline was crossed. Will just ruminate over the mystery.

I wish to strongly state my total support for people who are non-binary and trans gender. I absolutely support that they have the right to choose gender, perform it how they wish, that they have a right to a voice in the world to outline their views, politics, feelings and ideologies. I believe they are a vulnerable community that is largely misunderstood and actively discriminated against.

The only thing I am disagreeing with Emilia about is their view that the language of dressmakers and seamstresses is a problem that should be changed. To disagree with that view is not an attack on non-binary and transgender people, though many people seem eager or silly enough to conflate it as such.

I hope you might look at what I write on my blog in the coming months as the next parts of Degendering Fashion are published.

www.pearlredmoon.com

The first big issue I’ll address on my blog is how a small number of high status, privileged white, tertiary educated, independently wealthy, career advancing and progressive identifying women in global north society take the high handed attitude that their views represent those of all women. Or should, if only the lazy lower classes would educate themselves appropriately. In many respects this group of high status, privileged white women replicates the way “upper” social class has always deployed over history to monitor the wrongful views of the working class by shaming, criticizing and implying we are incapable of understanding complexity and morality. Upper class women of past eras (some names for them…nobility, aristocracy, landed gentry or from wealthy capitalist classes) have always felt it is their mission to drag up the kicking and screaming rabble to their level of superior understanding and morality.

The community guidelines you forwarded me are a wonderful explication of how rules will be applied to keep rabble in their place.

 Huzzah and adieu

Pearl Red Moon


Monday, 22 March 2021

The political dressmaker

 

Firstly I am apologising for my blog of 2 days ago when I referred to Emilia Bergoglio as “her” and “she”. Emilia states she is non-binary, therefore does not identify as either male or female and asks to be addressed as they and them. My use of wrong pronouns was unintentional. It’s extremely difficult for me as woman of 63 years to change a lifetime of programmed thought processing to get it right consistently. It has only been a year since I first encountered people who state they want to be referred to by unconventional pronouns. I uphold their desire and will personally endeavour to respect it.

However, its not a switch that is instant or simple for me, I have to work at it. When I make mistakes and people sneer or make weaponized accusations that I’ve done it to purposely offend, they are wrong. Some graciousness in allowing older people to adapt would be an act of human kindness.

 

____________________________________________________________________________

 

In the studio

In July I’ll be having a second exhibition at Newcastle Art Space, 8th – 18th. The show will be called Garb/Age and the same as last year I’ll be showing textiles and garments made entirely from used fabrics sourced from thrift shops and garage sales.

My book illustrating the garments made for last years show “Thirty Coats” is available in my Etsy shop

Boho Banjo Etsy shop




I was in Newcastle last week visiting Newcastle Art Space Gallery to sign the contract and saw that the exhibition space had been hugely expanded from my last show. Immediately I saw the possibility to show not only made up garments but to display lengths of embellished textile hanging down the walls. Buying a length of art textile has many options; it can be hung on a wall as it is like an artwork, or the buyer could make it into a garment, or even commission me to make something wearable!

I have a number of dresses finished ready for the show. Initially I’d planned to have at least 30, like last year. Now I’m thinking it will be 16 dresses and 12-15 lengths of textile.

This is the first length of textile I’ve started working on. This is a strip of off white 100% cotton sheet that I first printed with black. Yesterday I started adding sewing on appliques.

 





____________________________________________________________________________


Did anyone go to that link I gave to the BBC Arts Hour in my previous blog?

This is the exquisite Wendell Berry poem that was referred to

The peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

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YTNUC THIS YREKCUF

In my blog of 2 days ago I said I would be critiquing Emilia Bergoglio’ article in issue #76 of Seamwork magazine, called “Degendering Fashion”. It is the first of 3 parts and is titled “What is Gender”. Initially I thought it could only be accessed by subscribers but a kindly person sent me this link so everybody can read it.

 Degendering Fashion in Seamwork magazine

I read it when it first came out a few weeks ago. I knew why it made me feel uncomfortable and have been ruminating the issues since then. Emilias Instagram was given at the end of the article so I started following. A few days ago posts from @Seamwork were coming up in my Instagram and I could see the comments and feedback readers were giving in regard to Degendering Fashion. 

I would like to quote directly the response I made but I’ve been blocked from following Instagram accounts of both Emilia and Seamwork so cannot recover the exact comments made. If anyone goes searching and they are still there, please let me know, but I would be pretty certain they have been deleted.

My comment was something along the lines of “I think a problem is being made where there is none. I don’t understand why the specialist language women dressmakers created over a long period of time is a problem that needs changing. Women have different body shapes from men and we created a commonly understood technical language for being able to sculpt fabric around our particular body shapes”.

That comment got quite a lot of response and I had made a number of replies to several people when I got a direct private message on my phone from the editor of Seamwork magazine asking me to stop commenting. I must have misunderstood her becos I got the impression she was willing to consider I could make a published response to Emilia in Seamwork magazine, outlining a different view, if I would stop commenting, which I did. A day later she wrote to me saying she did not intend to give me a forum.

This blog is becoming way too long long and I have to do some artwork today. In finishing up by publishing the letter I wrote to Meg, editor of Seamwork.

In another day or two I’ll be back to continue my critique of Degendering Fashion.


Dear Meg

I’m writing today to request the right to respond to Emilias articles published in Seamwork. 

They made a really thought provoking argument for examining why we have specialist nomenclature for garment making. I have some ideas about that, many of which are in agreement with Emilias opinion, and some that aren’t. I hope that holding in mind the journalistic principles of fairness and balance I’ll be allowed similar access to discuss my different view.

In regard to Emilias contention that there is a problem with nomenclature in the world of dressmakers and seamstresses I react as a woman who is strongly defensive of female culture and the safe places we constructed for ourselves over millennia. Until recently patriarchy defined all the places women were allowed to occupy and there were very few outside the domestic sphere. Huge changes happened since the first wave of feminism, such as women being allowed to own property, get access to tertiary education, birth control and have the right not be raped by their husbands. Women wearing trousers in the 1920s were often arrested and fined, even imprisoned.

I completely endorse and agree with Emilia stating everybody should be free to dress in whatever way they please. Absolutely. In my persona as radical feminist and subverter of fashion I have frequently worn completely outrageous outfits to thumb my nose at those mores. I support all humans to have the right to choose gender and how to perform it. Those who are outside the gender conforming mainstream have every right not to be discriminated against in society or law. They should be supported and given access to platforms where they can advocate to dismantle prejudice.

The only part of Emilias premise about nomenclature I disagree with is that the words that were created by dressmakers and seamstresses are a problem and should be changed. Having the power to be the one who “names” things is highly political. Essentially, whomever names it pretty much owns it. Just like people who discover stars, new insects and plants, they get to name them and are forever recognized in that way. As a feminist and a proud female identifying sewist I instinctively want to resist what I interpret as a political act of appropriation in a culture that was created by, for and owned by women. It increases my anxiety and fear greatly that it is being done by a person who does not identify as a woman, in fact they are a person who declares being called a woman is offensive and disrespectful to them.

I might be an annoying shouty woman who wants to take up a lot of space but above all I love women – our resilience to systematic oppression, our creativity, our boundless ability to give of ourselves in love and healing – I hope you can empathise with me when I say it is hard not to react with fears and anxiety at such an approach. It feels analogous to a home invasion, with people busting in the door and demanding that the furniture be re-arranged for their comfort as the present furniture is not fit for their purpose and offends them. The people who built the house and who have lived there forever are left speechless as it is deemed “centering yourself” to ask why.

It is difficult to negotiate dissent and diversity of opinions with respect and delicacy. If I put my questions directly to Emilia on their insta they will ignore me and refuse to engage. Their friends have explained to me that putting my questions directly is regarded as disrespectful and offensive, and remind me I have no entitlement to ask them anything. I cannot resile from believing this – If you identify as an activist/advocate and publish political views, ideologies or premises in widely circulated media then I believe you have a commitment to be open to receiving the full gamut of reactions and feedback (except outright denigration and threats of violence). 

As a person who has made a living as a sewist for 44 years and has been active for decades in sewist communities I find it deeply disturbing that their view is I have no place in the community, deserving only to be cancelled, silenced and discarded.

I’m impressed at your courage in publishing Emilias articles. Gender identity issues have been bubbling away in many online sewist communities for some time. Many mainstream people, who probably have never questioned the orthodoxy of heterosexuality for themselves or the wider community, are deeply curious to find out more of what it all means and how this might affect them interacting respectfully in online communities.

For myself, I have several intersecting identities that are relevant to how I present in the online world. Like the onion skins I’ll start at the outer – woman, radical feminist, artist, sewist, person advocating for sustainability and ethics in the clothing manufacturing industry, person advocating for justice and the end of genocide to the Uyghur people of China – a large number of them being in forced slavery picking cotton and in sewing factories, I am a member of the Greens political party and activist movement Extinction Rebellion, I am large bodied, bi-queer and a person with a cognitive disability, Aspergers.

The opportunity to talk with people through Seamwork how these multiple identities are the foundation of how I construct a worldview would be a privilege for me. Ultimately I hope to foster more understanding for mainstream people how people with alienated identities negotiate their existence and politics.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put this case to you. Even if you decide not to give me a forum I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge this correspondence as it has taken a great deal of my time to compose it. As an extremely low waged person - I made $15 yesterday - time is precious to me and I beg your respect for that. 

 

huzzah and adieu

Pearl Red Moon