Sabrina Jalees shares her coming out story at TEDx, and how living her truth has made all the difference.
Lesbian chic is underrated. While the glittering glamour of our gay male counterparts is gobbled up by mainstream culture, heteros just don’t get our understated appeal. Androgyny is mistaken for manliness, minimalism for frump, and carefully calculated irony for indifference. Lesbians who forgo girlish lacquer are a running joke, lumber jack lesbos who must be a.) indifferent to fashion, b.) clueless to fashion or c.) trying futilely to pass for a man.
Today, a shift is taking place. The fashion industry, probably bored of making metro-sexuality happen, picked androgyny as the next big thing. Suddenly uniformly bohemian streets of Silver Lake, Bushwick and the great beyond (landlocked states) started to team with hetero hipsters thinking they’re on the gender fluid fashion forefront.
These gaydar thrashing nuisances scoop up all the good stuff at Goodwill and are really starting to get irony. Not since GEN-X dubbed Winona Ryder the original manic pixie girl and pioneer of vlogging (see: Reality Bites) have Doc Martens been less indicative of homosexuality. Once a clear indicator of homosexual tendencies, tomboyish ensembles are co opted by those with aspirations “off duty model street style.”
I am of two minds about this chic wave of cultural appropriation. On one hand, it’s comforting to know that stylish straights are less likely to spot a stray dyke pack and knowingly observe:
“Lesbians really have no idea how to dress themselves, do they? Someone should really help them. Not us, but someone.”
“Ignorance IS bliss, Becky. They probably have no idea that flannel isn’t figure flattering.”
Or, upon spotting a couple lady gays, simper:
“Totes cute Tiff, that girl with a mullet in that denim vest is holding hands with lip ring girl!”
“Such a sweet couple! You know, they’re actually really lucky to be gay. Can you imagine if we wore stuff like that? Guys would basically ignore us.”
“Oh my gawd so true! Boys can be such shallow douchebags! Lesbians can just wear whatever and still find a match. Plus, they don’t have to deal with BOY DRAMA.”
On the other hand, I am a trifle miffed that after all those bad lumberjack jokes and episodes of Will & Grace, the fashion industry and its followers are now adopting the lesbian aesthetic with nary an acknowledgement to our kinfolk. It’s funny in a weird, unnatural, and heavily ironic way (like Miley Cyrus twerking in a butt pad) that straight girls who would take “You look like a lesbian” as a playful diss are now dressing like fucking lesbians. It’s fine, but it’s weird, and I don’t think we should let them claim lesbian fashion.
We can’t stop straights from jacking our style, but we can out dress them. We are lesbians. We invented androgyny, tomboys, and lesbian chic. In the spirit of stepping it up, here are 10 Easy Tips for The Modern Tomboy. These 10 pieces are flexible, affordable, and fit into the wardrobe of any lesbian, from butch to femme. Fight the good find.
Beloved tumblr followers, I wrote a thing for AfterEllen inspired by a question from one of you.