On Perceptions, Reactions and The Merits of Being a Bitch


April 29, 2013

by Gracia Ventus
Issey-Miyake-Ombre-Coat-4

In the past, I have mentioned several times how clothing is like an armour to me, a defence mechanism to protect my vulnerable self and to

ward off misogynists. However, clothing is transactional. No matter how we mould our external appearance to send off a particular message, how others perceive us may not necessarily be in alignment with how we project our image. People will inherently make assumptions about us based on our choice of dress despite any lack of input from ourselves other than what is on the surface. Whether we like it or not it is only human for us to judge others so we may know how best to present ourselves to them. Thankfully, most of the perceptions people have made of me seem to be in line with the image I have attempted to carve out for myself.

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While the general response to my outlandish attire is mild amusement and piqued interests, there were times when the reactions have been rather memorable. They ranged from ‘she looks like a mean beetch’ (actually I’m a rather nice person, ta very much), to ‘my friend is too afraid to talk to you’ (which works fine to a certain extent because I’m an introvert who values my personal space). There was this one incident which I would probably never forget. I was crossing the street wearing my belovedkimono, when a few boys on the other side took a fancy to my billowy coat. They kindly mocked a half-arsed curtsy as I walked towards them, and being the slow-witted person that I am, I walked by and ignored them, a regret to this day as I would have liked to address them like a ruler addressing her subjects in return for their parody.

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I suppose one can say it’s not so bad being thought of as ‘bitch’ in the reclaimed, alpha-female sense. Someone told me that bitchiness (as in being outspoken, strong, not to be messed with) is an armour too, that it instills a certain level of unease and discomfort that deters potential predators, which is what I had wanted in the first place. I mean, it’s a nasty world out there with plenty of big bad wolves. If I don’t protect myself, then who will?

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(16 comments)






16 thoughts on “On Perceptions, Reactions and The Merits of Being a Bitch

  • inkarlcerating

    by inkarlcerating on April 29, 2013 at 9:05 am

    my queen !!!!

    Reply
  • aya1293

    by aya1293 on April 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    You look so amazing. If I saw you on the streeet I would plead you for a photograph together!

    I also always found it quite facinating that people are so compelled to voice their negative opinons to random strangers. As if they mean something to us? But then that is probably how they statisfy their needs (to belong, for power, for a meaningful exsitence etc.).

    Reply
  • sah

    by sah on April 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Completely agree, identity is so subjective because there are so many mixed signs related to clothing that sometimes meanings get lost altogether.

    Love the coat, the pleat details are incredible!

    Reply
  • Charlie

    by Charlie on April 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Holy shit girl, shutting it down! You look amazing.

    I feel like it’s similar to the ‘Cheer up goth!’ I don’t have to smile all the time thanks, just because i’m wearing black!

    Reply
  • Anonymous

    by Anonymous on April 30, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Love the silhouette of this look, especially the Issey piece.

    I can personally relate to using clothing as a defence mechanism to fend off others. As a matter of fact, I prefer to be perceived as a bitch. With that said, however, I have been dressing much differently than how I once used to.

    I’ve outgrown dressing myself outlandishly. This is not because of the responses I got from people (which I never cared for), but because I’ve become more interested in achieving the same reaction from others with less attention-inducing fashion, with the defensive wall remaining firmly intact. I’m much more in tuned with the balance of practicality and interesting design to communicate my own messages.

    While I admire and appreciate your dedication and efforts to your self-expression/protection through fashion, I always wonder about the practicality of your outfits. I’m really interested in what you have to say about this.

    Reply
    • The Rosenrot | Gracia Ventus

      by The Rosenrot | Gracia Ventus on April 30, 2013 at 10:27 am

      First of all I’d like to thank you for sharing your opinion. I think when it comes to answering the questions of practicality, we need to establish the parameters of what is deemed as ‘practical’, because every individual has their own definition.

      You have implied that the clothes I wear are not practical to you, but they are not impractical to me for the occasions I wear them to. I don’t have a job that requires me to put on anything remotely business or business casual. Also if you have looked through my post history, the clothes I wear are comfortable and non-restrictive (as opposed to skinny jeans which I almost always can’t stand but everyone else takes for granted). What is impractical to me is usually 5-inch heels, and I rarely wear them, hence they are almost never featured on this blog. Do you pose the same question to bloggers who wear high heels on cobblestoned paths? I do wear ‘normal’ clothes, if I can put it that way, rather often, which usually consists of tailored blazers and trousers, like this http://25.media.tumblr.com/6d24253e91e9b361500315e2bdb52670/tumblr_mlxcrgSWag1qaz0iho1_500.jpg.

      With regards to outlandish, I believe that we also have differing opinions on the matter. It seems that the word has a negative connotation to you, while I don’t view it as such. There are different ways one can show appreciation for the beautiful works designers have done. Some love to simply admire them from afar, some love to analyse and write about them, while I choose to wear them. If they are highly unorthodox to most people then so be it. Of course, my dress sense is always evolving as my taste changes, I may choose a different direction in the future but that is something I cannot predict.

      Thanks again for penning your thoughts and I hope you’ll drop by again in the future.

      Reply
  • Anonymous

    by Anonymous on April 30, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I really appreciate your insightful thoughts. It is interesting to hear your definition of practicality in regards to your lifestyle.

    And I think you might have misunderstood my interpretation of outlandish. I am all for someone who dresses themselves in designers like Rick, Yohji, CdG. Of course, depending on who you’re talking to, the aesthetic of these designers are simply the norm to them. I suppose I classify myself as someone that admires from afar. As much as I appreciate these designers and their aesthetic and how they are redefining beauty, I don’t see myself participating when it comes to how I choose to dress. I guess I’m more of a Raf, Dries, and Dior Homme kind of guy.

    So with that said, I don’t believe I have a negative connotation of the term ‘outlandish’. In fact, I welcome ‘outlandish’, as I feel fashion is stagnating.

    I actually have been following your blog for awhile and have witnessed your transformation. I definitely look forward to seeing how you continue to evolve.

    Reply
    • The Rosenrot | Gracia Ventus

      by The Rosenrot | Gracia Ventus on April 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to clarify your stance. My apologies if I have misunderstood. I respect the designers you have named as they are indeed masters in their own right.

      Stagnation in fashion is becoming a problem but perhaps the tastemakers need to take a bit of a break, in the meantime it is up to us the appreciators to keep the conversation going until they can pick up steam again.

      Thank you again for reading my blog and sharing your thoughts. It’s always nice to know there’s another person out there who appreciates ‘outlandish’ fashion.

      Reply
  • Lucinda

    by Lucinda on May 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Without getting into semantics, whenever I see someone dressed ‘outlandishly’ I assume they’d be rather nice. Those who appreciate craftsmanship and design tend to be engaged and warm. The well styled are much more likely to be distant or unsure of themselves as the competition to stand out is fiercer.

    I admire your courage to seek out clothes you connect with, conformity or not. On a side note, I often get told that I’m much friendlier than I appear on my blog. Perhaps I need to smile more.

    Reply
    • Gracia Ventus | The Rosenrot

      by Gracia Ventus | The Rosenrot on May 3, 2013 at 1:30 am

      Thank you Lucinda, your kind words are encouraging. I too have been told the same thing, maybe that might explain why I’m smiling a little more now.

      Reply
  • Kri

    by Kri on May 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    this is so unique and brilliant !

    Reply
  • brad-t

    by brad-t on May 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This is my favourite look from you so far … just, wow. Lovely article as well.

    Reply
  • R@!$4

    by R@!$4 on May 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

    never more to agree, we’re here to have full control in what we want to project ourselves as, and the mixed messages within the realm of semiotics present a very affable and unique response. Since we’re the creator of who we want to be that day, carrying that certain persona and attitude, we know how we’ll be judged on a superficial sheath. But isn’t it so trivial and lovely at times where one thinks we are A but in truth we’ve built a deep meaning and understanding so we would don the look we’re wearing? It’s always fun to poke on people’s first impressions and quick assumptions but we’ve thought it through more far than a simple piece of clothing. That one questioning eyebrow…

    Reply
    • Gracia Ventus | The Rosenrot

      by Gracia Ventus | The Rosenrot on May 8, 2013 at 8:51 am

      That reminds me, when we put on our clothes, are we crafting a persona, or expressing ourselves? Can the two be combined together? Hmm hmmmm….

      Reply
  • Prêt à Porter P

    by Prêt à Porter P on May 18, 2013 at 5:29 am

    For many years I wanted to do a post about clothing as armor. I feel that the way I choose to dress myself can serve as a filter, as I prefer my own solitude. That I’m at a total loss when someone tries to ask me out, when there are 70 other girls in the room with their butt cheeks hanging out of their shorts they could ask instead. Lol!

    The curtsy story sounds cute. And that Issey piece is absolutely insane. I love it!!

    Reply
  • Min

    by Min on May 19, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Ah, this post. Bless this post. I, too, view clothes as a way of keeping the world at bay. Growing up in a conservative Chinese family, my mum has always espoused the need to Dress Properly and I can see why now (after years of being a tomboy) because being well-dressed does provide a way to transcend classes and, even, enjoy upward mobility (something my parents really wanted for me). Also, being a Southeast Asian Chinese living in a predominantly white country now, I know that I’m eclipsed by my appearance and so clothes and makeup becomes a way to turn that to my advantage. I actively seek out clothes that are not fitted or simply not flattering in op shops and I try to put on winged eyeliner and lipstick whenever I head out or sometimes I don’t. And so this playing with clothes and makeup becomes an active negotiation with my own idea of femininity and identity and politics and I find that to be incredibly empowering.

    Ah, just thank you for this post. I hope I’m too incoherent there haha xxx

    Reply

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