Best of Catherynne M. Valente’s “Deathless”

Catherynne M. Valente is one of my favourite writers of all time. I have read almost everything she has written. She’s a feminist, her books always have queer characters, and her writing is nothing short of magic. She’s pretty much The Closet Feminist dream.

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Here are some of my favourite quotes from her book Deathless.

When Marya saw something extraordinary again, she would be ready. She would be clever. She would not let it ruler her or trick her. She would do the tricking, if tricking was called for. (p.24)

When I am Tsarita, I will break all these machines and I will set them free. (p.110)

A marriage is a private thing. It has its own wild laws, and secret histories, and savage acts, and what passes between married people is incomprehensible to outsiders. We look terrible to you, and severe, and you see our blood flying, but what we carry between us is hard-won, and we made it just as we wished it to be, just the color, just the shape. (p.215-216)

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This house, she knew. It stayed within her as it had always been, the architecture of her girlhood. The wood held the oils of her skin deep in its grain; the windows still bore the imprint—long gone, invisible—of her tiny nose. (p.239)

I cannot make you understand that I forgive you, that I know you loved both he and I, the way a mother can love two sons. And no one should be judged for loving more than they ought, only for loving not enough, which was my crime. (p.320)

Music x Style: Adia Victoria is Just So Brilliant & Cool

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I was super excited to see Adia Victoria perform at The Cobalt last weekend here in Vancouver.  I’ve been hooked on her music since I heard Stuck In the South. Her debut album, Beyond the Bloodhounds, is easily in my top five albums of 2016 so far.

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Adia Victoria is more than just a very talented musician and performer. She is an activist (check out her Facebook), and dedicated the song in her set “Howlin’ Shame” to the victims of the Orlando shooting.

“You are American, but you are also black and your inner life is not often reflected in society because you’re extremely stereotyped and you’re put in this very small box—especially as a black woman. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to get into music. I remember how important it was for me to see other black woman making art, to know that was a possibility for me. I want to make art so I can potentially reach other black girls who are not Beyoncé, girls who don’t see themselves in Rihanna—not that there’s anything wrong with these women.”

  • Adia Victoria in an interview with Live Nation TV here

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She wore all white, both before she got on stage (she was milling about the crowd) and while performing. I just had to do a take on her outfits. I myself have already purchased a long white shirt/dress like the one she wore during the performance because she looked so cool and amazing.

 

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Slim tee, 320 CAD / H M long jacket, 37 CAD / Dondup white shorts, 160 CAD / Buckle shoes, 39 CAD

 

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Stella Jean: “I want to create new and unexpected cultural messages”

The Fall 2016 Stella Jean collection (example below found here) made me a little nervous for reasons mentioned on The CF’s Pinterest. Still, I’m always inspired by her thoughtful, conscientious creative process and the politics that go into her designs. I read an interview with her from last year and it got me pondering and contemplating all over again.

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And while being part of a multiracial family in Italy in the Eighties not only shaped me as a person, but also inspired my professional path, however, it has been neither simple nor painless.  Actually, my cultural background made it harder for me to find an identity. As I am the result of a mix of different cultures and races that could appear completely opposed, but I want to promote a sophisticated and alternative multiculturalism through fashion. Blending traditions that are so distant.  I want to create new and unexpected cultural messages. Fashion gives me ample space to maneuver and find a place where both of these cultures can coexist. This weak point has become both a strength and a fresh start.’

– Stella Jean in an interview with The Fashion Plate Magazine here

I Wore Feminist T-shirts 7 Days In A Row…And Everything Was Fine

This is what a feminist looks like–literally.

This past summer I decided to try a little wardrobe challenge: wear a feminist t-shirt every day for seven days in a row.

A photo posted by Emily Yakashiro (@ekyakashiro) on

Luckily, I happen to actually own seven feminist shirts (yay no repeats!). My biggest worry about this challenge was wearing these outfits to work–wearing a band tshirt to the office felt like one thing, but wearing my political and philosophical beliefs on my sleeve 9-5 seemed like an entirely different affair.

There was some strategy for this–I was careful to wear my more wild shirts for the weekends, like the VDAY tank I wore on the first day of the challenge (see first picture above).

A photo posted by Emily Yakashiro (@ekyakashiro) on

I had actually been planning to do this challenge for a while, but was waiting for a stretch of warm, sunny weather–it would have to happen during the summer. My rationale here was I wanted people to actually see my shirts. If I had done the challenge during colder months, I would probably cover up the shirts with sweaters and cardigans in effort to stay warm, which rather defeats the purpose. Plus, practically speaking, its wayyyyy easier to take outfit pics when its not freezing outside.

A photo posted by Emily Yakashiro (@ekyakashiro) on

I admit, I was a little nervous about how people would react in my day-to-day life. I’m happy to report though that absolutely nothing bad happened at all. Nobody even questioned me (“soooo feminism, eh?”).  I get tired of answering the “why feminism?” question, so largely, I just don’t do that anymore–I leave that up to my allies. Wearing the shirts was a quick, easy way to signal (as if its not already obvious) ‘hey I’m a feminist’.

A photo posted by Emily Yakashiro (@ekyakashiro) on

I’m assuming that no one talked to me about my shirts for a few reasons:

  1. I’m always dressed up. Wearing a colourful outfit and fun tshirt that happens to be relevant to feminism really doesn’t change my general wardrobe aesthetic
  2. They couldn’t be bothered–in talking to me, it’s obvious I’m a feminist–what difference does it make if I have a shirt on that declares it? It’s like wearing a religious jewellery, like a cross necklace. It indicates part of your identity, but most people aren’t going to bother to ask you about it.
  3. The privileges I enjoy (visibly mixed race, thin, cisgendered, etc) tend to effectively guard against any particularly invasive questions with regards to my wardrobe

 

A photo posted by Emily Yakashiro (@ekyakashiro) on

Since all was fine, I’m thinking I will do it again this summer (different outfits, naturally). If I’m being honest, I only actually enjoy wearing a few of these shirts–the others are uncomfortable, don’t fit right, etc–specific notes below.

A photo posted by Emily Yakashiro (@ekyakashiro) on

 

  1. I Love <3 My Vagina tank – got this at an actual Vagina Monologues performance years ago, so I can’t offer any current purchase details. I looove this tank top, fits so nicely. Wear it often as a pajama top.
  2. Women In History tshirt – I love this tshirt! I especially love how diverse it is, and where else would you see these women being honoured in such a fashion? You can buy it here, but they only ship within the US (boooo!)–I was only able to get mine via my girl ST who lives in the states right now. I will say though–it fits really long and covers my butt which is kinda annoying
  3. …And I’m Not Sorry tank- this one was made for me by my sister-in-law! I love it, and wear it often on the weekends (the super-thin straps make it a little unprofesh for work and necessitates layering). It’s about taking up space and not being sorry of course.
  4. Women Belong In the House…of Commons! tshirt – I’ve had this one for years, and while I think the graphic is clever/awesome, I hate the fit–its that thick, ribbed cotton tshirt material that bags easily after too many washes.
  5. feminism tshirt – While I love the simplicity of the statement, this shirt also fits poorly–too small, so its rather uncomfortable. Also, it says ‘humanism’ on the back which I didn’t picture because I don’t like that aspect of the tshirt–I’m a feminist, and don’t identify with humanism.
  6. Feminism tshirt – This one is so comfy, plus I really like it because it is made by Only Child Apparel, which is a local, Vancouver-based line!!! Also, this was probably my favourite outfit of the week.
  7. got consent? tank – This one, like shirt #4 is that unfortunate fabric. Also, it has shrunk over the years so it doesn’t fit well–neckline is too high for my taste, and its short on my torso. I got this while I was at UBC while I was working for the campus sexual assault support centre, but it looks like they are no longer for purchase.

BONUS: Looking for other awesome places to find feminist tshirts? Check out the list I have going here.

Love This: Excerpt from “Appearing Act: Femme (In)visibility and How I Learned To Love Being Pretty Gay”

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Above: Carolina Herrera Spring 2016

 I’ve come out to doctors and university professors, grandparents, taxi drivers and construction workers, receptionists, employers, and a whole lot of men looking to buy me a drink. For the most part they’re shocked but respectful, and every time I challenge people’s notions of what a gay girl acts and looks like, I feel as if I’ve sewn a new sequin onto my invisibility cloak, every day getting a little more shiny and powerful. Maybe my invisibility is really a kind of appearing act that will reveal a society in which stereotypes and dress codes are forgotten, and we can wear our hearts on our sleeves, regardless of the clothing in our closets.

– from “Appearing Act: Femme (In)visibility and How I Learned To Love Being Pretty Gay” by Alyssa Garrison in WORN Fashion Journal: Issue 17

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Above: Monique Lhullier Spring 2016

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