Thursday, November 12, 2009

Agency, Resistance and Space

My darling pal Maylee invited me to the tents at Toronto Fashion week! Three of us dressed up as crazy space Alien woman to help promote the installation we were doing for Evan Biddell's Fashion Show After party. We roamed around the posh tents and sat front row hob knobing with the pomposity that is TO's Fashion elite.

Although we were working for a problematic industry, I couldn't help but note how a trio of us space alien gals are capable of disrupting a homogeneous space filled with white skinny bodies. As we were roaming around 'networking,' I introduced myself as a raging feminist and got some pretty uncomfortable looks. Our alien Otherness was read by way of our race, and size - which two thirds of us were not 'skinny' and one third was not white. The exagerration of this Otherness was inherently an act of resistance that helped to facilitate agency over spaces where white skinny supremacy unfortunately dominates.

We got reactions like "good for you" or "oh wow you're so brave" or "what are you doing?" or just simply scornful and critical stares. It was clear, we looked pretty different in a space where race, class and gender afford you privilege, style and sex-appeal. Our Otherness was only made possible within a space that caters to the superior bodies that are propagated as the norm.
Our space Alien outfits and make-up allowed me to think about my body politics. specifically, i began to ponder how my privileges award me space and attention, while my performative Otherness restricts my space and mobility.

Inciting our own agency to create space for our mis-represented or hardly-ever represented bodies is so important in exclusive spaces where privileges create space and mobility. At Toronto Fashion Week my Otherness ( in elaborated costumes) was being performed as a subversive spectacle. Simply performing this Otherness allowed me to experience (albeit superficially ) advantages and disadvantages of my own privilege and how it affects my mobility and perception of space.

For shits and giggles I dare you to carve out your own space through disruption and resistance - go somewhere with a group of friends, dress up, perform, and interrupt the normative nature of supremacy whether it be the skinny elite, or heteronormative bars - you choose, but find that space, make a spectacle and embrace your Otherness while resisting those nasty ideologies and structures that compromise your agency and render you inferior!

ps maylees playing tomorrow at supermarket
MAYLEE & PEGWEE POWER at Supermarket (268 Augusta), Friday (November 13), $10, 416-840-0501; and at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Wednesday (November 18), $13.50, 416-516-8677.

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