For the first time ever, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue will feature a “burkini babe.”
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition has been notorious for featuring impossibly sexy, bikini-clad models in alluring poses.
The Swimsuit Issue had been a place where women who don’t feel comfortable even showing off their stomachs could feel left out, not to mention women who embrace modesty for religious reasons. But that’s about to change. Model Halima Aden will become the first-ever Sports Illustrated swimsuit model to wear a hijab and burkini, a bathing suit that covers the whole body worn by some observant Muslim women when the issue hits shelves on May 8 th .
“Ladies, anything is possible,” Aden said on Instagram. “Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings … can stand together and be celebrated.”
Aden was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, but moved to Minnesota when she was a child. The photo shoot gave her a chance return to Kenya and come full circle. “I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Aden said . “So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya–I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”
Aden’s issue will give the model an opportunity to make other women like her feel represented. “Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab,” Aden said . Aden was also the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and opted to wear a burkini during the swimsuit competition portion of the event.
Sports Illustrated wants to send women the message that women are beautiful regardless of how we like to look, and we don’t have to have someone’s idea of what’s “sexy” foisted upon us. “At SI Swimsuit, we strive to continue to spread the message that whether beauty,” the magazine said . It’s about time we’re shown more than just the string of string bikinis we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the magazine.
The decision to include a model in a burkini came with a great deal of criticism, but there were many ready to come to Aden, Sports Illustrated, and the burkini’s defense.
At the end of the day, it’s important to embrace what makes you feel the most comfortable, and not a standard of beauty someone else sets for you. Recently on GOOD The US white majority will soon disappear forever. Communities Hillary Clinton mocked Trump while making standards. “China, Culture Why my child who is deaf and transgender gives me hope. Communities Disney heir asks company execs to give 50 percent of bonuses to lowest paid employees. We love it when powerful people stand up for what’s right. Communities
Is Natural Deodorant Necessary Or Better Than Traditional Antiperspirant? Life
Natural deodorants are all the rage these days, especially because of claims that aluminum, the active ingredient in most over-the-counter antiperspirants, can increase the risk of cancer or has links to Alzheimer’s disease .
However, I have tried tons of natural deodorants and I’ve never found one that’s a good enough replacement for my drugstore go-to, and I’m not alone . As Arielle Nagler, a dermatologist and professor in NYU Langone Medical Center’s Ronald O. Perelman department of dermatology told Vice , if a natural deodorant doesn’t have any antibacterial properties, it might prove ineffective. (More on that connection between sweat and antibacterial ingredients later.)
Stockbyte via Getty Images Is it time for us all to start using natural deodorant? Read on to find out. Sometimes I consider going back to regular old aluminum-based antiperspirants, but then I stop myself, convinced it’s not good for me.
After a recent conversation among colleagues, we wondered: How bad is aluminum in our antiperspirant really? Is it time for us all to ditch it for good? HuffPost asked dermatologists to give us the answer, once and for all.
First, there’s a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Though many people use the terms deodorant and antiperspirant interchangeably, they aren’t the same thing. Simply put, deodorants help block body odor but don’t stop you from sweating. Antiperspirants typically contain aluminum, which blocks sweat glands , in turn reducing sweat excretion, said Dr. Forum Patel , a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York.
Interestingly, as the folks at Thomson Tee , a company that makes sweat-proof T-shirts, pointed out, the Food and Drug Administration classifies antiperspirants as a drug since they prevent sweat, which is a natural bodily function.
Deodorant, on the other hand, doesn’t usually contain aluminum . Instead, it typically works by masking odor with fragrances or using properties to combat the bacteria that break down sweat.
“The sweat digests the top layer of our skin, and bacteria eats up those dead skin cells,” Patel said. That action is what causes body odor, she added.
“The reason why people use aluminum-based deodorants and they smell less is because they’re essentially blocking the sweat glands, so the bacteria on the top of your skin never sees the sweat, therefore never creates that odor,” Patel said.
Here’s why natural deodorants can help with odor: A lot of them contain essential oils, some of which have antibacterial properties, like tea tree oil , for example. The antibacterial properties in certain essential oils could help with odor, Dr. Charisse Dolitsky , a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology in New York, told HuffPost.
Simply put, antiperspirant blocks sweat while deodorant deals with the odor.
So what’s the main concern here? Generally speaking, the biggest concern has to do with the aluminum in antiperspirant.
According to Patel, there are two main “ill associations” with aluminum. The first has to do with an old theory that aluminum is in some way associated with Alzheimer’s disease, she said. The theory can be traced back to 1965 , when scientists found that rabbits injected with extremely high doses of aluminum developed the same tangles ― twisted fibers of tau proteins that build up in cells ― in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s.
The second negative association with aluminum, particularly in antiperspirants, is that it might be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer . However, according to the National Cancer Institute , “no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer.”
“That theory kind of came up because when we think about where we put on deodorant, the closest area of your breast is the right upper quadrant. And what [researchers] saw was that the majority of breast cancers started in the right upper quadrant,” Patel said.
As a result, it was hypothesized that aluminum-based deodorants might be responsible for causing cancer. It was believed that they penetrate into the bloodstream and wreak havoc on breast cells, eventually mutating into cancer.
So, should we ditch the aluminum-based antiperspirant for good? The short answer is no. When it comes to aluminum’s links to both Alzheimer’s and cancer, the doctors we spoke to agreed there isn’t enough conclusive evidence to prove either theory. So, if you’re an aluminum-based antiperspirant devotee, you can rest a little easier.
“Everybody has some aluminum in their bodies,” Dolitsky said. “There’s aluminum in water, there’s aluminum in food, in pots and pans and utensils, and cosmetics. But the amount that you would need, the evidence does not show you’re going to absorb that from deodorant and antiperspirants.”
In terms of cancer specifically, Dolitsky added that “there’s no conclusive evidence to show that aluminum deodorant causes breast cancer, even if you have higher prescription-strength aluminum deodorant and even if somebody just shaved and put it in their skin.”
“The amount of absorption that somebody’s getting from that is negligible,” she said.
Dolitsky did note, however, that some people with more sensitive skin might find aluminum-based products irritating or drying.
At the end of the day, use what works for you. Dr. Samer Jaber, a dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology in New York City, said his advice would be to just use whatever is best for you.
“There’s limited science that shows aluminum is harmful,” he noted, adding that he uses a product with aluminum.
If natural is what you’re after, Patel added one reminder: “I think the big faux pas is that a lot of these companies market their products as being all natural , but even the most natural things can cause severe reactions.”
She gave the example of poison ivy, which, of course, isn’t something you’d want to use on your skin.
“Just because something’s natural, doesn’t make it OK to use,” Patel said. “I’m not saying these deodorants are bad, but I think there’s a consumer misconception that natural products are all good and things with chemicals are all bad.”
Related Coverage Natural Beauty Products Aren’t Always As Natural As You’d Think The Average Woman Puts 515 Synthetic Chemicals On Her Body Every Day Beauty For A Good Cause SEE GALLERY Suggest a correction MORE: Breast Cancer Alzheimer’s Disease deodorant antiperspirant aluminum
There Was Spying: NYT Admits Obama Admin Used ‘Honeypot’ To Spy Against Trump Campaign In 2016
There Was Spying: NYT Admits Obama Admin Used ‘Honeypot’ To Spy Against Trump Campaign In 2016 Another FBI operative sent to spy on the Trump campaign Zero Hedge – May 3, 2019
A mysterious Turkish woman who “assisted” FBI spy Stefan Halper in a London operation targeting Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos has been revealed as yet another FBI operative sent to spy on the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election, according to the New York Times .
The woman, who went by the name Azra Turk, repeatedly flirted with Papadopoulos during their encounters as well as in email exchanges according to an October, 2018 Daily Caller report, confirmed today by the Times. “Turk,” posed as Halper’s assistant according to the report.
While in London in 2016, Ms. Turk exchanged emails with Mr. Papadopoulos, saying meeting him had been the “ highlight of my trip ,” according to messages provided by Mr. Papadopoulos.
“ I am excited about what the future holds for us :), ” she wrote. – New York Times
And as the Times makes clear, “the FBI sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer” to investigate the Trump campaign.
The conversation at a London bar in September 2016 took a strange turn when the woman sitting across from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, asked a direct question: Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?
Ms. Turk went to London to help oversee the politically sensitive operation, working alongside a longtime informant, the Cambridge professor Stefan A. Halper. The move was a sign that the bureau wanted in place a trained investigator for a layer of oversight , as well as someone who could gather information for or serve as a credible witness in any potential prosecution that emerged from the case. – New York Times In his House testimony, George Papadopoulos described undercover FBI informant Stefan Halper introducing him to undercover FBI informant ‘Azra Turk.’ pic.twitter.com/8jO4lK6Ldt
Alex Jones presents Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s response to Attorney General William Barr’s testimony before congress regarding Robert Mueller’s report on possible Russian interference and/or collusion during the 2016 Presidential Election which cleared Trump of collusion/obstruction.
Halper – who was paid more than $1 million by the Pentagon while Obama was president – contacted Papadopoulos on September 2, 2016 according to The Caller – and would later fly him out to London under the guise of working on a policy paper on energy issues in Turkey, Cyprus and Israel – for which he was ultimately paid $3,000. Papadopoulos met Halper several times during his stay, “having dinner one night at the Travellers Club, and Old London gentleman’s club frequented by international diplomats.”
As the Times notes, the London operation “yielded no fruitful information,” while the FBI has called their activities in the months before the 2016 election as both “legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances,” according to the report. I agree with everything in this superb article except “Azra Turk” clearly was not FBI. She was CIA and affiliated with Turkish intel. She could hardly speak English and was tasked to meet me about my work in the energy sector offshore Israel/Cyprus which Turkey was competing with https://t.co/wbyBnvb6io
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) May 2, 2019 I will make the job easy for America’s reporters. The US/Turkish/Australian/UK intel agencies who targeted me knew I had NO RUSSIA contacts. They were after my work on the east med pipeline that they all wanted to stop. Unfortunately for them, the project was implemented in 2017.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) May 2, 2019 This does seem like spying tbh https://t.co/9T5oJGWaex https://t.co/9T5oJGWaex
— Blake News (@blakehounshell) May 2, 2019
Mr. Papadopoulos was baffled. “ There is no way this is a Cambridge professor’s research assistant ,” he recalled thinking, according to his book. In recent weeks, he has said in tweets that he believes Ms. Turk may have been working for Turkish intelligence but provided no evidence.
The day after meeting Ms. Turk, Mr. Papadopoulos met briefly with Mr. Halper at a private London club, and Ms. Turk joined them. The two men agreed to meet again, arranging a drink at the Sofitel hotel in London’s posh West End. During that conversation, Mr. Halper immediately asked about hacked emails and whether Russia was helping the campaign , according to Mr. Papadopoulos’s book. Angry over the accusatory questions, Mr. Papadopoulos ended the meeting . – New York Times
Also of interest, the British government was informed of the spy operation on their soil , according to the Times , however it is unclear whether they participated. “Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2019
As for the FBI, the agency’s actions are now under investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.
He could make the results public in May or June, Attorney General William P. Barr has said. Some of the findings are likely to be classified.
It is unclear whether Mr. Horowitz will find fault with the F.B.I.’s decision to have Ms. Turk, whose real name is not publicly known, meet with Mr. Papadopoulos. Mr. Horowitz has focused among other things on the activities of Mr. Halper, who accompanied Ms. Turk in one of her meetings with Mr. Papadopoulos and also met with him and other campaign aides separately. The bureau might also have seen Ms. Turk’s role as essential for protecting Mr. Halper’s identity as an informant if prosecutors ever needed court testimony about their activities. – New York Times
During Congressional testimony last month, Attorney General Barr told Congress “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” adding “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated. And I’m not suggesting that it wasn’t adequately predicated. But I need to explore that.”
Maybe he could explore the role of Joseph Mifsud – a Maltese professor and self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation, who reportedly seeded Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that Mifsud seeded the information with Papadopoulos, who was pumped for that same information during a “drunken” encounter at a London Bar with Clinton-associate and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer – who told authorities about the “dirt” rumor, which launched the FBI/DOJ counterintelligence operation that included Halper and “Azra Turk” spying on Papadopoulos .
Mr. Barr again defended his use of the term “spying” at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, saying he wanted to know more about the F.B.I.’s investigative efforts during 2016 and explained that the early inquiry likely went beyond the use of an informant and a court-authorized wiretap of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who had interacted with a Russian intelligence officer. – New York Times
“Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant,” and the warrant to surveil Carter Page, said Barr. “I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented .”
Nice hedge, Barr, but what happened appears to be anything but “fairly anemic.” Dear Democrats: The American people aren’t stupid, they know what spying is and no amount of gaslighting will change the fact that the Obama Administration spied on my father’s campaign.
AG Barr crushed this clown. https://t.co/G1kI8hw73h
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 1, 2019 Related Articles
Leonardo da Vinci remains a very modern genius
Leonardo da Vinci: Little is known of his personal life. Fascinated by fossils, keen on cutting up cadavers, inventor of machines of war, and painter of two of the most famous artworks in the world, Leonardo da Vinci died 500 years ago this week. Today, those keen on diverse subjects may be dismissed as dilettantes, but the term “Renaissance Man” was coined for Leonardo (and not simply because he lived during the Renaissance). It is one that might well worth reviving today. Invention may now seem to have been easier back in the 1450s. With a pen and a sketchbook you could have a stab at coming up with pretty much anything: flying machines, the parachute, a helicopter, armoured cars, multi-barrelled guns, scuba diving equipment, new types of bridges, drainage systems . . . Leonardo had a go at them all, although it would take hundreds of years for some, such as the helicopter, to be successfully developed. He also perfected clocks and maps, investigated cirrhosis of the liver, and made the first drawing of the thyroid gland. The question for any would-be inventor, however, is not what technologies are available, but what needs to be done to change the world, and what might you create to go about doing it. That part is timeless, whether the tools at your disposal are quantum mechanics, nano particles, or pen and ink. It is Leonardo’s questing mind, his penetrating observation, great humanity, as well as his extraordinary abilities that shaped his genius. Left-handed, he wrote backwards, his mirror-writing and drawings covering more than five thousand manuscript pages. Photograph: Seth Joel/Corbis His is also a story that lends itself to romance, and yes, Dan Brown-esque theories of da Vinci codes. Left-handed, he wrote backwards, his mirror-writing and drawings covering more than five thousand manuscript pages. They tell of his philosophies, observations and ideas, as well as practical pages on the painting of leaves, on perspective, shadows, luminosity, the mixing of pigments and the making of colour. He left entire sketchbooks on studies of the folds of draped cloth. Leonardo was also a great procrastinator. Commissions were left unfinished, and paintings abandoned at the sketch stage Leonardo’s observations went into minute depth. In one notebook there are pages of notes on human and animal movement, sometimes in seemingly infinitesimal degree: “in going upstairs if you place your hands on your knees all the labour taken by the arms is removed from the sinews at the back of the knees”. You can picture him doing it, then having one of his pupils do it, so that he could watch, as well as feel the changes in the body. One thing he didn’t invent, it seems, is the bicycle. A sketch of a pedal bike, complete with bicycle chain, was discovered in his papers, surrounded by penises (presumably sketched by his more puerile apprentices). The pages had been glued shut sometime in the 1500s, to mask the obscenity, rather than cover up the bicycle, one assumes. When the bicycle drawing was discovered in 1974, the Italians were delighted their own compatriot had invented it, but more recent analysis shows that, while two sketched circles and some curved lines date from Leonardo’s time, the rest of the image was added in the 1960s, when the pages were first reopened. Maybe he was starting to work on one. For while genius he may have been, and also an incessant worker (greasy spots on his notebooks attest to the fact he snacked on the job) Leonardo was also a great procrastinator. Commissions were left unfinished, and paintings abandoned at the sketch stage, so that we only have 24 authenticated surviving paintings. This is also due to the fact that he was also a ferocious experimenter, so pigments vanished and paintings collapsed even during his lifetime. The Last Supper is said to have deteriorated so much that it was very soon just dots of colour. Extensive restoration followed, and very little of the original remains. Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper is said to have deteriorated so much that it was very soon just dots of colour. Photograph: Antonio Calanni/AP Photo Leonardo da Vinci was born in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci (which is where the “da Vinci” part of his name comes from). His father was a Florentine legal notary, and his mother a local woman. The pair were not married, and Leonardo spent the first few years of his life with his mother, before moving to his father’s household. His talent clearly recognised, he was apprenticed at the age of 14 to the artist, Andrea di Cione, the leading Florentine painter of the time, also known as Verrocchio. According to painter Giorgio Vasari, in 1472, Leonardo collaborated with his master on The Baptism of Christ, his part being to paint the angel holding Jesus’s robe. Verrocchio was so dismayed by his pupil’s clear superiority, Vasari writes, that he never painted again. Vasari is often known as the father of art criticism, through his The Lives artist biographies. This claim is somewhat tarnished by the fact that he also often made stuff up. Born just eight years before Leonardo’s death, Vasari clearly had a crush on the great artist, writing that “besides a beauty of body never sufficiently extolled, there was an infinite grace in all his actions […] In him was great bodily strength, joined to dexterity, with a spirit and courage ever royal and magnanimous […] Truly marvellous and celestial was Leonardo . . .” and so it goes on. Brutality begins at home: This week’s visual arts highlights ‘Intense dislike’ All these great gifts didn’t delight everyone. Michelangelo, 23 years younger than Leonardo, couldn’t work out what all the fuss was about. Vasari says they “felt an intense dislike for each other”, and while we know not to fully trust him, there is also the story of Michelangelo mocking Leonardo for being unable to cast a horse in bronze. In fact the sculpture for the Duke of Milan was to have been the largest horse sculpture in the world, but war interrupted the project, and the bronze was used for cannons. Five centuries later, the horse was made, following Leonardo’s surviving drawings, and there are now versions in the US and Italy . Leonardo, in his turn, was on the committee to move Michelangelo’s David, a move Michelangelo was strenuously against. The two great artists’ rivalry might also have had something to do with the fact that this was a time when, unless you had independent wealth and a great deal of it, you needed a wealthy patron. In 1482, Leonardo decided that Milan offered more opportunities than Florence, and wrote to the city’s Duke, Ludovico Sforza , offering his services. “My most illustrious Lord,” he begins, before going on to say that he can make portable bridges, “also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy”, remove water from moats, and make ladders to end sieges. He adds that he has “methods for destroying every fortress or other stranglehold, unless it has been founded upon a rock”. He goes on to detail cannon, catapults, trebuchets and craft for sea battles. Rather winningly, he concludes, that “in time of peace I believe I can give as complete satisfaction as any other in the field of architecture […] Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting . . .” He got the job. Despite all his talk of war, he was also conflicted. In one of his notebooks, he writes of holding back all the details of his submarine equipment “by reason of the evil nature of men, who would use them for assassinations at the bottom of the sea”. Proportions of the human figure, c 1492 (Vitruvian Man) (pen & ink on paper). Image: Leonardo da Vinci/The Bridgeman Art Library Even with all the notebooks, little is known of Leonardo’s personal life. He was arrested at the age of 24 on a charge of sodomy, which was later dropped. While homosexuality was illegal in Florence, it was also ignored where possible. Niccolò Machiavelli, advising another friend, wrote at the time: “Since we are verging on old age, we might be severe and overly scrupulous, and we do not remember what we did as adolescents. So Ludovico has a boy with him, with whom he amuses himself, jests, takes walks, growls in his ear, goes to bed together. What then? Even in these things perhaps there is nothing bad.” The Mona Lisa is the most famous and, to some, myself included, the most disappointing painting in the world Leonardo had a declared aversion to marriage. There was also some whispering about one of his pupils, Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, also known as Salaì (the little devil), who entered Leonardo’s house at the age of ten. Vasari describes him as “a graceful and beautiful youth with curly hair, in which Leonardo greatly delighted”. He is said to have stolen from Leonardo, spent copious amounts of his money, stayed with the artist for more than two decades, and wasn’t a terribly good painter. He did paint a nude version of his master’s famous Mona Lisa , the Monna Vanna, which is pretty dreadful, and some speculate that he, and not Lisa del Giocondo, was the real model for the Mona Lisa, though the Louvre disputes this claim. The Mona Lisa’s fame diminishes its impact. The Mona Lisa is the most famous and, to some, myself included, the most disappointing painting in the world. Undeniably lovely, its fame diminishes its impact. Unexpectedly small, and behind bullet proof glass, as well as a crowd of selfie-taking tourists, it’s hard for it to live up to its own unasked-for hype. Much of its fame actually derives from its theft. When it was stolen in 1911, the painting was so little-known it took the Louvre attendants three days to notice it was missing. Once the crime had been discovered however (even Pablo Picasso was questioned), people queued around the block to see the blank space where it had been. By the time it was recovered – a petty thief named Vincenzo Peruggia had taken it, and had it stashed in a trunk in his bedroom – it had become both famous, and notorious. Died in France Although synonymous with Florence and the Medicis as well as the Sforzas of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci died in France. By 1515, the French controlled Milan, and King Francis I offered Leonardo the role of premier painter and engineer and architect to the king. He moved to Château du Clos Lucé, in Amboise, where he died four years later, having never returned to his home country. There’s a rather ghastly statue of him in Amboise, though no one is entirely sure where he is buried. The original church was demolished during the French Revolution, and while some bones were found, they have never been fully authenticated. Taking an educated (and hopeful) guess, however, you can visit “his” tomb, at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the gardens of the Château d’Amboise. Exhibitions across Italy, France, and the world are planned to mark this anniversary year. Probably the largest of showing of his artworks will be in the Louvre, opening in October, although there have been arguments between French and Italian authorities over who has the right to show the most famous works. It seems a petty squabble, considering the man’s own humanism and masterly greatness. Maybe politics and nationalism will always be politics and nationalism, and some things will never change. But as we grapple with ever more complex problems, in science, medicine, climate change, and culture, we need wide-ranging, universal, unafraid thinkers more than ever. Was Leonardo one of a kind? It would be amazing, for the future, to think that maybe he won’t have been. The mind of a master: Leonardo da Vinci on . . . Being an artist: The painter who draws merely by practice and by eye, without any reason, is like a mirror which copies every thing placed in front of it without being conscious of their existence. Proportions: The palm of the hand without the fingers goes twice into the length of the foot without the toes. Marriage: Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel. Tradition: It is better to imitate the antique than modern work. Cats: The simplest feline is a masterpiece. Temptation: It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end. Destiny: I have always felt it is my destiny to build a machine that would allow a man to fly. Nature: Nature never breaks her own laws.
A decade of disliking dresses
By thecorax In Through My Senses
,,,and how dresses became a form of self-expression I excitedly told my friend that I got a dress in preparation for my summer job. She tagged along with me to the mall as I searched for tights to make my dress office-appropriate. “How do you purchase tights?” she asked me. I told her that I had no idea as it was my first time purchasing skin-toned tights for a dress. I had no skirts or dresses among the business clothes I owned. I always wore trousers for conferences and past office jobs. She inquired why this was so. Her question made me think. I’ve thought about it. My answer is that I have since learnt that it is alright to express both my femininity and masculinity however I like, for expressing any point or end of the gender spectrum does not compromise who I am. I disliked wearing dresses throughout my teenage years. I believe that I found them too feminine. My refusal to express femininity began towards the end of elementary school, when I began to disregard practices often considered feminine, including the concern for clothes and appearances. When I was about eleven, I began heavily leaning on a particular sweater that my mum got for me. I wore it so frequently that one of my uncles thought that my mum was spoiling my brother and ignoring me, as my brother had a vast array of clothing, whereas I always showed up to family functions in the same green sweater. Afterwards (months or years, I cannot recall), my mother pleaded with me to at least wear a few other items for her sake. I started tying back my hair in a low ponytail from that age as well. By many people’s measures, the look was not flattering, especially as I had started wearing glasses recently as well. I began to look like the stereotype of a studious bookworm. I carried on with this appearance throughout most of my high school years. Alongside rejecting feminine practices of maintaining the appearance of many girls my age, I rejected the most undeniably feminine articles of clothing: skirts and dresses. For almost every special occasion in those years from age eleven to seventeen, I donned trousers. My rejection of what most girls my age did with their hair or wore was purposeful. I was well aware that doing this marked me as different. Family members and peers alike had suggested that I ought to wear more feminine clothing sometimes or be more feminine. I proceeded with my hair in a ponytail, classic-framed glasses, and trousers despite their remarks. The painful part of recalling my memories on this subject is that I recall the sadness that I experienced. Part of this sadness was a result of the suggestions of others to be more feminine. It was frustrating when someone, a female cousin my age who was by all looks feminine or a male classmate of mine, suggested that I ought to do something (feminine) that I didn’t feel comfortable with. At the same time, part of my sadness was from my own disappointed hopes. I would also dream of wearing dresses and being girly. I dreamed of high school debuts and finding romance. I looked enviously at my female classmates who showed their beautifully slim legs when they wore shorts, while I wore longer bermuda shorts and capris. I thought that dresses with lace detailing around the neckline were beautiful. I spent hours poring over pages of dresses like these online in preparation for events in my high school graduation year. I watched hours of beauty guru videos on makeup and hair, without trying out anything that I saw. I chose not to realize these desires to express femininity because I was afraid of people making a big deal out of my change. I was afraid that expressing femininity would risk the identity I had presented. For as long as teenage me could remember, I believed that I was known for being sensible, with my hair perpetually tied back and with my disinterest in shopping. Suddenly appearing in a dress or even changing my haircut would signal some significant change about me and my priorities. The few rare occasions where I did wear a dress or skirt confirmed my expectations about the reactions of those around me. People remarked on the change. The remarks were all compliments, but that didn’t matter in my head to me. What mattered is that people noticed that I was not myself. Being feminine had disrupted their sense of me. Worse still, I internally felt very much like what others observed about my exterior: that “you’re not yourself.” Each time I wore a dress or skirt, I felt like I wasn’t myself in not a particularly great way. I had fun on those occasions, but I subsequently wore those dresses perhaps once or twice more. My discontinuation of wearing feminine clothing reflected my discomfort with being disassociated with my identity, which I had built upon a rejection of femininity. I think that understanding that it is alright to express my masculinity and femininity however I like, rather than to attempt to meet expectations of others, is how I stopped rejecting dresses and skirts. A few years ago, I learnt that gender is a spectrum rather than a binary. This helped me embrace my discomfort with dresses and know that it is alright to prefer trousers. Still, I shied away from dresses. I adopted make-up and heels, even on casual occasions, but only to build a clean, simple look with an edge. I was still hesitant about expressing a greater degree of femininity in my appearance. That is why purchasing a dress for work in this almost decade-long period of refusing dresses is a big difference. This movement towards more feminine clothing accompanies other recent increases in feminine practices. In contrast to the how I have not put on more make-up products than eyeliner and face products in the past years, the past few weeks have proven quite different. I have been spending time on one odd day or two every week doing my hair and make up. I have used my flat iron, which I have owned for five years, more times in the past few weeks to curl my hair than I have ever curled my hair ever in my life. I have whipped out the makeup guru cult-status Urban Decay Naked2 eyeshadow palette that I got three years ago (probably expired – don’t do this at home, readers) and used it almost every week this past month. That’s an exponential growth in use as I’ve probably used it the same number of times in the past three years. A Queer Eye episode has helped me articulate why I am more voluntarily presenting my femininity lately. In the episode, the Fab Five assist a gay man, who hesitated wearing more “feminine” clothes for fear of being associated as being gay. They offer advice and reassurance that it is alright to dress however you like on the gender spectrum. The message they convey to the client is that dressing yourself to feel and present your best, genuine self is what’s important; rather than dressing to protect yourself from what you think that others may think of you. In essence, I feel now that expressing my femininity does not risk my identity. Thus, from understanding that it is alright to not express femininity though I am a woman, I have evolved to knowing that it alright to present myself as sometimes feminine if I so choose. Without this fear of how others’ perceptions of me will change, I feel more liberated to express all sorts of me. I wear dresses when I want. I do my hair when I want. I practice my eyeshadow when I want. I put on bright red lipstick or a subdued matte shade like an Instagram influencer. I do all this even when I have no one to see or when I have people to see; because I want to. The same me will also spend hours looking at Vagabond shoes (not a paid endorsement) because I adore the masculine shapes they put into shoes sized for women. For a presentation in class, I will adopt a trend donned by K-pop male singers of wearing a turtleneck under a partially-buttoned blouse, all atop a smart pair of trousers. I will express myself in feminine and masculine ways because I want to. I have purchased a dress for work because I want to explore what styling options I get with a dress. And most importantly of all, I purchased it because I can feel like my own self in that dress. A big shoutout and thank you to the friend whose question about why I haven’t worn dresses prompted this post. She’s always been a dedicated reader and supporter of this blog. She has provided the inspiration for several of my recent posts – she’s the same friend who got me thinking about why I feel that I am not ready for a relationship. I am grateful for her thought provoking questions. Not only do they get me thinking, her questions show that she’s a very thoughtful and curious person who is genuinely interested in the things that I do. Sending you love, you know who. Advertisements