Sunday, July 12, 2009

Breaking out of the Margins

There are days when I am amazed at the difference between my 20 something self and my 40+ self. Sexuality and self image probably are two the biggest difference. This morning I opened my yahoo browser and was greated by this headline: "Some NWA flight attendants want to wear red dress: Northwest flight attendants want Delta to offer bigger sizes of signature red dress uniform."

When starting my graduate program, we were told to wear black or red the first day because they are power colors. Those colors inately demand attention. As a child of patriarchy, I used those colors to appear attention getting, sexy. I used my sexuality to control men. I was controled by how my sexuality was perceived. As I have gained weight and become a size 24, my curves have settled into middle aged sagging everything. I wear very different cloths than I did 20 years ago, and find it liberating to walk about without eyes constantly staring at my ass.

So when I read this article, two things struck me. First, if Delta Airlines offers a red dress, then it needs to be sized for everyone to wear it. I get sick of buying clothes that are designed to cover as if my body is shameful, rather than flattering my body. So I find it alarming that Delta would hire a top notch fashion designer who would exclude women who do not meet his image of attractive. Indeed, according to the article, "Patricia Reller, who handles grievances for the union's executive committee, said Friday that even if there was only one flight attendant who wore a size over 18, that person should be able to wear the stylish red dress." Amen sister. We live in a culture that marginalizes competent, middle-aged women with bodies that do not fit small sizes. We perceive larger women as incompetetent, not sexy, and in need of being hidden, marginalized.

Worse, however, is the attitude of the fashion designer. When designer Richard Tyler commented on the new uniform, he said, "I want them to look sexy and great, but you have to keep that classic look as well." I want to know why uniforms should be designed to be sexy? We do not design uniforms to accent male sexuality, hinting at their cocks or balls, emphasizing their chests. We design them to be attractive but functional. By purposely designing uniforms to be sexy, the airline enforces a stereotype of women. The pilots, male, fly the plane and remain out of sight because they are IMPORTANT. Women offer drinks and wear sexy attire because that is their place.

I bring up Delta Airlines because it actually relates to my attitudes about Wicca. Goddess religion is fertility religion. Of course sex is a sacred part of our religion. The chalise and the blade represent the aspects of male and female. But at times we are also guilty of thinking in binary terms. We think male/female. We do not account for the trans person, the persons in the margins, the gender disorders, or the other rich and beautiful threads in the tapestry of sexuality. Indeed, Gerald Garner was a dirty old man who enjoyed walking around naked and fucking his priestesses. When they got too old, he replaced them with a younger model.

There are wiccans who enjoy the fertility aspects of wicca and use it as an opportunity to express their sexuality. I respect these views, even as my own views change. But as I move toward the years of a crone, I find myself rethinking the binary roles of wicca. I think that if we of the wicca fall into an exclusionary view of male and female, refusing to acknowledge the gender bending blurs, then we risk becoming as dangerous as the patriachal culture. I do not want to take the red dresses away from our priestesses, because that is a space in which expression of sexuality is appropriate. But I do treasure a space that anyone can wear a red dress regardless of what they look like under their robes...or out of them.

4 comments:

  1. A gremlin ate my comment...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Try again Lee! I always love what you have to say.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I very much agree with the things Dreamweaver has said here - I hate the way this culture sexualizes women and makes them into objects, worships at the altar of idealized size one youth and over looks the wisdom and mature beauty of older women. HOWEVER there is one point I disagree vehemently on!!! Dreamweaver - you are NOT middle aged sagging everything - you are a beautifully shaped curvaious goddess of a woman whom I find to be very attractive and gorgeous! And thats NOT just because I am your wife...or do I need to post a certain PAINTING to the blogs to make the point that as an artist, my eye is not fooled and I see quite clearly the beauty in your lovely self! That is not an idle threat - so retract that I am saggy middle aged silliness! Nuff said!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dreamweaver,

    Your posts are so incredibly "on target." The passion you feel regarding the issues is quite evident and very affecting. I agree completely with your observations. Sadly, women do still have a long way to go, as does the gay/lesbian population of this country. The ignorance is staggering! It is women, such as yourself, who will make the changes come more quickly and more profoundly.

    The post about Sean Kennedy really touched me. It put me in mind of another young man who met a similar, horrible fate - Matthew Shepard. I have great difficulty comprehending such extreme hatred.

    I want to thank you so much for your comments to my blog. They are so meaningful to me. I feel, through our correspondence, that we are becoming friends! You and Cameron are truly a gift to all who are fortunate enough to come in contact with you. You are both so needed here in "cyberspace." I am grateful to have made your acquaintance!

    Many blessings!

    Raven

    ReplyDelete