Gina de Vries

"Queering Pippi Longstocking"

Filed By Gina de Vries | December 14, 2007 6:16 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: body image, body politics, fat gay men, fat people, kitty shoes, legwarmers, not caring what other people think, over-dressing, pigtails, pippi longstocking

I came to work in pigtails and stripey knee-socks about a week ago. Without missing a beat, one of my co-workers said:

"Oh my god, Gina, you're queering Pippi Longstocking! LOVE it!"

I don't remember if it was me or a friend of mine who said that I dressed "like a five-year-old on ecstacy" -- but that's basically my style. I pretty much fail at dressing like a grown-up unless I absolutely have to. I just figure that if I'm putting clothes on my body, they should be pretty and bright and interesting and eye-catching; they should amuse me. I like patterns, and bright colors, and glitter, and sometimes I like outfits that pay homage to a particular decade or style or person. I'll wear things that are kinda plain around the house, but if I'm going anywhere other than the corner store, 9 times out of 10 I'll dress up.

Now, I'm capable of dressing like an adult woman. I've done so for jobs where I've had to look "professional" or "business casual," and I've been told I clean up pretty nice. But I pretty much despise business clothes (earth tones, slacks, blazers, etc) on my body. They don't feel like me. Having a job where I mostly get to wear what I want makes me unbelievably happy. Sometimes I'm still a little amazed that my co-workers and boss compliment my outfits instead of sending me home.

So much of what I was taught about fashion when I was growing up, both by my family and by the culture at large, was about covering, hiding. Don't wear that, that's too tight, that's too bright, you look fat, you look cheap, you look like a tramp, nobody will ever take you seriously... And despite all of that, I think I'm finally learning to love this whole fashion thing, instead of treating it like something I need to tone down or subdue. Adorning my fat femme girl body -- drawing attention to what I'm supposed to be ashamed of; NOT working at disappearing or blending in.

I've been a "crazy dresser" for years, but this feeling of lightness & joy (instead of self-consciousness) is new. And necessary.

[And for good measure, here's my outfit today -- Hair: In pigtails, all curled up. Torso: Hot pink strappy tank top; layered over that, a slate grey & white cheetah print baby tee. Legs: Blue denim skirt that's getting baggy (I really should bite the bullet and just buy a belt); slate grey tights; hot pink legwarmers with light pink & white hearts on them. Feet: Light blue kitty sneakers.]


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Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 15, 2007 2:56 AM

Having a job where I mostly get to wear what I want makes me unbelievably happy. Sometimes I'm still a little amazed that my co-workers and boss compliment my outfits instead of sending me home.

Congratulations!! And I'm jealous. I HATE business dress and all it represents. Your outfit as you describe it sounds fabulous!!! I've decided that life is too short to be anything but ourselves.

One of the best parts of working from home is that I can wear what I want. If I decide not to shave - no big deal. I can shower at noon if my morning is busy. I like the freedom.