Monday, March 26, 2012

The Story behind J.E.T.

I'm going to take a moment to address some concerns from the fans.  Recently I've received several comments on my photos asking me to go back to the version of my image that's a little less creative, basic catalog look would be the best description.  Last year, 2011, was the first year I really began to experiment with my looks.  I've slightly altered my look a little every year, but only the most die-hard fan would notice that.  Last year though I began to really experiment with my image: hair color changes and the integration of clothes originally designed for women.  Truth be told, granting myself this freedom to play, I've never been so happy and at one with the universe.

Those clothes may have been originally designed for women, but the truth is, clothes have no gender, they are not living things, we give our clothes gender.  A blind man would not know whether a tank top was cut to fit a woman's body or a man's, and a young child doesn't know boys don't wear dresses unless a parent tells him so, and that parent would not know unless someone told him, and so on. 

If you read my book, I'm Enough or the online article "The Boy Who Talked Like a Girl," you recall I grew up in a home where a girl could do anything a boy could do, but a boy couldn't do everything a girl could do.  I love ornate things, that which is accented with ribbons and jewels, and shoes with heels make me feel taller.  As a child I didn't know I wasn't allowed to have the things my sister had until someone told me boys couldn't have girl things.  I was that young child I just spoke of in the previous paragraph.  I hung onto that idea for the longest time, and it effected much of my life.  I've always had girl things: I'm obsessed with japanese dolls, and jewels, and I have a whole collection of things accented with rhinestones, but I hoarded these things and would only bring them out when I was alone.  If I didn't get a record deal, or a song of mine didn't chart, I was told it was because I wasn't a pretty girl and therefore unworthy of being a singer.  At some point I finally had to say that all this just wasn't true, that I wasn't inferior to a girl and therefore, I could do anything they could do and do it well.  That was the beginning of my transition into not only allowing myself to experiment in the public eye, but also realize I need to help others see what I'm seeing.

We don't think it odd if a woman plays sports, wears loose fitting jeans, or has an interest in engineering.  These are all things when my mother was a child that were forbidden.  Why do we need to say a man in heels is wrong?  Has everyone forgotten the platform shoes of 1970?  And who's to say a man still cannot wear a skirt?  The only reason we reject these notions is because we're stuck in paradigms of gender identity.  Our identity isn't determined by our clothes, we all know this and yet we're still judging.  One fan told me I was doing drag in my photos.  He was calling it drag because from his perspective a man is trying to be a woman when he wears women's clothes.  A man is only doing drag when he's impersonating a woman.  I'm not trying to look like a woman, I'm playing dress-up and wearing things that boost my confidence and I have fun wearing.  I don't care if something was meant for a woman, if it's fun to wear I'm going to rock the sh*t out of it.  Mark my words, there will come a day when a man in heels will be as normal as a woman in pants.

So I say this friend, experiment with your thinking.  Is there something you think is cool but you can't imagine yourself in it because you're afraid of what others will say?  Is there something you see someone wearing that you feel is gross or inappropriate?  Feelings in both those instances come from fear and insecurity.  Instead of feeling fear and insecurity, how are you going to practice love today?  How would love see the things you are seeing?  See the universe as a friendly place and everyone around you becomes just that.  I'm working on it, and I think we all should.

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