Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In which Shana wonders about labels

And by wonders, I mean... meh, I don't know what I mean.

(this promises to be very disjointed... sorry)

Years and years ago, I sort of identified myself as goth. Not really, because I was pretty preppy, but still sort of in the deep dark brooding black wearing sort of way. My first email address actually was '' And it's how everyone else identified me as... so I sort of went with it.

So anyhow... sometime after this, and after changing emails (this time to I talked to a friend. Now I still dressed in black, and the rare times I wore make up, it was still heavy black eyeliner. But at this time of my life, I decided I was NOT goth. I felt that there was a strong stereotype involved, and I just wasn't hip to that action anymore.

In short, I was tired of being compared to Darlene from Rosanne. Simply put, I wrote a lot, I had long dark curls, and wore a lot of black. It was a label, and I wanted to get as far away from labels as possible. I wasn't like Darlene. I wasn't goth. I wasn't a hippie. I was ME.

So anyhow... I resisted labels.

Labels just seemed so limiting. Like if I was given a label, I was pigeonholed into that specific label. That's who I'd be... and it was a scary thought.

Here's what I think is funny... I had a friend, who I wasn't very close to at this point, who kind of called me out for being 'goth'. There were comments made about how my black attire was off putting to some people. We got into a stupid girlish catty argument about it. Me resisting the label and resenting the allegation.

Anyhow.. young, stupid, and not knowing who the heck I was. But here's what I think is funny... and by funny, I think it's pretty damned awesome.

Fast forward to now. I'm still carving out my monochromatic groove... and I'm still talking to that same friend. And she's as goth as goth can be, and totally embracing the label. And I look at her, and think that she looks beautiful, fantastic, and best of all, at home in her skin. Truth be told, I'm a little jealous of her!

But it makes me think. Maybe labels can be a little more freeing than I once thought. I resisted it and still haven't found my own personal style... whereas she embraced it, and looks fierce!

Perhaps I need to find a groove to call my own!


eva said...

Doing everything to avoid following fashion, labels or stereotypes is not being liberated from them - it's being limited by them, as what you allow yourself to wear/do/like will be limited by the fashion/label/stereotype you're trying to avoid. I've come to this conclusion after years and years of fussing about my style, what to wear, how to appear etc etc.
I used to call myself a goth, then I became too cool for being labelled and put into a stereotype. It was rubbish, I didn't allow myself to like the stuff I liked. Now I don't give a shit, and it's much more fun :D I'm not afraid to call myself a goth any longer, although I also label myself as other things, like hippie or raver.
Soo I guess my point is, don't deny yourself the fun of liking the stuff and styles that you like! Just go for it. I think goth is hot!!

Shana-Marie said...

See... I don't let the fear of a label limit me, though I do tend to let my fear of what other people think of me limit me.
I'm only now just getting comfortable wearing skirts. Though, I use clothing as a bit of a shield to hide behind.
I think if I was skinnier, I'd be a little more comfortable wearing the clothes I like.

I guess my biggest problem is that I'd go from preppie, to goth, to hippie and I thought if I identified with any one label, I had to write the rest of them off.

eva said...

I think preppy-hippie-goth sounds like a good mix, like an alternative person who likes dark stuff but has clean clothes and hair he he. You totally don't have to stick to one label, personalities are complicated so it only makes sense to identify with several sub cultures/labels/whatever. It also makes sense to wear skirts - they are sooo comfortable. Or dresses - you just pull them over your head, and voila - you're dressed. Couldn't be easier.