It's not me...sogyny, it's you.
We like dialogue. In fact, we mentioned that in the third point of the first blogpost we ever put up. I would add that, by dialogue, we intend both positive and negative comments; the former let us know that we are doing something right and the latter let us know that there are things that may need reconsidering. Dialogue is good. We are sociable animals, after all. And nowadays, thanks to Twitter and the likes, we can have instantaneous chitty-chitty-chats across the globe and never actually speak to another person again. Ever.
It is also amazing because, through Twitter, we discovered that we can just shout out our opinions, to the world, about stuff we actually know nothing about. Like when Kitty got a Twitter-hiding – it’s, like, when all the followers of the target of your tweet gang up on you, it can get quite nasty actually – after tweeting “Honestly, how many banjo tunes can one band make? Give it a rest, @MumfordandSons” and “Hey, @MumfordandSons, 1884 America called. It wants its music and clothes back!”. The thing is, Kitty has never even heard any of their tunes – if it doesn't have deep, dirty base in it, she ain’t interested. Basically, she had read some four-line review and decided to tweet her opinion. Why not? Everybody else is doing it. The backlash was incredible, in Kitty-terms. You see, she has about 21 followers but she got something like 30 responses to those two tweets. Hipsters can be quite aggressive, and not only if they haven’t been able to instagram their morning latté, though the best one was “Hey @KittyBow, 1992 called. It wants its joke back!”. You can’t argue with that, can you? But, Twitter can be the source of good debate, too, if you rummage through all that silent white-noise that goes on there. A good tweet can be that little thread that you can pull on which will lead to a long line of thought and a potential reassessment of your own personal views. These, for me, are ‘good’ tweets. It was because of a tweet I blogged about what is meant by ‘Britishness’ in the fashion industry. And it is because of a new wallet we are making up at the moment (see below) and a subsequent tweet that I am sitting here now.
The wallet is embossed with a mixtape, entitled ‘Bitch, don’t kill my vibe!’. Remember, people used to record songs directly from the radio onto blank tapes and then give the mixtape a title. I used to simply put the date or the genre or the radio station as a title. A bit boring, I know. My older brother, however, used to put names like “Best fucking mix ever” and stuff. He considered every mixtape he made the ‘best ever’ and I still don’t know how he distinguished one from the other. Anyhow, a preview image of the upcoming wallet was put up online which led to the tweet from a ‘disappointed’ customer – disappointed in this latest embossment and not in her previous purchase. She considered that it may fall into the category of ‘casual misogyny’. I knew, when I read it, that it was one of those tweets that I could pull on and think about and update my views on the matter, so thank you. However, after a bit of thinking about our wallet possibly being derogatory or casually misogynistic I became a bit sad, if I am honest. For many reasons.
Firstly, there are many meanings to the word ‘bitch’, depending on the context. It is not only a derogatory term for a woman. Our tweeter’s example of it sounding like “Bitch, go make me a sandwich!” is not a good one. Although both are imperatives, the misogynistic undertones in her example lie in the “go make me a sandwich!” bit, surely. That is, is the phrase “Woman, go make me a sandwich!” any different, misogynistically speaking, from “Bitch, go make me a sandwich!”? No. One could go so far as to argue that the former is even more far-reaching and offensive in its distaste for the females of our species, as ‘Woman’ covers our whole group. That is what we are: women. But ‘Bitch’ only covers the group of, according to one definition, ‘lewd, spiteful, overbearing or coarse’ women. Yes, lewd, spiteful, overbearing or coarse people exist. Male and female and we have many words for them. I, myself, prefer the more colourful ones. In any case, if I say that I think Piers Morgan or Simon Cowell are bastards – and by that I mean the actual informal definition that can be found in the dictionary of ‘obnoxious or despicable person’ – is that derogatory? No. But if I walked around calling all men ‘bastards’ solely because they are male, well, then things become slightly different. I would be sexist or, more precisely, a misandrist. Yep, a hater of men. We – Jems, Kitty and I – don’t hate men and we definitely don’t hate women. Otherwise we would stand in front of the mirror every morning just hating ourselves because we are women.
That brings me to the second reason. Can women even be women-haters? Well, Twitter taught me, a couple of weeks ago, that women can be misogynistic. Who would have thought? Yes, Twitter’s backlash, to Judith Woods’ article on Kate Winslet being knocked-up for the third time by a third man, was filled with the word ‘misogynistic’. Thanks, Twitter, for your so many founded opinions! That the article was ‘slut-shaming’ or promoting ‘double standards’ can be fairly argued. But, let’s be realistic: the ‘news’ that a woman is pregnant by her husband should not have caused such a stir, be it in newspapers or on social media. Clearly there were no celebrity deaths, births or award shows that day but, alas, the media and consequently social media, like a pack of vultures, need to have something to pick on. Judith Woods is not a hater of women, she simply has her own rigid view on the family structure, a clear deep loathing for Kate Winslet and, unfortunately, a platform to voice these opinions. Maybe Judith Woods was just being a bitch towards Kate Winslet, in a ‘Mean Girls’ sense? I don’t think she is a woman-hater, though.
The third reason harps back to the first. ‘Bitch, don’t kill my vibe!’ is like saying ‘Excuse me, do not even think about doing what I know you are about to do because you feel a sense of spite toward me and you know that this is my moment!’, or more simply, ‘Knobhead, don’t piss on my parade!’. Let’s face it, ‘our’ moments are far and few between – be it our birthday, our graduation, getting surprisingly good results or our wedding day – and, you know what, sometimes it is all about you. In those moments. And it should be. And it feels bloody glorious. Right? Now imagine someone coming along and intentionally trying to take that from you! That would be a bitchy thing to do. Only a bitch would kill someone else’s vibe, right? It happens and, as a girl with brothers, I find it is us girls who are more prone to do such a thing. Girls are bitchier, which leads to the last point.
Our stuff is made for girls, primarily. Girls, as we have established, can be bitchy – irritable, cranky, malicious, or behaving like a bitch. Just as boys can be bastards. They are words, strong words yes, to describe a person who acts in a certain way. There are other words, of course, but the beauty of strong words is that they reinforce a sentiment. And these words must be taken in their context. That is why I have given up on the media. It makes me sad to think I live in a world where I cannot call someone who has been ‘lewd, spiteful, overbearing or coarse’ toward me by the proper term. The right word is being used in the context of the whole. The fact that someone may take a slogan from an accessory or garment worn by someone else personally, well, that makes me sad, too.
So, after much thought, I don’t believe that we have created a piece that may be casually misogynistic, due to the context of the phrase and the fact that it is a girl’s wallet. I do believe that, like every other piece we make, our choice of slogan will appeal to some and not to others. For the simple reason that we all have different tastes, luckily. I want to, again, thank our tweeter as her comment was the source of some good, old spacing-out and thinking about how I feel about a certain issue. Like software updates for your laptop, it is good to update your views in this ever-changing world. Please keep the comments coming, especially the 'good' tweets that lead to an update. That is all.
P.s. The new wallets will be available next week and there will also be lots of other new stuff going up online! Yay! Both Topshop London and Topshop Dublin have had a revamp of stock yesterday so lots and lots to see.