Why I love my ridiculous leggings by Sasha age 33 ½

black-milk-corpse-bride-leggings-So, I’ve recently started wearing ridiculous, digital print leggings a lot. And when I say ridiculous, I do mean ridiculous: I have one pair printed like a peacock’s tail, one with the couple from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride glancing quizzically at one another across from one leg to the other, a pair with naked green absinthe fairies and giant skulls, and a pair with sleepy, moody owls in shades of blue and purple. (I have now sworn off the shop in Camden where I bought them, because my precarious finances can’t stand it. As it is, generous friends have enabled the last two.) Each pair is a thing of wonder, as tends to be pointed out to me by friends, acquaintances, colleagues, passers-by, and on a few memorable occasions people on the other side of the street or four floors up on a spiral staircase.

Why is my questionable taste blogworthy, I hear you ask? Well. Partly because of the reason I bought them. There was an absurd but insidiously annoying article about things women shouldn’t wear over the age of 30 that I now hilariously can’t find, but here are a few examples of the genre. Let’s take a moment to appreciate a) the extent of the lists and b) the fact that I also possess (and frequently wear) short dresses, hotpants, printed tights, heart-shaped sunglasses, knockoff handbags, clothes without bras, and items from the children’s department, to name but a few.

(Some of those are purely practical decisions. I’ve been either a student or a freelancer pretty much my whole life, and the idea of spending literally hundreds of pounds on a non-knockoff handbag that will be subject to battery, bikes, buses etc is about as appealing as wasting a huge amount of money and being unable to pay the rent. Oh no, wait. Clothes without bras: I suddenly acquired DD/E cup breasts after finally wrestling the last of anorexia to the ground a few years ago, and so they’re still new and bouncy enough I don’t NEED a bra unless I’m likely to be running, and imle most bras are uncomfortable, or at least more uncomfortable than not wearing one. (Yes, I’ve been measured, I’m wearing the right size, I just don’t really like tight straps or bands of any description, and if I get them loose enough to be comfortable, they don’t fit and ride up.) And children’s clothes: it turns out I’m approximately the same dress size as an 11-year-old girl, aforementioned boobs notwithstanding, and I consequently have several cardigans from Tescos’ amazing Back-to-School range – they’re hardwearing and washable and cute and they fit! Fuck this ageist nonsense. I don’t have any hats with ears, but I DO have Hello Kitty headphones with ears on, which is arguably even more childish.  I think hats are next. I can only conclude I am not very good at adulting, and move right along.)

Anyway, so on one of these charming lists somebody linked me to as a joke, there were ‘Midnight-Owl-Leggings-Fashion-Galaxy-digital-print-Pants-free-shippingbrightly patterned leggings’. And I thought, fuck this shit. I admit that I have a bunch of privilege here, because I’m a size UK8 and I’ve been a Londoner and a student or a hipster copywriter most of my life and everyone assumes I’m 26, so I can get away with looking weird probably more than most people, but STILL. The very idea that there is some sort of arbitrary cutoff point for self-expression makes me ragingly, incandescently angry. The idea of ‘putting away childish things’ where childish things include the expression of humour, individuality, popcult or subculture references in your daily life – little things that bring joy and harm nobody – is the kind of poisonous bullshit I could quite cheerfully set fire to. Sure, context is important and I probably wouldn’t wear my ridiculous leggings to a job interview, unless it was for a public-facing job in a place that trades on ‘quirky’, but there’s a difference between ‘be aware of context and professionalism’ and EVERYONE YOU PASS ON THE STREET HAS THE RIGHT TO JUDGE YOUR PATTERNED TIGHTS, YOU AGEING LADY FAILURE.

So obviously, I went out and bought the ludicrous peacock leggings. And then the absinthe fairies. And then Corpse Bride and the owls in a moment of weakness I still can’t bring myself to regret. (Fortunately the vast majority of my tops are black and go with pretty much anything). I wore them to work and to my boyfriend’s and to collect his daughter (who approved wholeheartedly) and to the library and to parties. And it was ACE. Not just because I got a whole load of validation and reinforcement from people who thought they were awesome, but also because the kind of comments I usually get when I wear leggings without a shrouding top or long jumper – comments on my arse/thighs/legs – were conspicuous by their absence. Random blokes didn’t tell me I had a nice arse, they commented on the leggings. Encounters shifted from vaguely threatening to vaguely friendly. I felt much more able both to engage (‘thank you! I like them too!’) and to walk away. People who otherwise probably wouldn’t’ve talked to me came up and commented on the leggings. Colleagues who I don’t know that well started conversations. Strangers on trains started conversations, which I could then end naturally after the leggings had been covered.

RIDICULOUS LEGGINGS ARE THE SOCIAL LUBE OF EVERYDAY LIFE. They are a handy weapon against overtly sexual hassle! They open up topics like society’s ridiculous expectations of women with people who don’t consider themselves feminists, or even think about such things that much! They make you smile whenever you look at your legs! They are a handy fuck-you to social concepts of feminine aging and social appropriateness or taking up space! They look ace and enable you to make references to cool stuff and talk to other people about it! They annoy people who have ideas about convention and Good Taste involving beige and cream! Seriously, what’s not to like? (Unless you’re really not into leggings, in which case, fair enough.)

RIDICULOUS LEGGINGS FOR PRIME MINISTER. They’d do a much better job than David Cameron.

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About Goblin

Academic, critic, endlessly fascinated; reads, thinks, listens and talks far more than is good for her. Ex-anorexic, ex-ME, excitable, queer, kinky, nosy, mouthy; overanalytical, overaffectionate, overarticulate, oversensitive, certainly overfond of the prefix ‘over’. Purveyor of uncomfortable truths. Talks filth in public. Needs more sleep.
This entry was posted in Culture, frivolous wittering, People being dicks, Psychobabble and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Why I love my ridiculous leggings by Sasha age 33 ½

  1. A says:

    Hoorah for the invention that makes the life of conventionally attractive cis women a bit easier. This is the best thing ever.

    Like

    • Goblin says:

      Yes! Misogyny, microaggressions, street harrassment and sexual threat all make the world a better place, so your sarcasm is totally justified! Oh no, wait, the other thing.

      Like

      • A says:

        I am glad that you suffer less of those things, and you’re right that the sarcasm wasn’t the most constructive way of expressing my frustration, so apologies for that. But perhaps a little more awareness and acknowledgement of those who of us who don’t have such an easy opt-out might be in order?

        Like

      • Goblin says:

        I’ve made it pretty clear here and elsewhere on the blog that i’m aware of my privilege in the cis/body type and leggings-wearing department. I am very sad that we don’t live in a world where everyone gets to wear whatever they like without hassle regardless of factors like age and gender and size. (I recognise that race is also a factor, but i’m genuinely unsure how it affects things here, hence leaving it off the list.) But a) small does nor necessarily equal conventionally attractive, although you’re right it’s depressingly required to fit into the category; and b) i don’t buy that some people’s lives being marginally freer of microaggressions and bullshit is inherently oppressive of people with less privilege. The basic schtick of this (deliberately light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek) article is that wearing silly leggings makes various social interactions marginally easier than they might otherwise be. It doesn’t change power structures. It doesn’t oppress anyone. You bring up my cis privilege, which certainly exists in multiple dimensions, but i’m not sure is a defining factor here: trans women and genderqueer folk can also wear leggings, after all. It’s more a body size thing, and if you read the rest of the blog it should be obvious that i’m hugely aware of my size privilege and of the fucked-up nature of contemporary culture’s demands on the body.

        Connected by Motorola

        “…a can opener

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      • Goblin says:

        To clarify: ‘can’ with relation to gendered wearing of leggings roughly translates as ‘may be culturally expected to’. Obviously men and anyone not covered by the categories female or genderqueer can too!

        “…a can opener

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  2. ottergail says:

    Loved this. Always push back at the walls of the box that you think people want you in!

    Like

  3. I love your way to affirm yourself and I’m totally agree with you when you say that there is no age to wear children clothes. More than this I think that nobody can say that there is an age limit. Because it’s us and only us who can decide of it! Continue like this! I think it’s a good way of living!

    Like

  4. Oh, wow! Those are very cute.

    Like

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