LOOK AT LIFE / COCO HAMES

 

Sanctified and
girli-fied.

 

By Coco
Hames

 

See, I was just
thinking about being female again, and I was thinking about the imagery
associated with my sphere in this world, specifically the sphere of the musical
world.  Tags would include, but are not limited to: garage, punk,
rockabilly, trash, desert, surf rock, ’50s and ’60s pop icons and art,
etc.  There are skulls, there are tattoos, there are greasers, and there
are girls.  And these girls are undeniably attractive.  The natural
female form is celebrated and presented with great care, and the end result is
oftentimes a very girli-fied version of the woman.  You know what I mean,
little dresses, pigtails, little school girl skirts and oxfords, etc.  And
I am thinking to myself, how CUTE these girls are, and then I think about WHY
they are cute.  And the cuteness, that’s a noun, that’s the undeniable
part.  It’s fucking cute, it’s a fact.  But what I am really thinking
about is why it is ATTRACTIVE.  And previously — while not against
self-expression in any form of any other person — I was thinking to myself, I
am NOT dressing like that.  Because all I could think was, who am I trying
to appeal to?  Some GUY with a school girl fetish?  FUCK that. 
But consider, I took a photograph a few years ago dressed up in this type of
style.

 

Side note: I never actually wore that dress, I bought it on eBay for a ’60s
party and it didn’t have a back, that photo shoot was the only time I ever wore
it.  No wait – I wore it once, to that New Year’s party at the Echo where
Poni slipped in someone’s puke and I caught her by the FACE, that was
amazing.  But anyway, I’m not trying to get around the fact that I wore
babydoll dresses, it happened.  And I was thinking the other day, WHY did
I wear them?  I am generally uncomfortable in BEING of the second sex
(which isn’t entirely true, I’m just getting used to it is all), and I don’t
typically dress to impress anyone, let alone anyone who like their girls
pigeon-toed and dumb-eyed, so what was I trying to achieve?  I was trying
to look cute, I guess.  Because I was cute, I was young and cute and
that’s what was happening.  And I LOVED ’60s music, so that was my
representational homage, too: my visage, my countenance, paying visual tribute
to the swingin’ ’60s.  That was the definition of that look for me. 
But the impact of the photo carried different meaning than what I was trying to
convey, which has always annoyed me.  But I was up against common public
associations of imagery, and it’s hard to change that.  Easy to achieve,
hard to change: the ontology of the photographic image. 

Currently what has developed in MY mind as MY perception of this look is one
that excuses, in MY mind see, and allows for this look in MY world of
understanding.  Previously, I had considered this aesthetic as pandering
to a male fetishized demand, which of course I personally CANNOT allow. 
And I didn’t understand how these tough, smart, punk women would subjugate any
portion of their being to ANYONE.  So I knew that MUST not be what’s
behind the “look” for them.  Knowing I sound psychotic ranting
about these things, I was kind of always too shy to ask my friends, “Hey,
can you give me an in-depth reasoning behind why you dress the way you
do?”  I only have a few friends, and I regularly scare people away,
so I kept said girl friends and I thought about it, about what I was seeing:
the youthfulness, the representation of girlhood, e.g. the pig tails, the
school girl skirts.  But then the tattoos, the piercings, the breasts (which
you do not have when you are a little girl) and the tough, real, adult
attitude, mannerisms, etc.  The juxtaposition of the celebration of
girlhood (which is different from femaleness) with BEING adult, from a female
perspective, that’s what I was interested in.  And I think I’ve figured it
out.

Now for some, I do believe the “little girl” thing is a fetish and is
an issue, but that was THE issue I was afraid of when I initially started
thinking about this.  But (wo)man is reasonable in that (s)he can
make a reason for anything, and I reasoned that since these women
are not women who would make themselves subservient in any way (words I’m
thinking of are “shrink”, “small”, “stultify”)
that THEY must have control of the definition of the code of their dress. 
Anthropologically, these things matter, you see.  And what I understood
THEIR perspective to be is that, for many girls, the girlhood-advent-of-puberty
time is, like, the CRAZIEST exciting time of your life.  You recognize
yourself as a sexual being, you learn what that power means, there is a new (as
in, not ever there before) responsibility and definition of self, I mean, it’s
crazy.  And I’ll bet a lot of girls, subconsciously or otherwise (we
already defined and decided upon “cute”, you see) want to remember
and celebrate that time.  And so, for them, their “girly” look
is powerful.  And it is attractive because not only do a lot of women
respond positively to that imagery and its inherent representation, MEN do,
too.  Because when those little girls were discovering their power, uh,
dudes were discovering it too.  In themselves, and outside themselves, in
that opposite sex.  There has to be a moment for a lot of men where Suzie
goes from having stupid cooties to having mystical powers.  And then
therefore, I like to understand the MEN who find this “look”
attractive are responding to the subconscious memory of THAT sensory impulse,
which is practical and reasonable, and understandable.

And that is why I like rockabilly girls and celebrate their look.  Go on
with your punk selves, my sistas, it works, and I love it, AND now I know why.

Do you SEE why I hate shopping?  Do you SEE why I hate photo shoots and
videos?  Everything MEANS something, and I’m always trying to figure out
WHAT. 

 

 

***

 

Blurt “co-co-editor”
and advice columnist Coco Hames fronts The
Ettes, which include Jem on bass, Poni on drums and Johnny on guitar. Their
Greg Cartwright-produced album
Do You Want Power arrived in stores last fall, their music was featured in the Drew
Barrymore-directed film
Whip It. They’re
currently working on their fourth full-length and additionally have a new
collaboration with Cartwright called The Parting Gifts, whose debut record is
due this fall. You can read all about that as well as details of their recent
tour with the Dead Weather in our exclusive interview with Hames. For music,
tour dates and details, check out the band at its MySpace page and the official
website.

 

 

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