So I was a tad confused the other week when I was watching TV with my husband… An advert came on for the new Blair Witch Project film being released at cinemas. ‘What!? The original is only a couple of years old… Why the hell are they making a remake* of a film that’s still current?’ I cried. My husband laughed, ‘Baby, the original was made on 1999… that’s nearly 20 years ago!’ Bloody hell fire, did I feel old. Although the film may be well known and recent to me, it dawned on me that a whole host of people, younger adults, may not have even heard of it before!
At that moment I remembered when I was young and used to listen to my mum’s Patsy Cline cassettes and when I got a bit older, in my early teens, and I discovered bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer, The Doors, Hawkwind… I thought I had uncovered some long forgotten gems, when in reality, to a lot of people they were current- and to them, seem like yesterday when they were released. Just like me with The Blair Witch Project film. Same as when I got into my punk music, I thought I was being different and original, when no…. I wasn’t! Plenty of other people were still enjoying the punk scene and had been continuously from the seventies. Everything goes in cycles and gets recycled and evolves. If people stumble across something for the first time that has been out there for years, it’s not their ‘fault’ they haven’t heard of it before. It’s just has never crossed their path. They are still entitled to love it just as much as someone who has appreciated the same thing for 20 years or more. It is new, exciting and original to them.
That memory set me off on a certain train of thought and how it ties into a lot of other areas in life too. Recently I’ve seen a lot of smarmy comments on Facebook, not directed at myself per say, but they have been put out there for everyone to read. Nasty comments about ladies in the vintage / pin up scene in particular. All written by women in the same ‘community’. It saddens me a tad because there’s so many conflicting sentiments portrayed. I love the posts about empowering women and each other, lifting each other up, giving each other a helping hand and ‘call me mad, but I love seeing other people succeed’, kindness and love, etc, etc… This is how it should be, all of the time! However, in the next breath, I see posts slating people for not wearing original vintage, not staying ‘true’ to the scene, not listening to the right type of music, being ‘frauds’, being looked down your nose at for either having/ not having tattoos depending on which stance they take on the subject, calling people for being ‘weekend’ vintagers, not quite getting their victory rolls ‘right’…the list goes on! Women bitching about newcomers to the scene for ‘copying’ their style…. Darlings, we, in the vintage community, base our look on what our grandmas used to wear, there ain’t nothing original about us either! We are all unique in the most wonderfully, fabulous way and every single one of us brings something different to the table. We can wear the exact same dress, yet all wear it slightly differently, have our hair in the same style, yet carry it off in our own way, write blogs on the same products, topics or events yet approach the subject matter from a different perspective, do YouTube videos on victory rolls a hundred times over- yet everyone has a different particular favorite ‘presenter’ -and we still want more of them! We are all fabulously unique, but I wouldn’t say original. I think we could all do with getting over ourselves every now and then.
It seems like you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t- Damned if you don’t follow the ‘rules’ of dress code and hairstyles and damned if you jump in and step on someone else’s toes. We all started somewhere and should be more respectful of other people’s contributions to our communities.
People who are criticized for not ‘living the lifestyle’ or who are ‘weekenders’… Let’s face it, dressing in a big frock with fancy hair does, more often than not, attract attention. Not everyone could handle that attention. People may love the style, love the music, etc, etc, yet just not have the self confidence to dress like that when nipping to the local supermarket or going about their daily business. It’s sad, but that’s a confidence issue. They may only feel able to join in where they know lots of other people will be dressed in a similar manner. Looking at it from another point of view too, I, as a woman who dresses in big frocks and big hair daily, if so desired to dress more ‘mainstream’ for an evening or weekend, would not expect to have to seek permission from anyone before doing so. I would not expect to get comments from people who dressed more ‘mainstream’ on a daily basis, just because it is not my usual wardrobe or how I usually look- yet is theirs. Why do some people see it as acceptable to do that when it’s the other way about?
I like what I like and I won’t make any apology for any of it- I love genuine ‘vintage’, I love the style and dresses and homewares…it’s all beautiful, but I love reproduction stuff too! It’s fantastic! I often struggle to find genuine vintage clothes to fit my size, so reproduction is a Godsend. I like to blend certain eras too, I’m not strict on only wearing 40’s stuff or only 50’s or even 60’s…. Quite often I’ll wear something more 40’s with a hairstyle that would be considered more 50’s. I don’t care. I love all kinds of music- Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Lady Gaga, Post Modern Jukebox , Dolly Parton, Cher and Britney! I find it ridiculous that we should pigeon hole ourselves to like only certain things to match a label. Labels like ‘vintage’, ‘retro’, ‘pinup’ are all just generalizations. The instantly conjure up images and ideas in our minds and are useful descriptive terms. Especially when doing online searches and such…. but that’s about it. I’d consider myself all of the above and yet am happy to be non.
This isn’t just indicative of the pin up/ vintage community. When I was in to my punk music in my teens and I used to attend gigs more often, there could be an undertone from some people.. commenting that some folk didn’t ‘belong’ there, they weren’t ‘punk enough’. How absurd! Not enough punk points in the bank. I’ve seen similar behaviour on social media, where someone has been new to a ‘scene’ or industry, they like what they see and have tried to get involved, only to be bashed down by a hoard of nasty comments from self righteous people who feel like because they’ve been in to a ‘thing’ for longer, their word is gospel and have the right to let everyone else where they are going wrong. Usually by commencing a hate campaign. It’s bullying, it’s unnecessary and probably done to make themselves feel better and hide their own insecurities. Worried someone else is going to come along and do what they’re doing- only better? Appalling behaviour.
I’ve been made aware of something similar on a crafting website- where people share hints and tips on card making and such. People with more experience and what they consider to be ‘better crafting skills’, slating another person’s efforts. Just because they thought this other person’s attempt wasn’t ‘up to scratch’, they thought it acceptable to write a hurtful comment….?
It’s wonderful to be passionate and care about who we are and what we do- but why does that have to be at the detriment of someone else? We don’t need to have been a martyr to the cause from day one, we don’t need to have been practicing a certain ‘way of life’ from out of the womb. We are all free people, with choices, different perspectives and desires. If something pops up in front of us, and we like it, why shouldn’t we get involved and join in?
What someone else does is no concern of ours, they do not need to seek permission for being who they want to be. We should be encouraging and supporting and trying to eradicate negative ‘cliques’. Just because someone has worn a certain style longer, it doesn’t mean their opinion is of any greater value to the next person’s. They could, however, use their wealth of knowledge and background in a certain area to help others around them, nurture a scene/industry/profession. Use their experience as a positive force. And some lovely people do. ♥
At the end of the day, it’s just clothes and hair and stuff. Stuff. It’s just stuff. Why be nasty about stuff?
We are not in competition with anyone, we are all just trying to live our own lives and grab a bit of happiness where we may. Don’t slam down or belittle some one else’s attempt at being happy.
‘A flower is not thinking of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.’
With much love,
Miss Kimmy Cupcake xx
*The new Blair Witch is apparently a sequel, not a remake- but at the time of my husband and I having this conversation, we didn’t realise that