Sara Dopp, founder of Genderfork and longtime brilliant blogger and social media mobilizer extraordinaire has a very important new project and I want you to know about it. The idea is this: creating an online marketplace where people can sell clothing and accessories to each other and share ideas and tips about how to look the way they want to look without being constrained by department store fashions. The idea is particularly important for those of us who don't find clothing that both represents our gender expressions and and also fits our bodies at the same time. In Sara's words this would be:
a genderplayful, body-positive, fashion-savvy online marketplace. This would be a space where people sell to each other (like Ebay and Etsy), with a focused emphasis on solving all of our wardrobe problems. Together.
We’d pull in a mix of indie clothing designers, body-savvy tailors for custom alterations, small business clothing shops, crafters, and folks who want to share things from their closet. All with a celebratory and problem-solving emphasis on creating clothes that fit our genders, styles, and bodies.
If you prefer video explanations, I think you'll enjoy this one:
I love community-driven solutions to real people's actual problems. There are too many manufactured "solutions" to artificially constructed problems. Are you interested? Let Sara know. This can't be done without evidence that people want and need it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, check out the genderfork post about the marketplace, comment here or there, or make a video of your own explaining why you need this kind of marketplace.
The tank top is a lovely apple green. I tried it on with a long matching over shirt, did my usual pantomime of chalk board writing to see if it was comfortable, scrutinized it to see if the over shirt hung in such a way as to avoid showing the contours of my nipples, visible through the tank top, was satisfied, and left the store.
I put it on one morning, paired with some new light grey jeans, and wore it to work. I got several compliments on the color and also a few glances that made me self-conscious. I ignored them as best I could. I did not try to wear the shirt again for a while. Some weeks later I put it on again. I stepped into the living room to ask my sweetheart Will what he thought. I turned this way and that, put my hands on my hips, brushing the overshirt aside as I do in class sometimes, took a few turns, and waited for his reaction: "It's a bit nipply." I took it off. I have not worn it to work since.
I don't want to wear my nipples to work. I don't want to deal with people looking, looking away, and looking back. I don't want to worry about whether they think I am a hippie or a slut. I wouldn't care if they thought the former but I would be afraid that if they thought the latter they would think it in the erotophobic, judgmental, shaming kind of way that I do so much to resist.
Several years ago I gave up on wearing bras. This was not a political move, at least not initially. It was about my own physical comfort. I have never found a bra that fits well, looks good under clothes, and feels comfortable for more than a couple hours. Since I have never been physically uncomfortable without a bra, I decided to forego them. At first I only went without on the weekends. It seemed too risky to go without at work. Then eventually I decided to go without there, as well. It was then that I encountered my nipple dilemma. I had always worn bras that had a bit of padding, and even my apparently steely nipples never showed underneath them. Without a bra, every top presents a challenge. Dark colors and patterns are the easiest. I often wear vests, jackets, or over shirts for extra coverage. Sometimes, as with my apple green combination, even an over shirt doesn't seem like enough. (I have a similar conflict with a light tan t-shirt and matching vest combination.)