The Purrfect Femme Fatale

Yes, my lovelies, you were right–I’m going to be Catwoman for Halloween.  Purrrfect, right?   I must confess, I was super tempted to be a lesbian vampire, but with all the Twilight fans running around, I don’t think the world needs another vampire this year.  So, consider yourself warned:  once I slip into my catsuit and high-heeled black leather boots, watch out.  I may just sink my claws into you! 

There have been so many great looks for Catwoman, but I’ve decided to do the retro version–part Julie Newmar, part Emma Peel spy chic, mostly because I want to wear a huge belt like Uma Thurman did in The Avengers. Who’s your favorite Catwoman?  And hey, does anyone have a whip I can borrow?

As my favorite feline villianess, I of course will be using my considerable powers to corrupt the good and innocent and spark evil doing.  However, it remains to be seen whether I’ll be able to use my catacylsmic charms  to entice Van into being Batman.  (We’ve often done couples costumes but not always.)

But wait!  I have breaking news! Van just came home from work and was so smitten with the sight of me in my cat ears that she agreed to be Batman on the spot!  So Halloween will be filled with (butch) bat/(femme) cat sexual tension here at chez Sublime–the question is, who will emerge victorious?  Only time will tell, my pretties.

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Top 10 Reasons Not To Wear A Culturally Appropriating Halloween Costume

Are you working on your Halloween costume, darlings?  I know you’re busy shopping for wigs and whatnot, but take a few minutes to read this terrific piece by Portland’s Freddie Fagula, co-director of  the drag-u-mentary Third Antenna:  The Radical Nature of Drag (which I love).  I’ve reposted from Angry Black-White Girl’s blog–thanks for posting, AB-WG!

While we’re talking about costumes and cultural appropriation, a few words of advice from yours truly:   for heaven’s sake, don’t piss off Screaming Lemur by dressing up as a witch!   As she says in her post Green Skin Optional, “Witches are a big part of the imagery of Halloween…. But honestly? I find it to be as stereotypical and lazy as putting on some buckskin and a feather headband and calling yourself an ‘Indian’ for Halloween. It’s othering, it’s tired, and frankly it annoys me.”  

Actually it sounds to me like Freddie’s piece is indebted to Lemur’s post. If so, it’s unfortunate he didn’t give her credit or acknowledge witch costumes as a form of cultural appropriation.  For the record, that sexy witch pic in my Halloween Pin-Up Girls post is a subversive reinscription.  A-hem.

Top 10 Reasons Not To Wear A Culturally Appropriating Halloween Costume – Please Repost [by Freddie Fagula]

10. That shit is tired and you’re more creative than that. You can be anything.

9. You don’t wanna be “that guy” at the party.

8. You won’t be endorsing a history of domination, colonization, and genocide through your flippant, cartoonish, or stereotypical portrayal of cultures other than your own.

7. People of color won’t have their night ruined by your costume.

6. No one will have their night ruined by your costume, (well… unless you’re like me in fourth grade and your home made zombie make-up gets all over some girls princess dress. Sorry Christy Godwin!)

5. People who you’ve never met won’t take one look at you and decide to avoid the ignorant person who would wear THAT.

4. Your odds of getting laid will be dramatically increased because you won’t have offended half of the people at the party.

3. You aren’t an unfeeling jerk who likes to insult and hurt people.

2. You won’t be asked to leave Fruitcake’s All Homo’s Eve party because you are a white person dressed in black face or as a “native,” a Nazi*, Indian, gypsy, geisha, sheik, or hula dancer, etc.

1. You are an awesome, deep, conscientious individual who understands the importance of respecting the life, experiences, culture and ethnicity of people different from yourself.

*Yeah, I know it’s not technically “appropriating” but please, not okay.

Here is how wikipedia defines cultural appropriation: Cultural Appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It denotes acculturation or assimilation, but often connotes a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, may take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held.

Obviously, there are many ways to create an offensive costume that may not be pointed out above or fall into the cultural appropriating category. If you’re wondering whether your costume will offend someone than it probably will. If you’re still thinking about wearing it, ask your more thoughtful friends to weigh in on it. I realize this is a multi-faceted topic deserving more attention than once a year on Halloween, but this is as good a time as any to bring it up. 

I believe it’s healthy for people to want to transform themselves, and Halloween encourages that. It gives people a sense of possibility. It’s a creative outlet in a culture of full rules about who can make legitimate “art.” It’s the extra nudge one may need to let go and be someone else. Even if it’s just for a laugh. It’s an opportunity that I wouldn’t want to deny anyone. What I do want is a Halloween where one persons liberating costume is not another persons insult to their life, experiences, culture, or race.

Please give it some thought and don’t be “that guy” on Halloween.

Thanks,

Freddie Fagula

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Lounging about at home yesterday sipping a Manhattan, I had a (no doubt bourbon-induced) epiphany about this adventure that is my blog–namely, we have collectively advanced to a higher level of femme awareness. Cheers to us, darlings! We’re now ready to move on to what is perhaps the most important principle of Sublime Femmeness….

It’s never, ever too early to start working on your Halloween costume.

There you have it. Sublime truth distilled into a bijoux for you to have and hold!

Ever since I was a naughty little girl, Halloween has been my personal high holy day. Yes, in recent years, it’s become sickenly commercial and turned into another Christmas (mark my word: they will eventually morph into one holiday–Christoween), but let’s not depress ourselves by talking about that now. Instead, let’s get to the heart of the matter: on Halloween, you get to dress up.

Now, before we go any further, let me make one point crystal clear: anyone who looks cute and conventionally pretty on All Hallow’s Eve insults all that’s decadent, beautiful and queer in the universe. I have not an ounce of tolerance for such do-gooders. However, I do try to help these lost souls when I can. For example, when little girls in fairy princess outfits show up at my door and politely take one tootsie roll, I refrain from cringing (they are children, after all) and encourage them to take handfuls of candy, hoping that I can shatter the false consciousness of polite-pretty by igniting their avariciousness.

For grown-up femmes, the ideal costume is one in which you can be scary/evil and gorgeous. This is probably why I’ve always wanted to be the Wicked Queen for Halloween. She’s described in the Disney Archives (yes, it really exists) as icily beautiful and grotesquely evil. She’s also extremely powerful, smart, vain and willing to do anything to be “the fairest of them all.” So what do you think, should I be the Eminently Evil one this year? Too predictable?

The real problem with this costume idea is that, in order for me to display my regal wickedness to its full advantage, I would need someone to play my niave nemesis, Snow White. But of course, the mere thought of Snow White on Halloween is against my religion. Ug. She’s sweet, innocent, boringly nice, and trapped in a spell-induced sleep-death in her preposterous glass coffin waiting for Prince Charming to awaken her. What a doormat! Leave her in the coffin, I say.

Do you have any recommendations for me, my lovelies? And what about you–any wicked and depraved plans for Halloween, I hope?