calling myself out
it was a really, really long time ago when i was still updating this blog regularly. something broke down inside of me last year and i could no longer put my thoughts on the virtual paper, keeping all my angry blurts of anti-societal-norms rage to my Instagram account. i wanted to write, so many things were racing through my mind, but i just couldn’t. now i know that the thing that was keeping me back from running my blog was my depression. a few months ago, i finally decided to seek medical help and started taking antidepressants. i definitely want to cover that topic more (i’ve already wrote a lot about it on Instagram), but to keep it simple, after a while, pretty much all the things i used to like started giving me joy again. and now i want to write. i need to write. i really want to try and be regular at this again, because there’s still so much unsaid, untouched, so please wish me luck. but before that new era starts, i want to look back and address a few things.
i always say that starting this blog—more than 7 years ago—was the best decision i’ve ever made (moving out of CZ was the second best). and most of the time, i really believe in that, but sometimes i’m rather like “ugh, why though”. the thing is, i hopped on this blogging train when i was 15. fifteen. back then, i wrote pretty much about everything that was happening in my life, and while i still stay incredibly open and tend to overshare online, it was a slightly different kind of here’s-everything-about-me.
i started this blog when i was 15, and now i’m 23. i literally grew up online, sharing my way from puberty to adolescence with god-knows-how-many people. and as my age was changing, my opinions were too. i am no longer the same person i was when i published my first article, because, frankly, my main goal back then was to get to the showroom of an unnamed fast fashion brand (lol, i know – but you have to take into consideration that i was a shy small-town kid with extremely low self-esteem, so that seemed like a promised land to me back then, the highest validation that i was “cool enough”) – while now i refuse to support (and haven’t done so for 3 years) any of such brands. i don’t share the same views and opinions as the 15 years old me did, not even the one that was 21 perhaps. i’ve figured everything, and especially activism, is a great learning process, which is perhaps never truly finished. and that sometimes it’s better to listen, read, and research, and not to talk so fast.
this leads us to the main point of this article – while i am happy i have been keeping this little online diary of sorts for so long, because, hands down, it has opened a lot of doors to me, allowed me to meet a whole bunch of great people with the same mindset, and definitely made me grow so, so much, a lot has been said that i feel the need to kinda fix now. to explain. to denounce, to redefine, to let go of.
so, here are some of the topics that i have either discussed or promoted here or anywhere else and have very different feelings about now:
well, there was a time where i was pretty well-known for my minimalist views, images, interior design, whatever, wasn’t there (at least i never reduced it to simple aesthetics only, the so-called Scandinavian design, lol). i think i even wrote some of these stupid “how to be a minimalist” articles too? not so sure about that to be honest, but i do remember i’ve written “invest into something long-lasting and high quality instead of buying cheap crap” multiple times. oh lord.
while i still do live quite a minimalist life, mostly because of having a tight budget, moving several times a year and simply being the opposite of a hoarder, and while i still enjoy simple, minimalist spaces/things rather than something that’s bursting with colors, patterns, shapes etc., i’m also very aware that minimalism is just a bunch of crap. not minimalism itself, but the whole movement around it. this movement, made up almost exclusively of people who are well-off, preaching how it’s important to invest into good, well-made things, how we need to value design and manufacturing and quality and should therefore be happy to spend large sums for that, how we should just minimize everything, including our troubles and stress (don’t even get me started on the whole mindfulness movement, please) – speaking from an incredibly privileged position. as the years have passed, i’ve learnt that it’s been proven that poor always pay the most – simply because they’re never able to gather enough money to be able to invest into anything, and end up buying cheap items that prove to be more costly over the time. and we’re not only talking about high quality clothing, appliances, furniture and so on, we’re talking about not being to buy very basic items like food, toilet paper, cosmetics in bulk packaging which is pretty much always cheaper in the long run.
so, telling people that in order to save money, you gotta invest, and using that as a universal rule, looking down on people who do not “care enough” to invest, is just plain stupid. and i have to admit, i was like that too. when i got enchanted by minimalism, i was about 16, still living with my parents, coming from a slightly higher upper class, and even though when i was child, my family was pretty poor, i never really thought of things outside of my social class. i did not realize how different, how diverse, and how unfair the whole world is, and that a great movement like minimalism, a movement that cares about our nature as much as it cares about our wallets, was just a bunch of privileged crap.
minimalism, with its simple aesthetics contrasting with the high prices for products that are deemed “minimalist”, has become a way of showing how sophisticated you are, showing that you can afford to invest into quality and design. they say minimalism is timeless, but all i hear in that is that a looking away from people below our own class is actually the thing that’s so timeless, and that’s really fucked up. minimalism is a fancy fad made for the wealthy, and it is not accessible to majority of people.
i regret i failed to recognize that a long time ago.
2. healthy food/living
does anyone remember an article that was literally called “healthy ≠ expensive”? i do. god, how foolish was i! again, i was still living at my parents’ place, and though i did participate in the weekly grocery shopping and knew what was going on with our family finances, i had no idea what it meant to live on one’s own.
let me say it loud now – healthy food IS expensive. veganism IS expensive. access to healthcare IS NOT universal.
and again, those who are the most unprivileged are experiencing this the most.
i’m sorry i was such a little brat living in my own middle class bubble.
3. white feminism
i mean, i was never really shouting “yay, white feminism!”, of course. i started identifying as a feminist when i was 16, which was also the time when i first brought up the topic in one of my articles. that article was an all-girl mixtape, and i wrote a bunch of angry lines along that. *eye roll*. i found my way to feminism through tumblr. i don’t really know how it happened, but i think i discovered it through the riot grrrl movement and bands like Bikini Kill and Hole. the problem was, for a long time, i stayed exclusively within that tumblr bubble, within pastel-colored aesthetics, illustrations of heart-shaped sugar candies with “girl power” written over them, mixtapes and DIY zines, within “reclaiming femininity”, whatever that means. i’d write about catcalling, about how much discriminated women were, but that was about it. for a long time, i did not care to extend my knowledge, and that was a huge mistake.
after a while, i was asked to collaborate with Transparent CZ, and that was quite an eye opener. suddenly i realized there was much more to feminism than just my experience as a white, able-bodied, middle class, attractive cis woman. then i moved to Berlin in summer 2014 and finally stopped suppressing my pansexuality (even i knew i was not hetero since i was, like, 7?) and started identifying as queer. that broadened the topics i was researching more and more, and i began reading feminist works; i remember reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman on the insanely long car drive from Denmark to the Czech Republic, and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex on the everyday bus from my dorm to the uni in Reutlingen. then i started the Copenhagen uni and met a teacher who studied Gender Studies himself, who made a list of classic queer theory works for me, and that really kicked off my interest in queer academia, which i now, in fact, despise because of its stupid elitist way of writing, which prevents so many people from getting access to it (but more about that very, very soon!). i’ve been working with queer people/on queer projects, and i’m about to start a Gender Studies long-distance Master’s at the Charles Uni in Prague. i’ve met a lot of people, read a lot of articles and books, worked on a lot of things, and definitely learnt a lot. i no longer identify with the feminism i was talking about when i first started addressing it here, because it was incredibly cis- and hetero-normative, focused on a certain privileged group, ignoring race, class, sexuality etc.
i have to say i think that this is a natural process that everyone somehow goes through, i just vented it out a lot. we live in an age when everyone just shouts out how feminist they are, each brand sells tees and jackets and panties and what-not with “girl power” sprawled over them, and famous cis women who (slut-/body-) shame other women or only address problems that revolve around the gender binary (hello, Emma Watson!) are pronounced to be the ultimate feminist speakers. that is a form of feminism which i, unfortunately, used to support too, but don’t anymore. now my opinion is the following: let’s just wipe out all the GRL PWR merch and focus on things that really matter, like social inequality, like racism, like discrimination of non-binary people, like ableism (which i think is still a topic too rarely discussed in all forms of queer and feminist movements), for example.
there’s a lot of other things i could address, but i guess i’m out of words for now.
the main point of this article was to make a few things clear before i continue with what (i used to) do. you know, people change, people grow, and that’s great. well, talk soon, i promise!