Margarita and I sat across from each other at It’s Tops Coffee Shop on Market Street in San Francisco yesterday afternoon – eating a cheeseburger + float and cheddar + bacon waffle (respectively) - chopping it up about politics, fashion and how, like, bored we are with neo-liberal manifestations of racism. And that all led to the current spikes trend.
During my lecture at Hollins University earlier this month I talked about this very trend, saying that spikes really get to the aesthetic of fierceness. Fierceness is an attitude and aesthetic that people under attack learn as a way to survive the at-times unending onslaught of attacks on their bodies and their spirits. To me, this trend suggests the garment as a shield from the outside world. It suggests an awareness of an hostility toward or impending attack upon the body which it is covering or guarding. It suggests that the wearer refuses to disarm and therefore is dangerous, scary and perhaps impudent.
Margi and I agreed that it’s very clear that the culture at large views our bodies as targets for their interpersonal and institutional aggressions. And we have the right to bear spikes.
To those who view fashion as a frivolous mode of embodying politics, I urge you to consider the potential that an article of clothing can have for protection and disruption. Margarita says that for her fierce fashion "is how I feel safe expressing aggression in a hostile environment.”
Like the Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion Facebook page to see more of the aesthetics of fierce on Fatshiony Fridays.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.