Sunday, April 18, 2010

on femalefolk self-classification

For the common man, one is usually referred to as 'Mr' in English.
For the common woman, there are three terms available. They are 'Miss', 'Mrs' and 'Ms' respectively

In the past decade or so of Anglo-Saxon form-filling, I have become rather inveterate in classifying myself. However, I find myself switching between the three and having some sort of mixed reactions to the experience (which in turn feeds back into myself, who would condition her responses/actions accordingly in the next time around).

I was a fan of this appellation due to the fact that it hides a multitude of information regarding the female person. A bit like Mr for the femalefolk, with the exception that it may have a bit of a personal tarnish due to someone I knew yonks ago who was referred to as 'Ms'. She was quite possibly in her late forties and unconventionally relationshipped. Made me think whether I was happy lumping myself with a possible divorcée, spinster or mistress. And, since I was planning to get married and realised how temporary a bourgeoise privilege of being called proper 'miss' would be, I switched to...

The current default classification. I have been using it with some sort of glee, until I reclassify myself when purchasing Eurostar tickets as 'Adult'. At which point selecting the option 'Miss' gave a rather unpleasant tug. (I was purchasing tickets for two on a certain journey, one for this Miss and another for a Miss who could still get away travelling on a cheaper Youth ticket. Although probably the other Miss would have preferred to be classified 'Ms', or 'Mr' just for the sake of stomping the excess girliness.) Is it sprouts of societal pressure? Probably. Does the fact that "this miss and that miss are homonym" mean they stem from the same meaning? By means of linguistic history, is being female and unmarried inseparable from being a, *shock* *horror* failure?

It would be roughly translated into Indonesian as 'ibu', with which I have been intermittently referred since as young/old as 21. Recently I classified myself as 'Mrs' on a form, although it may have more to do with the French referring female adult customers as 'Madame' (and the only other option being 'Mr') than socially/legally being joined at the hip with a male person. I see it as a bit of an identity crisis classification - I've long been referred to as someone else's sister/daughter/[insert relationship status] and I quite like being recognised as a person of one's own, instead of someone else's auxilliary. But then, hold this view as a temporary preference, because it may change for a multitude of reasons (which may or may not be covered at a later point in this blog.)

A few more tangential points to cover...

Website sucks big time. First my browser failed me, then when I retried the website complained that 'I had taken too much time on completing the purchase', decided that I was therefore unworthy of the £69 return fee and tried to charge me for £119. To make it worse, I was purchasing for a friend who qualifies for 'Youth' ticket as well as my own 'Adult' ticket and selected the correct options accordingly, but the site kept on thinking that 1 Youth [cheaper] + 1 Adult = 2 Adults. **t**.
I cleaned the cookies and re-tried for the third time, only to be greeted by a white screen saying 'erreur'. After checking that no money was deducted from my account and another cookies-cleaning session, my fourth attempt was rewarded with.......
...the bank suspecting my card might have been used for fraud. (Two transactions on the same web vendor, the exact same amounts, some twenty minutes apart.) Sometimes the software-run box-ticking gets too much. I'll have to risk missing the cheap fares, and do a trek to the bank to kindly get the bloody transaction bar off my card pronto. And call Eurostar. Eurostar website, you suck.

The important truth is that success stems from how knowledge is applied. Knowing much may as much help as distract. So, there it is: apply and do. Having encyclopaedic knowledge isn't going to help much if it isn't being used for a definite and achievable goal within a specific timeframe.

Fashion college has made me into a tangibly sceptic person, re-questioning myself and demanding physical proof/dissertation that a certain thing is not aesthetically pleasing. In some sense it's good to know and communicate what one expects another to produce, but on a greater level many things cannot be toiled.

Dressmaker v Designer
Many so-called sewing blogs are run by, um, people who seem to be not making much test garments before setting off to do a completed garment. [Academic] fashion designing, on the other hand, is not quite satisfied when a completed garment is not the culmination of some obscene numbers of test garments. Within the functioning fashion design industry, what is the average/usual number of toiles that tend to be made prior to the final garment being produced? (Please don't tell me a flat 'it depends on the design' answer because I'm not looking for theoretical responses; I'm doing statistics here.) And what is the practical dividing line between dressmaker and designer? Do dressmakers stick to simple shapes whereas designers do not? If that was the case, what would Phoebe Philo's AW10 collection for Chloe would be classified? A dressmaker's work? A quasi-dressmaker's work? Is her professional status as fashion designer rescued by virtue of using leather (or slapping bits of leather where wool or some other traditionally dressmakery fabric would have gone, e.g. on pocket welts etc) on every single garment sent down the runway? If it were the pocket welts, how can I still feel insufficient (despite having done similarly with pocket welts) whenever I see my friends' works?

As you can see, my undergraduate degree doesn't cleanly solve the problem of infusing confidence into my practical work. It adds a dose of cynicism/scepticality, I shall say. Quite dampingly enough.

Okay, enough blogging for now.
I think I managed to clock out some extra 300 (wishfully 600?) words for the reflective summary assignment. I guess that's one of my strengths, intrapersonal knowledge. But then, maybe it comes with the plain passage of time instead of some innate talents or supernatural gifts (I don't quite know for sure.) Or maybe this unsureness is just old-style British non-show-off-ance instead of American all-can-be-done attitude.

Good day, everyone.

1 comment:

skatz said...

Ms is def the way to go - well, thats wot i think anyway. This title does generally have a bad rep but i prefer it because I associate it with maturity, independence and a host of other descriptive terms which I cant be arsed to list here