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Fifty Dollars For a T-Shirt

Published March 8, 2013 by Teresa
Celebrating a milestone in a $50 T-shirt

Celebrating a milestone in a $50 T-shirt

So this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but didn’t. Sorry.

Anyway, yesterday’s Song of the Day was “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, and I gave as my reason that it went along with something the song’s made me think about lately – the line, “Yo, that’s fifty dollars for a t-shirt.” It made me think about the one time I actually DID spend fifty dollars on a t-shirt. Said shirt is in the photo above.

It’s a Dirtee Hollywood shirt, which I purchased at the line’s launch in NYC. Normally, I’m not at “fashion” events, but this was less a fashion event than it was an art event, and I was covering it, because the line of shirts was from one of my favorite artists, Molly Crabapple.

Fifty dollars is A LOT for a shirt. In fact, I think it’s way too much for a shirt. Basically, if a shirt is gonna cost more than $20, it had better be lined with real gold, or made by hand in front of me.

So, why did I pay $50 for this shirt? Because I wanted to support the efforts of an artist whose work I love, and for whom I have a huge amount of respect. This woman hustles, and her talent and hard work deserve to be rewarded. When it comes to giving a Molly Crabapple venture $50, it suddenly doesn’t seem like a lot of money. Suddenly it seems worth it. It’s the same reason why I’ll support a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project, or buy access to a TV show (or watch it live), or spend any amount of money on books, film, theater, or artwork. Because I believe this stuff is important.

But this has to do with priorities, too, and mine aren’t everyone else’s. I have friends who LOVE fashion, and for whom $50 for a t-shirt is worth it, because of the quality of the garment, how it’s made, the materials used, etc. Fashion IS art, or it can be, and I know that. I suppose I balk at spending a lot of money on clothes because everyone needs clothes. And the fact that there’s a separation between “good” clothes, which cost more, and “less-good” clothes, which more people have access to, is a bit upsetting. As if only people who can afford it deserve to dress well, or have clothes that won’t fall apart in a matter of weeks.

Then again, I believe art is just as necessary as clothing. One protects a person’s body, the other a person’s soul. So maybe neither should be prohibitively expensive?

Then again, to make something well takes work, and don’t those people deserve to get paid?

Then again, I think most people who buy designer clothes don’t actually buy them because they’re “well-made.” They buy them as a status symbol; for the privilege of being able to say, “I own a Gucci/Louis Vuitton/Calvin Klein [insert article of clothing here],” and this seems a bit disingenuous to me. Because, you know, Fruit of the Loom t-shirts are made pretty well, and you can get those in a three-pack.

Then again, art can be purchased the same way. Not because you actually care about art, but as a status symbol. “Look how cutting-edge I am. I totally support this edgy art.”

So, I’ll throw it out to you. When would you spend “fifty dollars on a t-shirt?” What are your extravagances, and what makes them worth it to you? Is there actually such a thing as Too Expensive, or is it all subjective and a matter of priorities? Tell me in the comments below!

I Like My Face.

Published September 21, 2012 by Teresa

Me right now. Without make-up. About to lay the smack-down with my words. THIS shit makes me feel confident.

You know what’s funny? When people try to make you feel better by unconsciously making you feel like crap.

Today, Miss Representation has organized a Twitter conversation with the hashtag #FreshFace focusing on the topic of make-up: why we wear it, whether we should, how the make-up industry plays on women’s insecurities to get them to buy their products, how young is too young to be wearing it, and how it makes us feel about ourselves. So, I’m writing this to participate in that conversation, because I think it’s an important one.

Okay.

Me in lipstick. No other make-up on my face. Knowing that all my face needs is a pop of color, not a complete overhaul. THIS shit makes me feel confident.

I think make-up is just fine once in a while. Make-up can bring a fancy outfit to life. Make-up can be an artistic/aesthetic statement. Make-up is a way to express yourself. It can also be oodles of fun akin to that feeling we all got as kids when we’d dress up and “play pretend.” You don’t always want to look like you. Sometimes, you want to look and feel like someone, or something, else. That’s okay. It’s normal.

The thing is, that’s exactly the thing about make-up that can make it dangerous. It’s not you. At best, it can help you express the best version of you, but it’s still just a version, and not even the one that’s the most important. Yet, there are women who’ve gotten so used to never leaving the house without make-up that they’ve stopped wearing make-up, allowing the make-up to wear them instead. Somehow, make-up stopped being fun expression and started being a crutch. Because, for some reason, our faces stopped being good enough on their own. And it has a lot to do with women getting older.

Picasso painted women who looked like me. I bet he didn’t tell them to put make-up on. THIS shit makes me feel confident.

When I was little, and wanted to wear make-up like my mother and sister, I was told that I “didn’t need make-up.” Young girls, you see, don’t “need” make-up, because young girls are just that. Young. Young girls are prized, and so a woman’s “need” for make-up increases the older she gets, because wrinkles, dark circles, and blemishes are less acceptable as a woman gets older. Apparently, no one wants to look at a woman’s wrinkled, blemished face.

Men, however, have carte blanche. They don’t have an entire industry devoted to making them cover their shit up. Wear your blemishes and dark circles and wrinkles proudly, Gentlemen! Because you can! Because you’re free to. Because no one’s going to make you feel like shit if you don’t. Enjoy that freedom, fellas. I would, if I had it. Unfortunately, I don’t.

I don’t wear make-up often. Usually, I save make-up for special occasions or dates. I don’t have an everyday, daytime “look” partly because I don’t really have the patience to devote myself to an intensive beauty regimen. I mean, I lotion up when I need to, and wear sunscreen when I know I’m going to be out in the sun for a while, and wear lip gloss when my lips are in danger of being chapped, cracked, and gross…but other than that, I leave my face alone. You know why?

Because I never really feel the need to not.

Too busy celebrating the fact that I was published in a book to worry about not wearing make-up. THIS shit makes me feel confident.

There’s plenty that I don’t like about myself (that’s another blog post entirely), but I’ve always liked my face. I’ve never really felt that I need make-up. I mean, yeah, I get annoyed by zits just as much as anyone else. And yeah, when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m not crazy about the sight of my dark circles under my eyes. But I never really feel the desperate need to cover those things up. I look at them and am like, “Ugh. Annoying. Oh, well. That’s my face.” The way I imagine most, if not all, guys do. At 33, I’ve noticed the beginning of laugh-lines around my mouth and wrinkles around my eyes, but to me, that just means that I’ve done a really good job of continuing to smile and laugh in the midst of adversity, and so I wanna wear those lines like badges of honor! When I don’t have blemishes or dark circles, I actually really like my face. I like my complexion and skin tone. I like how tan I get. And 9 times out of 10, when I look in the mirror when I leave the house, if I’ve just washed my face and thrown on some lip gloss (and have recently had my eyebrows groomed – they tend to get unruly and take over my face more than blemishes ever could!), I like what I see and don’t feel like I need to do anything else. There’s a difference between grooming and wearing make-up, and I think too many people equate the two. Grooming is about making sure you’re clean and presentable so that other people can feel comfortable around you without having to deal with a stench. Make-up simply covers up stuff that everyone gets. Stuff that only women are expected to do anything about on a regular basis.

I’ve had people gently suggest that make-up would make me look better, as if they’re breaking something to me that’s really important; something that will improve my life ten-fold if only I give it a chance. I’ll make a “better impression” on people if I wear make-up, because I’ll look more together and confident. The thing is, if I was already confident with my regular face, wouldn’t that come through anyway? If I’m fine with having my blemishes and dark circles on display, what’s it to anyone else? Why do even friends of mine feel the need to “save me from myself” by suggesting make-up? I’ve got zits sometimes. So? What have they ever done to you? Why are my skin’s imperfections so threatening to the world that the world tries so hard to make me cover them up? Who, exactly, should I be trying to impress? Men? Other women? Both, it seems, have something to say about what I put on my face, either directly or indirectly.

I’ve heard women say that they like dressing up and wearing make-up “for themselves.” But lets examine that a second. What does that actually mean? Wearing make-up makes you feel together, confident, sexy…isn’t that all about how other people see you? Because if it weren’t, why wouldn’t you just feel confident without wearing make-up? It’s not about confidence, it’s about an outward display of confidence. It’s showing off how confident you are, which is exactly the opposite of “for yourself.” There’s no such thing as sexy “for yourself” either, as the entire concept of “sexy” implies an other. And even as it makes you feel good and confident, the thing that’s making you confident is that other people will be  impressed with you. I have no problem with that, I just wish people would admit it and stop pretending it’s about something else. Is there anyone out there who wears make-up as her most comfortable option?  For whom wearing make-up is easier and more comforting than not wearing make-up?

Again, just lipstick. Nothing else on my face. A nice dress and great friends. THIS shit makes me feel confident.

I’ve heard Beyonce say that she’s more comfortable wearing stilettos now than she is in regular shoes, but that’s only because she started wearing them as a performer from a very young age, so she’s gotten really used to them. That doesn’t mean it’s natural, and it doesn’t mean that, had she not started out that way, that she wouldn’t be comfortable or confident. I’m sure a beautiful woman like Beyonce is capable of being equally confident in flats and not a stitch of make-up. Or, she should be. But from a young age, people told her “women in stilettos are hot,” and as ambitious as she is, wanting to make it in the music industry, she dressed a certain way, because she knew it’s what she “needed to do.” How sad is that? That someone as talented and naturally gorgeous as Beyonce would feel the need to wear tight outfits and high heels at 15 or 16 to “make it.” Because it’s OK to dress older so long as your face looks young. Once you actually are older, and your face dares reflect that, you’d better cover yo’ shit.

Ugh.

Women basically use make-up to cover up the deficiencies in their lives. Because if we actually did things “for ourselves,” like get enough sleep, wear proper sun protection, eat right, live as well as we can, we wouldn’t need to wear make-up “for ourselves.” Make-up is a bandage, not a cure. Maybe if we got equal pay for equal work so we could afford to live the lives we want, had men getting equal paid paternity leave so they could be free to help their girlfriends/wives with new children, and in general weren’t expected to take on double the workload for half the reward, perhaps we wouldn’t look so haggard. And perhaps, since that’s clearly not the case, we could maybe (maybe!) get a free pass on looking haggard, or having the occasional blemish or dark circle, rather than being expected to Look Nice even when our lives suck. It’s exhausting! God forbid a woman wear her difficulties on her face, a visible reminder of inequality of which no one wants to be reminded. Meanwhile, Larry King gets to look like Larry King and be married a billion times.

WHAT?!

Does make-up actually make women look more together and confident? Or does it simply make them look like they’re trying to ingratiate themselves to a society that hates them? I don’t know.

I’m starting to ramble. :) But as with everything, it all comes down to choice, I suppose. If you want to wear make-up, by all means, do. But don’t criticize (or try to “help”) those who don’t. They might like their faces just the way they are, and don’t need you telling them what you think is wrong with them according to some arbitrary standard of beauty that doesn’t make any sense and disproportionately affects women. What’s the purpose? So that other people will like them more? Because grown women with blemishes and dark circles and wrinkles are somehow detrimental to the balance of the universe?

Too busy celebrating my first paycheck as a writer to worry about not having make-up on. THIS shit makes me feel confident.

As for me, I’ll throw make-up on when I feel like it. I won’t when I don’t. And I’m not going to apologize for it in either instance. I like my face. And what I choose to do to it is nobody’s business but mine. And I don’t buy that the biggest problem on Earth is the fact that I have wrinkles, so I refuse to worry about it so damn much. If you don’t like my face, you don’t have to look at it, but the onus shouldn’t be on me to cover it up to your liking. No matter who you are, what job you might have to offer me, or whether or not you’d like to sleep with me.

Like me, like my face. :)

Teresa’s Tuesday Round-Up: 9/21/10

Published September 21, 2010 by Teresa

Let’s see how regular a segment THIS can be, huh?  :)

In an attempt to keep track of my online writing shenannigans without bombarding you with a blog post every single time I post something, I’m only going to post them once a week.  On Tuesdays. Because my name starts with a T (and NOT a “Th” as so many people seem to insist), and I’m a fan of alliteration, dammit.

If someone can come up with a T-word to replace “round-up” that would be great.  My brain is tired today.

So, here are my links for this past week (9/15-9/20):

BEST SHOTS RAPID-FIRE REVIEWS: SEPT. 16! Featuring my reviews of X-23 #1 (Marvel), The Unwritten #17 (Vertigo), and DV8 #6 (Wildstorm).

CHINASHOP MAGAZINE POST: SEPT. 20! A Geek Fashion column about the wonderful people at Black Phonenix Alchemy Lab.  Share! Tweet! Rate! Comment! The more views my articles get, the more cashdollars I get, and a paid Teresa is a happy Teresa (is a Teresa who can then write more cool shit for you to read!).

TOR.COM POST: SEPT 20! “Celebrate CAPRICA Day in October!” An article about the new DVD boxed set of Caprica as well as the Caprica Season 1.5 premiere!  Also includes a little promo video I had way too much fun making.

I’ll leave you with the other promo video I made, which needs to be shown some love (even if it does use recycled Chuck Norris/Jack Bauer jokes):

A Teresa In a ChinaShop

Published August 18, 2010 by Teresa

Tara Reich in her blue box (aka, TARDIS) dress!

So, remember how I told you that my first piece on ChinaShopMag.com was going to be up soon?  Well, it’s here!

Go check out my piece, GEEK FASHION: Tara Reich Brings Sci-Fi Sensibility to Couture.

If it gets 500 views in the next 7 days, I get paid for it AND get a contract to write my Geek Lifestyle column for them!  So go on over and have a look!  And if you’re into cosplay, definitely hit up Tara Reich!  You can hire her for custom work, and as you’ll see from the photos in the article and on her website, she’s crazy talented.

Ambition is Community (or, Why I Don’t Feel Bad Overspending on a T-Shirt)

Published June 18, 2010 by Teresa

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to the NYC launch event for Molly Crabapple’s new line of t-shirts for Dirtee Hollywood at Atrium on Broadway.  It was a lovely event for lots of reasons – most of which I’ll cover in pieces I’m writing about it for other outlets.  For now, I’ll stick to the personal.

For instance, how strange I felt being at such a trendy event and actually knowing people there.  There was Molly, of course, whom I met when I interviewed her for Pink Raygun and have gotten to know bit-by-bit over the course of her events since then. There’s her nicer-than-nice boyfriend, Fred Harper, who’s also a hella-talented artist, whom I’d met at events, but didn’t really have a proper chat with until the night I scored a shit-ton of books from Molly’s apartment.  There was Chelsea, whom I “met” on Twitter first and IRL later, who is a writer and inspiration for how to live life fully, and who’s also kept several of my friends employed.  And Alex was there, too, as I hooked him and Molly up when she was looking for someone to shoot footage of the event.  And then there were looser acquaintances, like Melissa, whom I met at Molly’s place once, and Gala Darling, whose blog I love and who I met briefly at the launch for Scarlett Takes Manhattan.

Thing is, this isn’t the type of event at which I usually know people.  Historically, this is the type of event I either don’t get invited to, because I’m not “cool enough” or known to anybody, OR it’s the type of event I avoid because I’m afraid of not wearing the right thing.  Yet, not only did I know people at this event…but I was comfortable there!  I talked to the models as they stood in their poses, all of whom were really cool people, and realized that we had a lot more in common than one might’ve suspected.  I had formed a professional relationship there between Molly and Alex.  And while I took a bit more effort with my look than usual, I was also still in jeans and sneakers, and I didn’t care!  I realized I didn’t have to.  I realized that any uncomfortable feelings I’d ever felt about events like this were all in my head, and that “trendy” people are just as nice and warm as anyone else as long as you’re a decent person and treat them with kindness and respect.

I know, right?

I realized something else.  Writers get entree everywhere. Trends can’t be set if people don’t talk about them, and writers are the folks getting the trends out to the masses, dressed-down as they might be a lot of the time!  I wasn’t planning on writing about the event, but once I got to talking to the models and realized there was a story here, I told Molly I would, and she seemed gleeful.  I know that my being invited to the party wasn’t contingent on the fact that I’d write about it, but  I also know that the hope was there.  And that’s cool.  Something I’ve always liked about Molly is that her ambition has never been a secret.  In fact, it’s a huge part of the art she creates: ambition and artifice.  Yet as I get caught up in it, in Molly’s world, or in the worlds of comics and sci-fi/fantasy entertainment, it feels like it’s less about “What can you do for me?” and more about “What can we do for each other?”  It feels like community.  It feels like I’m a part of something larger than myself.

Every interview I do with an up-and-coming artist, every piece I write about a new or little-known work feels like getting in on the ground floor.  It feels like inheriting the Earth.  It feels like I’m a part of the next generation of artists that’s going to be setting the trends and creating the art that moves the world for years to come.  It feels exciting.

And so, I spent MUCH more money than I ever have or probably will spend on a t-shirt EVER.  I did it willingly, because I love Molly’s work, I respect her ambition, and I also love the fact that she must have given me, like, fifty hugs over the course of the party thanking me for being there.  I could never hate on a hugger!  I know that her ambition isn’t dependent on stomping on the “little people.”  Neither is mine.  It’s about making yourself great, and encouraging those around you to be great, too.  It’s about lifting each other up.  It’s about community.  So I bought a shirt.  Someday, she’ll buy a book with my name on it, or perhaps recommend a certain webseries I’m working on to people she knows.  And in the meantime, she gives me material to write about and art to love.  Also, parties with tasty little cupcakes.  Who could ask for more?

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