Hairy armpits are back.
Collage by Monika Mogi.
Being 19, Vice Style contributor Anna Ryon gets to spend a substantial amount of her time on various bits of the internet, where other teens girls and female students spend a lot of time, which is useful when you're a guy who doesn't. Anna recently mailed in her observation that the internet zines and blogs that girls are looking to for style pointers right now, seem to be focused on a mix of ultra-girly aesthetics and a sort of vague feminist consciousness. It's less angry and hairy than it is determined to enjoy being a girl in a way that revolves around something other than 'getting the red carpet/catwalk look'. Though the hairy armpits are back. Listed below are some of the girls and sites she's talking about.
Everybody I spoke to kept telling me that Grace Miceli was a big deal, so I decided to check her out. She is a Vermont-based artist who makes coloring books and sticker sheets she sells off her site, various bits of internet art, and weird videos of her and her friends dancing in wigs with stickers on their tits. She also sells hand-drawn coloring books called Hey Net Girl Hey and The Official Digital Valley Girl Coloring Book. Her heavily reblogged magic marker caricatures of famous girls include Frida Kahlo and Gwen Stefani. At first I didn't really get Grace. One of her paintings simply reads GUCCI MANE TWITTER THAT and her Tumblr looks like a Facebook profile, but then she told me that her work "investigates and celebrates female adolescence in terms of technology and pop culture", so I guess I started to think about that stuff. Grace says she first started calling herself a feminist when she went to a Le Tigre concert when she was 16 and later studied at an all-female liberal arts college in Massachusetts and became involved with female organizations. Which probably means there's a lot more thought gone into the slow-motion videos of Grace swishing her hair around than is immediately obvious.
The Ardorous describe themselves as a feminist art collective. It's a sort of internet photography gallery and features projects and the work of a ton of girls inlcuding Arvida Bystrom, Moni Hayworth, Grace Miceli, Masha Mel, and Petra Collins. It's all B-52's style sunglasses, Virgin Suicides references, grade-school accessories, brightly-colored stubby nails, curly-haired chicks, gay chicks, pretty girls, skinny girls, girls with bellies, underwear, temporary tattoos, colored hair, frilly socks with sandals, expired film, 'tasteful' tits, and teddy bears.
Arvida is a super-cute artist and blogger who first caught my attention about a year ago with a poem she posted on her now-defunct blog that went something like—three things in bed that aren't you: 1. My fingers, 2. My teddy bear, 3. My dildo. She's also big on pictures of hairy vaginas—that's her muth in The Ardourous picture above—and scrawled on semi-nude self-portraits. She wouldn't call her work feminist, but seems to be all over the internet-based collectives and collaborative zines that loosely fit into this whole thing.
Beth Siveyer's Girls Get Busy is a site and xeroxed cut-and-paste zine, filled with scraggly illustrations on pink paper with poems submitted by readers and scrawled out slogans like 'I like fucking'. I visited Beth at work in a London sex shop, where she explained how she's determined to change the stigma attached to old-fashioned feminism. Beth embraces her girly nature. One cover of GGB features a charming pencil drawing of a headless woman's body showing her vagina surrounded by bunny, butterfly, and heart stickers. In the spirit of the original Riot Grrrl zines, Girls Get Busy features girls' rants as well:
Why I Am A High School Feminist: A manifesta by Quinn G.
BECAUSE they still throw ugly words at the sluts and the outcasts in the cafeteria
BECAUSE my psych textbook tells me "if you have a vagina, your gender identity is female, and if you have a penis, your gender identity is male"
BECAUSE no one told me a goddamn thing about the women I look up to so much and admire and want to be like. Never, not at all, period
BECAUSE I didn't punch that motherfucker in the face for thinking he had a right to openly, "humorously" speculate over my perceived gender
Beth told me she was 13 when she first heard Bikini Kill on a mixtape a pen-pal had made me about ten years previously. Beth said, "It totally stirred something in me and I liked that, before then I'd kind of felt alienated." Other contributors include Molly Soda, Grace Miceli, and the girls from Throwing Up. There's also a monthly launch party, the zine sells hundreds of copies, and the GGB Tumblr is pretty popular too.
Sophie has a blog called Love Buzz where she posts pictures of herself and lots of the "sickeningly girly" female icons she's inspired by, including Barbie, Queen Angelyn, and Baby Spice. Her super-girly style seems to appeal to a lot of the self-proclaimed teen feminests on the internet, but when asked her opinions on the subject of feminism she sent me a bunch of confused paragraphs and then apologized for being hungover. Sophie also makes hugely the popular zine, Cam Girls, which consists of webcam and cameraphone pictures of girls showing off their personal style, think 10 Things I Hate About You, but cuter. Each zine also includes a beaded necklace that spells out words like SEX or BRAT.
If you are still not convinced that this exists beyond an intangible internet fad, Garage, the politically dubious art-fashion zine that counts Richard Prince, Damian Hirst, Hedi Slimane, and the Chapman brothers amongst its contributors, features a pull-out zine titled Vomit Pink, which is co-curated by Tavi Gevinson. The zine is packaged like a teenage girl's notebook, with pages decorated with sparkly stickers and pencil-drawn hearts and stars. A photo by Petra Collins, curator of The Arduous, shows what appears to be the body of a blonde girl laying in a bath of red water, wearing only a tiara, a cheerleading vest, and white knickers. Vomit Pink also features work by Molly Soda and the girls listed above. Maybe these girls aren't really that clued-up about feminism but they sure are making it look pretty.
- Vice Blog