After watching countless videos this morning on youtube of Leandra Medine, AKA the Man repeller, I've decided that her aesthetic is one that I can almost fully get behind.
I've always lived my life feeling that I look like a bit of a boy. I've always been drawn to a more ambiguous type of fashion. And the idea of girls in trousers, mens shirts and motorcycle jackets has always made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. There's this quote from Lady Gaga that I always kind of liked, where she said that she preferred to look interesting rather than beautiful, I always kind of related to that. It didn't help that I grew up mostly flat chested and gangly with what I thought was buck teeth and a big nose, I felt stupid trying to look pretty or sexy even. (Sexy doesn't even fit into my vocabulary)
Growing up I remember my pre-teen years being filled with t-shirts and hoodies. In grade 8 my friends and I competed in a community cable quiz show, we (they) thought it would be clever to all wear rainbow striped halter tops. I had never felt so naked or awkward in my life. All I wanted was to crawl back into my Billabong hoodie and go home.
To me, that was kind of like pre-man-repelling. While in school all my friends were having all sorts of boys get crushes on them in their cute skirts and tank tops, while I was hanging out in a pair of skinny jeans (before they were popular!) some colourful Vans and a graphic tshirt. Not exactly a boy-entrancing outfit.
As I got older it only got worse, (or better?) going out to bars with my friends would be an excuse to hold my own little fashion show. I would never be seen in a strapless tight thing or some sort of revealing shirt. I remember going to bars in backless, neon studded tshirts, or leather pants with an oversized mustard yellow clutch. I never wanted to go to a bar and get hit on, I just wanted to dance around in an outfit that made me feel good.
From what I got from Leandra and her musings on man repelling, is that it's not about actually trying to get shunned by the opposite sex, it's really about making yourself happy. And in so many words, what is usually an aesthetic that is pleasing to the fashion loving girl, isn't so appealing to a guy. I'd never know a man to say to a lady, "Wow, those harem pants look fantastic," or "I totally LOVE your denim shirt." Man repelling is not about buying or wearing things that make you ugly, it's about wearing things that make you happy. About dressing to impress YOURSELF.
Going out in public in an outfit that I feel really jazzed about doesn't make me long for the stare of a man, it makes me want to get a, "oh wow, I love your outfit" FROM A GIRL. Because they understand. Man repelling is basically what all fashion conscious girls practice whenever they get together and talk about their favourite purchases or their favourite trend du jour. And this is not to say that men don't like the way we look when we are doing our own thang sartorially, they just may not understand fully.
I always joke that I never should ask Charles what he wants for dinner. I should just pick something and make it without even giving him an option. Most of the time, it doesn't matter what I cook, he'll like it. (And before I make myself sound like a 1950's housewife, I'll tell you that I genuinely enjoy cooking...sometimes) But it's the same with fashion. I know Charles loves the end results no matter what I'm wearing, and I think that's what Leandra is getting at with all her man repelling shenanigans, it's a secretly very feminist way of thinking. Just be yourself, because like Dr. Suess says, "the people who mind don't matter and the people who matter don't mind"
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