Kate M

I Am Strangely Okay With Bono Being Named Woman of the Year

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Bono is named Woman of the Year by an Authoritative Fashion Magazine. Shit hits fan. But is it necessary?

Woman of the Year, Bono as captured by photographer Ulrica Törning of Flickr, in 2010.

Glamour Woman of the Year, Bono as captured by photographer Ulrica Törning of Flickr, in 2010.

Okay. The internet is in an uproar. And I kind of get it. I mean, it’s not cool when a South Park meme, or really any of the absurdist White libertarian comedy spaces from the late 90′s becomes reality.  Or is it. I don’t know. I’m going to be at a panel talking about Tracy Flick and the movie Election tonight, and when you compare it to the weird world we live in where Donald Trump is running for president, it’s really not much different.

I’ve held a lot of unpopular, minority opinions. So I’m okay if you hate me. But I would like everyone to take a moment and stop and consider what just might happen if we looked at cultural/space appropriation as a form of normalization.

Yes. Maybe that person wearing the cultural artifact, taking the “Woman of the Year” award, or whatever, without getting the beating, or only taking part of the heat you would–might maybe be making the space better for everyone wearing *that* specific piece of heritage, or dealing with that area of sex/class difference, sometimes.

Not in every instance, obviously. I mean, smoking pot at Coachella is not making anyone in headdresses look good. Ever. But if I am wearing a Batik pattern on the street, even if I am not from any of the countries that do so originally–I’m popularizing Batik patterns to the point where wearing them can become normalized. I realize this is a double-edged sword for those who wear Batik patterns. While less marginalization is always good–and marginalized groups should always be given respect when they speak about their experience with marginalization–it also makes a visual identity less unique.

I am not the person to say or judge whether or not it is a good thing. I’ll listen to other people–people who are experiencing it–on that front. I’ve heard conflicting opinions, when I ask, sometimes. But I do actually think that when we forget that this process has two faces, or two modalities, we might be missing some of a good thing.

For me, it’s about realizing that since I am not of the tribe, I can never, ever wear an artifact or piece of non-Western clothing in an authentic enough way to be mistaken, but if I have privilege, and I choose to wear one in solidarity or defiance of my own tribe, it sometimes gets harder for them to throw heat at other people for doing so. I think that’s part of the paradigm. So if Bono is in any way willing to identify by wearing “Woman,” I’m willing to let him. Some of my friends who grew up boys–who later became women who love dresses–do it every day. Some of us talk about the

So if Bono is in any way willing to identify by wearing the title “Woman,” I’m willing to let him. Some of my friends who grew up boys–who later became women who love dresses–do it every day. Some of us talk about the futility and the strange binary that is our contemporary sense of gender.

I’m okay with a little deconstruction, even if we have to start on the “Ladies’ ” side first.

 

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